LEWISTON ? Locally grown foods, a first-hand look at farming and agriculture, and fun and games for those of all ages could only mean one thing: the 26th Annual Maine Open Farm Day is coming. 

From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 26, approximately 100 family farms across the state will be opening their doors to the public.

Open Farm Day is an annual family event that connects consumers with the people who help produce their food. Farms throughout Maine will open their gates to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture. Many farms will have demonstrations, displays, farm-raised products for sale and animals and crops for viewing.

In a statement showing his support for farming and Open Farm Day, Gov. Paul LePage wrote, “This is an exciting time for Maine-made products and Maine agriculture. Since the last Census of Agriculture, the market value of Maine’s agricultural products has increased 24%. At a time when the number of farms in the United States is declining, the number of Maine farms has increased to 8,174, up from 7,196 in 2002. This growth coincides with renewed consumer interest in locally grown foods.”

Harvest Hill Farm, 5 Harvest Hill Way, Mechanic Falls, will be open during all hours of the event and will offer informational tours through their petting barn and barnyard. The tours will also include information on the history of the farm, how they do what they do and explain how the farm was first built by the Morey family at the turn of the century.

Another beloved farm participating in Open Farm Day is Boothby’s Orchard and Farm at 366 Boothby Road in Livermore, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Boothby’s will also be open during all hours of the event, and apple wine and cider samples will be available. Scenic wagon rides to the lower 20-acre farm pond will take place, and people are encouraged to visit the different stands and the orchard’s own winery.

Fresh Start Farms, 1 King Road, Lisbon, will also be open. The farm represents a group of new American farmers from around the world who have adapted their rich agricultural heritages to Maine’s climate and marketplace. The farm grows over 50 different types of local vegetables and encourages anyone to come meet the farmers and see what they have available.

Events like Open Farm Day have a fairly significant impact on agritourism in the state of Maine. According to the USDA, in 2012, income from agritourism and recreational services in Maine grew from $1,012,000 to $1,803,000, an increase of approximately 78 percent. 

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walter Whitcomb urges families to “take advantage of this day to connect to life on the farm.”

“While traveling to Maine farms on Open Farm Day, people will drive by hay fields, potato and grain fields, farm woodlots, orchards and large vegetable patches, all growing crops that feed the economy before they fill dinner plates or supply other products that are important to our lives,” he said.


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