GARDINER — Mother and daughter Nubian goats Olive and Lilly crowded the fence for a chance to grab special cookies from visitors.

Lyra Annabelle Sanborn, 2, of Milo was enchanted with the goats and almost equally fascinated with the chickens ranging around outside their coop.

Her grandmother, Rebecca St. Pierre of Chelsea, followed her from pen to pen at Butting Heads Farm on Costello Road in Gardiner.

The homestead farm of Jackie and Rod Frost was one of dozens of farms across central Maine that welcomed folks on Sunday for the 28th annual Open Farm Day organized by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

Lyra’s dad, Aaron Sanborn, grew up on a dairy farm in Alton, where his family raised Holsteins, Herefords as well as a crossbreed of the two.

While he loved the life, he said, there’s really no money in small dairy farms today, so his uncle is now haying that land.

“Every time I go by the farm, it breaks my heart,” he said.

In the meantime, he and Renee Ireland wanted their daughter to see a farm.

The Carlson family of Gardiner brought their three children, with blond, curly-haired Hanna, 2, describing the goats to her mother as “amazing.”

“I milk the goats,” Jackie Frost told Ted Rohman of Waterville, as Marsha Rohman sampled a bottle of goat milk lotion, which she later purchased to use on her arms and hands.

Ted Rohman said Butting Heads Farm was the first stop on a short list of three farms they wanted to tour on Sunday. The others were in Monmouth and Chelsea.

“Last year we went to Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm in Waldo,” he said. He said that visit inspired their desire to see more farms.

On a relatively small portion of their 50-acre farm, Frost and her husband have a dozen or so chickens, the pair of goats – they just sold seven – as well as five pigs reclining in shallow trenches in shade.

The two goats provide a little over a gallon of milk a day, and Jackie Frost said the family drinks it, but she doesn’t sell it.

Jackie Frost’s great-grandparents started with large gardens and a few livestock on the land in 1933, and Jackie and her husband took over 20 years ago. They founded Butting Heads Farm six or seven years ago to begin commercial operations.

“We shifted focus,” Frost said. “We were going to do a creamery and dairy, but the market is saturated right now.”

A large bed of beans and beets, a grape arbor obscuring a rusted metal sculpture of a tree and various fruit trees offer a glimpse of the new production area: pickled vegetables and jams and jellies.

Some 2½ years ago, Frost attended a presentation during the Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta that offered tips on getting a home food processing license.

With that in hand, she now preserves and sells pickled beets, dilly beans, cauliflower, red peppers and jalapeños.

While the crops were dry, Frost said she didn’t intend to water them.

“I don’t water,” she said. Then she amended her statement to say she might have to water if the dry spell continued.

As the visitors continued to arrive, her son, Chason Frost, brought over more jars of pickled vegetables from the home across the road.

A horticulture major at the University of Maine in Orono, Chason Frost said he was home for the summer to help.

The farm is a part-time operation. Jackie Frost works as an educational technician at a school in Richmond and Rod Frost works for ETTI in Lewiston.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: betadams