Monday, October 15, 2012

Visitors to the farm

A few weeks ago, Cultivating Community hosted a group of staff members from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as well as several staff from Maine's Congressional Delegation.  They were there to learn how the NRCS, an agency of the USDA, has helped to provide infrastructure improvements at the farm we manage in Lisbon, Maine.  NRCS contracts have supported farmers in implementing on-farm conservation practices such as cover cropping, mulching, and crop rotations.  They also helped us install a new well in 2011, providing much needed irrigation to the farm.

Staff members from the NRCS and the offices of Senator Collins, Representatives Pingree and Michaud with farmers at the wash station on the farm.   
We're always happy to help share the story of these hard-working farmers and how far they've come to meet their farm business dreams!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

CSA: Community Supporting Arts

Fresh Start Farms is honored to be included in the CSA: Community Supporting Arts project!

In early spring 2012, fourteen artists were partnered with Maine farms running CSA programs. They have been visiting their farms regularly since March and creating art inspired by their farmers’ lives, work, landscapes, challenges and ideals ever since.

Come support the project and check out all the fantastic art inspired by Fresh Start Farms growers and other CSA farms across Maine!

CSA: Community Supporting Arts is a project of the Harlow Gallery and the Kennebec Valley Art Association in partnership with the Kennebec Local Food Initiative, an organization based in Gardiner, Maine that strives to strengthen community food security through access, education, information and advocacy.  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Is that a sweet potato or a football?

On Sunday, I visited the Bates Mill Farmers Market in Lewiston in the pouring rain. The day was cold and wet and miserable but the market stood out like a multi-colored jewel emerging from the gloom. There were piles of verdant green chard leaves with rainbow colored stems, ruby red beets just waiting to be roasted, pumpkins glowing like orange orbs of fall cheer, long elegant leeks that faded from green to white, piles of red and white and purple potatoes, silver carafes of piping hot apple cider, red coolers full of local meats, dainty wheels of  creamy white handmade cheeses topped with sprigs of rosemary and crushed black pepper, green striped watermelons that sound like drums when thumped by practiced fingers checking for ripeness. There were white eggplant, spring green eggplant, and eggplant in 4 shades of purple; onions ranging in color from paper white to dirty yellow to rich tan to royal purple were displayed in overflowing baskets; and carrots in four different hues waited for customers to take them home. 
           But what really caught my eye in the midst of all the color shrouded in rain was a pile of rather visually uninspiring, lumpy brownish vegetables shaped like footballs....they were the biggest sweet potatoes I have ever seen in my entire life. I am now the proud new owner of a 2-pound sweet potato grown by Khadija Hilowle, a Fresh Start Farms farmer who braved the rains yesterday to sell her produce. My hat is off to you Khadija and to all of the other Fresh Start Farms farmers who successfully grew a vegetable this year that no one in Maine knew was even possible to grow until a few short years ago.