Mary Burr points at the spinach sprouting Thursday in the high tunnel at the farm she owns with her husband, Bob Burr, on Corson Road in Mercer.

“We’ll harvest this on Saturday morning to serve at dinner,” she said.

The in-season vegetables will be served at the couple’s farm-to-table restaurant, 122 Corson, which sits only about 400 feet away from the high tunnels, also known as hoophouses, which are greenhouses with rounded tops that help extend the growing season.

The restaurant, which opened last June, started its second season Saturday. The hyper-local dining experience is the natural evolution of the couple’s commitment to good food and local products, Mary Burr said.

“We just wanted to have a place that we would be happy to go to,” she said. “We’re firm believers of you are what you eat.”

The restaurant is part of a growing local food movement in the Skowhegan area, which Kristina Cannon would consider a “local agricultural food hub.”

Cannon is executive director of Main Street Skowhegan, a nonprofit started in 2005 to revitalize the area. Local agriculture is “certainly one of the most important assets that we have,” she said.

The movement began with the opening of the Somerset Grist Mill, co-owned by Amber Lambke, and gained momentum with the Pickup Community Supported Agriculture food-shares program and a year-round farmers market.

“People from around the state are starting to notice that we have this great local food economy,” Cannon said.

The Burrs first got into the business of farming at the local farmers market, but they were growing their own food well before they decided to take it to market.

Mary, 63, grew up in Brisbane, Australia, where her family raised horses and cattle. She met Bob, 66, who is from Eastport, after he won a scholarship to study in the country for a year.

122 Corson made a small profit in its first year, which is uncommon in the industry, Mary Burr said. Meanwhile, the Burrs have decided “to start peeling some of the layers back a bit.”

The pasta machines are up for sale and the Burrs are attending fewer farmers markets as they try to simplify for the future.

The restaurant is the first building on their property that sits near the top of a hill on Corson Road, about 2 miles from U.S. Route 2.

Most people find out about 122 Corson by word-of-mouth, Burr said. People from out-of-state who own camps in the area will come for dinner, as do locals looking for somewhere to go for a special occasion.

The property features beautiful mountain views of muted shades of purple and blue. In the center of the vista is Mount Blue, to the left Sugarloaf and Saddleback mountains, and to the right, on a clear day, Burr said, Mount Washington in New Hampshire is visible.

The view also keeps the Burrs going through hard days of farm work. “You’ve got to look up,” Burr said.

The restaurant is open one to two days each week and seats 20 people, and it’s usually full, Burr said.

Madeline St. Amour can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

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