Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

“the best growing year I have had for 30 years”

Sunday, November 28th, 2010

The Maine Sunday Telegram interviewed farmers about the 2010 growing season.

“The sun made great crops. I have been doing this for 30 years and this is the best growing year I have had for 30 years,” said Dick Fowler, who raises 20 different crops on about 20 acres at Pleasant Hill Gardens in Scarborough.

The Business of Farming

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

Charles Lawton’s column in today’s Maine Sunday Telegram takes a look at the business side of farming in Maine.

In 2008, the total value of crop and livestock sales, government payments and the value of products consumed on the farm by their owners amounted to approximately $750 million for all Maine farms. Deducting production expenses and declining inventory values left net income of approximately $106 million.

Of this, approximately $40 million derived from corporate farms, and the remaining $66 million from sole proprietorships and partnerships. According to Bureau of Economic Analysis data, this income supported just over 7,200 farm proprietors.


Friday, September 3rd, 2010

MooMilk, the Maine-based organic milk company, is scaling back operations, according to a report in the Bangor Daily News.

MOOMilk, which stands for Maine’s Own Organic Milk, processed milk Wednesday but will suspend production Sunday on skim and 1 percent milk, as a variety of reasons have combined to force the business toward closure. The company’s cash flow is so low that it can only purchase 2 percent and whole milk cartons.

“We are out of money,” David Bright, MOOMilk’s secretary and one of its founders, said this week.

News Update: Portland Press Herald reports they will be staying open after “a number of individuals and foundations have provided enough money to enable the company to sell its product to two Maine food banks.”

Rare Apples in the Sun

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Today’s edition of the Portland Daily Sun reports on Out on a Limb, a rare apple CSA that’s starting its second year this Fall.

The Rare Apple CSA took root at Super Chilly Farm in Palermo, where “John Bunker and Cammy Watts grow apples, pears, plums and cherries on Super Chilly Farm in Palermo,” according to their website. “Founded in 1972, the farm’s specialty is a collection of rare and historic apple varieties, at last count well over 200. Many of the varieties originated in Maine, from York County to The County. John and Cammy think of the farm less as a commercial orchard and more as a repository for rare and endangered varieties.”

Maine at Work: Farmer

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Press Herald reporter Ray Routhier spends the day at Snell Family Farm picking squash destined for the Portland Farmers Market in the latest article for his Maine at Work column.

Then, as Snell instructed me, I picked the shriveled blossom off the vegetable and laid the zucchini in a handmade wooden box so it would be “nice and pretty” for customers the next day at farmers markets in Portland and Saco.

Out on a Limb Apple CSA

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

John Bunker and crew are offering their rare apple CSA again this year. Rabelais will be the drop off point. $120 gets you 6 deliveries of 1/4 bushel each. See the Out on a Limb website for details on last year’s fruit.

Smiling Hydroponic Tomatos

Friday, August 6th, 2010

According to a report in the American Journal, Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook is planning to get into the hydroponic tomato business. (via Westbrook Diarist)

The hydroponic vine-cluster tomatoes Smiling Hill would grow would be red and ripe when they left the greenhouse to go to customers in Maine and places like Boston and New York. But they would be “green” in the sense that they would be grown in an environmentally friendly way, according to Warren Knight, president of Smiling Hill.

Permaculture Interview

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The Tuesday Portland Daily Sun includes an interview with Lisa Fernandes about her approach to permaculture.

Me: Are you trying to get off the grid completely?
Fernandes: It’s not our goal to be homesteaders in the city. I don’t think that doing things completely independently is an attractive or reasonable goal. But we do want to be able to withstand the energy challenges in this volatile economy. We plan to grow old here and want a place that will take care of us more than we’ll take care of it. We want it sustainable so that when we’re older there’s no digging or tilling.

Fernandes’s garden is a stop on the Backyard Locavore Tour taking place on August 14.

Tomato Passion Club

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Small Wonder Organics is now selling shares for their Tomato Passion Club CSA. The program will start-up next week on August 11, and Rabelais will be serving as the pick-up point in Portland. CSA members will receive “no less than 36 lbs of organic tomatoes and at least 1 lb basil over six weekly distributions.”

SoPo Eats

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010

There have been some new additions to the dining scene in South Portland:

  • Cambridge Coffee Bar and Bakehouse is just across the bridge on Broadway where the Freaky Bean used to be located. It’s owned by Vicki Cambridge who explained to Mainebiz that she, “learned to cook from her grandmother, says she has ‘gained a baking reputation in the community, and having a shop of my own was a logical next step.’ “
  • A new Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Hanoi is giving SoPo pho-fans a way to satisfy their cravings without having to leave their hometown. Where is Jenner’s Mind writes that the pho “certainly rivals the pho at both Thanh Thanh and Saigon”
  • Willard Scoops opened last year and is getting praise for “raises the bar for gourmet ice cream in the Portland area”. Portland Eats writes that he especially “like how some of the ice creams at Willard Scoops use salt to good effect, such as in the chocolate sea salt ice cream and the salt caramel and salt caramel nut ice creams”
  • There’s even someone who’s started raising hops in South Portland.

Fewer Pancakes?

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Mainebiz reports that Maine 2010 maple syrup production was down 22% from last year’s high of 395,000 gallons.

How to Eat Dessert & Monday Farmers Market

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Wednesday’s Portland Daily Sun includes a report on the Monday Farmers Market,

Hopes are high that a new Monday farmers’ market in Monument Square can succeed where others have failed, including an effort last year that fizzled after only one vendor showed up.

This year is doing better, thanks in large part to a market manager being in the right place at the right time.

and a column from Natalie Ladd on her inherited love of dessert which is peppered with recommendations on where to go for a good final (or only) course.

Dessert is a subject I take very seriously, and it requires great restraint for me pass it up. As a diner, it’s often the shining highlight or disappointing deal breaker of any meal. As a restaurant person, it’s a great way to build up the average check by up-selling and padding the check, resulting in more money for house and server.

Local Sprouts Profile & A Wedding Garden

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes a profile of Local Sprouts Cafe/Bomb Diggity Bakery,

The counter service restaurant is sure to give both ventures a boost. While anyone can walk in and purchase off the menu, those who plan to be regulars may want to consider investing in a community-supported kitchen membership. When members dine at the cafe, their meals are deducted from the paid-in-advance balance, and they receive a 10 percent discount.

and a feature article on a couple in Central Maine that are growing/raising all of the food that will be served their wedding this September.

“But then we also really just like providing for our own needs,” Davis said. “We make our own maple syrup and we brew our own beer and we’ve smoked our own bacon. We cut our own wood. We’re not the kind of people who just sort of sit around. We like to be active and doing things, so we thought this would be a good project for the summer.”

The paper also published a survey of the food and drink to be had at last nights celebration/commiseration parties held by gubernatorial candidates.

Some candidates went frugal – opting to gather in the campaign office and munch on chips – while others spared no expense at posh destinations with lavish drinks and hors d’oeuvres.

Crash Barry, The Garlic Man

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

Columnist Crash Barry has penned a feature article for the new issue of The Bollard about working at Nezinscot Farm, a biodynamic farm in Turner, Maine.

Raw garlic oil, alive and intense, overwhelmed my taste buds, scorching my tongue and the insides of both cheeks with a Jalapeno heat. I chewed the clove a couple more times, gulped and swallowed. I felt an electric charge pulse from my brain to my toes, from stomach to fingertips. My body radiated a throbbing, rhythmic energy that moments before had been buried beneath the fertile soil of the Nezinscot Farm, atop a hill overlooking a river in the western Maine town of Turner.

Three Days in the Sun

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

There have been several food articles in the Portland Daily Sun this week. On Tuesday the newspaper reported on the collaboration between Sparrow Arc Farm and Bar Lola on a CSA for the central Maine farm in Portland,

This means the impending CSA will include a wide, eclectic sampling of the 300 varieties of veggies grown at Sparrow Arc, including heirloom tomatoes and cornichons, a type of baby pickling cucumber. “We will be able to offer a really mind blowing amount of veggies to our CSA,” said Linehan.

on Wednesday there was a profile/history of Micucci’s.

Miccucci Grocery Company launched in 1949 and was located in the trunk of Leo and Iris Micucci’s car. Licensing and the official launch came a couple of years later in 1951 so the family splits the difference and says the company began in 1950. From Middle Street to Commercial then to its current home, Leo and Iris moved the location but kept the name.

and on Thursday there was a report on the soon-to-open Bayside Bowl,

A draft menu offered a promise of relatively high-end food for $15 and less. Bayside Bowl plans to serve Focaccioa bread pizzas, mini chicken chimichangas, veggie stir fry, garden burgers as well as traditional hamburgers and cheeseburgers, crab and lobster cake dinners, reuben sandwiches, fish, grilled rib eye, roasted lemon chicken, cocoanut curry chicken poppers, grilled wings, fries, hush puppies, and a variety of kids’ dishes and desserts.

Monday Farmers Market

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

The Natural Foodie column in today’s Press Herald has a report on the new Monday Farmers Market in Monument Square. The article includes a full list of the food vendors slated to participate.

Last Monday, there were nine vendors in the square, but as the season progresses, the market will grow to include more than 20 farms.

The market’s expansion to three days comes as a result of the number of farmers who wanted a spot at either the Saturday or Wednesday markets and have been languishing on the waiting list.

Frost Impacts Apple Crop

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Saturday’s Press Herald included an article on the early May frost will impact  this year’s Maine apple crop.

Some Maine apple orchards have lost virtually their entire crops two weeks after being hit by a killer frost.

Although many blossoms and early apples appeared to have survived the freeze that began the morning of May 10, they are now wilting and falling to the ground in huge numbers.

Farms, Foraging & Farmers Markets

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Stacey Cramp has published photos from her visit to Fishbowl Farm and a wild food foraging field trip with Tom Seymour.

Shopping at the farmers’ market is all well and good, but you will appreciate the produce even more if you witness the planning and hard work that goes into each pea you pop into your mouth. If you get the chance, visit one of your farmers on his/her turf and see exactly what goes into growing and cultivating those gorgeous veggies you are eating. I’m guessing they’d be happy to have you take a look around. We’re very grateful to Chris for generously spending his time educating us about a small piece of organic farming.

The Munjoy Hill News has published a brief report on the new Monday Farmers Market.

Veggies, frozen meats, flowers, cupcakes and much more can now be bought at the new Monday Farmers’ Market on Monument Square – pretty much anything you can purchase at the Wednesday Farmers’ Market you can now buy on Monday if you can’t wait until Wednesday.

Sparrow Arc @ Bar Lola

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Sparrow Arc Farm and Bar Lola are teaming up to bring a CSA to Portland. Chef Hernandez from Bar Lola and Matthew Linehan from Sparrow Arc announced the CSA tonight when the pair spoke at the Food+Farm showing of the movie Ingredients. The film showcased the partnership between farmers and restaurants, and Bar Lola and Sparrow Arc have worked together for several year.

Now they’re taking that relationship one step further with Bar Lola serving as the in-town pick-up point for the CSA. The CSA will operate weekly starting July 8 and through to Thanksgiving. For more information about CSA shares email Sparrow Arc Farm at or call (207)-948-6105.

For additional reporting see the June 1 article in the Portland Daily Sun.

Maine Farmers Planting Early

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

The Maine Sunday Telegram interviewed several farmers about how the early warm weather is impacting when they plant.

Spring arrived three weeks early this year, and it is driving some farmers a little bit crazy. Bamford and some other adventurous growers are throwing out all the tried and true farming maxims and betting one of the earliest, warmest springs in memory will continue.

They are hoping that they will be able to deliver strawberries, swiss chard and even corn to markets a little bit earlier than the competition.