Year-round, across rural communities in Maine, the scenery changes, but the local products remain a staple… Fall transitions into crystal clear, blue sky days as the chill of winter, along with snow, settles across fields. With the thaw of spring, the soil appears to push and pull against the competing forces of lengthening daylight and the unique comforts of a Maine winter. For some of us, the chill of a Maine winter is a time to cozy within blankets, and socks, planning for the lengthening daylight. Others may add on the layers to explore these landscapes.
During these apparent dormant times, a group of people remain vigilant: keen to see that every slope of a snow-covered field or pasture is a haven for the hearty beings who reside on farms, including the people, and animals—both wild and farm. It’s a delicate balance, stewarding these working landscapes. But Maine’s farms are up for the task.
The snow is brushed off greenhouses as farmers prepare in February so that many can enjoy Maine products months away. Flower bulbs and spring veggies are experiencing their own version of cozy as growers plan for the months ahead. The sap lines are checked again, and Maine’s sugarhouses are prepared long before the rush of the Kennebec, Androscoggin and Penobscot find their way to Maine’s iconic beaches and lakes.
And at those beaches and lakes, during a time that warms us all, the scenery has again changed and the breezes much warmer than a winter chill. The leaves are a bright green on the maple trees. The pastures are dotted with grazing livestock, and the cultivated fields are part of a seasonal rotation for anything from the beloved potatoes, to delicious vegetables. The orchard blooms are no longer soft petals of spring, but globes of fruit ripening. Perhaps we’re part of these year-round moments. Shopping at the supermarket in the local sections, or grabbing our farm shares for all necessities and luxuries.
It can feel quite simple, supporting our farmers. Perhaps this is because we trust many of Maine’s farmers are doing the necessary work. And, more than trust, we can verify they are doing necessary work. As they partake in research projects, and apply everyday science to get farm products just right. All so our working landscapes are more than a beautiful reminder of place and space each season.
While we joke Maine farmers are “outstanding in their fields,” the seriousness and certainty is that many are. Their effort provides award winning foods, award winning soils, ingredients that are the heart of award-winning beverages. Some of these awards are offered on stage, or in publications.
But the greatest award for Maine farms is when we all take a moment and shop our favorite farm products to enjoy, repeat, and bring along a friend or two. Maine’s farmers are working for you.