A visit to the Workhorse and Worksong Hootenany

Posted July 22, 2014, at 5:29 a.m.
Last modified July 22, 2014, at 7:44 a.m.

MONROE, Maine — It was a perfect summer day, with the sun shining over the fields. A man driving horses cultivated vegetables as sounds of a song came from a distance, where others weeded the crops.

You would think it’s a movie about life 100 years ago, but in fact it was the scene at North Branch Farm last week. The farm was host of the Workhorse and Worksong Hootenany, a workshop organized by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

If you have hundreds of feet of vegetable beds to weed, songs can make the task easier, said Edith Gawler, who led the workshop with her husband, Bennett Konesni. Many workshop participants offered their own songs or shared experiences.

Seth and Tyler Yentes, Anna Shapley-Quinn and Elsie Gawler own and operate North Branch Farm, where they grow organic vegetables, tend fruit trees, and raise pigs and beef and dairy cows.

About 60 people attended the workshop, which ended with a potluck meal and square dance.



An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the organization as the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association.