Oct 202015

NewsThere’s an interesting poll accompanying this article, recently published in the Portland Press Herald! The poll question asks whether or not the reader has attended an event at a Grange Hall. When I checked it just a few minutes ago 64% said “yes,” 27% said “no,” and the remaining 9% indicated that they’d never heard of the Grange. As with most statistics, this poll might raise more questions than it answers.

The article itself appears well-researched but does contain a few minor inaccuracies–many Grangers will spot them quickly. But don’t be distracted by them, because the article does seem to be attempting to tell an objective story and does provide some interesting food for thought.

Click and read the comments, too… there will be some by people you know!



Jun 112015
Chaley receives a congratulatory hug from  Riverside Grange Member Alyssa Landry

Chaley receives a congratulatory hug from Riverside Grange Member Alyssa Landry

Chaley Machado, an active member of Riverside Grange #475 graduated on June 6, 2015 magna cum laude from Noble High School in North Berwick, ME. Chaley was born in Dartmouth, MA where she was a through and through “City Girl.” She moved to the Maine in 2008, a change that started her love of farm animals.  She then joined Riverside Grange #475 along with her mother, Christine Corliss. She was elected and installed as Lady Assistant Steward for the next three years and most recently has held the office of Flora.

Chaley has transitioned to a country girl and her love animals and agriculture has grown. As a valuable member of Riverside Grange she has worked on displays at agricultural fairs, played an elf during Breakfast with Santa, taken a day off from school to visit at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, planted gardens where excess vegetables were donated to local food pantry and attended many suppers and events.

Chaley currently lives on a small family farm with her Mom and Dad (Chris and Dan Corliss, also Grange Members) and helps tend all of the animal babies born each season.  Given her high energy level, Chaley also currently holds down a 30+ hours per week job at Burger King in Portsmouth, NH and a 30+ hours per week job at Dunkin Donuts in Somersworth, NH. Don’t tell her there’s no time for Grange!

Chaley will be attending the University of New Hampshire in the Fall to major in Animal Sciences.  Her goal is to become a large animal veterinarian, concentrating on bovine and swine versus equine animals.  According to Chaley, “We already have enough vets that focus on horses–what happened to the cows and pigs? Does everyone forget they exist?”  Chaley explains her personal philosophy, “If you don’t like something, change it.  If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

The members and friends from Riverside Grange #475 wish her the best of luck and remind her that Doctor Seuss says, “Today is your day! You are off to great places.”

Jun 062015

Webmaster’s Note:  This article is reposted from the June Issue of the Piscataquis & Penobscot Counties Farming Newsletter, published by UMaine Cooperative Extension. You can sign up to receive the newsletter through your email or view the archived issues anytime at  http://bit.ly/PPfarming. Note that this information also applies to food preparation.

Farmers Markets are a great way to connect with local consumers and tourists interested in buying local produce and value-added food products. Farmers, vendors, and consumers can do their part in making sure proper food handling practices are followed for a safe and enjoyable Farmers Market season.

Summer temperatures are enjoyable for us and bacteria (that may potentially cause food-borne illness) grow extremely well at these temperatures. Be aware that perishable foods (foods that need to be refrigerated) should not be left out in the hot sun on the market table or in a hot car. The temperature danger zone is 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If perishable foods are left at this temperature for over 2 hours, they should be thrown away because they are not safe to eat. Potentially harmful bacteria can grow rapidly in this temperature range. Perishable foods should be transported cold in a cooler on ice. Coolers and ice packs can be purchased locally at most stores and are inexpensive.

If you are giving away food samples, prepare them ahead of time in a sanitary manner (with clean utensils and clean hands) and be sure that any surface that touches food products is clean and sanitized. Samples can be placed in individual serving cups or packages, or they can be displayed under a dome or covered tray at the market. When appropriate, disposable utensils such as toothpicks, deli paper, plastic forks and spoons, and disposable cups must be provided for proper food handling of samples. If you are selling perishable items, rotate your food samples. Do not leave them out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. Keep these products on ice whenever possible.

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Quality Assurance and Regulations requires farmers and food vendors to obtain a Mobile Food Vendor’s License when fruits and vegetables are sliced, peeled, husked or processed in any way. Fruits and vegetables, when cut and processed, cannot be prepared in a home kitchen because they are at a higher risk for possible contamination of harmful bacteria and need to be prepared in a sanitary manner. Due to this higher risk, these perishable products need to be processed in a separate, commercial food processing area approved by the Maine Department of Agriculture for the processing of fruit and vegetable products, and requires a Commercial Food Processor’s License.

Baked goods, jams and jellies, and pickled foods can be processed safely in a home kitchen and would require a Home Food Processors License and a Mobile Food Vendor’s License if you are selling these products at the Farmers Markets. If you have questions regarding food licenses, please contact Steve Giguere at 287-3841 or e-mail stevedot giguereatmainedotgov  (stevedotgiguereatmainedotgov)  . Food license applications can be accessed at the Maine Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources Web page: Licenses and Permit Forms.

Source: Calder, B., Farmers’ Market – Think Food Safety, http://umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/farmers-market/ accessed June 2015. 

May 222015

by Debbie Rogers

Arlington1Arlington Grange #528 is at the top of Grand Army Hill on Rt. 126 in Whitefield. In February 1884, the members of Erskine Post #24 G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) began raising funds to build a memorial hall. The purpose of the hall would be a meeting place for the GAR, a free high school, and “contain a hall for a public library, public lectures, and other such amusements, which will be for their own intellectual advantage as well as the community at large”.

On Sept. 1, 1914 the first meeting of the Arlington Grange was held in the GAR building. It was decided at that time to name it the Arlington Grange in recognition of Fred Arlington Naray.

It has been an honor to work with the Grange these past two years, and we have new members joining regularly. In preparation for the events we will be hosting this summer, we have been busy cleaning and sorting items in the Grange. During a cleaning day, we discovered a box of “stuff” under the stairs. In the bottom, we found several old books (roll books and notes). To our utter surprise, one was the original minutes of the very first Grange meeting at the hall. Mary Jo Higgins (Tobin) was working as well. She was overjoyed to discover that her grandmother, Lizzy Tobin, was one of the very first officers of the Arlington Grange. The roll book was very enlightening with lists of members and their occupations. Barber, railroad employee, housekeepers, students, and milkmaid were some of the listed occupations.

Arlington2Charlie Miller has been a member of the Arlington Grange for over sixty years. He and his wife, Fran, who recently passed away, have been tireless workers for the Grange. When it came to a Grange supper, you could always be sure there would be one of Fran’s pies, if not more. Charlie remembers attending the meetings at the age of 5 or 6 with his parents, who would arrive in their Model T Ford, and he recalls falling asleep on the benches which are still there. “Behind the building was a covered shed for the horses. During the Second World War, the Civil defense came out and built a tower where volunteers came to spot for planes in case of an air raid.”

During our meeting on May 13th, Charlie told us that the walls on the main floor have blackboards under the paneling from the school that was there in the late 1800’s. He is such a wealth of information, and we so appreciate his presence at the Grange. Charlie remembered watching his father put down the hardwood floor in the upstairs meeting area. His father did much of the carpentry work around the building. That work continued with Charlie, who not only installed the fire escape and the lift chair on the stairs in the hall, but he regularly maintained the building.

The current members of the Grange, including Charlie and longtime members Gladys and Leo Glidden, invite you to join us for a celebration of 100 years of community service and fellowship. We are also celebrating “Farming” in our area. The Grange is, after all, an agricultural-based group with deep roots in the farming community.

Arlington3On Sunday, June 7th , from 1-4 pm, we will be having an Open House celebration. During that time, we will have local farmers and organizations there with products, information, and demonstrations. Flintlock Forge will be there with Jeff Miller demonstrating Black Smithing. Also in attendance will be Sheepscot General, Narrow Gauge Farm (which will be bringing 3 baby lambs), Crooked Door Farm, Thirty Acre Farm, Tim’s Sugar Shack, Hidden Valley Farm, Treble Ridge Farm, Whitefield Trails, MOFGA, Sheepscot Valley Conservation Assoc., Whitefield Historical Society, and many others. We will be conducting tours of the Grange and serving free refreshments. There will also be a white elephant table in support of the Grange.

So, come visit the historic Grange and our wonderful farmers and organizations in our local area!! We are so lucky that 100 years later we can celebrate an ongoing success story of the agricultural community of Whitefield and its neighbors!

Mar 312015

submitted by State Historian Stanley Howe

Obediah Gardener was a Senator from Maine; born near Port Huron, Mich., September 13, 1852; moved to Union, Maine, with his parents in 1864; attended the common schools, Eastman’s Business College, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and Coburn Classical Institute, Waterville, Maine; engaged in the lumber, lime, and creamery business in Rockland, Maine, and also in agricultural pursuits and in cattle raising; member of the State board of agriculture; Master of the Maine State Grange 1897-1907; unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Maine in 1908; appointed as chairman of the board of State assessors 1911, but resigned, having been appointed Senator; appointed and subsequently elected as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William P. Frye, and served from September 23, 1911, until March 3, 1913; unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1913; appointed a member of the International Joint Commission created to prevent disputes regarding the use of the boundary waters between the United States and Canada in 1913, and served as chairman of the United States section 1914-1923; returned to Rockland, Maine, and retired; moved to Augusta, Maine, where he died July 24, 1938; interment in Achorn Cemetery, Rockland, Maine. His wife Corinna S. Gardner was State Flora from 1902 to 1907.

Mar 282015

jump_around_and_celebrate_300_clr_11856 (1)April is Grange Month across the nation! Founded in 1867, the Grange was the first fraternal farm organization in the country.  Today it is also recognized as America’s number one rural family organization.  There are nearly 300,000 members in 3,400 local or “Subordinate” Granges across 37 states.  Grange month includes a number of opportunities for visiting a Grange near you. Here’s a sampling of Grange events in the Piscataquis area.

On Thursday, April 2, Piscataquis Pomona Grange members visit Parkman Grange for a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by their monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m. Pomona Grange is the regional association of local Granges and anyone may attend. Piscataquis Pomona Grange includes East and South Sangerville Grange, Parkman Grange, Garland Grange, Dexter Grange, and Valley Grange in Guilford. This is a great opportunity to learn about the Grange closest to you. For additional information about this meeting or Granges in the Piscataquis Area, contact Bill Bemis at 924-3537.


Several Grangers visit with State Community Service Director Christine Corliss and husband Dan following a recent Pomona meeting. Granges in our area are proud to serve our communities.

On Friday, April 10, Garland Grange will serve up a Baked Beans and Pasta Public Supper from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The menu includes baked beans, mac and cheese, homemade bread and desserts. All you can eat for $7.00 for adults, $3.00 for children age 5 – 12, under age 5 eat free. Takeout is available and proceeds benefit the Garland Grange Building Fund. For more information call 924-6954.

Also on Friday, April 10, Garland Grange hosts a Family Contra Dance from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.—a great family friendly program with live music. All dances are taught. Admission is $7 per person or $12.00 per family. Caller is John McIntire and music by Some Reel People. For more information call 924-3925 or 277-3961. Garland Grange Hall is located on Oliver Hill Road in the center of Garland.

On Saturday, April 11 East Sangerville Grange will host their annual  “Cultivating Community” program from 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.  Conducted in partnership with the Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District, this free program “Healthy Soil Matters” will be of interest to commercial farmers and home gardeners. A complimentary lunch will be served by the PRYMCA Healthy Community Initiative. For more information and a reservation contact Erin Callaway at eecallawayatgmaildotcom  (eecallawayatgmaildotcom)   or 343-0171. East Sangerville Grange is located on East Sangerville Road.

On Saturday, April 11 Parkman Grange will host their third Daddy Daughter Dance at the Parkman Grange Hall. Any girl thirteen and under may bring that “special man” in life. Tickets are $5 per person, available at the door. A DJ will be spinning tunes and running dance contests. Light refreshments will be served and door prizes give. Keepsake photos will also be taken. The dance will be held from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. For more information contact Sue Manchester at 277-3942. Parkman Grange is also taking reservations for their Fifteenth Annual Mothers Day Tea on Saturday, May 9. Tickets are $5 and reservations can be made by calling Sue  at 277-3942. Parkman Grange is located at the four corners in Parkman.

On Friday, April 17 Valley Grange Bookworms and friends will attend the Bikes for Books Assembly starting at 8:00 a.m. at Piscataquis Elementary School. The Bikes for Books Program is sponsored by the Mount Kineo Masons Lodge to support literacy and Bookworms who visit school to listen to kids read love it!

On Friday, April 17, Valley Grange hosts a potluck supper at 6:00 p.m. followed by a CWA Program starting at 7:00 p.m. The CWA committee of the Grange celebrates domestic skills such as crafts, sewing, woodworking and all are invited. For more information visit http://valleygrange.com or contact Jim Annis at 564-0820. Valley Grange is located at 172 Guilford Center Road.


Feb 042015

Webmaster’s Note: This article is republished with permission from Central Maine Farming News, published by the UMaine Cooperative Extension Service. Maine Maple Sunday is March 22, 2015.


Maple SyrupThe U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on January 28, 2015, that grading standards for maple syrup have been revised to match international standards giving consumers a better understanding of what they are buying.  In 2010, the International Maple Syrup Institute, which represents maple producers in the U.S. and Canada, started the implementation procedures for these new grade standards in hopes of making it easier for consumers to understand what grade of syrup they are buying as grades used to vary among regions.

The revisions completely do away with the Grade B syrup label as the USDA notes there is more demand for dark syrup for cooking and table use.  All syrup producing regions will now follow the same grading standards with Grade A to include four color and flavor classes for maple syrup:

  • Golden color and delicate taste,
  • Amber color and rich taste,
  • Dark color and robust taste, and
  • Very dark and strong taste.

Source: Maine Maple Producers Association Click here to go to website

UMaine Extension has a number of resources to help syrup producers. Click here to go to our Natural Resources: Maple Syrup Production Website.  We have YouTube videos, Quality Control Manual, Production Record Sheets as well as basic information on maple syrup production.

Jan 152015

MFFM ConventionAs more and more Granges host or consider hosting Farmers’ Markets, one of our Communications Goals is to find you some resources! Yesterday at the Maine Agricultural Trades Expo, Master Vicki and I had the opportunity to visit with a representative of the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets at some length. We learned a lot, including the fact that they are sponsoring an information packed one day conference later this month. The only catch is registration deadline is Monday, January 19. For more information about the conference and Farmers’ Markets in general, visit mainefarmersmarkets.org or the Federation’s Facebook page. And stay tuned for more information!

Jul 072014

Farmers Market Logo

Exciting Granges and Grangers…

submitted by Larry Bailey
From the St George Dragon Newsletter

For many years the Ocean View Grange on Route 131 in Martinsville has sought to be of service to St. George by raising funds for the town’s Fuel Assistance Program, but more recently the organization has been reconnecting with its historic focus on promoting local agriculture. In addition to lining up guest speakers to address such topics as beekeeping, the Grange has begun  hosting a weekly farmers’ market on Thursday mornings.

“We’ve got a great location, so we decided to let food vendors use our space out front,” explains Debbie Rogers, the Grange member who is coordinating the venture.  “The market belongs to the vendors,” she stresses, but people who want to participate need to contact Rogers ahead so she can plan for any special needs.

“The first market on June 12 started with two vendors, but that number has increased each week since then. I  am anticipating we’ll have about 12 vendors at the height of the season,” Rogers says. Most are located in St. George, although Weskeag Farm in South Thomaston and Head Acre Farm in Owl’s head are also participating. Herring Gut’s summer program students will begin bringing their hydroponic lettuce and tilapia July 8. Other vendors include Blue Tulip (vegetables), Sugar Tree (confections), Village Ice Cream (baked goods), and Bittersweet Farm (goat cheese).

In addition to providing vendors with an additional way to reach customers, Rogers believes the market is strengthening the sense of community in St. George. “The Grange wants to provide as many opportunities to bring people together as possible,” she says. “This is about people helping people.”

For more information contact Debbie Rogers at 372-1465 or dcr424atgmaildotcom  (dcr424atgmaildotcom)  .

May 292014

Submitted by Larry N Bailey

It was my genuine pleasure to present a 65 year pin and framed certificate to sister Charlene Stimpson. She was a guiding light when we first joined the Ocean View Grange and did so with great humor. It is because of long-term members such as she that our Grange still stands and is there for our use today.

We fielded a crew of Grangers again this year to adopt a local highway section where we picked up all the trash along the road. It is a satisfying activity and one I can recommend.

Our first bean supper of the year was held on May 17th and was a great success. The residents always enjoy the meal and the joy of seeing their friends, relatives and neighbors after the long winter. The funds raised will go towards heating assistance and the building fund. One day (not soon I hope) we will need a new roof.

Starting June 12th Ocean View Grange will sponsor a Farmers market at our Grange.  We have received a very good reception from local farmers and expect the market to be a great success. The market will be open on Thursday mornings from 7:30 AM to 2:00 PM starting June 12th.