"Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons. It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth."
- Walt Whitman
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 Fair News - Winter 2016-2017 Minimize

A Common Ground Country Fair Thank You!
Another Great Year for Fiber at Common Ground!
Common Ground Country Fair Ribbons and Awards 2016
Best of Food
5K Footrace
Manure Toss
Oxen Scoot
Oxen Cart
Exhibition Hall Judges' Awards
Agricultural Ribbons
Social and Political Action Area Awards
Gulf of Maine Books Bestsellers
Common Kitchen Donors

A Common Ground Country Fair Thank You!

With the cold deepening and the tents packed away, we are warmed by the memories and feelings of gratitude for all the volunteers, fairgoers and exhibitors who made the 40th Common Ground Country Fair amazing.

Over 60,000 attendees came and celebrated community with bountiful farmers' markets, delicious organic food, entertainment with Maine roots, talented artisans and knowledge sharing. This would not have been possible without the help and generosity of over 2,000 volunteers. These volunteers contributed in myriad ways, and their support of the Common Ground Country Fair and of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association cannot be overstated. Thank you!

Interested in getting involved? The Fair is continually evolving and improving. Your input and dedication are needed. Please contact Anna Libby, MOFGA's volunteer coordinator, at
alibby@mofga.org or 207-568-4142 to discuss possibilities.

I hope the Fair left you with a full heart and an excitement for the upcoming 2017 Fair. Planning is well underway. Thank you for making the 40th Common Ground Country Fair a true milestone filled with peace, hope and community.

– April Boucher
Director, Common Ground Country Fair


Wednesday Spinners Tent at the Common Ground Country Fair
The Wednesday Spinners Tent at the Common Ground Country Fair. English photo
Colin Kennard at Common Ground Country Fair
Colin Kennard with one of the herding dogs that delight fairgoers annually. Photo by John Williams

Another Great Year for Fiber at Common Ground!

Sales for the Fleece Tent – celebrating MOFGA's 40th Common Ground Country Fair – were once again very gratifying. They amounted to just under $11,500 in three days, with 235 "units" sold, representing about 880 pounds of Maine fiber. As always Friday was our busiest day, with sales of almost $7,000. This is great news for both the Fleece Tent committee and the 39 growers who had fiber in the sale this year. It confirms once again that the Fleece Tent is truly a top destination for fiber lovers from Maine and beyond in search of the best of Maine fiber.
Rae Reimer of Bittersweet Farm in Arundel served as our judge for Saturday's fleece show this year, fielding questions from observers and sharing her in-depth knowledge with all. Of the total of 33 entries, the following received ribbons and premiums: Wool, First – Jon Starr (Ellis River Farm, Rumford), Becky Bartovics (Cider Hill Farm, North Haven) and Joe Miller (Rivercroft Farm, Starks); Wool, Second – Amy Burchstead (Buckwheat Blossom Farm, Wiscasset) and Joe Miller (Rivercroft Farm, Starks); and Wool, Third – Elaine Cloutier (Shepherd's Purse, Abbot). In addition Elaine received the Wednesday Spinners Favorite Fleece ribbon, a finely crocheted medallion created by Kate Russell Henry of Southwest Harbor. Awards for Specialty Fibers were as follows:  Angora, First – plucked/colored, Beth Acker (Acker's Acres Angora, New Gloucester); Angora, Second – clipped/white, Beth Acker (Acker's Acres Angora, New Gloucester); and Angora, Third – plucked/colored, Beth Acker (Acker's Acres Angora, new Gloucester). All show participants received their judging forms with scores and judge's comments.
Many thanks to Fleece Tent co-coordinator Stacie Beyer of Levant, who recruited speakers and provided for a full schedule of well attended talks, demonstrations and informal discussions all three days.
We couldn't possibly put this sale and show together without the invaluable help from the many volunteers who join us each year. Thanks to all who helped with setup on Thursday, with the sale and show, and with breakdown on Sunday afternoon. It's always a huge job. Your enthusiasm for fiber is wonderfully contagious and your willingness to be a part of it all is greatly appreciated. And of course the sale wouldn't exist without all the hundreds of new and returning customers who flock to the tent every year. The Fleece Tent committee and the growers can't thank you enough for your continuing support of fiber in Maine.
"Across the way," the Wednesday Spinners tent had another busy, activity-filled weekend for all involved. A group of the spinners had spent the summer planning a bast fiber event, with the main focus on Saturday on growing and processing flax into linen. A comprehensive educational display was set up in the spinning area for the weekend; and the day included Susanne Grosjean's garden talk on growing and pulling flax and the process of retting the plants, followed by a full demonstration by members of the group – the flaxistas – working the tools to prepare flax for spinning: breaking, scutching and hackling. Barbara Clorite-Ventura gave an afternoon talk on the whole process, spinning and taking question from fairgoers, with the group spinning alongside her. On Sunday Michelle Finn spoke about and demonstrated processing dogbane, another bast fiber, into useable cordage.
There were talks on plant dyeing and drop-spindling as well, and wool spinning went on all weekend. The Maine Stoneworkers Guild's "pocket parket," home to the Wednesday Spinners dye-plant garden, was once again a great draw for fairgoers seeking a beautiful place to sit. The Earthloom™ – a gift from Susan Barrett Merrill and Richard Merrill of Weaving a Life in Brooksville, Maine – attracted many fairgoers throughout the weekend, and we welcomed everyone's creative additions to this year's tapestries. We were delighted to have spinners from around the state join us throughout the weekend.
Vendors in the Fiber Marketplace adjacent to the Fleece Tent reported brisk sales for the weekend. And as always, Dave Kennard and his border collies attracted large, enthusiastic crowds all three days of the Fair.
We encourage all Maine fiber growers to consider being a part of the fleece sale and show next year. To be added to our growers email group and/or to obtain information about the 2017 sale and show, please contact Penelope Olson at 207-785-2784 (Appleton) or


Common Ground Country Fair Ribbons and Awards 2016

Best of Food

Best beverage – Solar Café Sunweaver Blood Juice
That's Some Different! – Cornerstone Farm – Mint/Watermelon Soda   
Best Bite for the Buck – Flatbread Pizza
Tradition! – ORA (ployes)
Best Farm to Table – Marble Family Farm
First Impression (Best new food or drink) – ICE cup
Taste, Not Trash – Mediterranean Eggplant
Where's the Beef? (Vegetarian) – Maine Falafel Company
Where's the Cheese? (Dessert) – Heiwa
Better than Chocolate (Dessert) – Island Cow
Best Fresh and Simple – Salad Cowboys
Best Booth Presentation – KCH Enterprise
Best in Show – Fiddlestick Farm
Best Service – Tic Tac Taco
Here's the Meat – Noon Family Farm

Thanks to all vendors who participated!


5K Footrace

1st Male – Peter Kraus
1st Female – Rachel Button
2nd Male – Silas Hagerty
2nd Female – Andy Notopoulous

Peter Kraus 16:53
Silas Hagerty 17:59
Will Jones 19:08
Elliot Gorr 19:34
Evan Gorr 20:04
Adam Mellen 20:05
Rachael Button 20:11
Patrick Keenan 20:16
Justin Wendler 20:27
Andy Notopoulus 20:50
Cliff Watson 21:28
Jeff Gagne 21:59
Finn Anderson 22:39
Laurie Nicholas 22:43
Ryan Bourgoin 22:54
Catherine Johnston 23:17
Ronald Stevenson 23:21
Steve Cartwright 23:28
Erin Gerbie 23:30
Dan McWilliams 23:33
Katie Daggett 23:45
Glenn Lumbert 23:59
Mitch Lansky 24:00
Brian Gallagher 24:06
Abigail Swanson 24:18
Becka Gagne 24:30
Alessio Bustillo 24:47
Carol Manley 25:08
Robert Portela 25:10
Owen Conner Self 25:37
Roger Marquis 25:38
Olympia Fisher 25:44
Anna Carl 26:02
Morgan Urquia 26:20
Bill Trommer 26:32
Corie Washow 26:44
Amanda Jamison 26:52
Kevin Morin 27:09
Laura Peterson 27:17
Ann Edwards 27:25
Sarah Andrus 27:42
Bea Bittenbender 28:06
David Pollock 28:26
Adam Lemieux 28:31
Jessica Keenan 28:31
Paul Yates 29:49
Laura Mailander 30:12
Carol James 30:14
Penny Duncan 30:36
Judson Thomas 30:40
Dave Thomas 30:45
Margaret-Mae Reilich-Godino 30:57
Michael Nixon 31:32
Laura Sawyer 31:46
Erin Kalakowsky 31:56
Diane Levesque 33:04
Sarah Plummer 33:21
Patty Murray 33:36
Aileen Pelkey 33:37
Camelia Graham 33:55
Alan Johnston 34:10
Michelle Moon 34:40
Regina Marquis 34:51
Lauri Sidelko 34:51
Wanda Greatorex 34:57
Kimberly Emerson 35:44
Gregory Emerson 35:46
Zoe Swanson-Smith 38:18
Gerry Killarney 40:49
Rachel Dyer 41:24
Elizabeth Dyer 41:24
Darby Conner 44:05
Sarah Conner 59:40
Rebecca Conner 59:41
Christopher Jacobs 1:01:44
Dean Jacobs 1:01:45


Awarding ribbons for the manure toss. English photo

Manure Toss


Under 12
1. Mirabelle  
2. Charlie
3. Tie: Simon, Jack

17 and Older
1. Jeff
2. Ryan Haskell
3. Sasha Kutsy

1. Roger (from Virginia!) – 71 feet
2. Tie: John Turner º 63 feet; Herb Page 63 feet
3. Lauren Young – 52 feet 10 inches



12 and Under
1. Mirabelle
2. Rioux
3. Tilia

Ages 17-59
1. Ian Jerolmak
2. Bob Bulba
3. Anna Holdner

60 and Older
Tie for first place:
Krista Meinersmann
Lucia Whittelsey


Under 12
1. Mirabelle  24 feet 4 inches
2. Lola  9 feet
3. Simon  8 feet 1 inch

Ages 12-17
1. Ferris  57 feet 3 inches
2. Henry  54 feet 4 inches
3. Bethany  46 feet 6 inches

Over 17
1. Jeff Florman  84 feet 7 inches
2. Matt Stauffer  64 feet 11 inches
3. Brendan Browne  61 feet 4 inches


Oxen Scoot

Teamster of the Year: Jamie Bubier


1. Mark Larrabee – King & Goldie
2. Makayle Chadwick – Red & Rascal
3. Lauren Robinson –  Duke & David
4. Pat Shea –  Bill & Jake

1. Zack Kemp – Duke & Jim
2. Jamie Bubier – Jed & Jake
3. Jamie Bubier – Smoky & Bandit
4. Gil Whitehead – Star & Red

1. Melinda Robinson – Ruff & Tuff
2. Jonathan Daniel –  Scott & Ben
3. Wes Daniel –  Pat & Mike
4. Morgan Chadwick – Timber & Jack
5. Duane Chase –  Amos & Andy

1. Pat Shea –  Bill & Jake
2. Makayle Chadwick –  Red & Rascal
3. Mark Larrabee – King & Goldie
4. Lauren Robinson – Duke & Diamond

1. Jamie Bubier – Jed & Jake
2. Jamie Bubier – Smoky & Bandit
3. Zack Kemp – Duke & Jim
4. Gil Whitehead – Star & Red

1. Melinda Robinson – Ruff & Tuff
2.  Morgan Chadwick – Timber & Jack
3. Jonathan Daniel – Scott & Ben
4. Wes Daniel – Pat & Mike
5. Duane Chase – Amos & Andy

Oxen Cart

1. Makayle Chadwick – Red & Rascal
2. Lauren Robinson – Duke & Diamond
3. Mark Larrabee – King & Goldie


Golden Comet brown chicken eggs displayed by Phyllis Albert of Liberty
These Golden Comet brown chicken eggs entered in the Exhibition Hall by Phyllis Albert of Liberty won a judges' award. English photo

Exhibition Hall Judges' Awards

Pirasa Inegol 92 leeks – Jack Kertesz from MOFGA gardens
Purple Ethiopian wheat – Anne Warner, Dixmont
Tango celery – Kristen Salvatore, Richmond
Dahlia, Alfred C – Lauren Comstock, Jefferson
Perennials for the Birds – Eli Berry, Washington
Golden Comet chicken eggs – Phyllis Albert, Liberty
Long cayenne peppers – Becka Gagne, Franklin
Victor squash – Heron Breen, Saint Albens

Young Fah-mers photo – Ashirah Knapp, Temple

Shiso vinegar – Hope Slope, Hope
Company Best pickles – Maines Family, Abbot
Tomato sauce – Gavitt Homestead, Thorndike
Crabapple jelly – Katie Hedly & Ann Jackson, Fairfield
Pickled beets – Katie Hedly & Ann Jackson, Fairfield

Eye medicine tea – Ceba, Kana & Sarah Crow, Portland
Indian cucumber kimchi style – Jason Hawkins, Stratton
Kombucha-mint-ginger – Pauli Juneau & Tim Vogel, Portland

Owl shawl (knitted) – Priscilla McFarland, Portland
One-year sauerkraut – Anne Warner, Dixmont

Agricultural Ribbons

Best Agricultural Business – SeaColors Yarnery
Most Educational Booth – Avena Botanicals
Best Family Farm – Herbal Revolution
Fairgoer Friendly – Gramp's Farm

Social and Political Action Area Awards

Most Educational – Maine Wabanaki Reach
Most Attractive – MOFGA Certified Clean Cannabis
Friend of the Fair – Jarody


Gulf of Maine Books Bestsellers
2016 Common Ground Country Fair

#1 – Street Farm
Forest Trees of Maine
Wild Plants of Maine
Maine Public Access Guides
Land of Horses – Chris Lombard
Mushrooms of Northeast North America
Foraging New England
Good Man with a Dog
Soul of an Octopus
Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Kimmerer
Glaciers and Granite
WeMoon Calendar


Chefs at the 2016 Common Kitchen
Thanks to our Common Kitchen donors, and to all the volunteers who made the delicious food that fueled the Fair staff and volunteers throughout the Fair! English photo

Common Kitchen Donors

A&B Naturals
Andrews Farm
Apple Acres Farm
Apple Creek Farm
Ashgrove Farm & Gardens
Associated Buyers
Aurora Mills & Farm LLC
Avena Botanicals
Axis Natural Foods Inc.
Balfour Farm
Bar Harbor Community Farm, LLC
Bath Natural Market
Belfast Co-op Store
Big Sky Bread
Blessed Maine Herb Farm
Blue Barrens Farm
Blue Hill Berry Co.
Blue Hill Co-op Community Market & Cafe
Blue Zee Farm
Bluebird Hill Farm
Bouchard Family Farm
Brae Maple Farm
BrightBerry Farm
Burke Hill Farm
Caldwell Farm
Camden Bagel Cafe
Carding Brook Farm
Carrabassett Coffee Co.
Catania Spagna Corporation
Central Street Farmhouse
Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen
Coffee By Design Inc.
Cornerstone Farm
Crofters Food Ltd.
Crown O' Maine Organic Co-op
Curra Family Farm
Darthia Farm
Deb's Ice Cream
Debbie Reynolds
East Branch Farm
El Camino
End of the Rainbow
Ewing Fruit Co.
Fail Better Farm
Faithful Venture Farm
Fare Share Market
Farmer Kev's Organic Produce
Farming Fungi
Fiddler's Green Farm
Fire Fly Farm
Five Star Nursery
Flat Bread Company
French & Brawn
Fresh Off The Farm
Frontier Natural Products Coop
Full Circle Farm
Gelato Fiasco
Ginger People Group
Good Food Store
Good Tern Co-Op
Gramp's Farm
Grandy Oats Granola
Grassland Farm
Green Mountain Gringo
Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants
Harvest Time Natural Foods
Hatchet Cove Farm
Heiwa Tofu
Highland Blueberry Farm
Hoof 'n Paw Farm
Ironwood Farm
Ironwood Mountain Farm
Jean Porchetta
John Edwards Market Inc.
John's Ice Cream
Kiley Garlic
King Arthur Flour
Left Field Farm
Little Falls Farm
Little River Flower Farm
Lois' Natural Marketplace
Lundberg Family Farms
Maine Grain Alliance
Maine Maple Products Inc.
Maine Street Meats
Marine Harvest
Mooarhill Farm & Greenhouses
Morning Glory Natural Foods
Mother's Mountain Mustard
Mousam Valley Mushrooms
Natural Living Center
Nature's Acres LLC
Nature's Choice
Nature's Circle Farm
New Morning Natural Foods
Northern Girl LLC
Once Again Nut Butter
Organic Valley
Patchwork Organic Gardens
Peggy Rockefeller Farms
Pete and Gerry's Organic Eggs
Port Clyde Fresh Catch
Real Pickles
Really Raw Honey
Red House Farm
Rising Tide Community Market
Robinhood Farm
Rock City Inc.
Royal River Natural Foods
Salt Run Farm
Sap Hound Maple Co.
Sarah's Cafe & Twin Schooner Pub
Seacoast Coffee Co.
Selina Naturally
Shalom Orchard
Sheepscot General
Six River Farm
Sparky's Apiaries
Sparrow Farm
Sparrow Foods
Spice Of Life
Springtide Farm
Standard Baking Co.
Strawberry Hill Farms
Swan's Way
Swedish Colony Farms
Tender Soles Farm
The Alna Store
The Apple Farm
The Stand on Common Road
True North Farms
Turning Wheel Farm
Twitchell Hill Blueberries
Two Coves Farm
Two Loons Farm
University of New Hampshire
Villageside Farm
Waldoview Farm
Western Waldo Coop
Weston's Farm & Market
Whole Foods Market
Wholesome Sweetener
Wicked Joe Sustainable Coffee Roasting Co.
Willow Pond Farm
Winterberry Farm
Wood Prairie Farm



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