The Irresistible Fleet of Bicycles

Greenhorns presents: Wild fruit vinega! Making Apple cider vinegar on a homestead scale.

Join us for a half day session at our new HQ at Reversing Hall in Pembroke Maine where we will be learning how to make apple cider vinegar on a homestead scale!

Over the course of the workshop we will be covering all of the essentials of vinegar making. This will include:

  • Learning how to make ACV for your own use. We’ll be Gathering wild and heirloom apples which we will then turn into vinegar.
  • We will be tasting various varieties of apples and learning how the different flavor profiles in the fruit impact the flavor outcome in the cider. We will use this info to generate a ‘data sheet’ on the prolific wild and cultivated trees in the area.
  • Learning the best means for pressing apples, as well as the essentials of sanitation practices and other relevant rules.
  • We will learn the basics of fermentation.
  • Both materials and space will be provided and you will end up with your own carboy of vinegar. We will go through the production methods for producing fire cider, vinaigrette, herbal vinegar and other value added products.
  • Other considerations such as labels, sales rules, MOFGA regulations etc will also be covered.
Important Info:

Date: October 13th

Cost: sliding scale $50- $100 (includes the glass carboy), scholarships available.

Location: Reversing Hall, Pembroke ME 04666

RSVP required, email office@greenhorns.org 


Greenhorns Presents: Forest Mycology and Wild Edibles in the Maine Woodlands And Wildlands

September 7th-9th Greenhorns and Eat Local Eastport present: Forest Mycology and Wild Edibles in the Maine Woodlands And Wildlands with Russ Cohen and Peter McCoy.

Join Russ Cohen and Peter McCoy for a weekend in the Maine wildlands and woodlands. Russ and Peter will teach us how to interact with and feed ourselves from the wild world around us – sustainably.

On Friday evening, we will all come together to learn the theoretical aspects of foraging for wild plants and mushrooms, this includes processes for identifying wild plants in the region as well as instructions for sustainable harvesting of wild edibles. Maine is home to over 100 species of edible wild plants. Many of these species are more nutritious and/or flavorful than their cultivated counterparts. These include native species like Black Raspberry and Shagbark Hickory, non-native weeds like Burdock and Chicory, and exotic invasive species like Dame’s Rocket and Japanese Knotweed. The Pine Tree State is also home to dozens of species of edible mushrooms. Russ’ evening talk will cover at least four dozen of the tastiest species the region has to offer. These include species everyone knows well, like Daisies and Dandelions, plus species they may never have even heard of, like Calamus and Carrion Flower.  At least a dozen of the easier-to-recognize edible mushrooms will be covered too, from Morels in the spring, to Black Trumpets in the summer, to Hen-of-the-Woods mushrooms in the fall. Keys to the identification of each species will be provided, along with info on edible portion(s), season(s) of availability and preparation methods, as well as guidelines for safe and environmentally responsible foraging. Russ will also include a few details regarding some native edible plants he has grown successfully from seed, and the partnerships he has made with conservation groups and others to add edible native plants to their landscapes. Last but not least, Russ will accompany his talk with handouts and several foraged goodies made with wild ingredients. There will be ample time for questions and discussions.

On Saturday Peter will begin with a talk and presentation focused on mushrooms. He will cover Fungal biology, ecology, and cultural history of mushrooms, Mushroom and lichen identification and wild harvesting ethics, tactics for measuring forest health with lichens and mushrooms, and habitat regeneration with fungi. Later in the day Russ will lead a guided wild plant and edible walk. We will spend the afternoon exploring the Downeast landscapes in search of edible wild plants and putting the theory that we learn on Friday and Saturday morning into action. While it’s never possible to predict exactly what types of wild edibles that we might encounter,  given the time of year, Russ expects to encounter and share the delicious details about at least two dozen species. These could include edible farm weeds like Lamb’s Quarters and Purslane, edible roadside weeds like Curly Dock and Wild Parsnip, edible coastal plants, like Beach Rose and Beach Pea, and edible native plants preferring damp, sunny habitats, like Cattail, Elderberry and Groundnut. Mushrooms are even more elusive than their wild plant counterparts, however following on from his presentation in the morning Peter will teach us how to identify and harvest and mushrooms and lichens that we encounter and will explain the role that these fungus play in their environment.

On Sunday Peter will focus on the thousand-year old Japanese tradition of Shiitake log cultivation. He will cover best practices for site selection, inoculation, and harvesting in depth. You’ll learn hands-on how to create a productive, and low input mini-mushroom farm to produce pounds of Shiitake mushrooms on demand! He will also guide us through the processes involved in processing mushrooms and lichens for natural medicines and dyes.

Both Peter and Russ are passionate about sustainability and environmental responsibility so in addition to tips on identification of wild species there will also be a focus on safe and environmentally responsible foraging throughout the weekend. This workshop is not suitable for, or intended to be a guide or training course for those looking to harvest wild plants for commercial sale.

Every Participant will receive a signed copy of Russ Cohen’s best selling book Wild Plants I Have Known….And Eaten.

Important info: 
Date: 7th-9th September
Location: Reversing Hall and Smithereen Farm, Pembroke ME 04666 (Camping spaces available)
Cost:
$40 for weekend (downeasters)
$150 for weekend  (from away, includes meals and camping)

 

3 day programme – limited spaces, RSVP required, email office@greenhorns.org.

August 17th-25th Greenhorns Presents: Sail Training Camp: Downeast Foxfire with Arista Holden

Greenhorns is pleased to present our first sail training program, a follow up on Maine Sail Freight project, which brought us to Maine! Starting at Liberty Hall in Machiasport and visiting islands, coves, and historic sites while immersing students in the wild coastal ecology of Downeast Maine, this ten day course offers a birch bark crafting workshop, traditional seamanship training and all sorts of naturalist adventure. Yes, you will learn to row and sail aboard the 18th-century Bantry Bay gigs.

Starts in the afternoon on Friday the 17th, ends the morning of the 25th. Starts and Ends in Machiasport, Maine

44 ̊37’15” N 67 ̊23’03” W

$450 Includes:
Three meals a day with snacks.

Training in:
-Traditional seamanship: rowing, sailing, navigation, knots, tide and weather
-Spoon carving and birch bark containers
-Sustainable firewood lot management
-Island farming
-Leave No Trace camp craft techniques

*Does not Include:
-Getting to/from Machiasport. We will help you connect with other participants to carpool. The nearest International airport and bus station with connections to major US cities is in Bangor.

Group size: 15 people​
Sign up by June 1st.

*Our insurance requires the minimum age to be at least 16 at start of program.
*Scholarships avaliable

Here is sign up spot: https://www.atlanticchallengeusa.com/downeast-foxfire-camp.html


August 5th Greenhorns & Jim Cornish Present: Blueberry Wine Workshop

Join us on August 5th from noon until 4:00 pm for our Blueberry Wine making workshop with Jim Cornish. Participants are required to bring 15 pounds of blueberries and a potato masher the day of the workshop in addition to 12 pounds of sugar five teaspoons of lemon juice and five teaspoons of yeast to add on the third day after the workshop. The wine yield will be approx. 5 1/2 gallons. After the workshop spend an evening with Jim listening to and singing along to live Folk and Americana music that we all know and love sprinkled with a few original songs.

This workshop costs $50, which includes step by step instructions, a fermenting bucket, an air lock and a corker


All of August – Blueberry Camp!

Arrange to camp at Smithereen Farm to harvest your own blueberries and make your own jam in our beautiful new timber-frame kitchen. DIY Blueberry Commons. Bring your own tent, jars and sugar, come explore the beautiful Cobscook Region on a low impact family holiday! You can enjoy the Greenhorns Agricultural Library and our little improvised tourist office at the 1901 Odd Fellows Hall, go hiking, biking, kayaking, exploring New Brunswick and etc! I made a little tourist page on the website: www.smithereenfarm.com

– Buy your provisions locally at Whole Life Machias, Machias Marketplace, Eat Local Eastport, Lubec and Eastport Farmers Markets and at the Tide Mill Farm farm stand! Washington County is far away, but this landscape is wealthy in wild foods, and utterly worth the trip up. “Drive like a champ, eat like a king.”

$50/ night includes, tent platform, use of the timber-frame kitchen + stove, composting toilet, hot shower bathhouse, and all-access to the blueberry commons.


July 21st-22nd Friends of Liberty Hall and Greenhorns present: “Halls away Downeast” – A bus-tour of historic halls from Ellsworth to Eastport, Maine

Join us on July  21-22 as we present a tour of the civic architecture of Downeast Maine in partnership with Friends of Liberty Hall, a newly restored hall in Machiasport Maine. Along with other partners and presenters we will proceed from Ellsworth IOOF across Franklin, Cherryfield, Columbia Falls, Mahiasport, Machias, Dennysville, Pembroke, Perry and Eastport visiting halls, granges, churches, taverns, school houses and other historic or revived community infrastructure along the route with a series of local interpreters. Attendees will learn about the work of the Downeast Salmon Federation and the Tides Institute, with a presentation about local food networks and Grange Hall restoration in Machias, a lecture about fisheries history in Eastport. We will be sleeping overnight at Tide Mill farm, an organic family farm that has been run by the same family for 9 generations! The tour delivers guests door to door all aboard the West bus, all meals and lectures are included.

Washington County

Washington County is host to extraordinary terrestrial and aquatic wealth which formed the the basis of powerful 19th century extraction economies ( lumber, fish). The communities who benefited from these resource based economies in turn used that wealth built outstanding social structures. The beautiful halls are irreplaceable yet endangered relics of this era, and are now part of our legacy to protect, adapt and re-imagine. These halls have such potential! Community efforts to date have kept these halls in good roofs and gutters. However, like small towns around the country Grange-revival and relevance comes from functioning kitchens, microphones, and activities that keep people engaged and sustaining these buildings can be expensive! There are existing grants from Maine Community Foundation, and other sources which can help non-profit and private projects. Renovations often emphasize restoration of kitchens, performance/office/community meeting space, and new uses for old buildings.


Friends of Liberty Hall

Founded in 2006, the Friends of Liberty Hall are dedicated to returning a major historic building to its former glory and making it a focal point for community prosperity through the fostering of activities related to the site’s unique cultural, artistic and environmental history.

Overlooking the site of the first American naval victory of the Revolutionary War, and built as the Town Hall of Machiasport in 1873, Liberty Hall is one of the finest examples of civic architecture in Maine. From the outset, the Friends have been actively working with local people and seasonal residents to raise funds to secure the building. In this way they have facilitated an ongoing, expansive discussion about the future use of Liberty Hall.

Between 2006 and 2008, almost a million dollars was raised through government grants, private funds and individual donations to return a precarious and derelict structure to its former glory. Two phases of a four-phase restoration project have been completed. The remaining tasks include the repair of the rear of the building and the full interior restoration.

Given its location on the edge of the Machias Bay, with its distinctive archaeological, environmental and historical character, and its unmatched size and capacity for meeting and theater space, Liberty Hall is a major resource that promises to benefit not just the immediate surrounding towns but populations across Washington County.

This event is co-sponsored by Cherryfield-Narraguagus Historical Society

Important Info:

Cost: $150 tax deductable donation requested. (Includes all meals, transportation, lectures and accommodations for a 2 day whistle-stop tour)

Location: Meet 8 am at the historical society Northeast Harbor or mid morning in Ellsworth.

RSVP required, limited spaces – email office@greenhorns.org asap to reserve your space now!


NYFC finding farmland workshop in Unity Maine – July 11th

posted July 6, 2018

National Young Farmers Coalition - finding farmland flyer
National Young Farmers Coalition – Finding Farmland

Calling all new and aspiring farmers! Accessing farmland is one of the most complex financial decisions that any farmer will make. The National Young Farmers Coalition, along with Land for Good, Maine Farmland Trust and MOFGA are hosting a land access financials training for farmers next week in Unity ME. It’s designed for aspiring and new career farmers who they want to help along their land access journey with confidence.

During the workshop you will learn about:

  • The various programs already available for farmers seeking land in Maine.
  • Creative methods of securing land tenure.
  • Financing and affordability tools.
  • Working with a land trust to find and acquire land.

The workshop is completely free and refreshments will be provided. Click HERE to register.

If you cannot make the workshop, NYFC have also set up this really cool and useful website to assist farmers in finding land and figuring out the financials of doing so. 


An Ode to the Scuffle Hoe

posted July 5, 2018

scuffle hoe image
Image: An ode to the scuffle hoe

An Ode to the Scuffle Hoe

What weapon this?
In tool section A
I’d not known to miss
Your smoothly slicing foray

Through the barely there weeds
Conspiring today for the weeks coming hence
O! Not so! – those ignoble plants!
Your sharp ring with ease
Hardly turning the soil, so graceful your dance
And happ’ly no more is that threat’nd advance

So simple so sweet!
Scuffle hoe mine
Not once did I meet
a tool so humbly divine.

Without your wise counsel
I must surely admit
To many a day set bent o’er rows
Picking and pulling many an ounce
Losing my patience and wanting to quit
This project of feeding a few hungry maws

So thank you, yes, thank you
My dear scuffly friend.
But –
I’ve hustled and huffled past my wits’ bend…

And now I am thinking about going to a no-till, dense planting strategy with intensive cover cropping and mulch application. So I’m not really sure how much I’ll use you anymore. But thanks for all the help, you really saved my back from a lot of strain.


permaculture farming, an introduction

posted June 29, 2018

credit: Brett and Sue Coulstock

Permaculture is essentially a design philosophy created for and typically applied to food producing systems. However it has also been translated for use in many other areas such as architecture, community building, and corporate structures. Permaculture, developed by Bill Mollison in the late 1980s in Australia, has been adopted and adapted by gardeners, farmers, and designers across the world in the years since. Many permaculture solutions mimic natural ecosystems by creating tightly interwoven environments where all parts support each other. For example, in wild ecosystems, monocultures don’t exist as they do in our gardens and on our farms. Highly diverse planting, called a polyculture, serves several functions. These include slowing pests by making it more difficult to find the next plant of the variety they feed on. With varied crops in one bed, soil life can be in better balance. One plant may be nitrogen fixing to the benefit of its neighbors while another might provide a trellis or shade out competitive weeds. The three sisters planting strategy (or guild as it is called by permaculturists) is a simple example of the benefits derived from polycultures.

Complexity and diversity are pillars of permaculture, helping create a stable, healthy system. The more opportunities for interaction – between plants, insects, birds and animals, the better. We see this in a pond setting. More activity and life occurs at the edge of the pond where the water and land meet than in the middle of the pond or on the land a few yards away from the pond. The biodiversity found on ecological edges helps keep ecosystems stable. When one organism, say mosquitos, experiences a population boom, a diverse ecosystem supplies the habitat that mosquito predators will be able to live in. Thus the frogs and toads living on the banks of the pond can leap into action to bring the mosquito population back under control. The same is true on farms. Many of us already know the benefits of having strips of wildflowers planted near fields of cash crops. Similarly bramble-y edges that provide habitat for birds will be protection against a sudden attack by locusts or other pests.

Permaculture adopts the attitude that the benefits of a diverse system outweigh the losses in terms of harvesting efficiency and the space that is often called upon to be wild habitat. For many permaculturists, the increase in biodiversity and stability of their sites bring increases in crop health, yield, and pleasure. Permaculture systems require often heavy front end work in terms of observing the site and the pre-existing forces at play as well as establishing the backbone of the intended system (earth-moving, orchard establishment, etc.). Once the system is established, however, the permacultural model aims to shift the bulk of labor back to nature and off the shoulders of the farmer or gardener. Farmers Masanobu Fukoka and Sepp Holzer have been utilizing permaculture strategies since before the term existed. Their farms are prime examples of the impressive results permaculture strategies can yield in even inhospitable locations.

Many permaculturists advise that the best way to learn is to observe nature at work and to start trying things. If you’re interested in reading more, however, check out the following books:

This post was written by the newest member of the Greenhorns Blogging Team Cambria Whitcomb! Cambria is closing in on the end of her first official year of farming. She grew up in a rural town in Michigan and is a graduate of the University of Chicago. After a stint in San Francisco, she has returned to small town life – now in North Carolina where she pursues a plethora of environmentally-focused activities. She is interested in combining her background in the arts with her love of farming and the belief that systemic agricultural shifts make the most direct path to improving the environmental crisis. (How exactly those interests will mesh remains to be seen!) Cambria’s favorite farm implement is the scuffle hoe and she once incorporated cow manure into an assignment for a college art class.


June 23rd Greenhorns and Maine Seaweed Exchange present: Wild + Cultivated algae: Seaweed Workshop #1

Join Sarah Redmond and a special guest teacher for a full day session about seaweed! This will include:

– Presentations and Slideshows at the Reversing Hall, field study on the shore.

– Orientation to the inter-tidal and the marine biology found there.

– Introduction to wildcrafting and farming edible seaweeds

– Look at the history of seaweed aquaculture around the world.

– Looking at the potential in Maine: opportunities and risks

– Introduction to the work of Elinor Ostrom on the Commons, and principles of community resource management

– Introduction to species, ecology, ethics, equipment, siting considerations, seasonality, harvest, processing.

– We’ll discuss bio-safety protocols, health and disease management strategies.

– We will talk about local economy, political ecology and learning our lessons from fisheries history in Maine.

– We’ll discuss what kind of policy is needed create a strong, sustainable and resilient sector in Maine that is inviting to young, conservation-minded mariculturists

– We’ll evaluate wild and cultivated products, discuss best practices and market potential

– We will have plenty of time for discussion.

Sarah Redmond is an entrepreneur, innovator, and seaweed farmer on the coast of Maine. Holding a Bachelor’s of Science in Aquaculture from the University of Maine, and a Master’s of Science in Marine Botany from the University of Connecticut, her work has inspired a domestic seaweed revival through her work at NOAA’s Maine Sea Grant program as a farmer, researcher, educator, and research specialist from 2012-2016. A recognized leader in the development of seaweed mariculture, she has helped establish farms and nurseries throughout the Northeast, inspiring others to love, grow, use, and appreciate our native seaweeds. She is currently working as a full-time seaweed farmer to develop a seaweed aquaculture industry in Maine that will produce healthy, nutrient dense sea vegetables, provide economic opportunities to coastal communities, and bring seaweeds to America in a clean, sustainable, and accessible way. She has a 24-acre seaweed farm in Downeast Maine where she cultivates dulse and four different types of kelp.

Farm lunch provided $200/Scholarships available office@greenhorns.org to RSVP