Articles by Lauren Abbate

Matt Bell tops off jars of beets with brine at Thirty Acre Farm. Besides traditional sauerkraut, they make a variety of other fermented vegetables and hot sauces. They grow the large majority of the organic vegetables on their farm in Whitefield.

Maine farmer turns fresh produce into funky ferments

By Lauren Abbate on March 24, 2017, at 11:02 a.m.
“My hope was to just provide nutritious food to people. I think we’re definitely doing that by growing nutritious crops and them giving them further value through the fermentation process.”
Bartlettyarns newest owner, Lindsey Rice, watches as the mill's old 1948 mule spins yarn.

Yarn of a different century: Traditional spinning takes center stage at Maine mill

By Lauren Abbate on March 21, 2017, at 9:18 a.m.
“I love the old machinery. It does a fantastic job. We’re producing something more of quality than quantity.”
Bangor area residents examine the offerings at a community supported agriculture (CSA) fair in 2011.

Bangor farm share fair could determine what you eat this season

By Lauren Abbate on March 16, 2017, at 1 a.m.
“This is one of the really best ways to support local agriculture because it’s not just going to the farmers’ market — it’s investing in the farmer for the entire season.”
Linda Cummings, seamstress for more than 25 years, has had alterations shops in three locations in the greater Bangor area since 1993. Her business, called Linda's Alterations on Hammond Street in Bangor, is booming. Cummings chalks it up to the fact that fewer people are learning how to sew and the ones who can are getting older.

As home economics classes dwindle, business booms for Bangor seamstress

By Lauren Abbate on March 14, 2017, at 8:45 a.m.
Being able to fix her own cherished items if they rip or need to be altered is something Linda Cummings said she appreciates having the ability to do.
A woman sews a button onto a garment in Portland in 2014.

How to replace a button that fell off

By Lauren Abbate on March 14, 2017, at 8:43 a.m.
The basic tools necessary for the small sewing project are a needle, thread that matches the color of the clothing item and a button that is the same — or as similar as possible — as the other buttons on the garment.
Fresh, organic, local, all natural ― there are a host of descriptors that food producers use these days to market their products. While some of these claims are verifiable, others are not, and it takes a quick education in food labels for consumers to know the difference.

What you should know about food labeling in Maine

By Lauren Abbate on March 08, 2017, at 1 a.m.
“It’s a big challenge to look at things with a critical eye and try to figure out how you are not being deceived.”
Mike Bahner shows off one of his hoop houses on a late winter day at Bahner Farm in Belmont.

You don’t have to be a farmer to play a role in Maine’s local food scene

By Lauren Abbate on March 06, 2017, at 4:03 p.m.
Local farmers are turning to Slow Money Maine, an organization that brings together investors and local food businesses to create a large network of people interested in bolstering Maine’s food system.
Waterville resident Peter Garrett powers his home and two other buildings on his property with these two solar arrays.

New rules expected to slow residential solar power growth, advocates say

By Lauren Abbate on March 02, 2017, at 6:37 a.m.
“If you look across the country … solar is now a leading resource.”
A customer shops for fresh produce at the Portland Farmers' Market in this November 2013 file photo.

New USM food studies program taking an interdisciplinary look at food systems

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 21, 2017, at 10:33 a.m.
The questions surrounding food systems come from a variety of different angles. As food makes its way from soil to mouth, the issues that it intersects with are scientific, environmental, social, economic and political.
A man makes his way down Hammond street during a snowstorm on Monday in Bangor. The recent snowfall could bring some relief to the drought which has persisted for much of the last year.

Winter weather on track to soothe ongoing drought conditions

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 15, 2017, at 10:42 a.m.
“In order to really see how well it eases the drought, we have to see … how quickly it melts.”
Rolling Acres Farm in Jefferson now serves as Maine Farmland Trust's Joseph A. Fiore Art Center, where four artists each spent a month last summer completing an art residency.

Maine Farmland Trust artist residency program promotes agriculture through visual arts

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 14, 2017, at 8:09 a.m.
“Farmers are makers, and artists are makers, and they seem to have a lot of shared passion for our rural environments and heritage here in Maine.”
Paul Costello, executive director of the Vermont Council on Rural Development, speaks as the keynote speaker to kick off a daylong discussion hosted by Envision Maine that focused on the economy of rural Maine and opportunities to grow it on Friday at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor.

Creating bright futures for Maine’s rural economies relies on collaboration of ideas

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 10, 2017, at 5:27 p.m.
Communities throughout rural Maine are up against no shortage of challenges.
Carl Johanson, 26, plays with his dog while talking about the recently installed large solar array at Goranson Farm in Dresden. Johanson's parents own the farm and were the driving force behind the project that is to cover the energy needs at the 80-acre organic farm.

Solar array adds to the sustainable future of a historically progressive family farm in Maine

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 10, 2017, at 6:57 a.m.
“We’re trying to survive as a family business, while being less dependent on energy sources that are beyond our control. [Solar] seemed an appropriate way to go.”

Possessions, cost must be considered before downsizing to a tiny house

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 04, 2017, at 7:40 a.m.
There are a few things that should be taken into consideration before deciding to buy your tiny own home.
Nic Ledoux (left) and his wife, Robin Bienenstock, recently sit in their tiny home that is parked at a campground in Freeport. They bought the home last year and decided to come to Maine for their first winter.

A 200-square-foot winter: Colder months an added adventure for tiny home dwellers

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 04, 2017, at 7:40 a.m.
“We love it,” Robin Bienenstock said. “[The tiny house is] one of the best places we’ve lived.”

Daylong event to focus on rural Maine’s economy, future

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 03, 2017, at 12:49 p.m.
A daylong discussion focusing on rural Maine’s economy and its future is being held Feb. 10, featuring more than 50 presenters and numerous workshops.
A burning bush turns prematurely red in Illinois, on September 21, 2012.

33 plants deemed invasive can no longer be sold in Maine

By Lauren Abbate on Feb. 02, 2017, at 6:22 a.m.
“The plants on the list have invaded farms, fields, forests and wetlands throughout the state.”

Maine offers plenty of ways to add agriculture to vacation plans

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 28, 2017, at 7:20 a.m.
Though you may have come to Maine for the coastline or the mountains, there are ample ways to check out the local agriculture offerings along the way.
Visitors take a hayride at Treworgy Family Orchard in Levant in September 2016.

New agriculture map seeks to promote Maine farms to the tourism market

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 28, 2017, at 7:20 a.m.
The map will help connect the many tourists who visit the state each year with this local agriculture and Maine’s farming traditions.
Brian Papineau (foreground) of Old Town reaches for an LED light as Sid Sinclair (left), a field representative with the Efficiency Maine lighting program, and Lowe's customer service associate Willy Willette (background) help him make his choice at the new Lowe's Home Improvement store on Springer Drive in Bangor.

Energy savings and sustainable practices not out of reach midwinter

By Lauren Abbate on Jan. 25, 2017, at 1 p.m.
Despite winter’s elements making it difficult to avoid higher heat and light usage, there is a wide range of ways people can reduce their energy consumption on a daily basis, proving that sustainable lifestyle habits aren’t out of reach during the winter.