4262 Kennebec Rd
Dixmont ME 04932
Jean Hay Bright firstname.lastname@example.org
David Bright email@example.com
Photo by American Images, Marshfield WI
Limited U-Pick mid-July and August. Call before coming to check for availability
|Tomatoes (cocktail, slicers)|
(Llimited quantities in 2016, NO Pick-Your-Own, very early season over end of June)
Wholesale, pre-order, fresh or frozen. Limited U-Pick mid-July and August. Call before coming to check for availability
(pre-order only, fresh or frozen, no U-Pick)
(pre-order only, fresh or frozen, no U-Pick)
BrightBerry Farm is a small organic farm in the hills of Dixmont, Maine, about 20 miles southwest of Bangor. The farm is the last 30 acres of a large dairy farm that was first homesteaded in 1830, and, as far as we can tell, has been farmed or homesteaded continuously since then. Our piece includes about 20 acres of open fields, a year-round stream, two spring-fed ponds (which we have expanded) and about 10 acres of woodland on the edges of our property. The property is quite steep, particularly around the house, but it slopes south and southwest, which is great for sun exposure and drainage. That orientation was key to our excited purchase of this farm in 1999.
(Jean owned and operated Hay's Farm Stand in Blue Hill, across from the Blue Hill Fairgrounds, in the 1980s and early 1990s.)
So far, we've planted about two acres in several different kinds of berries, extending the season with early, mid-season and late ripening varieties.
Retail. We will be setting up a self-serve table out front again this year, with samples of what we are picking at the moment. (Our self-serve seedling table went well this year, with tomato, pepper, sage, basil, and lettuce plants, along with summer squash and cukes.) We also fill limited pre-orders for pick-up at the farm.
Otherwise, we wholesale to the Natural Living Center in Bangor. Strawberries are about done, but look for tomatoes and snap peas in late June, more tomatoes plus blueberries in July and August, winter squash, pumpkins and more tomatoes from September until frost.
Blueberries. Our 360 high-bush blueberry bushes are two patches, which are finally full-grown. We'll have Pick-Your-Own high-bush blueberries again this summer (2016). Last year the blueberry season went from mid-July all the way through August. Call first to check for availability (to make sure previous pickers haven't cleaned out the patch for the day).
Raspberries. Three varieties of red raspberries (Boyne, Nova and Taylor) are ready for pickers this summer. The season is short, but should run from mid-July through early August. Again, call first. Because they are so fragile, we do not sell fresh raspberries wholesale to stores, and only sell them fresh here at the farm if they are pre-ordered, and we carefully coordinate pick-up with same-day picking. That's why, for our raspberries, pick-your-own is best.
We freeze and wholesale our red and black raspberries to folks who do great things with them -- like John's Ice Cream, Wild Cow Creamery, a candy maker or two, and vendors at the Common Ground Fair in Unity. Collectively they've been taking our entire crop (except for the U-Pik) several years running now.
Blackberries. The thorns on our single row of blackberries are wicked, so those are only available pre-ordered, fresh or frozen, not U-Pick. Judging from the load of blossoms, we should be getting lots of blackberries.
Strawberries have been very limited this summer (2016). Last spring we planted 500 new plants in a small plot outside, moved more than a thousand plants from a productive existing plot to make room for our new leach field, and then, as an experiment, we planted 200 plants in four short rows inside a 20' x 48' unheated hoophouse. We lost most of the outside plants from the harsh winter, deep severe cold, no snow cover. Tilled in the largest plot, planted it to onions. The hoophouse strawberries, however, being under cover all winter and spring, spread wall to wall, and started bearing the first week of June, well ahead of the regular season. We've been picking and sending most of our berries to the Natural Living Center in Bangor, freezing some for our wholesale ice cream maker customers. Because these hoophouse berrries were so early, the season, for us, will end before the 4th of July.
Tomatoes. In addition to the various fruits, we have about half an acre in vegetables. We grow tomatoes (cherries, golf-ball sized cocktail tomatoes, as well as full-sized slicers) in another 20'x48' unheated moveable hoophouse. We also grow and wholesale limited quantities of snap peas in June (sorry, no shell peas), and a ton or so of winter squash and pie pumpkins in the fall.
Changes. The original farmhouse, with its fieldstone foundation, was remodeled in the 1980s and early 1990s, so in 1999 when we moved in we could concentrate on developing the property into our dream of a pick-your-own raspberry and high-bush blueberry operation. Two years ago we turned our focus to our housing again, adding a three-car garage/barn on the east side of the house, and this summer, having a small addition and second story built over our kitchen and what we call the West Wing (our packing area) on the west side of the house. So at the moment the dooryard is a bit chaotic.
But, included in the plans, is a small room off the kitchen which we hope will serve as our farmstand, replacing the self-serve table.
We'll let you know when that's open for business.
Enjoy your summer in Maine!
Look for our label!
Here's hoping for a great season!
Jean Hay Bright
Our best raspberry patch.
Common Ground Fair award winning specimens!
Some agricultural links
Maine Dept. of Agriculture web site http://www.state.me.us/agriculture
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association http://www.mofga.org
Maine Farm Bureau http://www.mainefarmbureau.com
Maine's Own Organic Milk Company http://moomilkco.com