“He said, ‘Come back to Maine; Maine needs you,'” Chris Abbruzzese said.

It was 2007. The couple had been living in Illinois since 1995.

“We started planning our exit at that point,” he said. “All of our kids had graduated and moved on. We were empty-nesters wanting to work our way back.”

Three years later, they bought the old Sennett dairy farm in Turner, trucked up their working draft horses and made a new go of it with Double Z Land & Livestock.

They raise grass-fed beef and lamb on 73 acres. The farm has grown to 30 Katahdin sheep and five cows on-site with another 25 at a farm a few miles away.

Chris, 54, heads marketing. Kate, 53, is the sheep manager, and youngest son, Teo, 24, is the farm manager.

Chris said they want to grow, slowly: “We don’t want to get big; we want to get good.”

All three work jobs on the side and the couple has a second company, Fireworks Food, a mobile wood-fired pizza stand. 

“We picked the two more labor-intensive things you can do, catering and farming,” Chris joked.

Kate, whose family is from Wayne, said they were really ready to do something different. It is hard work, lots of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. days, but it’s worth it. The family gets to work together. There’s no long commute.

“It’s a lot of camaraderie and cooperation,” she said.

Teo trains horses, for himself and others, and even at his young age has a ranching background. Having him involved “gives us confidence we’re building something for generations to come,” Kate said.

Double Z sells at farmers markets, through its website, direct to retailers and to Boston restaurants.

In September, the farm hosted its first ticketed farm-to-table dinner, setting up a long table in its horse barn, and the event sold out. They served braised beef shank, puff pastry and fettuccine made from their own wheat, smoked salami, squash, apples and roasted grapes, among other foods, all from the farm.

“It was a chance for people to connect the dots,” Chris said. “We’re trying to get people to realize where (their food) comes from and know your farmer and know that what you eat, eats.”

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