Tarbox Farm

Tarbox Farm and Sasanoa Brewing are located at the end of wonderful Westport Island in mid-coast Maine. Our farm and brewery are over 40 acres with about 9 acres in cultivation. We grow for market, wholesale and CSA sales.

We participate in one Saturday market a week. We are going to start selling direct off the farm this year during tasting room hours. We will be raising pigs again this year and look forward to having our own meat. We grow a wide variety of produce, cut flowers and culinary herbs as well as wild blueberries, cranberries and grapes. We have 2 tractors and a wide variety of equipment. We have a full solar array that supplies the farm and brewery with a lot of it’s electricity. Life is good on the end of the island.

Our farm is on the southern end of Westport Island which is located in the Mid-Coast region of Maine. We farm about 9 acres of mixed produce, cut flowers and culinary herbs. The fields are situated close to the ocean. The entire property consists of 100+acres that is comprised of fields and woodlots as well as a small blueberry barren and cranberry bog. We have a large barn, which is the heart of farm activities, as well as 3 greenhouses and 2 high tunnels. This property has views of the Back River and Beal Island. Beal Island is managed by the AMC and offers some nice trails and spots for camping. Just down the road we also have the Bonyun Preserve and Squam Creek Preserve, which is managed by the Kennebec Estuary Land Trust. There are plenty of recreation opportunities in the area including hiking, swimming, biking and kayaking. We are 10 minutes from the mainland, which is accessed by a bridge. The island is very rural but the closest town, Wiscasset, is a 10-15 minute drive from the farm.

Our farm consists of about 9 acres of cultivated land and about 40 acres of woods. We grow a diverse variety of vegetables, cut flowers and culinary herbs. This year we grew a wide variety of salad greens, tomatoes, beets, carrots, scallions, onions, salad turnips, kale, chard, head lettuce, peas, peppers, eggplant, fennel, radish, onions, potatoes, shallots, radicchio, winter and summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, broccolini, and so much more. Our cut flower operation is thriving and we plan on going bigger this year. We sell bouquets at the market and wholesale.

We also own and operate Sasanoa Brewing which is the first Mofga certified organic brewery in Maine. The brewery is located at the farm. We have an outdoor tasting area that is open on the weekends. The brewery uses products grown on the farm and sourced locally. We are both beekeepers and have 2-3 hives per year. We also have a few heritage apple trees on the property as well as several grape vines. We sell the grapes at market and we use them in our beer. We have a lovely perennial herb garden as well as a rhubarb patch, which we harvest for the farm and the brewery.

We have 3 large gothic greenhouses and a few high tunnels that we grow in year round. There is a large barn on the property which houses the wash station, brewery and kitchen for apprentices. This is the heart of the farm. We have 2 tractors and a variety of equipment which adds to the efficiency of the operation.

We market directly at 2 busy farmers markets in the summer and 1 market in the winter. We wholesale our products to several local restaurants, natural food stores and specialty shops. We have a thriving CSA of about 80-100 shares per year. We have raised heritage breed pigs for the last 10 years and plan to do so again once the brewery opens. We don’t do any value added products other than beer and dried flowers for winter market.

  1. First you will get to know the daily routines of the farm. This will include opening greenhouses, seeding, watering seedlings in the greenhouse and planting seedlings.
  2. Soon after there will be a big push to get everything planted. You will learn how to shape and prep rows, calculate spacing, plant efficiently, fertilize/top dress, lay drip tape/hand water and care for newly planted seedlings.
  3. Next, you will learn how we harvest/wash/prep/bunch/package all of our produce for markets. This will be the bulk of the work during the high season. We harvest several days a week so a rhythm is established.
  4. Finally, you will join us at markets and participate in the direct distribution of our food and products.

Obviously there is so much more that you will do/learn but this is the back bone of operational plans.

We expect our apprentices to be ready to work 40+ hours per week. Our high season is July and August so we always check in with folks and let them know that the pace picks up and the days are longer and high paced. Some weeks may be quite intense while other weeks there may be more opportunity to take an afternoon off to explore the island or take care of personal activities.

Much of this is dictated by the rhythm of the farm which is ultimately dictated by the weather. Yes, there will be heavy lifting and long hours bent over transplanting/harvesting. Heavy lifting may include 50lb bags of feed or amendments and totes of produce. You will have Saturday afternoon and Sunday off to do what you like. We will work a long side you but ultimately you will be working with crew or by yourself.

Most instruction will be hands on learning. Tasks will be performed with the apprentice until they have shown a full comprehension of the task at hand. Once confident in newly learned skills, a greater degree of responsibility may be given to perform tasks unsupervised. All tasks will be thoroughly explained as they relate to our operation as well as how they may be different in other operations based on scale, resources, management style, goals, etc…

There will be plenty of reading material available as well as other resources that may be used to further gain knowledge. We do 1-2 classroom type sessions where we sit down and discuss topics relevant to what is happening on the farm ie. Soil science, fertilizer/pesticide application etc.

We are offering $300 per week. During the season we evaluate and give raises accordingly.

Rustic living conditions include a cabin, a cabin tent or a loft in the barn. There are also living quarters in the top of the barn. We have an outdoor shower and a toilet with the possibility of hooking up a washing machine this year. We will eat together once a week and the rest of the time you will cook for yourself with your fellow apprentices. Having lunch together is a tradition but it really depends on how the days jobs are going. It is a great time to sit down, connect and laugh. The kitchen is in the barn.

We have an electric stove. Fresh produce will be available for meals. We also provide eggs, bread and cheese from the market. We expect everyone to pick up after themselves and keep the community space in the barn neat and tidy. This is so important. This space is also part of the brewery so it must be kept neat. We prefer non tobacco smokers due to the diseases that may be transmitted to other nightshade crops. One example is the Tobacco Mosaic virus. If Tobacco use is limited around crops this may be negotiable.

Well, there is my wife Angela, myself and our three sons, Elijah Kail, 10, Julian Skye, 8 and Stellan Sun who is almost 5. We are in our early 40’s and have been farming for 15 years. I have a background in music, forestry, brewing, and farming. My wife is a registered yoga teacher and meditation instructor. She also works at our children’s school in the off season. Our farm has grown from a little half acre plot to 9 acres and only through hard work, drive and passion has this happened. We are both environmentalists and believe that this is one way that we can change the world and people around us. Sustainability is of utmost importance. We are thoughtful in our practices on and off the farm. Ultimately, we are striving to build our farm/brewery business into something unique and financially successful. Our farm has done very well but we are hoping to take it to the next level with the brewery.

We are avid outdoor people who love hiking, cross country skiing, swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, and canoeing. My wife loves food and is an amazing and thoughtful cook. Our passion for great music and books is shared with our kids. We try to work hard and stay focused on our goals with a sense of joy and compassion. We are easy going and try to maintain that energy with our crew. We appreciate all the hard work that our apprentices/crew do and try to reward that in lots of different ways because ultimately you are the backbone of the farm.

Dakota Eastman | Former apprentice reference

Brendon McQuillen | Personal reference

Tarbox Farm

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