Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Rice and azolla growing at Wild Folks Farm in Benton
A 20-foot-long cucumber trellis. Photo by Tom Vigue
A fiddlehead fern in late spring

Lowland Integrated Rice Production in Maine
By Ben Rooney
Wild Folks Farm is entering its fourth season of lowland integrated rice production in Benton, Maine. Lowland refers to paddies. We have nine, with a gravity-fed water system. The paddies comprise about an acre; the berms, pond and outflow creeks add another 2 to 3 acres. Integrated refers to the polycultures within the paddies, including domesticated ducks, azolla, pigs (in fallow or harvested paddies) and wild species of frogs, duckweed and waterfowl.

A Trellis Primer
By Tom Vigue
A number of common garden crops benefit greatly from trellising. Crops that do not directly contact the soil and that have vastly improved air circulation are much more resistant to disease pressure. Quality is improved, yield is increased, and the gardener benefits from space saving and neatness. Also, if you do end up having to spray a crop for disease or insect control, having it up on a trellis makes good coverage much easier to achieve.

Fiddleheads: Grow Your Own!
By David Fuller
Ostrich ferns, an herbaceous perennial that can reach five feet in height, die back to the crown in the fall, and grow predominantly along river floodplains under the dappled-shade canopy of tall hardwood trees such as silver or red maple and brown ash. In choosing a location to grow ostrich ferns, pick a spot that mimics ferns growing in the wild. Ostrich ferns grown in less than optimal conditions will not yield harvestable crops of fiddleheads.

Raspberries and Fiddleheads Grow Together in Camden Garden
By Jean English
In a dense patch of backyard, Jan Conrad of Camden raises a productive and fascinating interplanting of fiddlehead ferns and raspberries.

Slow Money Maine Catalyzes Maine’s Emerging Regenerative Food Economy
By Jean English
Like healthy soils that nourish abundant, nutrient-dense crops, Slow Money Maine (SMM) nourishes the growing “regenerative” food economy in our state – and SMM is seeking more investors and borrowers in order to expand that economy.

In the Ethiopian Highlands: Subsistence Farming in the Age of Climate Change
By John Bliss
Last November, as the farming season in Maine was winding down, I had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia. Our harvest at MOFGA-certified organic Broadturn Farm was tucked away in our storage coolers, and the crew was preparing for winter. In Ethiopia I found myself back in the middle of a harvest season, where a dry season rather than cold weather ends a growing season. The short flight from the capital city of Addis Ababa to the highland region of Kalu felt a little like time travel. Farmers in rural Ethiopia till their fields with oxen, and modern tools like tractors or even long-handled hoes are rare. While 2 percent of the U.S. population farms, 85 percent of Ethiopians are farmers practicing subsistence agriculture.

Banatka Wheat
By Ben Hoffman
Bob Mowdy and I have fooled around with cereal grains for about 10 years in Bradford, Maine. We have tried several varieties of wheat, barley and oats, including Banatka wheat, a winter-hardy Hungarian landrace bred by Eli Rogosa that is drought resistant and is excellent for baking. Bread from my first crop was space food – out of this world.

Organic Seed Growers Conference: Cultivating Resilience
The eighth Organic Seed Growers Conference was convened in February 2016 by Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) in Corvallis, Oregon. Micaela Colley, executive director of OSA, welcomed participants, saying that the conference theme – cultivating resilience – "reflects the urgency of developing biologically diverse seed systems that weather the impacts of unstable climates and dwindling natural resources. It also speaks to the need for increasing the diversity of stakeholders and innovators engaged in seed systems to discourage the concentration of market power and ownership of seed – a public, natural resource that we all know demands careful stewardship."

MOFGA's 2016 Spring Growth Conference: Soils
MOFGA's 2016 Spring Growth Conference featured experts from the state of Maine, from two state universities and from three MOFGA-certified organic farms.

Kathy Murray on Using Beneficial Insects to Manage Pests
Beneficial insects are part of complicated relationships in ecosystems, and we are just beginning to understand those relationships, said Kathy Murray, Ph.D., an entomologist and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program coordinator with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Speaking at a MOFGA-sponsored session at the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta in January, Murray said we can manipulate the environment a little so that beneficial insects work for us or so that we don't interfere with their work.

If You Can Keep It, You Can Eat It:
How We Store Our Year-Round Supply of Produce

By Anneli Carter-Sundqvist
No produce tastes better than that picked fresh in the garden and brought straight to the plate; but a close second is the meal grown and picked in the same garden, and then stored and brought to the plate in the depth of winter.

Grow Your Own Schisandra
By Roberta Bailey
A few years ago, a friend was helping my husband and me erect a high tunnel on our farm. After a lunch break, he pulled out a little tincture bottle and said, "This is what keeps me going these days." The bottle contained a deep red tincture of schisandra berries. I enjoy good health because I support my immune system diligently. Curiosity peaked, I started reading about the plant. What I learned motivated me to buy some organic dried berries and make my own tincture. In the year that followed, my house burned and my husband and I built a new house in less than six months. I took schisandra every day. I believe it supported me through the stress and the intense physical demand.

The Search for Harpswell's Heritage Apples
By Abbey Verrier
Apples have been chasing Robert McIntyre from the time he was a little boy and his father cut down a healthy apple tree.

Trapping Orchard Pests
By C.J. Walke
In my March-May 2016 MOF&G article, I wrote about orchard pest thresholds and the use of traps and trapping methods to capture and monitor pest populations to know whether pressures are reaching limits that will significantly decrease fruit quality or yield. Even in small plantings, traps can provide helpful information about pests in your orchard ecosystem.

Enterprise Budgets for Certified Organic Carrots in Maine
By Heather Omand
Four MOFGA-certified organic Maine farms – three machinery-powered and one horse-powered – participated in 2015 in a carrot enterprise budget project. Results are presented here, with the horse-powered farm enterprise budget separate due to substantial differences in costs versus the machinery-powered farms.

A Short History of Low-Impact Forestry and the MOFGA Woodlot
By Nick Zandstra
One of the underlying premises of MOFGA, I think, is relationships: apprentices with mentors, interest groups with politicians, people with their food, people with the state of Maine. Relationships of all sorts that bring people together, that form connections, that create community.

Harvest Kitchen: Out with the Old, Preserve the New
By Roberta Bailey
Every spring, along with the usual house cleaning, I sort out the freezers and the canned goods in the pantry, making room for the first bags of spinach and fiddleheads, and for the new jars of strawberry jam and pickled snap peas. Nothing makes last year's canned goods look faded like a bright new batch of just about anything sitting right next to them.

Daytripping 2016: Farms and Gardens to Visit This Summer

A Message About Planned Giving
By Christopher C. Hamilton, MOFGA Associate Director
To help ensure that MOFGA continues, like you, we generously support the organization through our membership, donations and volunteering. And our commitment can continue after our lifetimes through a legacy gift.

Leaving a Legacy Gift to MOFGA: An Overview of Planned Giving Options


Certified Organic – What's in a Label?
By Jaco Schravesande-Gardei, MOFGA Certification Services LLC
Organic, natural, sustainable, local, responsibly grown … When shopping at farmers' markets or grocery stores, consumers face a barrage of enticing labels. What do they mean … if anything?

Every Seed You Sow
By Jean English, Editor, The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
With apologies to The Police – not really – we want you to know that every seed you sow, every tree you grow, every farm you know … we appreciate you. You are moving organic and all its benefits forward when you grow your own organic garden, practice low-impact, carbon-sequestering forestry and support our local organic growers (almost 500 of them certified now!).

Book Reviews
Grapes of the Hudson Valley
Healthy Soils for Sustainable Gardens
The Backyard Orchardist
Miraculous Abundance
A Stone's Throw, Orvie's Stories
Web Resources
Comparative Decision Support (CDS) Toolkit
FAMACHA Training and Certification Online
Cover Cropping for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects
Organic Transition Business Planner

Organic Matter - Summer 2016

Volunteer Profile
Bri Beecher

Staff Profile: Grace Keown
• Staff Changes
• Farm & Homestead Day at MOFGA
• MOFGA-El Salvador Sistering Committee's CSA Raffle Winner
• Thanks to Empty Bowl Donors
• Northeastern University Students' Alternative Spring Break at MOFGA
• Successful Earth Day at MOFGA
• Congratulations
• Thanks to Allagash Brewing Company

Common Ground Country Fair
• Toki Oshima's Vibrant Chard Colors 2016 Fair Poster
• Getting to the Fair: Diversified Solutions
• 40th Fair Anniversary Stories