Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Sowing Seeds, Putting Down Roots in Unity:
Planting Common Ground Country Fair in New Earth

Were YOU there at the beginning, in Litchfield, when Scott and Helen Nearing, alongside Fairgoers, built a cordwood structure, when Marshall Dodge provided the humor and Pinch of Love provided the food? Here’s your chance to say, once again, that “I remember when – “ We’re still finalizing details, but the Board wants to be in Unity for an event in 1998 – and that means the Common Ground Country Fair will be held in Unity next year, on our own site.

Surviving Aroostook’s Economy with Organic Potatoes
By Jane Lamb
Say what they will about the “two Maines,” there are really three, as a drive north on Interstate 95 clearly illustrates. Notwithstanding arguable differences between settled coast and rural upland, the definable southern third of the state ends a few miles north of Bangor, when it gives way suddenly to endless forest and bogland. The monotony is only relieved by the far-off blue bulk of Mt. Katahdin arcing tantalizingly out of reach along the horizon as the road curves northeast. Then just as suddenly it descends into Houlton and another Maine altogether, surprisingly cultivated after all that wilderness.

Waldo County Seamstress Promotes Hemp
By Jean English
Last winter, Wendy Kochenthal of Jackson, Maine, took a two-month trip to the West Coast, traveling from Seattle to Baja and back again. Along the way she found herself visiting hemp stores and learning about this versatile, valuable fiber. “My interest started in California,” she says. “There are huge hemp stores out there that sell nothing but hemp products.”

Cell Fish and Plant Pipes and Young Moms
By Norma Jane Langford
If you’ve got a green thumb and a green house, and you’re near a city, and there’s snow on the sidewalk, you’ve got the makings of a profitable small business. Pricey urban restaurants will pay almost anything for fresh green-and-white nasturtium leaves, chocolate mint, and red impatiens, and ethnic restaurants will scoop frisky tilapia right out of your styrofoam cooler. That’s the take-home message from Yvonne Miller-Booker and Tom Libby of Dorchester, Massa­chusetts.

The Joys of Heirloom Tomatoes
By Amy Leblanc
I don’t remember exactly when I discovered that not all tomatoes are round and red. I do know that it must have been early on, as I remember pouncing on a package of seed for a yellow slicer when I was first buying my own seed. Then to discover, as the years went by, that there are light pink, deep pink, rosy pink, maroon, dusty purple, green, gleaming green with yellow stripes, golden yellow, lemon yellow, yellow splashed with red, black, orange, golden orange, pale cream, tangerine – and the list goes on.

Hardy Roses for Maine
By Lloyd Brace
“Roses for Maine gardens should bloom first from old wood.” If pressed for time, you have just read the most important guide for choosing roses for a Maine garden. There is a profound distinction in the world of roses, almost like the delineation between two huge tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust. On the one hand we have modern, high-tech roses that produce either huge, florid, usually scentless blooms or clusters of smaller, brightly colored blooms, usually all summer.

Culinary Herbs for the Winter Windowsill
Set a narrow tray in the bottom of a basket, set four pots of herbs of different textures and/or colors on the tray, and you’ve got a great gift for the holidays. To make such a gift now, you’ll have to buy the herb plants or propagate them from some you’ve been growing indoors. If you didn’t bring any in this year, you might want to next year by following the directions provided by Isabelle Wiand at a talk at the Common Ground Country Fair in September.

Global Climate Change and Corporate Greenwash
When Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ross Gelbspan was researching global climate change for his book, The Heat Is On, he was hit by two revelations: First, he was bewildered by the lack of interest in the subject by the general public, even though we experience a “new, record-setting weather event virtually every week;” Second, he learned that climate change is much more than an environmental issue, that it extends into our political, social and economic realms as well – indeed, into every phase of our lives.

Summary of the Conference Held at Bowdoin College in October 1997
Environment and Health
Every three minutes, another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. Every 12 minutes, another woman dies from breast cancer in the United States. These were some of the grim statistics presented by Andrea Martin, founder and president of the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Fund, at a conference entitled “Environment and Health” at Bowdoin College in October.

Cookbook Methodology
By Michael Cherim
Bio-control certainly isn’t a no-brainer. Your crop scouting must continue on a weekly basis. A lot of thought must be put into a properly initiated and executed program. If you need help with this, every reputable bio-control supplier can provide recommended rates for various products.

Greenhouse Tonic
By Mary Wolfe
On clear winter days when outside temperatures plummet and the temperature inside my plastic tunnel skyrockets, I pull back one end of the plastic for ventilation. While there, I lean inside for a whiff of earth, and a blast of tropical air invariably steams my glasses. Meanwhile, outside, my rear end is icing up. I have realized increasingly over 16 years of plastic tunnel gardening that one element is constantly left out in the cold. Me.

Growers Push For Cleaner Fuels

Stonyfield Farm Proves It Pays To Be Green

Elder: An Ally for the Flu Season
By Deb Soule
Several elder or elderberry species are native to North America and Europe. Sambucus canadensis is the common species used in North America by herbalists, while in Europe S. nigra is used. The genus name, Sambucus, is thought to have come from the Greek sambuke, a musical instrument made from elderberry wood.

Elderberry Elixir

Breadseed Poppy
By Roberta Bailey
Quite a few years ago, a Slovakian friend served me a dish of little soft pieces of bread sticks, coated with a sauce of ground poppyseeds, some honey, and probably a few other ingredients. I had never had anything like it. It was unforgettably delicious. While we ate, he explained that Slovaks used poppyseeds as a staple, a family wanting to have a 50-kilogram sack to go through the winter.

Healthy Meals That Taste Good, Too
By Jean English
I use four guidelines for most of my food choices. First, I avoid foods that are high in saturated fats (animal fats), high in polyunsaturated fats (corn and other vegetable oils) or high in hydrogenated oils (aka trans-fatty acids: margarine and solid shortenings, for example). Second, I avoid foods with pesticide residues, artificial flavors and colors, and preservatives.

Gifts to Fill the Stomach and Warm the Heart
By Roberta Bailey
Winter is upon us again.The days are short and the nights, long. Time to catch up on reading, knitting, sitting by the fire and reflecting. A time to rest, to peruse the seed catalogs, and dream about what we will do next year. But the seeds are dormant in their hulls, silent within their seed packets, the ground is frozen beneath the snow cover, it’s cold and dark, so dark outside. What better time to celebrate, to get out and share in each others’ light.

Phytoestrogens Fight Cancer
Deciding What to Grow
Edible Pea Tendrils
Specialty Crops
Any Lamb’s Quarters Breeders Out There?
A Bean with Beauty
Listen to Your Customers
Packaging for the Environment
Compost Activators Inactive
Smaller Honeycomb Helps Bees Fight Mites
Applied Cotton Tufts Harbor Beneficial Insects
Diversified Apple Orchards Harbor More Beneficials
Squash Plants as Trap Crops for Cucumber Beetles
Beetles Love Burgess
Catch Beetles at Bedtime
Value Added Dairy Farm
Chainsaw Safety 101: Leave the Necktie at Home

Common Ground Fair and Tuba Repair


Digging In
By Russell Libby
Investment bankers and others are getting into the booming organics “industry,” selling stocks of natural food stores and suppliers on Wall Street. Maine is still on the periphery of that interest, although we’ve seen little pieces of it with inquiries from Israel, Japan and Europe for products this year.

How to Get to Norlands
By Jean English
It was a good day on the farm. We womenfolk did our inside chores while the menfolk worked outdoors. We emptied the chamber pots that the men had used the night before, and we managed to empty most of them into the two-seater. Only spilled one. We made the beds where the men had slept. We swept the floors that the men had muddied. We dusted.

Book Reviews
The Organic Rose Garden
Hardy Roses –  An Organic Guide to Growing Frost- and Disease-Resistant Varieties
Creole Flavors
The Herbal Grove
Steel in the Field

MOF&G Cover Winter 1997

News & Events

Petition to Ban Aerial Spraying Progresses

Maine BPC
Does Maine Need Genetically Engineered Corn?


Volunteer Profile
Barbara Foust

Fair News
Fair Winners & Kitchen Donors