FARMINGTON — Organizers were pleased with the turnout Saturday for the 6th annual Fiddlehead Festival at the Emery Community Arts Center at the University of Maine at Farmington.

“I’m really happy,” UMF professor Drew Barton said. ‘There’s been a steady flow. Most of the vendors came.” 

The festival has traditionally been held in the ECAC outdoor performing area and courtyard plus the Henderson Memorial Baptist Church parking lot. This year, rain was forecast.

He said ECAC Director Jayne Decker and Technical Director Stan Spilecki made space available inside to accommodate the festival.

“Cynthia Stancioff coordinated the festival this year,” Barton said. “She made this happen.” 

“Jayne (Decker) changed her plans around completely,” Stancioff said. “When I saw the space, I was excited. I knew it would work.”

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She said the festival’s theme this year is “Seed Diversity” and celebrates the diversity and local ownership of food.

“I’m really happy to see how the local food scene has burgeoned in the last 10 years,” Stancioff said.

University of Maine master gardener Rosalie L. Deri gave the first tent talk, Saving Seeds for Next Year’s Garden. Saving seed permits the growing of varieties not available elsewhere. It preserves biodiversity and the right to save seeds.

“And it’s fun!” Deri said.

Ninety-three percent of the varieties for 66 different vegetable crops had been lost between 1903 and 1983.

Disease problems can be devastating when only one or two varieties are grown, Deri said. The disease late blight of potatoes resulted in the deaths of more than one million Irish people due to starvation and the exodus of more than a million more from the country, she said.

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The bleating of goats drew visitors to the farm animal displays set up nearby. 

The Dykstras of Chesterville and the Taylors of Wilton had displays featuring dwarf goats from their farms.

Birds of a Feather Emu Farm, Farmington, brought two chicks and plain and painted emu eggs and oils. 

Llacy Tryon of Jay had several rabbits she had raised.

Andy Marble of Farmington was with his young sons, Avery and West. They visited all the animals.

“This is great for the kids,” Marble said.

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Members of UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition manned the children’s tent. Making bird feeders was a popular activity.

Inside ECAC, dozens of vendors offered books, locally grown items, handcrafted items and processed foods. 

Dean Kaufman of Wilton tried strawberry rhubarb and Maine blueberry pie samples made by My Pie baker Marjorie Cormier of Farmington. He said both were really good, but his favorite was the strawberry rhubarb.

Jo Josephson of Temple had an heirloom apples display. Five heirloom varieties were planted on Lincoln Street last year through a joint project involving Farmington Grange, UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition, UMF Department of Community Health and Fedco Trees. 

As part of the festival, the documentary, “SEED: The Untold Story,” will be shown at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 7, in Lincoln Auditorium at UMF.

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A pair of 3-week-old emu chicks drew attention at the 6th annual Fiddlehead Festival held Saturday in Farmington.

Gabriella Lane of New Vineyard was all smiles as she got to hold a bunny during the 6th annual Fiddlehead Festival Saturday in Farmington.

Master gardener Rosalie L. Deri gave a tent talk on saving seeds during the 6th annual Fiddlehead Festival on Saturday. The event was held at the Emery Community Arts Center, University of Maine at Farmington.

UMF student Abigail Parkinson holds a dwarf goat Saturday during the 6th annual Fiddlehead Festival held at the Emery Community Arts Center in Farmington.

As part of the 6th annual Fiddlehead Festival on Saturday, Jennifer Eriksen, left, and Ashley Montgomery gave a cooking demonstration. Visitors were able to sample the Thai fiddlehead dumplings prepared in a bamboo steamer.                                                                              


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