On the same road as potato, grain and cattle farms in Fort Fairfield, Randel and Pam Agrella have a small farm with a distinctive purpose: preserving heirloom seeds.

“We think agriculture is at the beginning of a renaissance,” Randel Agrella said in late June, two years after they moved to the 3½ acre property they’ve named Abundant Acres.

Agrella works for Baker Creek Seeds, a rare and heirloom seed company based in Missouri, where they had lived before spending three years living in Baker Creek’s 1767 seed homestead in Old Wethersfield, Connecticut.

“We loved it there. We love it here,” said Agrella, who’s originally from Sonora, California.

Although he’s not a yet a fan of winter and has some concerns about large-scale agricultural practices in the region, Agrella said they’re settling in well and finding the space to pursue their farming passion, carrying along the lineage of heirloom seeds while trying new approaches.

“Experimentation has always been my way when I was first getting into gardening. You never know what’s really going to thrive. You can look at something and say, ‘that’s a Thai variety — there’s no way it’s going to grow in Maine,’” he said, pointing to a Thai basil plant in the greenhouse. “You’re probably right when you say that, but you might not be, and trying is the way to know for sure.”

Living in a clapboard home built in the 1890s, with a massive oak tree in the front yard, Agrella is doing a mix of experimentation and tried-and-true planting for Baker Creek, as well as for their own food and seedlings and produce they sell locally.

This summer, the largest plot at their farm is devoted to a “cucurbit grow out” for Baker Creek, with three heirloom cucumber, pumpkin and squash varieties that will be harvested for seeds: Japanese Long cucumber, Bylinka squash and Omaha pumpkin.

The Japanese Long cucumber is a “burpless,” crisp and sweet cucumber that can be picked thin and seedless or grow up to 18 inches long. “I don’t know if it’ll work here or not, but we’ll see what kind of seed producer it is,” Agrella said.

The other two are northern varieties that should grow well. The winter squash variety, Bylinka, was bred in Soviet Russia with resistance to the fungal diseases anthracnose and powdery mildew. The Omaha pumpkin in an early, oblong sweet pumpkin that was passed on by the Hidatsa Tribe of the Dakotas.

Agrella is also doing a trial for Baker Creek of 13 varieties of Amaranth, the ancient, gluten-free quasi-grain. For themselves, they have an experimental plot with chickpeas and lentils, as well as a large vegetable garden, including potatoes.