BRIDGTON – Vegetable growers gathered recently to work together to maximize opportunities in all areas of local agriculture.

Pauline from New Sharon said, “It was a great networking meeting and full of ideas and information. I believe a lot of good things happened today.”

After introducing everyone, the gathering of about 45 got down to business.

Ray Dingly, owner of Watkins Farm in Naples, said there is a new vegetable on the market. “I can sell as much as you can grow,” he said. “It’s a cross between a summer squash and a zucchini – green on the bottom, yellow on top. And it is delicious. It’s called Zephyr.”

A newly married couple, recently relocated in Denmark from the Pacific Northwest, described their situation this way, “I’m a sheep farmer, and she raises culinary herbs. We’re looking for commercial outlets for both our products. We thought we had it made in Oregon, then we found Maine.”

The discussion was led by George Bradt, who convened the meeting after taking Food City’s discarded produce to Bridgton’s municipal compost pile for three months. “It was getting cold, the days shorter and the vegetables heavier. It was on one of the dump runs that it came to me: All this should be going to a farmer who needs it. But I didn’t know any farmers. Well, that’s changed.”

Several farmers have various kinds of manure they want to get rid of, while others need it for their assorted mushroom crops.

The to-and-fro in the two-hour meeting brought out ideas, possibilities and sharing. “Nobody wanted to be rushed into choosing a name, a structure, or a row to hoe. They’re farmers. I guess that means they’re patient,” concluded Bradt, who is neither.

Since everyone did want to meet again, it was decided to have a potluck dinner, then discussions. Future meetings of the group, which are open to anyone interested in any aspect of vegetables or farm produce, will start at 6 p.m. At 6:30, discussions will begin.

Meetings will be held on the second and fourth Friday of every month in the Bridgton Municipal Center conference room, just off Route 302, behind Key Bank, downtown.

For more information about the grassroots initiative, contact Bradt at 647-2389 or e-mail [email protected]


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