My partner Steve and I live and work on Old Crow Ranch, a grass-based livestock farm in Durham. Steve originally hails from Wisconsin, but the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) Apprentice Program transplanted him here in 1999. Since then, he bought 70 acres and started raising cattle and pigs on Old Crow Ranch. Steve is the farmer and I run support services, raise chickens and get to learn a lot from his expertise.
Steve's job involves meeting other young enterprising farmers. It was only natural that he came across Brian Smith. Brian started Oyster River Winegrowers, which is a horse-powered vineyard.
Maine is ripe with people wanting and willing to work together to find innovative ways to cooperate. Oyster River and Old Crow Ranch are an example of this method. Even though Maine is a geographically large state, the degrees of separation are rather small.
This past year at Oyster River Winegrowers, an idea hatched to offer a winter CSA, or community supported agriculture program. The food would be delivered by horse-drawn carriage down Main Street in Rockland. At first, the idea seemed far-fetched and harkened back to yesteryear. But with the help of modern technology, they launched an online fundraising effort through Kickstarter to buy the carriage that they'd need to make the deliveries. Then they coordinated the contributing producers for the eclectic mix of seasonally appropriate local products. Included were wine from Oyster River; beef and sausage from us at Old Crow Ranch, Durham; goat cheese from Appleton Creamery, Appleton; bread from Atlantic Baking Company, Rockland; root veggies from Maple Tree Farm, Whitefield and Brookfield Farms, Cushing; and mutton sausage from Guini Ridge Farm, Union. Through this effort, they brought their nostalgic, small town dream to life!
This sense of "small-world-ness" is incredibly Maine. For a large state, we are all so interconnected!