Feature Stories From The Archives​

Learn more about the MOFGA community and Common Ground Country Fair

“Preserving”

What follows is a collection of stories submitted by readers in response to the theme of “preserving.” For me, August of each year begins canning time. I learned how to can helping my mom in the 1950s. Then in the 1960s I struck out on my own with books from the New Hampshire extension office.

Read More »
3 Level farmers

Creating a Multi-Family Farm at 3 Level Farm

By Tim King  When Kim Patnode and Christopher Hahn came separately to 3 Level Farm in South China 11 years ago, they were acquainted with each other but had no idea what the future would bring. Hahn had just purchased the 143-acre farm, formerly known as French Farm, and imagined it supporting multiple enterprises, more

Read More »
arnica blossoms

Meeting House Herb Growers Collaborative

Bringing More Organic Herbs, and Herb Growers, to Maine By Sonja Heyck-Merlin The 25 members of the Meeting House herb growers collaborative talk enticingly about their plant medicines: whether it’s the sticky, resinous calendula buds or the tufts of crimson bee balm flowers reminiscent of an ‘80s rockstar hairdo. They’re equally passionate about the unassuming

Read More »
People sit at picnic tables and on hay bales at the Common Ground Country Fair

“Common Ground”

What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and the community in response to the theme: “common ground.” These stories first appeared in the MOFGA Stories segment in the fall 2022 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. I went to my first Common Ground Fair sometime around 1992. I

Read More »
Raven on a fence post surrounded by blackberries

Morgan Cameron Wins 2022 Common Ground Country Fair Poster Contest

By Holli Cederholm  Morgan Cameron paints animal portraits in oil, and has a special love for horses. As a child, Cameron, now 30, spent her summers and afternoons on her grandparents’ 100-acre farm in Dover-Foxcroft getting to know an array of animals that became inspiration for her artwork, including dogs, cats, cows, rabbits and her

Read More »
Apple grower Michael Phillips

A Tribute to Michael Phillips (1957-2022)

By John Bunker The orchard community suffered a terrible loss this past winter when orchardist, author and educator Michael Phillips died unexpectedly one night out in his northern New Hampshire orchard. Many of us in Maine knew Michael from his regular visits to teach workshops at MOFGA. Others who never had the good fortune to

Read More »
a farmers' market vendor holds out a bouquet of mixed flowers in a glass vase

Community and Education Meld at Crystal Lake Farm & Nursery

By Danielle Walczak Each early spring for the past 15 years, Eli Berry has walked Crystal Lake Farm & Nursery looking for invasive plants. The non-native species stand out like sore green thumbs among the brown and gray field edges of the farm which he runs with his mother, Sharon Turner. Things look different now

Read More »
dairy cows graze on green pasture

The Next Generation of Organic Dairy

Family Farming at Silver Valley Farm By Sonja Heyck-Merlin In August of 2021, Horizon Organic, owned by the French company Danone, terminated its contracts with 14 organic dairy farms in Maine. Silver Valley Farm in New Sharon was one. Horizon gave them 12 months to find a new buyer; later it extended that by six

Read More »

“Climate Change”

What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and the community in response to the theme: “climate change.” These stories first appeared in the MOFGA Stories segment in the spring 2022 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. We do not expect the wind in October. We survive the biting

Read More »
a man in a white tshirt, shorts and orange shoes stands in a farm field with a woman in a pink and red shirt; she holds a baby and young girl in a floral dress leans against her leg

Making Decisions at Moodytown Gardens

By Sonja Heyck-Merlin A farm is the sum of decisions. Long-term strategic and on-the-fly decisions. Decisions that induce arguments and ones requiring risk. They can be based on emotion. And some decisions are rooted in childhood experiences — as is the case with the owners of Moodytown Gardens in Palmyra, Maine. Johanna Burdet, or Jo

Read More »
two farmers stand behind a large metal still used for distilling

Making Essential Oil from Logging Slash

The Essencers capture the aromas of Maine with a mobile still By Danielle Walczak Snow fell in Stockton Springs while Brent Holiday fired up a chainsaw. It was January and the wind, characteristic of Midcoast Maine, shook the greenhouse next to the white pine he would cut down. With the pine gone, in a few

Read More »
Three bright pink and violet speckled bean seeds in a split green pod

“Seed”

What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and the community in response to the theme: “seed.” These stories first appeared in the MOFGA Stories segment in the spring 2022 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. I was born and raised in what was referred to as Spanish Harlem

Read More »

September — Preserving

By Dani Walczak Each year since I started farming I pack my bike panniers like Christmas stockings and head north to Unity for the Common Ground Country Fair with Ali. On Friday after work, we meet in the Park-and-Ride of I-95 at the Augusta Mall. We head Northeast on our bikes. Stumbling through parking lots,

Read More »

“Feast”

What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and the community in response to the theme: “feast.” These stories first appeared in the MOFGA Stories segment in the winter 2021-2022 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. Autumn leaves swirled about our steel toes and the crisp wind kissed the

Read More »
Buckwheat in flower

“First Frost”

What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and the community in response to the theme: “first frost.” These stories first appeared in the MOFGA Stories segment in the fall 2021 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. We scrambled among the rambling, leafy vines, crating squash as fast as

Read More »
Farm field

“Neighbors”

What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and the community in response to the theme: “neighbors.” These stories first appeared in the MOFGA Stories segment in the summer 2021 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. We are all neighbors, whether we live next door to each other or

Read More »
Soil cupped in hands

“Breaking Ground”

What follows is a collection of stories from MOFGA members, staff, volunteers and the community in response to the theme: “breaking ground.” These stories first appeared in the MOFGA Stories segment in the spring 2021 issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. We bought the land in 2012: a 9-acre field, once sheep and

Read More »
Fair 2014 Kami Pendleton

“The Fair”

Readers submitted the following stories in response to the theme “The Fair.” They appeared in appeared in the 2020-2021 winter issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener. My favorite memory of the Fair is not so much a specific incident but rather a feeling. It’s a rhythmic sense of contentment and connectedness that washes

Read More »
Brown and white cows on pasture

Ripples in the Milk Pail

By Jacki Martinez Perkins The recent news that Danone, owner of Horizon Organic, has made the decision to withdraw from the Northeast, to focus on sourcing their fluid milk from larger producers in the West, has the potential to shake the moorings of Maine agriculture. Our beautiful and rural state holds the potential to provide

Read More »
Greenhouse with sunflowers in foreground

Farm to Table Kids Builds Strong Connections with Nature

By Pete Salmansohn On a sunny mid-June morning a group of young children, under the guidance of farmer Stephanie McDonough, are exploring the world of radishes. “They seem to love pulling them out of the ground more than they like eating them,” she says. “But that’s ok. I call it ‘harvest therapy’ … getting their

Read More »
Wedges of blue cheese

Maine Milk Mavens Model Creative Approach to Local Cheese Distribution

by Tim King Maine Milk Mavens, of Whitefield, Maine, has expanded rapidly since its founding in March 2020. Prior to then Jessie Dowling and her crew were milking goats and sheep at Fuzzy Udder Creamery, also in Whitefield, and selling milk, cheese and related products through farmers’ markets, restaurants, grocery stores and specialty shops throughout

Read More »
Bison on green pasture

Flying Boat Farm Brings Organic Bison to Maine

By Sonja Heyck-Merlin “We can’t get close enough to see the calves,” says Keith Radonis. “We use binoculars to investigate, and we think it’s two females and a male, but we’re not sure.” Scientifically speaking, these calves — the first to be born at Flying Boat Farm in Whitefield, Maine — are bison, not buffalo.

Read More »

Amy Bigelow “First Frost”

This story appeared in the 2021 fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme “first frost.” Transferring to a new high school brings a world of new traditions, opportunities and experiences. My move from a rural public high school in New Hampshire to the Maine School of Science and

Read More »
Benton farmhouse covered in snow

Dwight Gagnon “First Frost”

This story appeared in the 2021 fall issue of The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener in response to the theme “first frost.” In the fall of 1969, I was 14 and my family had moved to my great-grandfather’s abandoned homestead in Benton, Maine. It was supposed to be temporary. My family had come here after

Read More »
Scroll to Top