25th Annual Maine Open Farm Day

July 21, 2014

For more information, contact: Jessica Nixon at 207-287-3494

A Maine tradition, farms will open their gates to the public this Sunday

AUGUSTA – Visit select Maine Farms this Sunday, July 27. All across the State of Maine, close to 90 family farms will open their doors to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Held each year, Open Farm Day is an opportunity for consumers to learn about Maine and Maine food producers and for farms to show the public their products.

“Open Farm Day recognizes the many contributions that farmers make to our economy and highlights the local communities they are located in,” said Maine Governor Paul R. LePage. “Not only do our farms provide fresh food, but they also demonstrate the virtues of hard work and self-reliance. Despite the national decline in farms, the number of Maine farms is growing, as is the market value of the agricultural products our farms produce. That value has increased 24% since 2007 to more than $763 million. Maine agriculture is also creating more jobs. The number of operations with hired workers has increased 28% in the last five years.”

Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb urged families to take advantage of this unique event. “All across Maine you can visit dozens of small farms; farms with vegetable stands and market gardens; farms with hay rides and home bakeries; farms with sheep, cows, horses, rabbits, pigs or chickens; farms and farm owners who want to show you a fascinating cross section of life growing out in the Maine countryside,” said Whitcomb. “The Department is pleased to help organize this family oriented event that encourages better understanding of how food happens and how hard working Maine farm families contribute to both the local economy and the locally grown food supply.”

Open Farm Day is an annual family event that connects consumers with the men and women who help produce their food. Farms throughout Maine will open their gates to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture. Many farms will have demonstrations, displays, farm-raised products for sale and animals and crops to experience.

Activities may include barn and field tours, milking, hay rides, petting zoos, nature trails, beautiful scenery, samples for tasting and refreshments. Events like Open Farm Day have an impact on the Agri-Tourism in the State of Maine. According to the USDA, in 2012, AG Tourism & Recreational Services in Maine increased 78% (Increasing from $1,012,000 to $1,803,000) and participating farms increased by 141% (112 to 270 farms).

Now is a great time for consumers to visit and support Maine’s farms and be part of the growing support for locally grown foods. According to Gary Keough, New England Field Office State Statistician, National Agricultural Statistics Service, “the average size of a Maine farm is 178 acres, up seven percent since 2007. Organic production and aquaculture sales increased from between 2007 and 2012 as well: the value of aquaculture sales increased from $26.3 million to $75.1 million (ranking us eighth nationally) and organic products increased from $23.3 million to $36.4 million.”

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this event, participating farms will showcase a Welcome Open Farm Day banner indicating their doors are open to the public.

For more details on participating farms visit: http://www.getrealmaine.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/calendar.detail/event_id/186/index.htm