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A Brief History of Canning Canning is only about 200 years old. It began when Parisian Nicolas Appert set out, in 1795, to win a reward from Napoleon Bonaparte for preserving food by vacuum-packing. By 1804, he’d learned to boil meat and vegetables in jars, seal them with corks and tar, and soon opened the

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CSA Farms

CSA Farms Grow Beyond Summer Veggies by Jean English Pete Johnson of Craftsbury, Vermont, and Jeff and Amy Burchstead of Wiscasset, Maine, described their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms at MOFGA and Cooperative Extension’s Farmer-to-Farmer Conference in November. Working with horses at Buckwheat Blossom Farm. Photo courtesy Jeff and Amy Burchstead. The Burchsteads of Buckwheat

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California Organic Agriculture

Organic crop advisor Amigo Bob Cantisano enlightened Farmer-to-Farmer participants with stories of the ‘Californication’ of organic production. He advised growers to stay under the radar and sell to local consumers as much as possible. A 35-Year Personal Retrospective In November 2007, MOFGA welcomed keynote speaker Amigo Bob Cantisano to the Farmer-to-Farmer Conference. As a farmer,

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Cut Flowers

Growing cut flowers can be management- and labor-intensive, but they are a high-margin crop if managed well – and they beautify your fields. At the November Farmer-to-Farmer Conference in Bethel, Maine, Barbara Murphy of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension in South Paris, Nancy Stedman of Little River Flower Farm in Buxton and Don Beckwith

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Farm Raised Varieties

Breeding Better Varieties for Northeast Organic Growers by Sue Smith-Heavenrich Chris Awald didn’t set out to breed a new pumpkin variety; he just wanted a stronger handle for his jack-o-lanterns. Sixteen years ago, with the ink barely dry on his degree in land surveying, Awald returned to the family homestead near Buffalo, New York. “My

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Maine Department of Agriculture Educational Outreach Trailers Pitch the Right Message by Marada Cook Say you went to the fair. Not the Common Ground Country Fair, but, as a local homeschooler put it – a “real” fair – one with a midway, cotton candy, dust, bright lights and teenage excitement. You’d expect to see horse

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Food for Schoolchildren

Elementary schools in Union 74 in Lincoln County are integrating foods into the curriculum. Through FARMS (Focus on Agriculture in Rural Schools), children taste-test freshly harvested foods and meet the farmers who grow them. School cafeterias are beginning to order directly from farmers in a pilot program that began in the fall of 2007. Food

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Elderberry flowers make a soothing tea. Photo by Thomas G. Barnes @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database. by Joyce White Robert Henderson comments in “The Neighborhood Forager” that the elderberry (genus Sambucus) “is a case study in the dramatic conversion of North Americans from largely self-sufficient peoples to consumers.” Because of its variety of uses, elder bushes

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New Hops Variety Good For Herb Tea

“Hops” usually refers to the female flowers of hop vines, shown here growing at Merryspring Nature Center in Camden, Maine. Researchers at USDA Agricultural Research Service in Oregon have developed a new variety called ‘Teamaker’ that is especially good for making herbal tea. English photo. Drinking impure water was once a common way to pick

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