Archives: Stories

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

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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

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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

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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

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Can Agriculture and Solar Farming Co-Exist?

By Tim King It’s hard to keep up with the rapid expansion of commercial solar installations being developed in the Maine countryside. In January of last year, the Portland Press Herald reported that BNRG/Dirigo Solar, a venture of companies based in Portland, Maine, and Ireland, has 36 active projects in Maine, with 10 under construction. 

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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