BLUE HILL, Maine — An idea has been germinating for the 25 years since WERU FM (89.9 in Blue Hill/99.9 in Bangor, now streaming on www.weru.org) started broadcasting from atop Blue Hill Mountain.
WERU, a grassroots community radio station serving Downeast/MidCoast Maine, with locally produced diverse musical and community affairs programs, has long been a part of the lives of local farmers. Nonprofit WERU has aired information on local farmers markets and special Farm Days and included such information in its online community calendar over the years.
There have been many farm specific programs, from topics on Hancock Extension Agent Ron Beard’s bimonthly Talk of the Towns to the monthly Common Ground program hosted by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). So when long time behind-the-scenes volunteer, Pat Fowler said “Let’s have an auction featuring local farms and farm produce to celebrate our 25th Anniversary,” volunteers and staff agreed.
On June 6 from 6 to 8 p.m., the WERU Farm Fresh Live Radio Auction will feature a wide harvest of local foods with more than 50 gift certificates from area farms and farmers’ markets, celebrating 25 years of growth, sustainability and cross-pollination in the community at large.
The response in the farm and food community has been enthusiastic. Johnny’s Selected Seeds (www.johnnysseeds.com) has signed on as auction sponsor. To date, eight farmers markets from Stonington to Orono to Unity have donated certificates to be redeemed at their vendors. Additionally, dozens of area farms have donated certificates for produce of all kinds — vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, preserves, locally grown seedlings. Other food producers have donated certificates — for cheeses, sausages, specialized foods. Bidders can even compete for 25 bales of organic straw from Two Loons Farm in South China, four pounds of garlic from Runwater Farm in Sullivan, and 12 quarts of U-pick strawberries at Homewood Farm in Blue Hill.
Community Supported Agriculture farms have also donated to the auction. Several farms will offer access either to a few produce pickups (as a trial for this popular model of partnership between farmers and their consumers) or to a continuing share of farm produce through the season. “Not sure what CSA means? Bid on a trial membership and find out what it’s like each week to have your own box of the very freshest local produce. Here’s a great opportunity to experience this direct relationship between the food grower and the food consumer,” notes Fowler, an auction coordinator.
“WERU Farm Fresh Live Radio Auction items provide a rich sampling of the delicious offerings of local farms, farmers markets, and food producers,” notes station manager Matt Murphy. “We are proud that the local farm community is part of WERU and finds support from our community radio station’s locally produced music (music to milk by?), community calendar listings of farmers markets and special farm events, and programming related to farming as a sustainable part of living in our area.”
The WERU Farm Fresh Live Radio Auction bid list continues to grow, and more information will be released before it airs on June 6th from 6:00-8:00 PM on Community Radio WERU 89.9 FM Blue Hill and 99.9 Bangor. All auction items will be listed in the order of bidding at www.weru.org starting in early May. For more information about the WERU Farm Fresh Live Radio Auction call the station at (207) 469-6600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.