Abigail Curtis

Homestead Reporter

Edna Flagg (left) and other participants of a Cooking Matters class made a white bean basil chicken chili on Tuesday. Cooking Matters is a free program sponsored in part by the Good Shepherd Food Bank that helps adults learn how to prepare healthy meals and stretch their food dollars.

This free cooking class teaches low-income Mainers how to stretch food dollars

By Abigail Curtis on July 25, 2017, at 12:16 p.m.
The Cooking Matters for Adults class at the Unity Community Center is friendly, inclusive and full of good ideas about how to make healthy meals on a budget.
Giant hogweed is a type of noxious weed that can grow to more than 12 feet in height and has large, white flowers. Imported to the United States as an ornamental plant, hogweed oozes sap that can cause severe burns, blisters and even permanent scars. There are about 20 sites in Maine, many of them in the Bar Harbor area due to the plant's use in estate gardens.

Beware of the beautiful weed that can cause blindness, burns

By Abigail Curtis on July 18, 2017, at 7:40 a.m.
“It’s really pretty, but it’s extremely dangerous. You have to almost be in a hazmat suit [to be around it] because the sap on it is so dangerous.”
Jesse Lupo founded Trident Stills in Etna in 2009. Lupo, a welder and fabricator with a longtime passion for the process of distilling alcohol. His custom stills are used in distilleries around the state and the country.

Maine company makes name for itself in distillery stills

By Abigail Curtis on July 17, 2017, at 5:49 a.m.
Although moonshine, the clear, unaged whiskey, is now legally sold in the United States, the art of making moonshine, or illicit, high-proof spirits, plays an outsized role in mountain lore and American history.
Lisa Hall makes her sea glass jewelry using only sea glass that has been weathered by time and the ocean.

Made famous by Martha Stewart Living, Maine sea glass jewelry maker reflects on life and art

By Abigail Curtis on July 14, 2017, at 6:54 a.m.
Inside Lisa Hall’s jewelry studio and store in Northeast Harbor, glass once carelessly tossed into the sea is transformed into art.
A gang of Japanese beetles teams up to munch on a leaf last week in Limington in a 2014 photo.

Don’t let garden pests destroy your hard work this growing season

By Abigail Curtis on July 08, 2017, at 7:45 a.m.
“They’re waiting for you to plant your seeds and put those seedlings out.”
Kenneth Copp of Thorndike drives a wagon to a field to pick up hay for his animals. Copp, 57, spent decades living in old-order Mennonite and Amish communities in several states. He started questioning his religious beliefs and in 2012 left the Amish church. He was shunned by the Amish community and eventually lost his family. He says aspects of his new life are very hard, but he is happier and more at peace now.

Former Amish man creates his own simple life, minus the religion

By Abigail Curtis on July 03, 2017, at 4:02 p.m.
In Maine, he intended to become a member of the Amish church. Instead, he started a journey away from religion.
Strawberries at Raven's Berry Farm in Freedom Monday.

Where to pick your own strawberries in Maine during summer 2017

By Abigail Curtis on June 28, 2017, at 1 a.m.
Six-year-old Morgan Bonin picks strawberries at Raven's Berry Farm in Freedom Monday.  Morgan came with her mother Lauren Bonin, who said they come at least once a year to pick strawberries.

Maine’s strawberry season off to strong start, experts say

By Abigail Curtis on June 28, 2017, at 1 a.m.
“We’re kind of unique [in the country] that our strawberry season matches so well with the start of summer and the Fourth of July holiday,” according to University of Maine strawberry specialist David Handley. “I think we’ll have a really good crop of strawberries for the Fourth of July.”
To make bean hole beans you need a deep bed of coals to set the pots of beans into.

How to make traditional Maine bean hole beans

By Abigail Curtis on June 27, 2017, at 1:34 p.m.
Happy bean cooking, and happy eating!
Glacier National Park, Montana

University of Maine scientists find art in the farthest corners of earth

By Abigail Curtis on June 26, 2017, at 6:33 a.m.
The exhibit showcases the work of Climate Change Institute faculty, staff and students who have gone on expeditions to some of the most far-flung corners of the planet to try and understand the past, current and future of earth’s climate.
Greg King and his husband Kyffin Dolliver at their Morrill farm. The couple own and operate Morrill Century Farm, where they raise mixed vegetables, laying hens, pigs and cattle.  Dolliver works on the farm full time, but King works off the farm and is attending nursing school.

LGBT farmers find opportunity, adversity in rural Maine

By Abigail Curtis on June 23, 2017, at 1:04 p.m.
In small, rural Maine towns, social change has been slower to take hold. That’s not an accident, according to sociologist Isaac Leslie, who studies queer farming and rural heterosexism. He said the mainstream LGBT movement of the past half-century has been far too focused on cities.
Josh Parda, a volunteer with Comins Hall, feeds the fire as he prepares to make bean-hole beans early Friday morning in Eddington. Parda is one of a group of volunteers who organize suppers, pie and bean sales and other events to generate income for the upkeep of the building that was built in 1878.

Digging into tradition with bean-hole beans

By Abigail Curtis on June 22, 2017, at 6:09 a.m.
“Fire, coals and cast iron or earthenware pots. It’s a pretty easy way to cook a whole bunch of food for a whole bunch of people. And relative to a can of beans, they taste very much better.”
Denise DeSpirito, the gardens manager at Merryspring Nature Center in Camden, talks about one of the plants in the garden during a recent presentation on medicinal herbs.

Merryspring Nature Center ‘an oasis’ in busy midcoast

By Abigail Curtis on June 19, 2017, at 1 a.m.
“Some people think it’s a private club,” she said, adding that they’re very surprised when they learn otherwise.
Lunch plate with soup, salad and baguette at the new 93 Main Cafe in Unity.
Gabor Degre | BDN

Unity coffee shop that features local fare perks up the community

By Abigail Curtis on June 17, 2017, at 7:36 a.m.
Unity residents say the opening of the coffee shop has been a boon to their community.
Trevanion Grenfell (left) his partner, Ali Palm, and his sister, Trevanna Grenfell, make a fire on their land in Unity Tuesday. Siblings Trevanna and Trevanion grew up in Unity and moved back to Maine as adults in order to start Northwood Natural Learning. They offer educational programs that teach outdoor skills and encourage connection with nature and with the local community.

These siblings came home to help people connect with nature

By Abigail Curtis on June 12, 2017, at 3 a.m.
“If we continue our isolated, nature-disconnected lifestyle, we’re not going to make it. Being part of a healthy, nature-connected community — that’s why we do this. That is the driving force behind all of this.”
University of Maine students Alex Chandler (right) and Jade Christensen check blueberry plants for mummy berry as Judy Collins, assistant scientist for the University of Maine School of Biology and Ecology, records the findings.

The zombie-like disease that could threaten Maine’s wild blueberries

By Abigail Curtis on June 08, 2017, at 12:55 p.m.
“The disease is really deceptive.”
Opening day on Saturday, May 27 at the United Farmers Market of Maine drew about 2,000 people to Belfast.

New indoor farmers and artisans market in Belfast drew around 2,000 people

By Abigail Curtis on June 05, 2017, at 2:37 p.m.
“We could be in Brooklyn,” marveled one visitor.
Vinny Marotta bought five acres of land in Thorndike a few years ago hoping to build a small house without going into debt. He cleared a patch of forest, landscaped a portion of it and as he had money he built a 10-by-10 foot building, often using repurposed materials.

‘One peaceful place’: Midcoast man builds tiny house by hand

By Abigail Curtis on June 01, 2017, at 5:45 a.m.
“I just wanted a shack with a stove.”
Middle School students get their lunch at the school cafeteria at Regional School Unit 3 in Thorndike. The school district collaborates with several area farms to source about 40 percent of the school's cafeteria food locally.

Maine schools resist national plan to relax healthy lunch guidelines by serving fresh, local foods

By Abigail Curtis on May 24, 2017, at 6 a.m.
“Our mission is to provide students with a nutritious meal that they can choose in order to help them with academic success. That’s our only mission.”
A Maine farmer inspects a crop of peas.

Pesticide bill rejected by Legislative panel

By Abigail Curtis on May 23, 2017, at 9:56 a.m.
A legislative committee unanimously voted against a controversial pesticide bill that would have removed the ability for municipalities to enact pesticide regulations that are stricter than the state’s.