Tag Archives: Maine Farms

Growing Local in Washington

See our film, Growing Local, at the Gibbs Library, 40 Old Union Rd in Washington! 

 While “buying local” is on the rise, the stories in Growing Local make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing.

These three poignant stories help us understand the interconnected fates of Maine’s small farms, consumers and the local food movement.

Growing Local was directed and produced by Bridget Besaw of Seedlight Pictures.

Growing Local in York

See our film, Growing Local, at the York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Rd!  MFT Staff will be at the screening to answer questions after the film.

While “buying local” is on the rise, the stories in Growing Local make clear that small farms and access to locally produced food is not a sure thing.

These three poignant stories help us understand the interconnected fates of Maine’s small farms, consumers and the local food movement.

Growing Local was directed and produced by Bridget Besaw of Seedlight Pictures.

2017 Farmland Access Conference Request for Proposals

MFT and Land For Good are pleased to announce that the 3rd Annual  Farmland Access Conference will be held Monday, December 4 at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, ME. The organizers are seeking proposals for conference breakout sessions. Potential themes and topics can address a diverse array of issues relating to farmland access, tenure, transfer, viability, and protection in Maine and the region. The audience for the conference will include farmland seekers, non-farming and institutional landowners, farmers contemplating succession and transfer, and service providers.

 

More information and the proposal submission form can be found HERE. DEADLINE EXTENDED! Submission deadline is now Oct 5, 2017. Contact Andrew Marshall, andrew@landforgood.org with questions or comments.

Agrarian Acts 2017: celebrating Maine farms with The Mallett Brothers Band

The 2nd annual Agrarian Acts concert was a beautiful success — over 260 people from near and far came out to Eagle View Ranch in Sebec for an evening of local food and music with The Mallett Brothers Band.

Agrarian Acts is MFT’s annual celebration of agriculture through music. “We believe that art and music are important tools to help cultivate a vibrant culture of farming and food,” said outreach director Ellen Sabina. “Music and art are vehicles that connect us to the past, and help us examine our world in new and creative ways. That’s why MFT has an art gallery and artist residency program, that’s why we create films, books, and photo exhibits, and that’s why we were so excited to present another Agrarian Acts concert this summer.”

A Maine-based band, The Mallett Brothers are a nationally touring country rock and roll and Americana group. Their latest album, The Falling of the Pine, celebrates Maine’s rural history and landscape by re-imagining a collection of 19th century folk songs collected in the 1927 book “The Minstrelsy of Maine”. The Mallett Brothers have a clear connection to the land, and to Sebec specifically. The Malletts grew up just a few miles away from the concert location at Eagle View Ranch. The farm (formerly Varnum Farms) is a 2,000+ acre property that was recently protected by MFT and sold to a farmer who is starting a beef cattle operation on the land. The farm is the largest that MFT has ever protected, and stretches for 6 miles along the Sebec River and the River Road.

The young farmers of Spruce Mill Farm & Kitchen prepared a casual dinner of local food including pulled pork and chicken salad sandwiches, fresh veggie salads, and berry hand pies. Threshers Brewing Company in Searsmont and Bissell Brothers Brewing in Portland donated beer for the event, and The Bangor Daily News was the media sponsor. Concert-goers brought picnic blankets and chairs to watch the band play and the sun set behind the pines. By all accounts, the show was a great way to celebrate Maine farms and cap off another brief but abundant summer season! Stay tuned this winter/spring for news about our 2018 Agrarian Acts concert…

380-acre organic dairy farm protected in Jay and Wilton

On August 16, Thayden and Nora Farrington protected their 380-acre dairy farm with an agricultural easement through MFT. Thayben Farm sits on two parcels in Jay and Wilton, and the couple inherited the farm from Thayden’s father. The Farringtons made the decision to protect the farm from development as they prepare to pass the farm on to their granddaughter.

Thayben Farm has always been a dairy farm and Thayden transitioned to organic production 12 years ago, now selling milk to Organic Valley Cooperative. The Farringtons grow hay and balage on the  100 + acres of tillable ground. There was once an orchard on the farm and the family grew corn off and on over the years.  The southern parcel sits on Spruce Mountain and has beautiful views of the surrounding hills and mountains.  The property extends up to the top of Spruce Mountain and was previously used as a ski hill.

We are honored to be part of making sure that this family farm will remain available for farming for future generations!

A sneak peek of the 2017 issue of our Maine Farms annual journal

In the next week or two, the 2017 issue of our Maine Farms annual journal will be arriving in mailboxes across the state and beyond. (Hot tip: If you’re not yet a member, or haven’t renewed in a few years, join today to make sure you get your copy of the journal!)
Here’s a sneak preview of some the stories you’ll find inside the new issue:
  • Nancy Harmon Jenkins heads north to find Maine-grown grain on the rise in potato country
  • Melissa Coleman considers the sustainability of scaling up
  • Farmer Stacy Brenner imagines the potential for savvy marketing to sync rural farmers and urban customers
  • Machias landmark Helen’s Restaurant shares a recipe for the very best blueberry pie
…and much MORE. 
 
By sharing the stories of Maine farms and food, we aim to cultivate a curious and informed community of people who are passionate about the future of farming in Maine.
We’re happy to offer this lush, informative, one-of-kind publication to our members. But the real benefit of joining MFT is knowing that you are taking an active and real stand for the future of farming in Maine. Your membership gift goes directly to helping protect farmland, support farmers and grow farming. We simply can’t do what we do without you!

Borealis Breads’ Steamed Brown Bread

In anticipation of our 2017 Maine Farms journal, we are delighted to share this exclusive recipe from Jim Amaral’s forthcoming cookbook, Borealis Breads: the Renaissance of Grains, due out September 2018. Amaral is the founder and owner of Borealis Breads and sparked the revival of local grain production in the 1990s. Wanting fresh whole wheat flour, Amaral began working with Matt Williams of Aurora Mills & Farm in Linneus to reestablish a grower network and processing infrastructure that had been lost. The growth of Maine grains continues today, and the 2017 issue of our journal includes Up in The County: from Spuds to Grains by Nancy Harmon Jenkins. Her article tracks the rise of grain production in Aroostook, driven by the growth of craft brewers, distillers, and bakers like Amaral, and the zeitgeist of the local food movement.

The new issue of Maine Farms is ripe with stories from Maine’s vibrant farm and food landscape. Don’t miss it!  Renew or join as a member today to receive your copy in the mail this July. 

BOREALIS BREADS' STEAMED BROWN BREAD

This simple bread is the epitome of comfort food. As you unmold the bread the aromas will embrace you with an
overwhelming sense of goodness. Slice while still warm and top with butter. Amaral bought his pudding mold at “Now
You’re Cooking” in Bath; you could substitute a 4-cup Bundt pan, then covered with tin foil and secured with string.

INGREDIENTS

(Grams, Ounces, Volume)
Whole Wheat Flour 100, 3.5, 2/3 cup
Whole Rye Flour 85, 3.0, 2/3 cup
Abenaki Flint Cornmeal 90, 3.2, 2/3 cup
Buttermilk 227, 8.0, 1 cup
Molasses 160, 5.6, 1/2 cup
Baking Soda 3, 0.1, 1 tsp
Salt 3, 0.1, 1 tsp

PROCEDURE

Grease the inside of a 1 quart pudding mold.

Measure the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and briefly whisk to distribute the ingredients evenly.

In another bowl whisk together the molasses and buttermilk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and using a spatula stir together until evenly combined.

Pour the batter into the pudding mold and place the cover on it. If a cover is unavailable for the mold, cover it with tin foil and secure the tinfoil to the mold with a piece of string.

Place a vegetable steamer in a large deep pot. Place the filled pudding mold on top of the vegetable steamer. Fill the pot with water till it comes 3/4 of the way up the sides of the pudding mold. Place a lid on the pot and bring the water to a slow simmer.

Steam the brown bread for a total of 1 1/2 hours. After 45 minutes, top the water in the pot up so that it remains 3/4 of the way up the side of the pudding mold.

When done, remove the pudding mold from the pot and remove the lid on the mold. Insert a thin skewer into the bread, the skewer should come out clean.

Place the pudding mold on a cooling rack and let cool for ten minutes. Then using pot holders flip the mold over onto the cooling rack. The bread should slide easily out of the mold.

NOTES

The Maine grains:
Both the whole wheat flour and whole rye flour are grown and milled by Aurora Mills and Farm in Linneus, Maine. They are available at many food coops around the state in the bulk foods sections. The Abenaki flint cornmeal is is grown and milled at Songbird Farm in Unity, Maine. This cornmeal is packaged in 2 lb. bags and is available in many food coops as well.
The Pudding Mold:
Due to concerns over the chemicals such as bisphenol A used in can linings, Amaral recommends steaming the brown bread in a pudding mold rather than in tin cans which have been traditionally used for brown bread molds.

Forgotten Farms at Railroad Square Cinema, Waterville

Join us at Railroad Square Cinema in Waterville on Wednesday, May 24th at 7:15 pm for Forgotten Farms, a new film about the important role dairy farms play in New England’s farming landscape.

Dairy farmers remain the backbone of the region’s agriculture but fight for survival in an age of artisan cheese and kale. New England has lost over 10,000 dairy farms in the past 50 years; about 2,000 farms remain. Through conversations with farmers and policy experts, Forgotten Farms reconsiders the role of these vital but forgotten farmers, who will be essential players in an expanded agricultural economy.

Amanda Beal of MFT, Dave Colson of MOFGA, along with the film makers and Maine dairy farmers, will discuss how the themes of the film are present in Maine’s dairy industry today and where we can go from here.

Presented by Maine Farmland Trust & MOFGA

$5 suggested donation.

Maine Fare returns, re-imagined

Maine Farmland Trust’s signature food festival has evolved and taken on new life as a month-long series of hands-on field trips and workshops throughout the month of June, culminating in a unique, collaborative dinner on June 25, 2017.

Formerly a food festival that drew thousands of local food lovers to Belfast, MFT has re-imagined the popular event for 2017. Rather than a two-day festival, organizers have planned six in-depth events throughout the month of June on various topics central to Maine’s food landscape and culture. “We wanted to create opportunities for people to really dig in to specific food system topics,” said Meghan Quinn, Event Manager for MFT. “Through these workshops, folks will have more time to hear from the people who grow, harvest, and prepare our food.”

click on the dates to purchase tickets!

This year’s workshop line-up includes:

June 1: the complicated story of grain in Maine with renowned food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins

June 4: a trip to Portersfield Cider in Pownal to learn about owner David Buchanan’s orchard of heirloom fruit trees and the cidermaking process

June 11: a daylong nose-to-tail butchery workshop with Logan Higger of Farmers’ Gate Market with Winter Hill Farm in Freeport and Turtle Rock Farm in Brunswick

June 18: a farm tour and cheese making demonstration (and cheese tasting) at Fuzzy Udder Creamery in Whitefield

June 24:  a boat trip down the Damariscotta River to visit oyster farms, taste oysters and local beer, and learn about the river harvest, past and present.

At the end of the month, on June 25, chef Sam Hayward of Fore Street will lead “Food for Thought,” a collaborative dinner at The Freight Shed in Bath. The dinner will serve as the finale of a month of workshops celebrating Maine’s bounty, with four courses prepared by Hayward and a team of guest chefs, including Nate Nadeau, Fore Street’s Chef de Cuisine, Josh Potocki of 158 Pickett Street Cafe and The Bread & Butter Catering Co., Eloise Humphrey and Daphne Comasky of Salt Pine Social and El Camino, and Ben Hasty of Thistle Pig.  The menu will reflect the topics covered in the workshops, as well as Maine’s traditional foodways.

But the evening isn’t just for enjoying a wonderful meal. As the name implies, it’s also meant to provide plenty of food for thought. Following a cocktail hour cider and cheese tasting, guests will engage in a discussion-based “Jeffersonian-style” dinner party.  Each table will have a topic to discuss related to Maine’s food system, and all guests at the table will participate in conversation around that topic. The evening is designed to encourage deep conversation that takes full advantage of the different perspectives and collective wisdom of the dinner guests.

The Freight Shed, a historic building once used to weigh and store railroad freight on the Kennebec River, “is a great setting for this dinner—a reminder of the myriad of connections between land and sea, the elements at the heart of Maine’s food culture, past and present,” said Quinn.

All of the 2017 Maine Fare events will take place in the Southern Midcoast area – Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties. “We like the idea of moving this event around the state each year to highlight local food in different regions of Maine,” said Quinn.

All workshops and the dinner are individually ticketed, and tickets will be available April 24 on mainefarmlandtrust.org. MFT members receive a 10% discount on all tickets.

Historic Berwick farm protected for agriculture

On February 24th, in a simultaneous transaction, Linda and Jerry Covell signed a conservation easement to permanently protect their 70.5 acre farm, and sold the property to young farmers Jeff Benton and Erin Ehlers.

The Covells have thought about protecting their Berwick farm for years. After working through a number of options with Maine Farmland Trust and Great Works Regional Land Trust, the Covells were able to find a way to protect their farm and ensure that the property will continue to be actively farmed.

The farm includes 31 acres of open field and 40 acres of well-stocked forest. In recent years, the farm has produced hay. Historically, the land was owned by the Emery family and has been operated as a farm since at least the mid-1800s.

“Our family felt blessed to be the first to own the farm after several generations of Emery’s stewardship,” said Linda Covell.  “It became increasingly more important for us to honor the legacy of farming the land they had begun in the 1800’s.  Maine Farmland Trust partnered with us to help make that happen and we are truly indebted to them for their contribution in conserving this beautiful piece of land for Jeff and Erin and many future generations of farmers.”

Jeff Benton and Erin Ehlers will eventually move Benton’s Stratham, NH-based organic vegetable farm, Orange Circle Farm, to the Berwick property. Benton currently grows vegetables for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program that serves the southern coast. Erin Ehlers is owner/instructor of Yoga on the Hill in Kittery. For the 2017 season, Benton will continue to farm on leased land in Stratham while he and Ehlers build a house and barn and prepare the fields for the 2018 growing season on the new property.

“We’re so grateful that MFT was able to conserve this beautiful piece of land and make it accessible to us,” said Benton. “Farming on leased land has had its benefits over the past few years, but we’re really excited to be able to start making long term investments in the diversity and infrastructure on the farm.”

With the closing of this conservation easement, MFT and Great Works Regional Land Trust have now protected a total of 515 acres on Blackberry Hill Road.