Home gardeners can subscribe to the free March edition of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension’s 2015 Maine Home Garden News online. The newsletter, released monthly from March through October, is designed to equip beginning and experienced home gardeners with research-based information. Each issue includes a reminder list of timely actions in the garden and yard; articles on fruits, vegetables, flowers, lawn care, trees and shrubs; videos; and other informative resources. For more information, contact Lois Elwell, email@example.com; 800.287.1471 (in Maine).
For Nancy Bunting, farming hasn’t always been a bowl of cherries.
But it has included harvesting thousands of pounds of the sour fruit for Allagash Brewing Company to use in its beer.
In honor of Bunting, the Portland brewer named its October 2014 limited edition copper-colored beer “Nancy.”
The sour red ale tastes like a medley of tart cherry, citrus and pie spice, according to Jeff Perkins, brewmaster at Allagash Brewing Company. Its aroma is described as a blend of cherries, bread crust and cinnamon.
Bunting says she’s blessed to work with Allagash and to be the namesake of a niche brew.
For more than two decades, Bunting and her husband Earl have experienced both blessings and challenges associated with farming.
They own Doles Orchard, situated atop a ridge in Limington where guests pick their own fruit — including cherries, raspberries, peaches, plums, pears, strawberries, elderberries, blueberries and 25 varieties of apples — as well as go on hayrides and enjoy homemade pies and preserves.
During off-seasons, Earl has worked in carpentry and Nancy has waitressed.
The Buntings’ relationship with Allagash began in 2010, when brewers at the Portland, Maine-based company inquired about purchasing their sour cherries to use making Coolship Cerise, a traditional, Belgian-inspired spontaneously fermented beer.
Since that time, the Buntings have supplied Rob Tod’s company with more than 6,000 pounds of cherries that they picked, packed and delivered in wooden apple boxes that they built.
Allagash brewers continued using the tart fruit in the Coolship Cerise releases. And they were so impressed with the quality of the cherries, they decided to build a beer around them.
“Their fruit inspired us to brew ‘Nancy,’” says Perkins. “Over the years, we’ve been honored to develop a relationship with Earl and Nancy and we have been so inspired by their approach to farming. Because the cherries were from them, it was appropriate to make reference to their farm.”
Bunting laughs recalling that Allagash initially proposed naming the distinctive brew after her husband.
“Then they found out there already was a beer named Earl,” she says light-heartedly. “I’m second fiddle to Earl.”
Allagash employees also were impressed with the rustic boxes in which the Buntings delivered the cherries and asked if they could manufacture crates to hold 24 bottles of beer. The couple has since sold nearly 6,000 of the stylish, practical containers to the company.
“Selling beer in wood crates is traditional in Belgium,” says Perkins. “We wanted to do something like that for our own beers sold at the brewery.”
Nancy says she enjoys the independence of being a farmer and developing niche markets — including homemade crates and boxes and slate coasters.
While building boxes two years ago, Nancy severed four fingers in a table saw accident. Emergency room care, surgery and follow-up visits took a financial toll, as the Buntings didn’t have health insurance. But they worked out a payment plan and Nancy devised ways to adapt and continue to work on the farm.
“I’m still amazed at how much I can accomplish relatively hassle-free,” she says, adding she has been humbled by the generosity and goodwill of family and friends.
She’s also been humbled by Allagash Brewing — which routinely gives back to the community by donating some of its profits to local organizations.
When Allagash officials asked her which group she’d like a portion of Nancy’s proceeds to be donated to, Bunting did some online research. Her daughter in California told her about AgrAbility — the nationwide U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded program established to assist farmers, ranchers and other agricultural workers and farm family members impacted by a limiting health condition.
The Maine AgrAbility program is a nonprofit collaboration between University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and Alpha One. It assists farmers, fishermen and forest workers with challenges or limitations so they may continue to be productive and work safely — all of which Nancy could readily identify with.
And the Buntings already had a solid connection with UMaine Extension. For years, Nancy and her husband have sought expert advice from UMaine Extension educators about farming topics — from garden pests to egg production.
So Nancy asked Allagash officials to spread their generosity and good cheer to Maine AgrAbility.
Maine AgrAbility program coordinator Lani Carlson says since the project formed in 2010, it has provided technical information to 247 farmers and conducted on-site assessments and recommendations for 75 others whose agricultural businesses include dairies, Christmas tree farms, vegetable stands and hay sales.
Maine AgrAbility clientele, says Carlson, has included area farmers with chronic health impairments, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, as well as with aging-related issues, including arthritis and hearing loss.
To educate people about the program is a huge thing,” Nancy says. “I’m happy to be getting the word out about this great program and all the ways it can help people.”
To date, Allagash Brewing Company has gifted nearly $10,000 to the organization.
“We are greatly honored to receive this gift,” says Richard Brzozowski, director of the Maine AgrAbility program. “The money will help us in our mission to assist Maine farmers and growers who have chronic health issues or injuries to gain more control over their lives and to continue to farm successfully.”
Talk about a cherry on top.
Contact: Beth Staples, 207.581.3777
Fruit Tree Class
Registration cost is $10.00. Please call 207.933.2100 to register, since class size is limited.
The Fruit Tree Class will cover basic pruning techniques, variety selection, pests and diseases, and cross pollination. The class will be taught by Renae Moran, Tree Fruit Specialist for the University of Maine. If weather permits, the class will be taught outdoors in the orchard. Students should meet in the parking lot behind the barn.
Please contact Renae Moran for more information about the class at 207.933.2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Highmoor Farm website for directions.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is taking orders for its “Grow It Right!” plant sale, which is a fundraiser for the Master Gardener Volunteers program.
Available plants are a highbush blueberry three-pack, two varieties per pack, $35.95; 10-pack of asparagus crowns, $15; 25 young dormant strawberry plants, $15; five raspberry canes, $18; three blackberry canes, $25; and rhubarb crowns, $12 each. All are suitable for Maine’s climate and will be ready for spring planting.
Graduates of the UMaine Extension Master Gardener Volunteers program have been active for more than 30 years, doing demonstrations, creating community gardens, organizing educational events, growing food for Maine Harvest for Hunger and leading community-based volunteer efforts. Sale proceeds will support these projects and provide need-based program scholarships.
Orders must be placed by May 1. Plants will be available for pickup at Extension county offices Saturday, May 16 or Monday, May 18, depending on location. Purchase plants and get more information, including video clips on site selection and soil testing online.
To place a mail order, call Andrea Herr, 207.781.6099. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, contact Richard Brzozowski, 207.781.6099, 800.287.1471 (in Maine), email@example.com; or Marjorie Peronto, 207.667.8212, 800.287.1479 (in Maine), firstname.lastname@example.org.
The day-long school is offered on two dates at two locations: March 10 in Portland or March 11 in Bangor. Preregistration is required.
Cost for registration is $40.00 per person and includes lunch.
Please preregister by March 5, 2015 by calling Pam St. Peter at Highmoor Farm, 933-2100, or email email@example.com.
Checks are to be made payable to UMaine Cooperative Extension.
Maine Vegetable and Fruit School is hosted by
- University of Maine Cooperative Extension
- Maine Vegetable & Small Fruit Growers Association
Tuesday, March 10, 2015
KEELEY’S BANQUET CENTER
178 Warren Avenue, Portland, Maine 04103
Wednesday, March 11, 2015
BANGOR MOTOR INN CONFERENCE CENTER
701 Hogan Road, Bangor, Maine 04401
Tel. 207.947.0355 or 1.800.244.0355
AGENDA – March 10 and March 11, 2015
Leilani Carlson - Maine Crop Insurance Education Program Manager, UMaine Cooperative Extension
Andrew Carpenter - Northern Tilth, Belfast, Maine
Gary Fish – Manager of Pesticides Programs, Maine Board of Pesticides Control
Dr. David Handley – Vegetable and Small Fruit Specialist, UMaine Cooperative Extension
Dr. Mark Hutton – Vegetable Specialist, University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Pete and Cathy Karonis - Fairwinds Farm, Topsham, Maine
Amanda May – Agricultural Program Specialist, Maine Farm Service Agency
Laurel McClead – Attorney, Drummond Woodsum, Labor and Employment Group, Portland, Maine
Dr. Becky Sideman – Sustainable Horticulture Specialist, University of New Hampshire Extension
Dr. Eric Sideman – Organic Crop Specialist, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association
Jennifer Stiles – Graduate Student, University of Maine
Lauchlin Titus – Certified Professional Agronomist and Crop Advisor, AgMatters
Donovan Todd – Executive Director, Maine Farm Service Agency
Tom Trenholm – Attorney, Drummond Woodsum, Labor and Employment Group, Portland, Maine
Ralph Turner – Laughingstock Farm, Durham, Maine
Thank you to our sponsor, Nourse Farms, Inc.
Participants may receive 2.0 Pesticide Applicator recertification credits for attending.
Certified Crop Advisors may earn 5 recertification credits for participation.
For more information about this or other workshops, please contact:
Mark Hutchinson, Extension Educator
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
Knox – Lincoln Counties
377 Manktown Road
Waldoboro, ME 04572-5815
Tel. 207.832.0343 or 1.800.244.2104 (in Maine).
Any person with a disability who needs accommodations for this program should contact Mark Hutchinson at 1.800.244.2104, or 1.800.287.8957 (TDD) to discuss any needed arrangements. Receiving requests for accommodations at least 10 days before the program provides a reasonable amount of time to meet the request; however, all requests will be considered.
Videos created by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension were mentioned in a Caledonian-Record article about pruning fruit trees. The best time to prune tree fruit and small fruit, such as berries, is late winter to early spring while the plants are dormant, according to the article. The article stated UMaine Extension “has a couple of great videos for pruning blueberries and apples,” and included a link to the videos.
David Yarborough, a blueberry specialist with University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke with news organizations, including The Ellsworth American and WLBZ (Channel 2), about the 2014 blueberry harvest. Yarborough said although the federal figures for the harvest won’t come out until the end of the month, the crop will exceed 100 million pounds, making it the second largest blueberry harvest in Maine’s history, according to the article. The largest wild blueberry crop was 110.6 million pounds in 2000, the article states. The Associated Press also reported on Yarborough’s figures. The Boston Globe, Maine Public Broadcasting Network, Portland Press Herald and Daily Reporter carried the AP report. Mainebiz cited the Ellsworth American article.
The University of Maine Cooperative Extension Maine Harvest for Hunger program had its most successful year in 2014, as more than 300 volunteers donated 240,937 pounds of fresh produce to 104 organizations from York County to Piscataquis County.
Since the program’s inception in 1999, volunteers have provided more than 1.8 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to people, food pantries and soup kitchens statewide.
According to Feeding America, a national umbrella organization for food banks, 206,000 Maine citizens — 15.5 percent of the population — experienced food insecurity in 2012, a 50 percent increase since 2004. Also according to Feeding America, 36 percent of food insecure Mainers did not qualify for government food assistance programs. Food insecurity and obesity can co-exist for individuals and families, and a goal is to replace high-calorie, nutrient-poor food donated to food pantries with fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Sun Journal carried the University of Maine Cooperative Extension release about upcoming Master Gardener Volunteer programs in Androscoggin, Sagadahoc and Oxford counties.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension is offering growers a training session for the Bureau of Pesticide Control (BPC) private pesticide applicator core exam. Training will be 3–6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at the UMaine Extension Oxford County office, 9 Olson Road, South Paris. Participants also have the option of taking the exam 6–7:30 p.m.
Effective April 1, 2015, a new Maine state law requires a pesticide license for fruit, vegetable and grain growers who use only general-use (over-the-counter) pesticides, and annually sell more than $1,000 of plants or plant products intended for human consumption. Each operation must have at least one licensed owner or employee on the farm. To qualify for the license, the candidate must pass the private pesticide applicator core exam.
Cost for training is $10. For more information, to register for the training or request a disability accommodation, contact Barbara Murphy, 207.743.6329, firstname.lastname@example.org.