Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Babushka and Dedushka
Babushka and Dedushka, two Russian "Old Believers," in Ynegetai, Siberia, Russia. Effie Elfer photo.

Agricultural Systems in An Old Believers’ Village in Siberia
By Effie Elfer
Russia is a vast country. The northern city of St. Petersburg sits some 7000 miles from the Green Mountains of Vermont, where I grew up on a small subsistence farm. From St. Petersburg to the city of Irkutsk is an eight-hour flight, like flying across the United States. In Irkutsk, a train skirts the southern tip of Lake Baikal, the “Jewel of Siberia,” bringing one into the Autonomous Republic of Buryiatia, stopping in its capital, Ulan Ulde. Someone must meet you at the station, because since the fall of the Soviet Union, the bus runs only three times a week. An hour-long car ride brings you 43 miles east, from the city of Ulan Ulde, through rolling hills of steppe, by way of once thriving villages, past a Buddhist Datsan, to the Old Believer’s village of Ynegetai.

Barnes & Barnes Organic Dairy
By Nan Brucker
The Common Kitchen staff needs a lot of milk for the meals prepared during the Fair, and all of this milk is donated by Barnes & Barnes Organic Dairy in nearby Albion, which Verda Barnes runs with her son Basil. And Basil’s son Ricky. And Ricky’s children Alan and Ashley, plus Basil’s other granddaughter Brooke. Which makes Verda Barnes, at almost 101 years old (her birthday’s in November), not only the matriarch of this four-generation farm but possibly the oldest dairy farmer in Maine.

Shades of Mother Nature … Dyeing Fiber Naturally
By Kari Luehman and Bill Huntington, Hope Spinnery
The beauty of our natural world encompasses all colors, and many natural dyers attest to the fact that everything dyed using mother nature’s colors will blend together with grace. Nothing clashes, and no colors are richer or more jewel-like than those of fibers colored using natural dyes. Researcher and natural dyer Jim Liles says, “Natural dyes possess additional beauty because they come from living things … I sometimes feel that some of that life is still there.”
LIF Workshop
Nan Brucker photo.

MOFGA Low-Impact Forestry Workshop 2003
By Nan Brucker
The woods are full of horses. A team of Suffolks pulls up to the landing with a load of logs, as a team of Percherons leaves with an empty scoot. Soft bells announce the arrival of a single Belgian, twitching out another log to be bucked into 8-foot lengths and forwarded to the pulp yard. In moments when the chainsaws fall silent, leaving only the sound of bells and hooves and the calls of teamsters, this could be a forest scene from a hundred years ago.

Please Pass the Pesto
By Jean Ann Pollard
Although summer may end in Maine with September, basil plants remain thick and flourishing until frost turns them black. Before that, gardeners prize its special flavor in everything from soups to pesto – and no wonder. Basil has a long history of culinary use from the ancient Greeks to the Romans, as mentioned by Dioscorides, Theophrastus and other transcribers, but it took a long time traveling to New England.

Sacred Basil
By Deb Soule
Sacred basil or holy basil is native to India and is valued greatly for its medicinal properties and spiritual significance in Ayurvedic medicine and among people who worship the Hindu deities Lakshmi and Vishnu. The Sanskrit name for sacred basil is tulsi or tulasi. Tulsi is commonly grown in a special pot in many Indian homes, as one of the plant’s gifts is to offer divine protection for the home. Ayurvedic physician Vasant Lad says that next to the lotus, holy basil is perhaps the most sacred plant of India.
Apple Picker illustration by Toki Oshima
Toki Oshima illustration.

A Recipe for Applesauce
By Julia Davis
First, pick a sunny fall day when the smell of falling leaves is in the air. It must be a day when summer almost feels like a distant memory, a day when the air is crisp in its coldness, like an apple fresh from the tree.

Some Favorite Recipes from Twenty Years of Harvest Kitchen
By Roberta Bailey
On his show “A Prairie Home Companion,” Garrison Keillor once did a monologue about four people who went for a car ride in order to see the odometer turn to 200,000 miles. He took listeners through the town and out to the country, where our attention was turned to the crows in a cornfield, then the monologue traveled off with our minds meandering to other rich topics, only to have Garrison bring our attention abruptly back to the odometer, which then read 200,003 miles!
Full Moon
Photo courtesy of NASA.

Should I Worry about a Frost Tonight?
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
More years than not, the most common phrase I hear at the Fair (besides “The food is great!”) is, “Do you think it’s goin’ to frost tonight?” The common answer is often, “Nah, the full moon was last week,” or “I sure think so, ’cause the full moon is tonight.” What’s up with the moon? Why worry about frost? And why can’t someone just say for sure whether we’ll have a frost?

A Primer on Probiotics
By Diane Schivera
Beneficial bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum, are called probiotics. Probiotics, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, are live microorganisms administered in adequate amounts which confer a beneficial health effect on the host.

Q. How can I get a copy of the Common Ground Fair schedule to out-of-state friends?

Helen Nearing Found People’s Special Spark
Nearings Were Devoted to the Common Good


Ways of Seeing
By Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
I’m always intrigued by the “glass half-full, glass half-empty” analogy. It’s always seemed to me to be such a static way of seeing the world, as if nothing has happened before and nothing is going to happen next. I’m always wondering what’s about to be poured into the glass, or if someone’s elbow is about to knock it over accidentally.

Raising Organic: Your Contributions Make All the Difference
By Lisa Turner, 2004 MOFGA President
Usually in my editorials I ask you to support local, organic farmers by buying their products – directly, if possible. Today I’m asking you to support your farmers indirectly by supporting MOFGA.

Finding Balance at the Fair
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
The Navaho believe that “the life process is a complex order of relationships in which balance is achieved through the interaction of negative and positive relationships,” according to Nancy C. Maryboy and David H. Begay (“Ceremonial Healing,” in Shift: At the Frontiers of Consciousness, June-August 2004.)
Grand Master of Maine Gardening

The following reviews appear on the same web page:
The Grand Masters of Maine Gardening and Some of Their Disciples, by Jane Lamb
Gardening for the Earth and Soul, by Heather Dean and Tom Benevento
Safe Sex in the Garden – and Other Propositions for an Allergy-Free World, by Thomas Leo Ogren
Maddie, by Sylvia Tomlinson
Plucked and Burned, by Sylvia Tomlinson
MOF&G Cover Fall 2004
MOFGA members receive our quarterly newspaper The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener as a benefit of membership. Become a member today! It can also be purchased at news stands.

News & Events

Maine Board of Pesticides Control
Indoor Pesticide Applications, Pool Operators and More

Farmer-in-Residence Chris Cavendish
Summer Intern Stacie Whitney

Volunteer Profile
Jim Gerritsen: Standing Firmly for Organic Certification

Common Ground Country Fair News
2004 Fair Director Message
Remembering Forrest L. Hooper Jr.
2004 Keynote Speakers:
Jason Kafka
Lynn Miller
Percy Schmeiser
2004 Planning Team Coordinators