February 12, 2021
Meet Laura Neale of Black Kettle Farm in Lyman, Maine. The farm is woman-owned and has been staffed mostly by women over the last 13 years. Black Kettle Farm transitioned to organic production from a conventional corn farm. Laura says it is now “a diverse, sometimes chaotic, field of a huge range of vegetables and herbs, all at different stages, that are constantly changing and shifting to reflect the season.” It is host to bees, frogs, worms and birds, Laura continues. Black Kettle Farm sells their products through an 18-week CSA with pick-ups in Lyman, Portland and Kittery, through the Maine Senior FarmShare program, and to restaurants from Kittery to Portland. When asked why organic production is important to her, Laura explained, “I feel like it is not just about the production of safe food for consumers, but also about how the farm interacts with the natural world as a whole.” We asked Laura what organic principles and practices she most values and she responded, “I value the farm inspection that happens during the growing season after plans and certification paperwork have been submitted. I think that it is so important to meet in-person, walk around the farm, show records and receipts, and talk about the operation.” Photo courtesy of Laura Neale.
Meet Sara Faull and Genio Burtin of Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro, Maine. They, their children and Burtin’s parents maintain 2.5 acres of MOFGA-certified organic vegetables and diverse livestock enterprises. They sell their vegetables to restaurants and retail stores on Mount Desert Island and through their CSA, self-serve farm stand and the Winter Harbor Farmers’ Market. They farm primarily using Fjords, which haul in crops, spread manure, plant cover crops, move firewood and carry maple sap. See Sonja Heyck-Merlin’s article about Mandala Farm in the fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener.