Abigail Curtis

Homestead Reporter

A sign for The Red Barn shows the restaurant is holding a fundraiser in this November 2015 file photo. Restaurant owner Laura Benedict works to help others, and she has raised millions for good causes.

Despite hardships, Maine restaurant owner strives to help others, raise money for charity

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 24, 2016, at 7:17 a.m.
Laura Benedict has turned the joint she affectionately calls “a chicken shack” into a charitable powerhouse, raising more than $2 million for good causes.
College of the Atlantic students Patricio Gallardo, of Yerba Buena, Argentina, and Mako Mihira of Tokyo, Japan, work to sort one week's worth of trash and recycling gathered on campus. The discarded waste audit, now in its third year, has tracked a sharp decrease in trash thrown away at the college.

Trash on the decline at College of the Atlantic, audit says

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 22, 2016, at 6:22 a.m.
“We’re super happy about the diversion [or recycling] rate climbing.”
omen of the World is a long-established group in Orono that meets monthly to share recipes from other lands and talk about other cultures.

For 40 years, women’s group has built bridges with food and fellowship over international differences

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 21, 2016, at 11:15 a.m.
“It’s great to learn about different cultures and different traditions. It’s also a great way to try different food that you wouldn’t eat otherwise.”
Graham Mallory, who works at North Branch Farm in Monroe, unloads boxes packed with the farm's biweekly vegetable share on Thursday afternoon at the pickup location at Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.

‘Tis (still) the season for local produce in Maine

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 19, 2016, at 7 a.m.
“Winter markets are important for farmers. It’s good for farmers to keep interacting with their shoppers, and it’s good for Mainers to keep local produce part of their grocery shopping.”
Some of the panelists who spoke on Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Slow Money Maine gathering in Belfast were (from left) Bonnie Rukin, the coordinator of Slow Money Maine; Dan Fireside of Equal Exchange; Marada Cook of Crown O'Maine Organic Cooperative; Francis Boero; Scott Cooper, the director of finance at Crown O'Maine; and Lynne Hoey of San Francisco-based RSF Social Finance.

How companies can scale up without selling out

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 17, 2016, at 2:02 p.m.
“We’re looking to grow our sales dramatically.”
Some of the products Houlton Farms Dairy produces include butter and wide a variety of milks.

Locally made butter a bright spot in state’s dairy production

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 14, 2016, at 6:51 a.m.
“If people have a local butter they love to buy, they are fiercely loyal to that butter, just like everybody’s got their favorite ice cream.”
Kennebec Valley Community College timberframing instructor Sandor Nagy (second from left) gives pointers to students on the fitting of a floor joist in a timberframe structure. The college's sustainable construction program started two years ago. Also pictured are students Amber Oberle (right), Vinnie Birtwell (left) and Hannes Moll.

Sustainable construction on the syllabus at Kennebec Valley Community College

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 11, 2016, at 7:49 a.m.
Officials at Kennebec Valley Community College are happy that nearly one-third of the students in the sustainable construction program, which began last fall, are women.
Chuck Gould rakes blueberries on Aug. 12 at one of the Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company fields in Township 19 in Washington County.

Trouble in the barrens as wild blueberries bring in less money

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 10, 2016, at 11:45 a.m.
Daniella Tessier gives a a kiss to a goat int he goat pasture at Peace Ridge in Brooks Tuesday. The farm animal sanctuary has a new, 800-acre home in Brooks where more pigs, chickens, goats and other rescued animals can live out their lives more freely.

Maine sanctuary provides safe haven for farm animals

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 04, 2016, at 12:09 p.m.
“The animals own the property, not me. This is their home.”
November is not too late to plant garlic, other bulbs, fruit trees, shrubs and wild Maine seeds.

Late fall is the season to scatter seed bombs and bury bulbs

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 03, 2016, at 11:47 a.m.
“Fall is a great time to plant because it’s cooler, and we generally get an adequate amount of moisture, so that’s good.”
Hay bails are seen at a farm in Monroe. The town of Winslow is working to try to help its remaining working farms stay the course -- by forgiving their local property taxes.

New program in Winslow to offer property tax relief for farms

By Abigail Curtis on Nov. 01, 2016, at 10:35 a.m.
Winslow is working to try to help its remaining working farms stay in business by forgiving their local property taxes.
Jeff Wolovitz of Heiwa Tofu works on a batch of his product on Thursday morning at the company's new beanery, or manufacturing space, in Rockport.

Maine-made tofu company growing fast

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 31, 2016, at 1 a.m.
Jeff Wolovitz of Heiwa Tofu was a blur of action on Thursday morning as he shepherded the transformation of pounds of raw soybeans into the creamy, fresh-tasting product his small, family-owned company is known for.
Ray Schofield shapes bread on Monday in his newly-constructed bakery, Back 40 Bakehouse, at his home in Montville.

From commune home to family-run bakery, this Montville barn has stories to tell

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 29, 2016, at 7:56 a.m.
“The world is a great place, here in Montville, Maine, the way life should be,” baker Ray Schofield said.
Stanley Luce uses a mechanical picker to harvest cranberries using the dry method at Highland Farms in Troy. Fresh cranberries are harvested using this method rather than a wet harvest. After Stanley harvests the cranberries, his wife Jennifer Wixson sorts the berries to remove any that may have frost, bug or picking damage.

Bumper crop for Maine cranberry growers

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 27, 2016, at 2:14 p.m.
“The cranberries are really the fruition of our love.”
Entrepreneur Paul Naron is looking for vendors to sign up for the United Farmers Market of Belfast, a business that will be open on Saturdays all year-round, starting next spring.

Indoor farmers market grows in Belfast

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 23, 2016, at 7:44 a.m.
“It’s all about breaking bread with your neighbors. That’s the whole thing. Sitting around on a Saturday morning and enjoying your neighbors.”
Megan Demers shovels fresh bedding under cows who have been milked on Friday at the J.F. Witter Teaching & Research Center in Old Town.

The imperfect present and hopeful future of UMaine’s Witter Farm

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 22, 2016, at 10 a.m.
“It’s different now than it was,” dairy herdsperson Lizz McLaughlin said. “We’re all very motivated to make this place work.”
Spike Carter carries apples to his car after harvesting them from wild or long untended tree on the Deer Isle. Carter only uses apples from the island and adds no sugar or yeast to the cider he calls Pinch Cidery of Stonington.

Small-batch cider sourced from wild apple trees of Deer Isle

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 19, 2016, at 11:48 a.m.
The tart, abundant and tasty apples were unlikely to be collected or even found by human hands — until Spike Carter came along.
Fine art photographer Lynn Karlin photographs a still life of vegetables Friday in the small corner studio of her kitchen at her home in Belfast.

‘Vegetable whisperer’: Belfast woman makes mark as a fine-art vegetable photographer

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 15, 2016, at 10:20 a.m.
Photographer Lynn Karlin moved swiftly through the Belfast Farmers Market on a recent Friday, hunting for new subjects to capture with her camera.
Lucy Poulin founded the H.O.M.E. Coop in Orland in 1970.

‘Sister Lucy’ retiring after 46 years of work on behalf of needy Mainers

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 14, 2016, at 4:31 p.m.
It’s time for younger people to take over,” Poulin said Friday.
Fail Better Farm owner Clayton Carter said the yield of several vegetables was significantly lower because of the drought in Maine. The dry weather greatly reduced the size and volume of some vegetables such as the carrots and potatoes this season. Carter said that other vegetables did well, and it helped to offset some of the low yields of the growing season. The farm has a small irrigation system that is good enough to get through a short dry spell, but they were not able irrigate enough to make up for the lack of rain this year.

Worsening drought leaves Maine farms, wells in bad shape

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 14, 2016, at 12:18 p.m.
“I’ve never seen it this dry, ever,” Ann Carter said. “Without water, you’re thinking, ‘Oh my God, what are we going to do?”