A Workshop Series to Support Our Local Farmers
Stay tuned for additional opportunities in our ongoing series, open to current farmers and those aspiring to be farmers!
On June 27th, we met at Abbott's Family Farm in Sumner for Vegetable Production: Making the Most of a Small Space. You don’t need 40 acres to be a successful farmer. We saw how Steve and Hannah are making the most of their land, with less than a half-acre in mixed vegetable production. They market directly to consumers at Bethel Farmers' Market and through a home delivery subscription program. Besides vegetables, they also have a maple operation, mushrooms, and an orchard.
On August 12th, we met at A Wrinkle In Thyme Farm in Sumner for Raising Sheep Starting Small. With 25 years of experience raising sheep, Mary Ann Haxton and Marty Elkin shared what one needs to get started with a small flock. Whether one wants sheep for fiber, for meat, for dairy, or to keep your fields open and improve them, this workshop walked one through the basics of selecting breeds and animals, fencing, livestock health and nutrition, and pasture management. We toured the dyer’s garden with natural dye plants and outdoor dye kitchen as well as the fiber processing building with equipment for skirting, washing, carding, and spinning wool.
On September 5th, we met at Sy's Trees in Sweden for New and Unusual Fruits for the Farmstead. When you think of fruit growing in Maine, the first thing that might come to mind are apple orchards or blueberry barrens, or maybe U-Pick strawberries and cherries, but there is a whole other world of unusual fruits and nuts that can be cultivated here. Think hardy kiwis, honeyberries, hazelnuts, and figs…yes, figs! Jesse Stevens grows all of these as well as other traditional and non-traditional fruits at his Sweden nursery called Sy’s Trees. Jesse shared his wealth of knowledge about how to cultivate and propagate many of these lesser known crops. He also touched on basics of grafting, pest control and soil fertility for fruit growing.