Back in the day, my three siblings and I were home schooled (yup...true story. I was for nine years). One of the benefits to being home throughout the week was that we were able to plant and tend to a garden every year. We planted various vegetables including tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, peas and everything else you could think of. Let me tell you, weeding the garden was not overly pleasant and I'm sure I complained more than I smiled. Still, when the produce started growing and it was finally ready to be picked, I was excited. Nothing beats eating a fresh green bean right off the plant, or biting into a cuke with a little bit of salt on each bit. When you've grown it yourself, it's much more fresh.
I'm not sure what spurted the recent talks, but I have had at least three conversations with friends about farm fresh veggies and where to find them in certain areas of Maine. I am fortunate enough to have friends and family who grow their own gardens year in and year out so I have access to fresh produce if and when I need it. Unfortunately, at this point in time, I am not able to grow my own produce because I live in an apartment. Something tells me my landlord wouldn't be too keen on me rototilling his land without asking permission. The reality of life is that not everyone has the means, or is able to grow their own veggies.
Maybe you live in the city, or maybe you don't have the time to tend to a garden. The good news is that Maine is full of farms that offer pick your own produce. Pickyourown.org is a website that lists nearly every farm in the country that offers pick your own options. The farms have most everything you could imagine. Whether you are looking for berries of some kind, or fresh veggies, the website has it all. It also separates the counties of Maine so you can find the farm that is most convenient for you. Some farms even have activities other than pick your own produce, like corn mazes.
If you're someone who likes the farm fresh produce, but is unable to go to the pick your own farms, or don't want to deal with the hassle of getting your hands dirty, Maine also has a vast number of farmers' markets. Not only are you getting farm fresh fruits and veggies, you are also helping support Maine's economy. Not only can you find fresh produce at these farmers' markets, you can also often times find things like milk, eggs, bread, soups and other goodies that you don't find if you just go and pick your own produce. Win win! Here's a list of farmer's markets in Maine, and when they meet.
While I can't say that I miss weeding our family garden, I do miss the ability to walk out to the yard and pick fresh food. That being said, I love the idea of pick your own produce farms. They are a great way to support Maine's farmers and the economy. I will say this much though. If you haven't tried a garden before, I encourage you to next year. Start off small and see if you enjoy it. I would say that tomatoes and green beans are probably some of the easiest plants to start off growing, and often times you'll have more veggies than you can eat. You'll have plenty to share. Don't believe me? Margaux's (my girlfriend), parents just picked two five gallon buckets full of green beans just a few days ago. Guess what? They have more on the way.
Have you ever been to a pick your own farm?
PS...seriously. If you post a comment you can win. We give away a $50 gift card each month...you should probably comment...just sayin'.