Happy Thursday, Homesteaders!
Back in Connecticut, my family’s homestead — once a thriving farm in the center of town where generations lived and grew together — is now offices. Where the barns and farmland once stood is now home to a parking lot, yoga studio and newer houses. The land across the road, where another barn burnt to the ground around 40 years ago, is undeveloped and overgrown.
Our homestead hasn’t been ours since two years before I was born, but I grew up with the stories, memories and history of it. It was the hub of our family where countless family meals were shared and lessons were passed on. Though I never lived there, it’s vivid in my mind as a center of our family history.
Here in Maine, working on Homestead has reminded me of the stories of laughter, joy, family and food that are part of my family’s oral history. Do you have stories like this? I would love to hear them. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On another note, summer farmers markets are beginning to open this weekend. On Saturday in Orono, the summer market returns. And on Sunday, the Bangor Farmers Market opens for the summer too. Check out the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets website for details on markets across the state and links to many of them.
Best wishes for living a good life,
Sarah Walker Caron
Senior Editor, Features
What’s happening in Homestead
From Portland to the County, there’s a grain revolution happening in Maine. This week, we look at how grain farmers are working with Maine Grains at the Somerset Grist Mill to reinvigorate the grain industry in Maine. Those grains, available in natural food stores for consumers, are then being used by bakers like those at Standard Baking Co. in Portland to create truly local baked goods for consumers.
This week, Kathleen Pierce takes us inside a 125-year-old barn in Wells that has been transformed into a thriving antiques store and contemporary art gallery. But before this slate grey structure became an art haven, it had many past lives — including as part of a family homestead. It’s also said to have once been used as a lumber yard that processed the wood used to make the grand hotels in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.
What does a single mom farmer do with her kids in the summer? One mom is seeking to hire a “grow-pair” — a hybrid between a farmer’s apprentice and an au pair — to help her this summer.
Also this week: Columnist Robin Clifford Wood introduces us to Eddie Harrow, a retired doctor with a talent for woodworking. His detailed carvings depict scenes of woods, wildlife, potato harvests and more — and an intense attention to detail.
Just for fun
- What you should know about green spring cleaning
- Lambs born at the University of Maine will help with a research project on a deadly parasite
- Inch-by-Inch: Thawing out banana peels and decomposing egg shells
- How to identify, pick and cook fiddleheads — and when to leave them alone
With the growing season upon us, Natalie Feulner is taking a look at the farm outlook for this season in Maine. Meanwhile, Kathleen Pierce checks in with local farmers markets preparing to open for the season. We’re also going behind the scenes at a barn that’s been transformed into a wedding venue — and pop-up dinner site.