Local apprentices establish ‘free choice’ farm in Brunswick

Two former apprentices of locally renowned organic vegetable farm, Crystal Spring Farm, are embarking on their own venture this spring. Their operation, Sound Pine Farm, will tailor to Brunswick-area residents with a free-choice market-style vegetable share, which offers members a wide selection of the farm’s offerings weekly from June through October.

Alessia McCobb and Virginia Winkler have worked on a number of farms and have spent a combined five years learning from their mentor, Seth Kroeck, of Crystal Spring Farm, initially as apprentices through Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and later as managers.

The friends dreamed for years about starting a farm together, and have finally made that a reality as they launch into their first season in Brunswick this spring.

According to their website, “We grow on 3 acres of land nestled at the mouth of Middle Bay Cove. To grow your food, we rely on cultivating a healthy farm ecosystem without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. We do this by applying organic compost, providing natural habitat for beneficial organisms, cover cropping, and crop rotation.”

In a traditional Community Supported Agriculture system, members buy a share from a farm before the growing season, which provides the farmer with early-season capital and guaranteed customers. In exchange, when the crops start producing, the farmer gives their members an allotted selection of vegetables each week. Sound Pine Farm’s free-choice share is customizable – members choose exactly which vegetables in whatever quantity they need for the week. McCobb and Winkler are now accepting members for the 2019 season; visit soundpinefarm.com for details.

Maine Tourism Association inducts brothers into hall of fame

The Maine Tourism Association announced that this year’s inductees into the Association’s Hall of Fame are Ed Palmer of Sable Oaks and his brother Tom Palmer of Layfette Hotels. 

Every year one member of the association is chosen to be inducted at the MTA’s annual meeting, but this year was an exception with the induction on April 9 of the Palmer brothers, who both had extraordinary careers in tourism and community involvement.

Ed was hired by Ocean Properties in 1980. He operated 10 hotels in the subsequent 16 years in Florida, Arizona, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Maine. His goal was to always to return to Maine and a raise family, which he did in 1994 to manage the Holiday Inn in Bath. He then began managing the Portland Marriott Sable Oaks in 1996, and has been there ever since. His commitment to the tourism industry and community was shown with his involvement in organizations that included local chambers of commerce and the Greater Portland Convention and Visitor’s Bureau/Visit Portland. Ed also was a founding member of the Tourism and Hospitality program at the University of Southern Maine.

Tom also worked for Ocean Properties, starting in 1980. In 1995, he started working for Lafayette Hotels, as general manager of the Black Bear Inn in Orono and the Fireside Inn in Bangor. He has also served on countless boards in the area. 

“Tom and Ed are outstanding leaders. They exemplify the best of the tourism industry with their meaningful and impactful careers,” said Chris Fogg, CEO of the Maine Tourism Association. “Their commitment to Maine, their communities and hospitality and tourism is unmatched.”

Alessia McCobb and Virginia Winkler are opening Sound Pine Farm, which will tailor free-choice market-style vegetable shares to Midcoast residents.Palmer