Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Meeting the Challenge, Raising the Barns in Unity
We’re On Our Way!
By Russell Libby
Recently, when I spent the day at the site in Unity, six different crews were at work, putting together the pieces that will lead to the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity, on September 25, 26, and 27, 1998.

Jamie Graeger: A Farmer/Mariner
By Jean English
Jamie Graeger leads an amphibious life. For three-week stints, he is at sea with the Merchant Marine; during alternate three-week periods, he is firmly grounded, raising certified-organic garlic, gathering and boiling maple sap, and raising nursery stock for Fedco Trees.

Up and Up with Watercress
By Norma Jean Langford
From the ferry landing, day-trippers wander past a marina crowded with yachts. On Sausalito’s main street, they window-shop Versace gowns, jewelry and paintings, but commuters head for a wedding cake fountain flanked by cement elephants. Here a ceremonial stairway rises straight and steep into the cliff face, and from it trails fan out along property lines to backyard gates.

Going Native with Pollinators
By Sue Smith-Heavenrich
I spent 10 minutes one morning last summer watching the bees in my blooming asparagus – the bumblebees, honeybees and a number of smaller bees I couldn’t immediately identify. They were incredibly busy, moving from one flower to the next. In the squash and pumpkin blossoms, small bumblebees were vibrating, making quite a racket and dusting themselves liberally with pollen. The weedy pathways were busy with tiny sweat bees. (Don’t let anyone tell you they can’t sting!)

Debbie Deal: Maxed Out But Still Growing
By Jane Lamb
Debbie Deal had just completed the monumental task of converting a collapsing lobster-trap shed into a trim little shop. She’d had a contractor jack up the derelict outbuilding, resill it and skid it up to the roadside. Then she’d tackled the restoration herself – reframing, reboarding, setting in windows, shingling. “I’d never built anything in my life. It took me a whole season to build that silly thing,” she says. But then she faced another, perhaps even more perplexing, challenge. “When I finally got it done, I had to make a hard and fast decision. What was I going to do with it?”

The Spirit of Bonsai
By Ernest Glabau
Bonsai is the art of growing miniaturized trees in containers. “Bon-” means “tree” and “-sai” means “tray” or “pot” when translated from the Japanese language. The art form originated in China over 2500 years ago and is called “penjing” (“tree in a tray “ or “tree in a pot”) there. A bonsai tree is not a bonsai tree unless it is growing in a pot.


Organically Grown Herbs in Demand
Presentation by Deb Soule
The business of growing herbs organically has room for plenty of growth, according to West Rockport herbalist Deb Soule, who addressed a large audience at MOFGA’s Farmer to Farmer Conference in November.

Give Your Compost Value
Presentation by Will Brinton
Spring comes. You transplant your seedlings into a potting mix made with your own (or purchased) compost. Your seedlings, which were healthy, green and growing before being transplanted, turn yellow and may even shrink. What went wrong?

Growing Dried Beans
By Linda Batt
Diana MacKentley sits at a narrow table pushing a treadle with her foot. Windows on all sides open onto gardens. The only sound is the rhythmic clatter of the treadle and the rattle of dried beans falling down a chute into a white plastic bucket. Diana is sorting her favorite garden crop after harvest.

Low-Impact Forestry Gaining Ground in Maine
By William Sugg
Members of the Forest Ecology Network (FEN) are visiting a tree harvesting operation in Piscataquis county, but it’s not a protest: They like what they see. Ideally they are looking at the future of forestry in Maine – Low Impact Forestry.

Tree-Free Paper Cooperative Assists Maine Organizations & Businesses
Several environmentally conscious organizations, businesses, and individuals recently took a bold step towards the future and made a commitment to begin to use tree-free and 100% post-consumer waste papers processed without chlorine bleach in their work.

Pruning Trees After the Ice Storm
By John Bunker
The ice storm in January damaged many thousands of trees throughout much of Maine. Although it wasn’t much more than light rain, and drizzle, it certainly took an incredible toll on our landscape. Many of us have begun to prune the trees that look salvageable, and to cut down those that don’t. It’s worth keeping a few things in mind as we tackle this huge task.

Cotton Row Covers as an Alternative to Synthetics
By Kerstin Tengeler
I am an organic vegetable farmer in St. Lawrence County in upstate New York. My partners and I use row covers on our 4-acre farm to extend our growing season and to protect our crops from insects and deer. Because minimizing the use of plastics that end up in landfills is important to us, we have been looking for an alternative to polyspun and plastic row covers.

Brassica Cover Crops for Vegetable Production
By Lee Stivers, Frances Tucker and Claudia Olivier
Integrating cover crops into vegetable production systems is a good idea. Cover crops add organic matter to our often carbon-starved vegetable soils, improve tilth in soils damaged by frequent tillage or heavy machinery; recycle plant nutrients; and in some cases suppress weeds and other pests.

Comments Needed on National Rules for Organic Production
By Eric Sideman
Just when I started to doubt the USDA and thought that the proposed national rules for organic farm production would never come out for real, they were published. Now what? MOFGA and every other organic certifying organization and everyone else concerned with organic food and fiber are busier than they have ever been – busy reviewing the proposed rules that were published in the Federal Register (Vol. 62, No 241) on Tuesday, December 16, 1997.

Growing with Nature: Delicate Destroyers
By Michael S. Cherim
Way, way up, beyond our line of sight, in some tree, somewhere, an aphid colony is forming. From the efforts of its key family members, the colony is growing exponentially. Soon, the tree will be covered with aphids, some of them winged and ready to travel to another tree.

Food Health Nutrition: Talk a Walk, Eat a Potato, Fight Obesity
By Nancy Ross
Stuck behind a school bus, I began to appreciate the extent of a national problem. At each stop, I watched children in double wide jeans waddling down the bus steps. I wanted to get out of my car and take those kids on a marathon run until we’d all lost a lot of pounds. What happened to make the little ones so big?

Sweet Marjoram
By Ellie MacDougall
Sweet marjoram may be a close botanical cousin of oregano, but it offers cooks a spicier, balsam-like flavor without oregano's sharp edge. The ancient Egyptians used Origanum majorana as a preservative. The Greeks called it “joy of the mountain” and used it for wedding and funeral wreaths and garlands. During the less than sanitary Middle Ages, Europeans used it in nosegays to mask the rank odors of “civilization.”

Lemon Balm Lifts Spirits, Squelches Virus, and More
By Deb Soule
Lemon balm, commonly called Melissa after the Greek word for honeybee, is a fragrant herb adored by honey bees. In ancient European Goddess-worshipping cultures, bees were seen as a symbol of the feminine because of the delicious honey they produced and the hexagonal cells in which they stored it.

Grow Your Own: Hardy Kiwis
By Roberta Bailey
The hardy kiwi, Actinidia arguta, is a part of Maine’s heritage. Tucked away on coastal estates, climbing on the walls of College of the Atlantic, and entangling trees in Acadia National Park, these highly ornamental, rugged vines are reminders of bygone days when ship traders brought unusual plants from Asia back to the gardens of coastal estates.

Harvest Kitchen: Mediterranean Inspiration
By Roberta Bailey
Time passes. Seasons change, and then, change again. You work hard toward one goal, and then, before you know it, that goal has passed and you’re reflecting on its moments of intensity while looking toward the next life event. Sometimes it’s all in perspective; most times it’s hard to grasp, seeming surreal.

Marketing Through Restaurants
Ads as Market Research
Success at Stonyfield
Selling Exotics
More Marketing Tips
Organic Food Becoming Mainstream
A Place for Invasives
Living Mulches Prepare Ground for Fall Broccoli
Transplanting Sweet Corn
The Art of Selling
Sheep and Hand Weeding Keep Golf Course Green
Sweet Potato Starts for the North
Strip Insectary Intercropping
Overhead Sprinkling Douses Codling Moths
How Much?
Ultrasound Doesn’t Repel Mosquitoes
Free Farm Safety Brochure Available
Vitamin C Supplements Deter Cataracts

1997 MOF&G Index


President’s Message
By Bob Sewall, Lincolnville
Welcome to 1998! This will be a year in which MOFGA’s dreams of a permanent home will come to blossom. In the last seven years I’ve watched this organization create a vision and then slowly create the reality. Unity, Maine, is our new home, and what we build there will represent MOFGA’s ideals and goals for years to come.

By Russell Libby
The ice storm of January gave us all some time to reflect while doing the more traditional chores of hauling wood and water and dealing with the damage from falling trees. I was very thankful for our neighbors, since we were all able to pitch in together and tackle various problems.

Winter of Our Content
By Jean English
What a thrill to pull the Bangor Daily News out of the newspaper box on January 5 and see a front-page story about MOFGA’s success in raising enough money for its permanent site to meet a $500,000 challenge grant. How rewarding, also, to read a few stories about the promise of organic agriculture in that same, mainstream paper this winter.

Factory Farms are Not Appropriate
By Jean English
More than one blight threatens the Aroostook landscape. You know about the first one. The other is the specter of “Confined Animal Feeding Operations” – more appropriately called factory farms – proposed by Breton, Inc., of Quebec.

Your Own Power
By Roberta Bailey
Ice Storm ’98 is out of the media headlines, and for many, out of mind. Uncle Henry’s Swap and Sell Guide had an unusually long listing of generators the week after the power came back. For some, myself included, the effects of the storm linger. The branches revealed by melting snow, the dangerous conditions in the woods, and the silhouettes of the shattered treeline are constant reminders of the storm.

Reviews & Resources
Planting Noah’s Garden
Brother Crow, Sister Corn
The Scythe Book
The American Dominique
Free-Range Poultry Production and Marketing
From Asparagus to Zucchini
Cheese – Quick and Easy Recipes for Elegant Entertaining
Resources Worth Noting
   Penn State Dairy Housing Plans
   Apple Harvesting, Handling, and Storage
   Post-Frame Building Handbook
   Breaking Ground
   Suppliers of Beneficial Organisms in North America

MOF&G Cover Spring 1998

News & Events

Maine BPC
BPC Nixes Genetically Engineered Corn

Martha Hubbard

Volunteer Profile
Judy Kirk

Fair News
Fair Winners & Kitchen Donors