County Faces: Andrea Gregg of Mapleton
When Andrea Gregg was growing up in the small rural town of Brownsville in the Katahdin region of Maine, she never thought that one day she would become part of a five-generation family farm whose roots run deep in the rich land of Aroostook County.
But that’s exactly what happened when she and her husband, Matt Gregg, sold their whitewater rafting business in 2004 and Matt began working full time for his family’s business, Maple Meadow Farms, in Mapleton.
“Whitewater rafting was how Matt and I met,” Gregg said. “We were both working for a whitewater rafting company near the Penobscot River.”
Throughout her life Gregg has had a fondness for the outdoors and the recreational opportunities that Maine’s land provides. While attending the University of Maine at Farmington, she worked at the Sugarloaf ski resort in the Carrabassett Valley region of the state as both a waitress and a ski lift attendant. These were both jobs that gave her plenty of chances to hit the slopes herself.
After taking several years off from school, Gregg attended the University of Maine at Presque Isle, where she earned a degree in English. She had been to Aroostook County before to visit relatives, but had never lived in the area. She found the local community members to be welcoming, friendly people, and later became excited at the thought of beginning a unique, fun adventure with farming.
“I had never driven a tractor before, so that was probably the most interesting learning experience for me,” Gregg said.
At Maple Meadow Farms the Gregg family produces hay, timber, grains and lumber while also taking care of Belgian draft horses, pigs, chickens and steer. They welcome community members to the farm every fall for horse-drawn wagon rides in their pumpkin patch and in the winter when they sell Christmas trees.
Gregg enjoys those events because they allow the community to see firsthand and gain a greater understanding of farm life. Over the years she, too, has relished the chance to meet with other farmers on their land, particularly during the potato harvest season, and learn about the various techniques they use to manage and care for the farming heritage of Aroostook County.
On the farm Gregg has taken on many different roles, such as becoming involved in marketing the business and helping during planting and harvesting seasons. Her three children — Clay, 14, Violet, 12, and Olive, 9 — all have different chores to complete every day and Gregg hopes to pass on the values of a strong work ethic to them.
“Olive likes to plant and garden, Violet likes to help pick up rocks from the fields and Clay enjoys driving the equipment,” Gregg said. “I think farming teaches them all to see a project through from start to finish, whether it’s planting or managing crops.”
Although it’s too early to tell if any of her children will become sixth-generation family farmers, Gregg can already see them gaining an appreciation for the northern Maine landscape. As for herself, she enjoys being able to do “a little bit of everything” on the farm to provide for her family and educate the community.
“I like the variety of work. There’s always something challenging and different to do even on a daily basis,” Gregg said. “Farmers are a special group of people who are always willing to share and come together.”