The Star-Herald

Green acres are a wonder to behold

A few years have passed and the results have been phenomenal. Interested in some new crop? New trends in agriculture? How to get more out of a small space? Then a trip to the SAD 1 school farm is in order.

At the top of Hardy Hill, by the water tower and cable station, sits a working classroom. The first thing noticed is the apple orchard. Close to 3,000 trees sit in quiet splendor. Graphed to dwarf rootstock, these apple trees are now in full fruit. In the spring, the blossoms create their own carpet of seasonal color. Through the summer other crops appear, bloom, and bear fruit.

There is the apple press in the red barn, which will squeeze the crop for every last drop of juice and which will supply fresh juice to each and every student in the group and many more beyond. It is a pity that none of the juice will make it to the cafeteria of the hospital. There is only hope that the largest employer will try to incorporate local crops in its menu.

At the farm store, samples of the crop are on display and for sale. There is a large amount of price to see in what is grown by the students. A recent trip resulted in fresh local pears, plums, squash, cucumbers and berries. Some of the crop finds itself journeying into ice cream and pies. Delicious garlic cloves and herbs are ready for chefs and gourmands alike. 

Enthusiasm is in abundant supply. This is seen in the willingness of the students to explain what they are doing and share their excitement with anyone who will stop and listen. During the summer, ranks of students are out in the fields, fussing over the crops, making certain that someone is keeping a watchful eye over all things growing.

The school farm is a success. Its goal is demonstrating new ideas, old ideas and hard work. It is now a go-to place in the city of Presque Isle. During the day a continuous stream of visitors come to the top of the hill. Tour groups and other schools are accommodated in their visits. They return. They shop, and these visitors fill the minds of their friends and associates with positive impressions of the farm on the hill. 

Graced with green acres, it is the place to be.

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.

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