Copper Trail Farm’s John McKee and his herd of 40 goats. When he and his wife first moved here, they only had eight. Photo Blue Horse Photography

Fields of crops, quaint farmhouses and barnyards filled with animals are among the images that come to mind when people think of Maine. And on Sunday, you can place yourself right inside that idyllic scene as over 130 farms open their doors – or, more likely, gates – for tours, alpaca rides and free food samples.

In its 30th year, Open Farm Day has more farms participating than ever in all parts of the state with all kinds of activities, from Spiller Farm in Wells offering strawberry and raspberry picking to Rabbit Hill Farm in Stonington holding wine tastings.

In an open letter to Mainers in recognition of Open Farm Day, Gov. Janet Mills noted that the number of farmers in the state, and women farmers in particular, has increased (since a census report in 2012) and that there has been a 53 percent increase in the amount of farmers selling their food directly to the consumer. But at the same time, the number of small Maine farms has decreased by 13 percent, and 10 percent of farms have been lost to residential development, Mills said.

Along with buying their products at farmers markets and local stores, celebrating Open Farm Day is a way to support Maine’s farmers, and the following places offer particularly unique experiences. For more information and a map of all participating farms, go to maine.gov/dacf.

COPPER TRAIL FARM
Strawberry goat-milk yogurt, or goat-milk caramel sauce, anyone? This organic goat farm is run by a husband and wife from Oregon who brought their eight goats to Waldoboro in 2014 and now have around 40. The pair frequents the Brunswick Farmers Market and holds a popular baby goat hugging day. For Open Farm Day, there will be tours and free samples of their products. And, of course, visitors will be able to see the adorable goats.
WHERE: 293 Genthner Road, Waldoboro
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Alpacas from East Coast Alpacas fawn over their new member. Photo by East Coast Alpacas

EAST COAST ALPACAS
Not many people can say they’ve walked an award-winning alpaca, but for only $5, you can do just that in Biddeford on Saturday. The animals are known for their soft fur that’s shaved once a year to make socks, hats and scarves, all of which will be sold on Open Farm Day. Visitors will be able to see the farm’s chickens and cats, too.
WHERE: 69 Mountain Road, Biddeford
HOURS: 1-5 p.m.

TENDER SOLES FARM
Horses run the show at Tender Soles Farm – literally. The farm uses horse power instead of tractors on its vegetable and flower crops in order to limit fossil fuels, and that’s only one of the ways that the farm gives back to the community. Others? Year-round educational workshops about honeybees and seed-saving. Tender Soles also offers a range of products, including catnip and maple syrup, in addition to vegetables. Its produce is used at restaurants in the area and in Cambridge, Massachusetts. All will be on display for Open Farm Day.
WHERE: 453 Main St., Richmond
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

WHATLEY FARM
It’s said that music makes a plant grow faster, and Whatley Farm will put this theory to the test with an acoustic concert, free for all to bring instruments and play along. In addition, there will be greenhouse and farm tours. The farm sells duck eggs, pork, veggies and organic seedlings.
WHERE: 3 Whatley Farm Road, Topsham
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (music session 1-3 p.m.)

Aroostook Hops located in Westfield.  Photo by Molly Haley

AROOSTOOK HOPS
Breweries are prominent throughout the state, but only a couple of places grow hops, one of the main ingredients in beer. Ninety percent of hops are grown in the Pacific Northwest, but the very top of Maine also has a cold, wet climate conducive to growing the 18-foot plant. Allagash and Baxter are among the breweries that use the product. Aroostook Hops will give tours of the one-of-a-kind farm to celebrate Open Farm Day.
WHERE: 513 Shorey Road, Westfield
HOURS: Noon to 2 p.m.

GALLIFFREYAN FARM
Ever heard of chicken poop bingo? Well, at Galliffreyan Farm, it’s one of the featured games to play in celebration of Open Farm Day. Live music and the work of local artists will be on display, along with the farm’s rabbits, whose fur is used for spinning yarn. The farm will be selling its vegetables, too.
WHERE: 14 Lincoln St., Linneus
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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