A common joke among Teen Ag crew members is that the carrots could be sold for double their standard grocery store price tag, since they were grown in a field overlooking the ocean. The salty breeze casting across the vegetable plot does more than cater to the daydreams of the farmers; it’s a reminder of how dynamic the landscape is at Wolfe’s Neck Farm.
Last week, the Teen Ag crew decided to gain a deeper understanding of the surroundings beyond their growing plot, in a theme they called “Bay Week”. With a renewed sense of excitement for spending their days on the farm—a little respite from the backbreaking work of cultivation—the crew began the week with a trip below the Little River Bridge into the low tide mud flats. They met with Ethan, a student at Maine College of Art in Portland pursuing a Master’s degree with a focus in sculpture. He brought the four crew members down the embankment and into a solid area of thick mud, leaning on a shovel as he spoke about the value of clay in history. “Thousands of years ago, it was clay that was used to invent vessels capable of holding water and food,” he began, to a captive audience. He bent down to break up the clay with his hands and invited the group to do the same.
After an exploration of the varying clay colors and textures, shovels were passed around to begin collecting the shoreline’s offerings. The project for the morning was to rebuild a collapsing cob oven in the educational gardens. Set on a pedestal of bricks, the dried clay dome had broken in recent years and sat unused. With the help of a visiting Maine summer camp group called Overland, Ethan and the crew spread layer upon layer of the clay onto the cob oven to reform the dome. Once it dries, they hope to incorporate the revitalized cob oven into educational lessons around cooking the vegetables grown on the farm.
The crew had come to realize that the hard work they put into growing the vegetables on the farm could then be cooked in an oven created from the clay beneath their feet. There was, they discovered, a connection among themselves and the varying ecosystems at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. They felt inspired by the amount of impact they had on the food they eat, how it’s grown, and the ways it can benefit the environment instead of causing harm.
Their reflections on sustainability came about again later in the week when the Teen Ag crew took a field trip to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park to try their hand at clamming. Their guide Zeb gave them an introduction into the trade and what signs to look for to ensure the clams are ready to be harvested. He passed around a chart for reference, which outlined the size and amount limitations for harvesting hard- and soft-shell clams, as well as specifications for when and where a license is required. He also told them to anticipate thick mud and gave them tips for walking in the flats.
With that, they went down to the shoreline and had their try at it. Looking for bubbles in the surface was a good indicator to rake through that area. Some crew members stuck closer to the shoreline, while others, like Maya, felt a more ambitious pull towards the center of the bay. All in all, it was not a day of abundant harvest, but it did garner moments of joy when a clam was found, moments of defeat when it was too small and had to be thrown back, and overall some good laughs.
Whitney admitted to preferring their place on the other side of the bay in the vegetable fields, and the others nodded in quick agreement. “Bay Week” brought them a great understanding of the coast, and a renewed appreciation for the ocean background behind their pile of freshly harvested carrots.
This weekend marks 5 years since I began my journey as Executive Director at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. Shortly after I accepted the job in the spring of ’12 but prior to my start date, my family and I reserved a site in the campground for a few nights. My wife and I love camping –… Continue Reading
Written by Tom Prohl, Production Educator for our Teen Ag Program, “Tom Talk” is a weekly feature in our summer CSA newsletter and offers insights on a range of topics regarding our five-acre vegetable plot. Crop planning and budgeting are two of the most challenging parts of running a farm enterprise. This is especially true… Continue Reading
To say that Wolfe’s Neck Farm dairy apprentice Kelly loves cows is a vast understatement. Despite the inevitable exhaustion that comes from rising before the sun for milking (Kelly is not a morning person), the moment she’s given opportunity to speak about cows, she immediately lights up. The joy in her voice is energetic and palpable.… Continue Reading
This blog was written by Abigial, one of our farm apprentices. This spring gave apprentices an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of lambing season hands-on. Abigial first became involved with Wolfe’s Neck Farm in 2013 as a volunteer with Freeport High School, and went on to join the Teen Ag Program that summer. After studying… Continue Reading
Have you ever wondered what happens to our bees in the cold winter months? Read on for an answer to this burning question and additional updates from Jen, our Education & Administrative Coordinator as well as resident beekeeper. This post is a contribution to our month-long February series My Wolfe’s Neck Farm. We’ll take a look at the many… Continue Reading
It’s a damp and overcast day in southern Maine – one whose rolling fog reminds us that despite the colored leaves still perched, we better not forget the onset of winter. For the Farm, the cold signals tucking away the hay wagon into its reserved Mallet Barn space, sliding CSA baskets into the Haze Hut… Continue Reading
The History of a Seasonal Favorite Fall is officially here and the pumpkin obsession has begun. This fall at Wolfe’s Neck Farm, we are offering Pumpkin Hayrides, as well as offering a large selection of pumpkins grown and sold in the Teen Ag Farm Stand. Since pumpkin season is upon us, here is a quick… Continue Reading
When Hannah isn’t touring the education gardens with excitable young summer campers, you may find her at a local historical museum. Somewhere between these two spaces, this Farm Camp Educator has found her passion. “My hope is that the two don’t need to be mutually exclusive,” she says of her fulfillment of teaching outside of the… Continue Reading
By Lilly Kuhn, Teen Ag Crew Member Last Friday, the Teen Ag crew traveled to the Packard-Littlefield Farm in Lisbon, ME. Cultivating Community’s New American Sustainable Agriculture Project (NASAP) is based out of Packard-Littlefield Farm and provides both land and training to refugees hoping to get involved in Maine agriculture. Most participants start out with a quarter… Continue Reading
In last week’s Tom Talk I briefly touched on cover cropping as a means of weed management. This week we will dive into cover cropping and all of its benefits. A cover crop is a non cash crop planted on ground not being utilized for vegetable production. Leaving bare ground or “tillage” in your field puts you at… Continue Reading