We are farming on Passamaquoddy homeland right at the US-Canada border in the tiny town of Pembroke which is in Washington County, Maine. This farmstead was established in about 1820 during the newly settled ‘golden era’ of this coastal fishing and farming community. Cobscook Bay, named for the “ boiling waters” created by our 20-foot tides, is an extremely productive marine ecosystem. In 1850 there were 27 canneries and near-daily steamships straight to Boston (via North Haven) these days you can take the ‘west bus’ and get to us from Boston in about 8 hours, by car it is more like 6 hours. The 150 acre farm is perched up on a set of glacially smoothened plateaus growing at the end of a long peninsula. The farm faces eastwards to the protected estuarine Pennamaquan River, an amazing alewife run. We also grow organic strawberries, and large veggie gardens for our farmers and summer camps and visitors. We manage 12 acres of U PICK wild Maine blueberries just down the road, a lovely bike ride. Most of the farm is a forested with spruce, balsam fir, larch, maple, birch, with patches of oaks and elms and some queenly white pines that escaped the epoch of lumber-cutting — great for trail walking and mushroom hunting.
WILD IS BEAUTIFUL
We are out here because of the abundant wild growing seaweed, herbs, flowers, mushrooms, algae, fish … which we harvest, dry and process. We are delighted to eat from a highly charged ecological food commons shared with many wild creatures, whales, moose, coyotes, foxes, grouse, bob cats, owls … and yes, many porcupines. We fertilize the gardens with seaweed and organic cow manure from nearby Tide Mill Farm, we harvest sweet fern, balsam fir boughs, hawthorn berries, spruce tips, hypericum, yarrow, goldenrod, rose petals, chokecherries, high bush cranberries, feral apples — and make lots of ferments (including fish sauce) and jams, jellies, salves and tinctures. Our featured product is organic wild blueberry jam, not too sweet! Its available for sale in our webshop, along with membership in the Smithereen’s Songline Farm Club which sends out seasonal boxes of delight.
The farm is certified-organic by MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association) and protected by conservation easements put in place by Maine Coast Heritage Trust, the farmhouse was kindly fixed up by Maine Farmland Trust. We are beneficiaries of these amazing organizations that have conspired to make Maine the highest per capita young farmer state in the nation! Coming into our third season on the farm we’re excited to host more visitors and campers and blueberry pickers. So far we’ve built a timberframe outdoor kitchen, composting toilet, camping platforms, fish smoke house, chicken coop, greenhouse, 2 tipis and a Bill Copperthwaite style yurt. The infrastructure continues with sauna, pergolas, more drying racks for algae and another site down in town with boat shop, carpenter shop, more housing and office space.
When you come visit you will be entranced by the wild nature and many recreational activities available. Kayaking, hiking, biking, small boats, clambakes, bird watching, foraging fruit and wild foods, swimming in lakes, endless beach walks and nary a traffic light. More than a quarter of Washington County is under some kind of conservation protection, with the Cutler Coast, Moosehorn Wildlife Refuge, Downeast Salmon Federation, Downeast Coastal Conservancy, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Grand Lakes Stream Trust, Nature Conservancy, Maine Islands Land Trust … plenty! of camping, and exploring, and plenty of terns, eagles, gannets, shearlings, plovers, puffins, petrals, eiders, shearwaters, loons, herons, black ducks. You can watch them race up and down the surf, fluttering up in great clusters to feed, and out on the water amongst the whales, dolphins and massive schools of herring and mackerel.
CAMPING AND AGRO-TOURISM
We believe in sharing this beautiful land with summer visitors who can come and learn with us about agroecology and participate in the diverse value-added products and enterprises we are engaged with— we also welcome those who come to teach us! These activities are called ‘Agrotourism’ and are part of our mission, our conservation easement, and our goal of recruiting more young farmers to this region.
Our sister organization, Greenhorns which is headquartered down the road at Reversing Hall, hosts camps and workshops, movie screenings, symposia and music events all summer long as well. Greenhorns has newly acquired some buildings along the Pennamaquan river in Downtown Pembroke to host artists in residency, mycology workshop, carpentry workshop, and a gallery space.
You can come stay on the farm during Greenhorns events, we will have group meals served in the timber-frame kitchen. If you want a more peaceful time and want to self-cater at the timber frame, then you can book when we don’t have an event going on.