Abigail Curtis

Homestead Reporter

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?”
Susanne Grosjean (left) chats with other spinners during their weekly spinning meeting on Wednesday in Franklin. For over 40 years the group has been meeting every Wednesday at a different spinner's home.

‘It’s my religion’: Spinners group has been a weekly standby for more than 40 years

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 08, 2016, at 7:36 a.m.
“It’s nice seeing other styles of spinning and other ways that people approach fiber and other projects being inspired.”
Katy Taylor of Bath sails the Maine Maritime Museum lobster pumpkin during the annual Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta in Damariscotta, Oct. 12, 2015.

Maine’s new Pumpkin Trail turns the coast orange

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 06, 2016, at 9:59 a.m.
The idea for the pumpkin trail came about in part because organizations realized they were separately working to get the word out about their fall activities, all of which happened in a similar time frame and geographic location.
A 32-gallon bokashi composter in a greenhouse.

Fermented compost means more convenience, fewer bad smells

By Abigail Curtis on Oct. 05, 2016, at 8:15 a.m.
“I think that if people are at all headed in the direction of being composters, it’ll certainly be interesting to them.”
Rose Rapp with her pet donkeys at Farmetta Farm. She and her husband Wes Soper decided to close down the farm because of challenges in the business and their personal lives.

‘The marriage or the farm’: Why one Maine livestock farm reached the end of its line

By Abigail Curtis on Sept. 30, 2016, at 12:27 p.m.
“Wes said there’s a choice that’s got to be made,” Rose Rapp said. “The marriage or the farm. I took a deep breath, and processed it. I said, ‘You’re right.’ That’s when we started to get out.”
Mary Weaver, who has worked for decades to put on the Church Street Festival in Belfast said that this year's event will be her last as festival organizer.

Quirky parade a labor of love for Belfast woman

By Abigail Curtis on Sept. 29, 2016, at 3:08 p.m.
“This is a unique, without any reason, parade. This is for fun.”
Colorful tomatoes were on display Sunday evening during the first annual Seed to Table Variety Tasting at the Unity Food Hub, held by Johnny's Selected Seeds and the Unity Food Hub.

Tasting event in Unity showcases ‘new and improved vegetables’

By Abigail Curtis on Sept. 28, 2016, at 2:15 p.m.
“You think a tomato’s a tomato, but they’re actually drastically different.”
The city of Bangor is exploring either a ban or fee on plastic shopping bags and polystyrene containers.

Belfast locals float effort to ban plastic bags

By Abigail Curtis on Sept. 28, 2016, at 6:33 a.m.
“Anything plastic that gets degraded to this tiny amount is still plastic. It’s still petrochemicals. These chemicals don’t biodegrade.”
Susanne Ward, owner of Rock City Coffee Roasters and Rock City Cafe, is looking forward to transitioning the company's business model to that of an employee-owned cooperative. Kevin Malmstrom, the head coffee roaster, will be one of the owners when the transition is complete by the end of this year or the beginning of 2017. "I feel really good about it," Ward said. "I think it's the best solution I can come up with."

Baristas to business owners: Maine entrepreneur to sign company over to employees

By Abigail Curtis on Sept. 26, 2016, at 7:20 a.m.
When the ink is finally dry on the legal paperwork for the new corporation and the deal is done, the two Rock City coffee businesses will join a growing number of Maine companies that have moved to an employee-owned model.