Events

Families, Friends, and Farmers Get Moo-ving for Local Food Pantries

Families, Friends, and Farmers Get Moo-ving for Local Food Pantries

Inaugural Cowabunga 5K & Family Dairy Day attracts participants from nine different states to raise funds for local school food pantries. By Ashley E. Sears, Esq. Sponsore Moo Squad athlete. While Fleet Feet Maine Running on Marginal Way is host to several running events throughout the year, a first took place on Sunday, June 25th, as baby calves, a moo-bile milking parlor, and runners donning dairy-themed costumes could be found in the store parking lot. Participants from across the country gathered to celebrate the inaugural Cowabunga 5K & Family Dairy Day, an event designed to increase awareness about the Maine dairy industry, promote a healthy and active lifestyle that incorporates dairy products, and bring together families, friends, and farmers for a Sunday morning run and activities. The event raised $1,480.60 through registration and donations from runners and agricultural business. Due to raising more funds than anticipated, the money will be donated to Good Shepherd’s Mainers Feeding Mainers Program for not only Reiche Community School’s food pantry as originally intended, but other area schools in the Milk2MyPlate program as well. Milk is the number one requested healthy food item in food pantries, but is often the least donated product due to its short shelf life. The dairy-focused event was hosted by the Maine Dairy Promotion Board (MDPB) and myself, a fourth-generation dairy farmer and Marketing Specialist with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. I currently participate in the Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) program, a nationally recognized three-phase leader and communication skills development program for young adults (ages 22-45) working in the dairy industry. An avid runner, as part of my YDLI Phase II advocacy plan, I wanted to create an educational forum for consumers to learn about the Maine dairy industry, participate with family and friends in a fun-themed race, and highlight the benefits of low-fat chocolate milk as post-exercise recovery fuel. Milk is nature’s most complete food, as it has nine essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and we wanted to highlight these benefits while providing consumers with the opportunity to meet their local Maine farmers. Maine currently has 246 dairy farms, both conventional and organic, the majority of which are family owned. From enjoying an ice cream cone in the summer, to milk mustaches and family pizza nights, dairy is a part of all of us and the Cowabunga 5K & Family Dairy Day highlighted the many facets of the Maine dairy industry. The morning kicked off with 176 runners hoofing it around Back Cove Trail for a 5K run, with an out-and-back course from Fleet Feet. Participants received low-fat chocolate milk at the finish line, donated by Hood and Oakhurst Dairy, as well as cheddar cheese packets provided by Cabot Creamery. The cold milk and cheese were appreciated by runners after a particularly hot June morning. The first place finisher overall was Bryce Murdick of Falmouth and the first place female was fellow Moo Squader Anne L’Heureux of Biddeford. Awards were also presented to age division winners, the youngest finishers, and for the best costume. After the race, participants and families had the opportunity to interact with baby calves, provided by the Cumberland County 4-H Dairy All-Stars Club, and learn about how calves grow and develop into mature members of the herd. The moo-bile milking parlor was also on sight and gave attendees an inside view into the milking process that takes place on dairy farms in Maine and across the country. Local Maine dairy farmers were on hand to answer questions and could be spotted at the event wearing an “Ask Me, I’m a Farmer” badge....

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Dunn Farm joins lineup for Open Farm Day

Dunn Farm joins lineup for Open Farm Day

On Sunday, July 23, more than 60 farms all across Maine will swing open their barn doors and welcome visitors to experience the 28th annual Open Farm Day, including several dairy farms. Visiting hours for most operations will be 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. The Dunn family will host Open Farm Day at its dairy farm in Berwick for the first time ever this weekend. Daughters Ashlee, 30, and Marey, 23, were the ones to suggest the family participate. Their mother Denise said people in the area are becoming more familiar with goats and alpacas in terms of farming, but few know much if anything about  dairy farms. “They don’t realize what goes on every day here,” she said. Hopefully Sunday’s event will help to change that. Dairy farms were once common in this neck of the woods. If you drive along Blackberry Hill Road in Berwick, on which the Dunn Farm is located, you can see that it used to be all rolling pastures and fields that undoubtedly fed a number of dairy cows. Today, though, only the Dunn Farm is left. Back when Ashlee and Amey’s father Freddy graduated from high school in 1979, there were five farms on this road alone. At that time, the farm the Dunns are now located on belonged to Charlie Noyes and his famous Milking Shorthorns. The Dunns were at another nearby farm on Route 4, where Freddy’s mother still lives and dry cows (those on vacation before they have their calf) are pastured. The family also has a farm stand there where they sell sweet corn as well as tomatoes and cukes. “The milk truck driver used to take all us kids riding with him,” Freddy said. “We’d ride the whole route and wouldn’t hardly leave town.” You had to cross a wooden bridge to get to the Dunn Farm, but by the time the milk truck was full it was too heavy to cross the bridge so the Dunn kids would jump out and walk the half mile home. The Dunns moved to the Noyes property on Blackberry Hill Road in 1987, and the family purchased the farm after Noyes’ death in 1999. Although most of the herd is the black and white Holsteins, there is still a red or roan colored shorthorn here and there that traces back to the Noyes herd. Freddy is unsure what generation dairy farmer he is. In 1967, his father moved up from Massachusetts, where HIS father had a dairy farm. “I guess ever since they came over from Ireland we’ve been dairy farming,” he said.   Freddy milks about 40 cows with the help of a hired hand. “I like to keep it at about 40 because one person can do it alone if they need to.” His brother Michael works part time on the farm and the rest of the family helps out whenever they can, including manning the farm stand through the summer months along with a couple other folks from the community. The family has some fantastic activities planned for Sunday, including a pedal tractor obstacle course and a “Blackout Bingo” game designed by Ashlee’s 10-year-old son Colin in which kids will be able to blackout their card as they find certain things around the farm. There will also be plenty of information about the farm’s history, dairy breeds and more, and the tractors will be lined up for children to have a chance to check them out. Folks will be able to walk a path to the pasture to see the cows out at pasture. Other Maine dairy farms...

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Cowabunga 5k and Family Dairy Day

Cowabunga 5k and Family Dairy Day

Sunday, June 25, 2017 SEE RESULTS FOR 2017 HERE: https://my.racewire.com/results/33524 Thank you to everyone who came out for the race! The day starts with a family-friendly 5k race around Back Cove in Portland, beginning and ending at Fleet Feet on Marginal Way at 9 a.m. There will be many prizes and plenty of chocolate milk for the racers. Stick around for our Family Dairy Day in the Fleet Feet parking lot from 10 a.m. – noon. It’s an opportunity to meet dairy farmers, pet a calf, make some ice cream, and more. Admission to the Family Dairy Day is free and open to everyone. Cost to register for the 5k is $10 for $20 for adults 18 and older.  Registration on-line is available until 7 p.m. on June 24. Registration will be available on the day of the race 7 a.m.-8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Fleet Feet. Please come early. Race packet pick up will begin at 7:30 a.m., also at Fleet Feet. Or we will be available for early pick up the night before, 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Fleet Feet. The race course will begin at Fleet Feet Sports, heading from Bayside Trail next to Fleet Feet, out to Back Cove with a turnaround at Mile 1.5, and finishing on the Bayside Trail next to Fleet Feet. T-shirts will be guaranteed only to those who register by June 1, remainders will be first come, first serve. Profits from the race will go to the Reiche Community School’s summer food pantry, which is part of the Milk2MyPlate program. Register on-line. For more information, e-mail jami@drinkmainemilk.org or call 207-557-2711.       Thank you to our...

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2017 New England Dairy Summit & Holstein Convention

  Hosted by the Pine Tree Holstein Association October 27-28, 2017 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS Friday, October 27, 2017 12:45 PM    Tour IDEXX, Portland, Maine 2:00 PM   Juniper Farms, Gray, Maine – Open House and Youth Workshop 4:00 PM    Pineland Farms, New Gloucester, Maine                                     Open House – Linear Judging Contest 4:30 PM    Maine Products Showcase – A Taste of Maine    Special food and beverage tasting event highlighting Maine-made ingredients and specialty food products, including dairy, blueberries, maple syrup, craft beer, wine and cider. 7:00 PM    Youth Social – ‘Aero Air Park”, Lewiston, Maine 7:30 PM     Dairy Girl Network Social hosted by the DGN at Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch, Auburn Overnight:   Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch 14 Great Falls Plaza; Auburn, Maine 04210                                           Room Rate: $99/night + tax   Saturday, October 28, 2017 All Day Silent Auction – all proceeds donated to New England Junior Holstein Association. Auction is open all morning at the hotel and will be moved and closed at the lobsterbake Saturday evening. 7:45 AM    Awards Breakfast featuring a keynote speaker, the New England Cow of the Year, Master Breeder and Outstanding Dairy Caretaker awards will be presented at the breakfast 9:30 AM   New England Holstein Association – Annual Meeting Dairy Seminar: Educational forum coordinated in conjunction with Maine Dairy Industry Association and Maine Dairy Promotion Board Junior Contests: Dairy Knowledge, Prepared Public Speaking Possible tourist activity to Portland Headlight & LL Bean, if enough interested participants 12:30 PM    Lunch featuring a panel discussion on robotic milking systems 2:45 PM     Brigeen Farms, Turner, Maine  –  Open House 4:15 PM     Conant Acres, Canton, Maine  –  Open House 5:00 PM     Traditional Maine Lobsterbake at Conant Acres,           Canton, Maine Overnight: Guests may choose to return to the Hilton Garden Inn Riverwatch this evening, or start travel...

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Maine Dairy Seminar

Maine Dairy Seminar Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Waterville Elks Lodge Sponsored by the Maine Dairy Industry Association, registration for this event is free for dairy farmers and includes refreshments and lunch. Advanced Registration by mail, email, phone or fax must be received by Monday, March 6, 2017. Registration after this date or at the door will be $25. Guest Speaker is Tom Kilcer of Kinderhook, NY, a private consultant conducting research on forages crops and plant nutrition in partnerships with both university and private industry. His topic for this event is: “Forage Strategies for Northeast Dairy Farms”. Dr. Juan Romero, Assistant Professor of Animal Science with the University of Maine School of Food and Agriculture, will also speak about his Enzyme and Silage Inoculant Research. The Seminar also includes the MDIA Annual Meeting, Maine Dairy Shrine Award, and Industry Updates. For more information, or to register, contact Melissa Libby at melissa.libby1@maine.edu or 1-800-287-7170, or Fax (207)...

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October is Cheese Month!

October is Cheese Month!

According to the American Cheese Society, October is American Cheese Month – “a celebration of North America’s delicious and diverse cheeses, and the farmers, cheesemakers, retailers, cheesemongers and chefs who bring them to your table.” You won’t find more delicious cheeses or more amazing dairy farmers and cheesemakers than right here in Maine. We also have some pretty cool local-loving retailers and talented chefs and cheesemongers, and October is definitely the month to celebrate those folks and sample some to-die-for cheeses. The Maine Cheese Guild presents its Open Creamery Day 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 9. They have a map of 15 participating cheesemakers. You’ll have the opportunity to see how some of these great cheeses are made and will undoubtedly have a chance to taste some of them! And some cheesemakers are also dairy farmers, so you’ll get to meet the critters who contribute the delicious milk for these concoctions. Read a brief Q&A at the bottom of this page with cheesemaker Sarah Wiederkehr of Winter Hill Farm in Freeport about why she participates in events like Open Creamery Day, of which cheeses she is most proud, and why cheesemaking is so magical, yet scientific. Cabot Creamery will have Open Farm Sunday at four of its Maine farms also on the 9th – Ferland Farm in Poland, Kreb’s Organic Dairy Farm in Starks, Pleasantville Farm in Warren, and the University of Maine’s Witter Farm in Old Town. Each farm has activities planned for visitors 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and there will also be plenty of opportunities to see the cows and sample the “World’s Best Cheddar”. While it’s true that Cabot cheese is made in Vermont, nearly 1/3 of Maine’s dairy farms belong to the Cabot Co-op. “As a cooperative, our farm families own the business, so when people purchase Cabot products they are directly supporting farmers in their local communities,” said Cabot Communications Manager Nate Formalarie. “Farms are opening their doors to say thank you, show gratitude for community support, and give people a chance to see where Cabot cheese comes from.” Billie Jo Krebs echoes that same sentiment when asked why her family takes the time from their busy schedule to invite the community to their farm. In fact, the family does multiple events with the community, Boy Scout troops and school groups throughout the year. “It gives people a chance to learn more about farming and where their food comes from,” she says. If you won’t be able to visit a farm, Cabot will have a live farm tour on its Faceboook page at 11 a.m. that day. Another exciting offering from the Maine Cheese Guild this month is the Maine Cheese Festival 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 16 at Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery in Union. The event is described as “an opportunity to talk, taste, learn about  and purchase Maine-made cheese, learn about cheesemaking, and celebrate the robust artisanal cheesemaking movement in Maine.” About 20 cheesemakers from around the state are signed on to have cheese at the event, including Amy Rowbottom of Crooked Face Creamery in Norridgewock (and you won’t want to miss her ricotta or smoked Gouda-style cheeses). “I’m thrilled to be part of the event and so grateful to the Guild members who pulled this incredible event together despite their busy summer schedules,” Rowbottom said. “Maine cheese is such an exciting culture to be a part of – the growth, local support and opportunities are constantly evolving. It’s like being in the right place at the right time, and this event is a celebration of that.” While the Maine cheeses are a definite draw, the festival will offer much more, including wine tasting, baked goods...

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