June 16, 2010

Natural Foodie: Season’s fleeting, but organic berries abound in Maine

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

Strawberry season – one of the sweetest times of year – is upon us, which means now is the moment to snatch up their fleeting goodness. In another month or so, nature’s candy store continues to throw open its doors as blueberries begin to ripen on Maine farms.

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WHERE TO FIND BERRIES

Here's a map to guide your berry search.

 

WANT MORE ORGANIC EATS?
Check out the Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association website, www.mofga.org, where there is a directory of certified organic Maine farms that allows you to search by the products they offer. Find it under the Resources tab.

Each year at this time, I’m reminded anew about how delicious it is to live in Maine.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ll recall that a few weeks ago I wrote about cultivated blueberries showing up for the first time on the Dirty Dozen list of the most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, strawberries are just as bad when it comes to chemical residues.

The recent news out of California shows why seeking out organic is so important for our health and the health of the planet. For years, California’s agribusiness strawberry farms have used the pesticide methyl bromide (which is linked to neurological and respiratory disorders) to sterilize the soil before planting. (To me, the fact that these farmers want to sterilize their soil shows how poorly they understand soil science, let alone ecological systems.)

Today, methyl bromide is slowly being phased out due to its role in depleting the ozone layer. In its place, commodity strawberry growers pushed for approval of an even more toxic substance: methyl iodide. California is poised to approve this chemical linked to cancer and miscarriages, despite an outpouring of opposition from scientists and consumers. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported this month, the pesticide “is so toxic that even chemists are reluctant to handle it.”

To avoid being exposed to such poison-laced fruit, the smart thing to do is to buy from local farms that use natural farming methods. Thankfully, Maine is a leader in sustainable agriculture, and there are plenty of places to buy organic berries.

Here is a selected list of farms who would be happy to sell some of their chem-free goodness. Many of these farms make a great day trip from the Portland area or a fun spot to visit when vacationing Downeast. I’ve broken the list up between strawberries and blueberries, but a number of these farms sell organically grown raspberries and blackberries too.

All can help you enjoy summer’s sweetness – without the unwanted side effects of pesticide exposure.

ORGANIC STRAWBERRIES

BROADTURN FARM

388 Broadturn Road, Scarborough. 329-3840; www.broadturnfarm.com
Get pick-your-own strawberries starting today from dawn to dusk and every day until the season comes to an end.

CHICK FARM
985-2787; chickfarm.com
Find their berries 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Kennebunk Farmers Market.

GORANSON FARM
250 River Road, Dresden. 737-8834; www.goransonfarm.me
Sold at the farm stand from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Or find them on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Boothbay Farmers Market; Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Damariscotta Farmers Market; and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Bath Farmers Market.

MANDALA FARM
46 Young’s Farm Road, Gouldsboro. 963-2984; www.mandalafarm.com
Available now at the farm stand, which is open during daylight hours seven days a week. Or find them on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Winter Harbor Farmers Market.

MISTY MEADOWS FARM
1327 Main St., Grand Isle. 316-6959; www.mistymeadowsorganicfarm.com
Look for strawberries in a week or so at the farm stand, which is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Pick-your-own is offered 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

SQUIRE TARBOX FARM
3 Squire Court, Westport Island. 522-0840
Available in a week or so at the self-service farm store, or find them on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Bath Farmers Market and from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Crystal Springs Farmers Market in Brunswick.

STONECIPHER FARM
Strawberries available now on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon in Deering Oaks park at the Portland Farmers Market.

SUMMIT SPRINGS FARMS
summitspringsfarm.net
The farm is seeking organic certification and doesn’t use chemical pesticides. It offers berries on Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Portland Farmers Market in Monument Square; on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon at the Portland Farmers Market in Deering Oaks park; and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the Bridgton Farmers Market.

SWEET SEASON FARM

77 Liberty Road, Washington. 845-3028; sweetseasonfarm.com
Sold at the farm store and offered through a limited pick-your-own operation.

YODER HEIRLOOMS
sweetseasonfarm.com
Offers berries from Sweet Season Farm on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Monument Square at Portland Farmers Market.

ORGANIC BLUEBERRIES

BEECH HILL PRESERVE
Beech Hill Road, Rockport. 236-7091; www.coastalmountains.org
Limited quarts of berries are for sale at the farm stand, and you can pre-order 10-pound bags on the website.

BERRY BROOK
299-4577
Offers quarts and pints of wild blueberries starting around the last week of July on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Orono Farmers Market.

BLUE SKY FARM
Ames Cove Road, Brooksville. 326-9099
Offers pick-your-own wild blueberries and lessons on how to use a traditional Downeast-designed hand rake. Or buy fresh quarts from the farm stand. The farm is open seven days a week from Aug. 1 through Labor Day weekend.

BLUE-ZEE FARM
652 Front Ridge Road, Penobscot. 374-9976
Find the wild blueberries the last weeks of July and throughout August on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Castine Farmers Market; Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon at the Stonington Farmers Market; Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Blue Hill Farmers Market; and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon in Deering Oaks park at the Portland Farmers Market. Call during the season to inquire about buying at the farm.

BURKE HILL FARM
520 Blackswood Road, Cherryfield. 460-6215
Offers pints, 5-pound boxes and 10-pound boxes of wild blueberries at the farm stand. Or find them on Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Lewiston Farmers Market; Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Rockland Farmers Market; Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Acadia Farmers Market; and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ellsworth Farmers Market. Look for berries from the end of July or early August through mid-September.

BURNT MEADOW FARM

25 Spring St., Brownfield. 890-7403; burntmeadow@hotmail.com
Sells a minimum of 20 pints when ordered in advance.

GORANSON FARM
250 River Road, Dresden. 737-8834; www.goransonfarm.me
Sold at the farm stand, which is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily. Or find them on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Boothbay Farmers Market; Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Damariscotta Farmers Market; and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Bath Farmers Market.

GRAMP’S FARM

320 Front Ridge Road, Orland. 469-3003; grampsfarm@aol.com
Call in advance to order 5-pound bags. Occasionally makes deliveries to Portland. Also offers farm-made fruit leather. Expects berries by July 4.

HATCH KNOLL FARM
29 Hatch Knoll Road, Jonesboro. 434-2674; www.hatchfarm.com
Buy them at the farm stand when the berries ripen around the beginning of August, or pick your own. Both are open daily during daylight hours.

INTERVALE FARM
199 North Main St., Cherryfield. 546-2589; www.intervale blueberryfarm.com
Sells wild blueberries at its farm stand and on Tuesdays at the Winter Harbor Farmers Market and Saturdays at the Millbridge Farmers Market.

PEAKED MOUNTAIN FARM
www.peakedmountainfarm.com
Look for their fresh wild blueberries at Jordan’s Farm stand in Cape Elizabeth, Farmers Fare in Rockport, Barrels in Waterville, McLaughlin’s Seafood in Bangor, Paradis in Brewer and Ridley’s Farm in Shapleigh.

RICKER HILL ORCHARDS
www.rickerhill.com
Look for their pints in Hannaford, Whole Foods Market and other natural food stores.

SEWALL’S ORCHARD

259 Masalin Road, Lincolnville. 763-3956; www.sewallorchard.com
Offers a small rake-your-own blueberry field overlooking Camden Hills State Park that produces berries roughly every other year. Call in advance to see if blueberries are available.

STAPLES HOMESTEAD BLUEBERRY FARM
302 Old County Road, Stockton Springs. 567-3393
Once the berries ripen in August, buy quarts of wild blueberries direct from the farm or do your own picking or raking from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week, weather permitting. You can pre-order cases with 16 quarts by phone and pick them up at the farm.

STONESET FARM
Offers wild blueberries at Whole Foods Market and Blue Hill Coop. Find them on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at the Castine Farmers Market; Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Brooklin Farmers Market; Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon at the Stonington Farmers Market; and on Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Blue Hill Farmers Market.

SWEET SEASON FARM

77 Liberty Road, Washington. 845-3028; sweetseasonfarm.com
Buy them at the farm store or take advantage of the limited pick-your-own operation.

TWO TOAD FARM
www.twotoadfarm.com
Offers wild blueberries on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at the Sanford Farmers Market.

WILDWOOD ACRES FARM
Hadley Lake Road, East Machias. (401) 644-6506
Get pick-your-own wild blueberries by appointment, typically starting in August.

YODER HEIRLOOMS

Offers berries from Sweet Season Farm in Washington on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Monument Square at the Portland Farmers Market.

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: akamila@pressherald.com

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