Micmac Farms hosts another successful Micmac Festival Market

CARIBOU, Maine — Local farmers and artisans once again had a chance to offer their work to the community during the March 9 Micmac Farms Festival Market hosted by the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, the City of Caribou, and the Presque Isle Farmer’s Market.

Patty Drake’s table — among the first visitors would see when entering the building on the Presque Isle Road — featured a variety of natural and organic products as well as products made from her own bees such as honey and wax at her and her husband Dana’s bee farm, which consists of about 12 hives.

Looking ahead, Drake said she plans on selling bee hives later this year, which would include a “queen and workers ready to go.”

Patty Drake said there is a “really fascinating learning curve” to raising bees, which she and her husband have been doing for six years. While bees are “pretty docile” for the most part, “if you’re working with bees, you’re going to get stung.”

“Personally,” she said, “I’d rather get stung by a bee than get bitten by a moosefly.”

Dena Winslow, PhD, holds a copy of her book about the history of Native American ash splint potato baskets during the Festival Market at Micmac Farms in Caribou on March 9. (Chris Bouchard)

Making her third appearance at the market, Drake said she’s noticed there is always a good crowd and an “interesting blend of people.”

Further down the aisle, Dena Winslow, who holds a doctoral degree in Canadian and American history and is the tribal planner and grant writer for the Micmac tribe, sold three of her books on local history as well as numerous handmade materials crafted to be historically accurate, such as leather bags, maple syrup spiles and a knife made by her son.

Winslow said she has been writing since 1980, and was inspired when the town of Mapleton held its centennial. She contacted the town and asked if anybody was writing about local history and they suggested she create a booklet for the centennial celebration.

“I wanted to do more than that,” she said, “and ended up writing a whole book on it. The next book I wrote was about the history of Ashland, and then I wrote about the Jim Cullen story, which was New England’s only lynching.”

Currently she is working on a story about the border war between Maine and New Brunswick, and said she is in possession of “material that other historians have never seen.”

While Winslow has attended every market event held at Micmac Farms, she said the March 9 event went over particularly well because she brought a larger table and was able to display more items.

“I’ve been here every time,” she said. “I brought a bigger table this time, so I would be a bit more noticeable.”

Patty Drake holds a hive board at the Micmac Farms Festival Market in Caribou on March 9. (Chris Bouchard)

Erin Albers sat at the table next to Drake and handed out free recipes and cooking guides for lamb while also taking down orders for lamb raised on her 80 acre family farm, A4 Farm in Limestone.

Albers said some of the benefits of eating lamb raised locally is that you know where the meat is coming from because you have a relationship with the local farmers.

“We don’t feed our lambs any antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids, or anything non-natural,” she said. “We feed them grass in the summer and hay in the winter, and they have a grain ration during lambing.”

She said it was her first time at the festival market, and that it was “going really well.”

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Albers said, “since I’m not selling something small that you can get for five dollars. We sell whole or half lambs and we have to plan it out ahead of time, and I’ve actually had more interest than I was expecting. I’m really happy with the amount of people coming through who are interested in talking about lamb.”

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