The Somerset Newsflash, April 2024

Important Dates


The News

Somerset County Extension Office Temporarily CLOSED

Our office will be TEMPORARILY CLOSED while we work on some building maintenance issues.

Our staff will continue working remotely and will be regularly checking messages. To get in touch with us, please email us at or call 207-474-9622 and someone will get back to you within 1-2 business days.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience!

Boiling Water Bath Canning

Tuesday, April 23, 6:00-9:00 p.m., Area High School

Ever wonder how to preserve all those great garden veggies? This hands-on workshop led by a University of Maine Extension volunteer will teach you the basic steps for canning and freezing. Participants will recieve a “Preserving the Harvest” packet and will learn recommended methods for preserving food.  They will also receive the latest and safest recipes, learn about equipment safety, and be taught how to ensure jars are properly sealed.


Apply to be a Master Food Preserver

Application Deadline May 3

Do you enjoy the art and science of food preservation? Would you like to develop expertise in food preservation? Consider becoming a Master Food Preserver.


Master Gardener Plant Sale

June 1, Falmouth

Save the date for the annual Master Gardener Plant Sale, June 1st from 9am-1pm! This  event will feature gardening demonstrations as well as a broad selection of organic vegetable seedlings, herb and annual seedlings, and native and pollinator plants! More information coming soon.

The News in Agriculture

Feathered Homestead: A Comprehensive Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens in Maine

Are you new to keeping chickens, or have you been keeping chickens for awhile now and want to learn more? Join Dr. Colt W. Knight, University of Maine Cooperative Extension Livestock Specialist and Ashley Wright, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, for a 2-hour “egg-citing” educational program on brooding chicks at home and raising laying hens in Maine. They will cover in detail how to raise chicks from egg to feather, and then how to care for them once they are older including housing, nutrition, winter care, and common diseases.

Programs will take place in:

  • Bangor – April 19
  • Ellsworth – April 19
  • Falmouth – April 22
  • South Paris – April 23


Maine’s Open Farm Day

Maine’s Open Farm Day happens, rain or shine, on the fourth Sunday in July. Save the date: The 35th annual event will occur on July 28, 2024. There is no fee for farms to join the voluntary promotions, but farms must sign up using a Real Maine member account.

Most farms are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Host farms generally participate because it enhances their farm’s overarching promotional and outreach goals. Recent host farms report that 20-50 visitors are typical. This varies depending on unique farm goals and the proximity of participating farms.

In addition to receiving promotional support, host sites may choose to use planning support from DACF. This includes published resources, attending webinars, and sharing planning ideas with peers.

Visitors’ feedback highlights this event’s value as an agricultural awareness opportunity. Visitors of all ages attend Maine’s Open Farm Day, typically making one to three stops (this varies depending on geography). The most popular reasons people look forward to this tradition include meeting farmers and hearing directly from farmers. They appreciate how welcoming farmers are, and many enjoy learning how to buy local and support Maine farms. Some even make purchases. Visitors share that they enjoy this tradition because learning about farms and seeing them firsthand is a low-cost experience and allows them to see the variety of agriculture throughout Maine.

The News in 4-H

4-H Tick Project

The 4-H Tick Project is a community science project engaging K-12 youth and educators, made possible through a partnership between 4-H Youth Development, UMaine Cooperative Extension Tick Lab, Maine Forest Tick Survey, and members of the Learning Ecosystems Northeast partnership. The project provides youth an opportunity to explore ticks and tick-borne diseases, which is a connected story of climate, ecosystem change, and public health.

All educators interested in teaching about ticks in Maine are encouraged to participate in the project at no cost to you. This is a great project for 4-H clubs, SPIN clubs, homeschool groups, and more. For more information and to register, visit the 4-H Tick Project webpage.

Save the Date: Maine 4-H Days is Happening in 2024!4H Clover

Where: Windsor Fairgrounds, Windsor, Maine
When: Friday evening, July 19 – Saturday, July 20. Animal Science tracks are being scheduled
from Friday, July 19 – Sunday, July 21.
Workshop sessions for Saturday are still needed. If you know anyone who might want to run a workshop on Saturday, please reach out to Karen Giles via email at or complete the online form.

All workshop forms are due by May 1, 2024.

Registration for the event for 4-H’ers and their families will be opening in mid-May. More information is coming soon. We can’t wait to see you there!

For more 4-H news, check out 4-H Happenings, our monthly 4-H newsletter for Somerset County.

The News in Homemakers

Homemaker LogoExtension Homemakers is a volunteer group that develops leadership skills, supports community causes, and promotes UMaine Extension’s educational programs in nine Maine counties. These organized programs are part of the statewide network of Extension Homemakers.

Local group members meet throughout the year to participate in educational programs and identify community projects, such as providing assistance to local food pantries, nursing homes, or veterans groups, or funding educational scholarships or youth camp programs.

An Update from Cambridge

Cambridge Homemakers Members with handmade grapevine wreathCambridge Extension Homemakers members crafted a grapevine wreath with painted pinecone flowers, that will be donated as a centerpiece doorprize for the annual Somerset County meeting on April 22.

Volunteer in Somerset County!

Would you or someone you know like to become more engaged in volunteerism throughout Somerset County? Consider joining Homemakers! The Somerset County Extension Homemakers are always welcoming new members. Please visit the Maine Extension Homemakers website for general information about the program or reach out to the Somerset County Extension Homemakers President, Rita Fortin with any questions or to express interest. Rita can be reached at 207.453.2945 or at You may also contact the Maine Extension Homemakers Coordinator, Lisa Fishman at 800.287.1421 or at