Love comes for localvores
The sun is brilliant in a clear blue sky. The end of July and the beginning of August begin to announce the time of year when local produce becomes available. In between the trips to the swimming holes and fishing places, there is time to wage war on the weeds, pulling, yanking and casting spells on the fool family of weeds that clutter the gardens of the area.
Yes, it is high time to taste the fruits of labor.
A place to start this is the School Farm at the top of the big hill in Presque Isle. The coming days will bring blueberries, raspberries and early vegetables. On a sunny day out in the field are numerous students in the agriculture program tending their projects and learning how valuable their heritage and pride can be. It would be nice if it were possible to buy fishing and composting worms from the kids. Still, the effort to make the world of agriculture understandable to us all is worth a visit. The kids take great pride in their work and it shows in the way that one gets treated at the store. Customers are very highly valued.
Weekends will find the stalls at the Riverside Market filled with all sorts of fresh treats. There will be spinach, zucchini and tomatoes to be poked, prodded and gushed over. It’s a challenge to get these treasures to come out of the ground. Rain, cold, mold, mildew, rabbits, deer and other critters enjoy our dining scene. If one prods oneself a bit, getting up at dawn yields many dividends. This is why we buy local.
Even the new communication platform Facebook tries hard to be local. Love left-handed radishes and twisted carrots? You can probably find a friend or two who like the same and it is easy to share those moments, memes and memories of vegetables gone by.
Even the local TV station boasts a Facebook page. While it bears the proud logo of “Where Aroostook Grows More,” it is not a local site. It will have a few local nuggets, but a recent perusal will yield three stories from the local field and 14 from beyond the boundaries, everything from a grown man still playing high school basketball in Dallas to 4-H horse program participants from Aroostook County. The youngsters are all too young to understand the pride of their community in our tenacity, ingenuity and values.
We grow more in this County than just spuds. Pineland Farms, MMG Insurance, the University of Maine at Presque Isle and Northern Maine Community College Grow far more than they get credit for.
Coming soon to a plate nearby, Blueberries, raspberries, apples and sweet corn. Carrots, squash, apples, broccoli and cabbages all will soon be out of the ground and into the pots of The County.
Hello, harvest — where Aroostook really does grow more.
Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.