Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
MOF&G cover Spring 2011
Gabrielle Gosselin and Nate Drummond. Bridget Besaw photo.
Gabrielle Gosselin and Nate Drummond. Photo by Bridget Besaw.
Harvesting hops
Harvesting hops. Photo courtesy of Richard Jones.
Whip and tongue graft. Rob Lemire photo
Rob Lemire photo.
Paul and Sandy Arnold. English photo.
Paul and Sandy Arnold. English photo.
'Beautiful' dry beans. English photo.
'Beautiful' dry beans. English photo.
European apple sawfly larva damage. Photo by C.J. Walke.
European apple sawfly larva damage. Photo by C.J. Walke.

Six River Farm: Scaled for Local Markets and Profit
By Polly Shyka
When Gabrielle Gosselin and Nate Drummond left their jobs and friends in New York City in 2006 to apprentice at Sandy and Paul Arnold’s Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, New Your, they were, like most farm apprentices, on an information- and skill-gathering mission. During that growing season, their ambitions began to come into focus. By paying close attention to details of the Arnolds’ diverse and profitable market vegetable operation, the couple saw the many challenges and rewards of the lifestyle and profession of farming. (See the feature story about Pleasant Valley in this MOF&G.)

Fiber and Tesseracts at A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm
By Joyce White
A Wrinkle in Thyme Farm in Sumner, Maine, takes its name from Madeline L’Engle’s book A Wrinkle in Time, which, said co-owner Marty Elkin, was influenced by the emerging knowledge of quantum theory. L’Engle used the quantum term tesseract to move characters into another dimension, a sort of time warp.

A New Old Crop: Growing Hops Commercially in Maine
By Holli Cederholm
Situated on adjacent parcels of land in Monroe, Maine, are three certified organic hops-growing operations owned by three friends who met in Florida. Richard Jones, a full-time boat captain and owner of Irish Hill Hops, was first to purchase land in Monroe in 1999. Arthur Lewis, a Florida chef and owner of Elm Hill Farm, and Ken Tassin, a Louisiana-based skipper and owner of Marsh Stream Hops, followed shortly after.

New England Farmers Visit Viskinge Farm and Mejnerts Mill in Denmark
By Jim and Megan Gerritsen
Last October, 22 farmers, millers and researchers from Maine and Vermont traveled to Denmark to learn about local organic wheat production, processing, marketing and baking. The trip was part of a four-year USDA-funded grant project being led by Dr. Ellen Mallory of the University of Maine and Dr. Heather Darby of the University of Vermont that is focused on improving local organic bread wheat production and quality in northern New England through research and education.

The First Farmers: Older Than You Think
By John Koster
How long have people been farming? Most people think agriculture started about 7,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent of what is now Iraq and really took hold in Egypt a few thousand years later. But Hal Roach, in “One Million B.C.,” had Loana of the Shell People (Carol Landis) teaching the crude Rock People, headed by Lon Chaney Jr. and Victor Mature, just which fruits and vegetables were edible.

A Spring Grafting Primer
By Roberta R. Bailey
Each of us carries snapshot memories of important and somewhat random events from our lives. In one of my memories, for example, I’m 30 feet up in a tree that I have named the Three Sisters because of its three huge trunks rising from the same spot in the ground. I grafted each of its branches over nine or 10 years, and 18 varieties grow on the tree.

Ten Easy Species for the Edible Landscape
By Jean English
Want to increase the amount of homegrown food you produce, with very little work? Plant any or all of these 10 edible, perennial, ornamental species in your landscape. They’ll provide fresh, mouthwatering snacks and sustenance from early spring until well into fall, as well as preserves or tea for winter – all with just a little weeding (or mulching), a little pruning (for some), and compost from time to time.

Loans for Organic Farms
By Tim Nason
A number of resources are available to small farmers who desire financing in the form of loans. Although debt is often anathema to farmers, those who have achieved a certain level of reliable, annual cash flow and a record of profitability will find that a loan can provide financing for land, machinery, buildings, operating capital or other purposes.

Building a Profitable Small Farm through Record Keeping, Season Extension and Winter Growing
Paul and Sandy Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm were the “Farmers in the Spotlight” at MOFGA and Maine Cooperative Extension’s 2010 Farmer to Farmer Conference in Northport, Maine.

Asparagus Production in Maine
Mark Hutton, vegetable specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth, talked about asparagus cultivation at MOFGA and Cooperative Extension’s 2010 Farmer to Farmer Conference, and Rick and Marilyn Stanley of Chick Farm in Wells, Maine, talked about their experiments with using chickens to control weeds in asparagus.

Growing Winter Crops in Maine
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the University of New Hampshire and UMaine Cooperative Extension organized a meeting of growers at Paul Lorrain’s Sunset Farm Organics in Lyman, Maine, in December 2010 to tour the farm and talk about growing vegetables in winter. About 50 attended the tour and some 30 met afterward for a discussion facilitated by Eric Sideman, MOFGA’s organic crops specialist. Becky Sideman of the University of N.H. took notes for this article.

Harvest Kitchen – Dry Beans
By Roberta Bailey
“Beans, beans, the magical fruit … ” I have been thinking that Jack (of beanstalk repute) wasn’t so crazy after all, that there is a lot of magic in beans. This fall, while harvesting my pole bean seed, I shelled some ‘Scarlet Runner’ beans into my hand. The large beans shone pinkish purple with black splotches. Their beauty filled me with awe. As I shelled more, filling my pockets, I thought of Jack. I would trade the family cow for these beans. I was already taken in by their magic.

Understanding Farm Food Safety: A Marketing Opportunity
By Cheryl Wixson
Passage of the Federal legislation S.510: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act reflects consumers’ needs and desires for assurance that their food supply is free from pathogens and contaminants that cause foodborne illnesses. Many have speculated that S.510 will be the death of home gardeners and small farms. While the rule-making process allows for continued input, MOFGA views this legislation as an educational and marketing opportunity.

Managing Nitrogen Fertility
By Eric Sideman, Ph.D.
Nitrogen (N) is the nutrient most commonly limiting crop growth and yield on organic farms. This is especially true when creating a farm from an old, abandoned field and when transitioning from conventional to organic fertilizing practices, because N, unless managed, is easily lost from soil.

In the Orchard, Starting the Season
By C.J. Walke
As winter draws to a close, the days continue to lengthen and we approach early March, it is time to prune the orchard, collect scionwood for grafting, prepare to plant young trees and patiently await the brilliant bloom of the orchard, marking spring’s arrival.

Meat Processing Terminology: Talking to Your Butcher
By Diane Schivera, M.A.T.
When you bring animals to be processed, you need to have a clear understanding with your butcher to get the product you desire. You need to know the terms being used, and you must recognize which part of the animal will produce each retail cut – the “bits” you will bring home to cook or sell to customers.

Poll: Mainers Making More Food Purchases Directly From Maine Farmers
In May 2010, MOFGA commissioned an independent Portland firm to survey 400 likely Maine voters about how and why they buy local foods. The survey repeated three questions the firm asked in 2004.

MOFGA Certification Services LLC
Want to Certify Your Organic Products?
Accredited by the USDA in 2002, MOFGA Certification Services (MCS) certifies crops, wild crops, livestock, livestock products, and processed and handled agricultural products throughout Maine to USDA National Organic Standards.
Why Buy Certified Organic Products?

Ecological Pest Control Methods
Roll Rye at 50 to 75 Percent Flowering

In Praise of Icelandic Sheep, by Susan Faunce
Address the Drug Problem, by Russell Vesecky
More on Synthetic Scents, by Jody Spear
Chlorine Question, by Arthur Harvey


Seeds – What Can We Do?
Russell Libby, MOFGA Executive Director
Seeds are the starting point for almost everything we do on our farms and in our gardens. Quality, vital seeds are fundamental to agriculture as a whole. Throughout history, maintaining a supply of seeds was almost as important as the harvest itself, because the seed supply assured that everything was ready for the next year.

Let’s Converge with Nature
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
A Cornell University study found more healthful conjugated linoleic acids and omega 3 fatty acids in organic than conventional milk. Likewise, a British study found lower concentrations of harmful saturated fats and higher concentrations of beneficial fatty acids in organic than conventional milk.

The Blueberry Years: A Memoir of Farm and Family
The Systemic Insecticides: A Disaster in the Making
Worldwatch Institute's State of the World 2011
Web Resources

Organic Matter
Compendium of Food and Agricultural News

Maine BPC
BPC Adopts Policy on Homemade Pesticides

Barbara Damrosch Steps Up As MOFGA Board President
Composting and Gardening Talks
Spring Growth Conference: Production in Hoophouses
MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee Empty Bowl Supper
MOFGA Welcomes New Administrative Assistant
MOFGA People

MOFGA’s Farmers in Residence: Thinking Creatively about Winter Markets

A Brief History and the Effects of Low Impact Forestry at MOFGA

Volunteer Profile
Matthew Dubois

Common Ground Country Fair
2011 Fair Poster Unveiled
Summer Fair Assistant