Broadturn Farm exists on land that was occupied and contested by the Pequawquet people of the Abanaki Nation.
Understanding the past and how it relates to the place we currently live and work is at once a political and spiritual practice. Acknowledgement of historical injustice must live side by side with gratitude for our privilege. This inherent dissonance pushes us to learn more, challenge our understanding, and engage with openness and non-judgement.
Production varies by season but we actively cultivate about 9 acres. Flowers are our main crop, but we also grow some organic produce. We dedicate significant space for soil-improving cover crops which improve the soil for our rotation of annuals. We have several hoop-house structures in which we produce early and late crops. The surrounding fields and forest are sometimes gleaned for interesting installation decor, but mostly these spaces inspire us to keep our designs a little wild and unpredictable.
In the spring we have a small group working in the greenhouse and tending the hoop houses. We manage the mulch on our perennials and bulb crops, and gear up for our Mother’s Day target (May 9!). By then, we have fields prepared for planting but we keep a close eye on the last frost.
By summer our crew grows to about 10 part time or full time folks working in fields on production or harvesting, and in our design studio. Deliveries are made daily, and pick-ups at the farm are steady. Fall does not slow us down, but after the frost much of our production is wrapped up. We still manage harvests from our hardy crops in the field and from inside the hoop houses, but some of the seasonal crew leaves, and we start to clean up the fields before snow and freezing temperatures arrive. Production begins again by late January as we focus on the hoop houses.
Broadturn Farm is located on land leased from the Scarborough Land Trust. The land was purchased in 2004 from the Meserve family, who worked it during the previous century. In the 1920s they had a dairy. In the 1940s they produced squash and beans for local canneries. They joined in on Maine’s poultry boom in the 1970s and maintained a laying flock into the 1980s. Putting up hay and grazing cattle kept the open land working. We still hear stories about the three Meserve brothers living together in the farmhouse during the very hard economic times for small farms throughout the 1980s and 90s.
This land is part of the Stroudwater River Watershed which opens up into the Fore River and Casco Bay. There are two streams feeding into that river on either side of the open fields. There are 300 acres of forest and wetland which filters this water and buffers the flow in seasonal rains. A wetland swale cuts through our 50 acre hay field providing habitat for many species of birds. Sandi's Silver Brook Trail can be found behind the farmstead, off of Hanson Road, and is accessible to visitors year round. The property is also used by hunters, bird watchers, and cross-country skiers. We believe that land should fundamentally be considered a common space with a multiplicity of uses. Anyone is welcome to walk the trails and explore the hayfields.
Broadturn Farm has a 99 year lease with the Scarborough Land Trust. It took us 14 years to sign it, and throughout that time we have learned a lot about land access, farm business, and stewardship. There are many ways to occupy land, and ownership as we understand it is historically a very marginal approach. We are happy to share some of what we have learned, so please reach out if you have questions.
John grew up in suburban Boston but spent summers in Maine. He studied art and then anthropology which led him through a brief period of traveling and living abroad. A concern for right livelihood led him to the writings of Helen and Scott Nearing which set him on a path where he met up with Stacy. Together, they learned about small scale organic agriculture and homesteading.
Stacy got her start in her mother’s garden in New Jersey but after earning a science degree in Agriculture from the University of Arizona, she realized that it was a special kind of farming she was interested in. She serves on the board of MOFGA and Maine Farmland Trust as part of her commitment to small scale local agriculture. She is also is a nurse midwife and is passionate about women’s health and rights. She is happiest hosting a huge party eating and drinking and maybe singing and dancing. Her FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) even motivated her to run for Maine state senate where she serves representing District 30.
Alaena has always been fascinated by the wonders of the natural world and equally terrified of the human race's role in accelerating climate change. Six years ago she decided to leave her non-profit job in NYC to learn how to farm in Maine. She found a home at Broadturn and never left! She see's herself as the nanny of the flowers on the farm... tending to them from tiny seeds until they are sent into the hands of customers. Once they are out in the world, there is nothing she can do but hope that everyone appreciates their beauty as much as she does.
Angela joined the Broadturn Farm team in 2016 and is the lead floral consultant for all things wedding and event related at the farm. She delights in building client relationships and takes pride in her special work as a liaison between families and some of life’s most momentous celebrations. Her past experience in the restaurant, catering and photography industries, combined with the inspired floral design work created alongside her team on the farm, bring together her love for high energy, beauty filled events.
Megan holds a Fine Arts degree from the Maine College of Art and an Art Education degree from the University of Southern Maine, and she leads the education crew here at Broadturn. She fully embraces the work of farm-based education, creating curriculum that combines her love of teaching with her passion for art, the great outdoors, and good food -- fresh from the farm, fields and woods. When she's not teaching, you can expect to see her foraging in the woods, knitting, fermenting veggies, playing her ukulele or walking a goat!
Since our start in 2006 we have had a number of partnerships with other farmers and folks in the agriculture sector.
Ramona and John Snell used to see the Meserve family at the Portland Farmers Market but never thought they might be farming some of the good soils on Broadturn Road. Since 2007, the Snells have been subtenants at Broadturn Farm, where they grow potatoes, cabbage, pumpkins, and other vegetables on the northeast side of Broadturn Road. The Snells have been incredible neighbors and mentors over the years, demonstrating soil stewardship, business management, and top quality production. Shop their farmstand in Buxton or at the Portland Farmer's Market.
Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Omasombo, his wife Poyo, and their children live in Lewiston and come down to the Portland area to sell their vegetables and put a few hours in on their plot at Broadturn Farm. Omasombo and John struck up their friendship in 2017 when he started working with Fresh Start Farms Food Hub and was learning about farming in Maine. Omasombo is now a top producer of African eggplant among other specialty foods in demand from Maine’s thriving African immigrant community.
Dylan Watters is a long time employee of Broadturn Farm and since 2017 has grown produce here for his family business Old Wells Farm, based in Limington. Dylan, Alaena, Stowe and Marina sell their produce as well as herb and veggie seedlings at the Gorham Farmers Market and also offer a vegetable CSA. Their production is certified organic.
School bus driver, candlepin bowler, and master bee-keeper, Russ maintains any number of honeybee hives at Broadturn Farm. We do our best to keep his bees well fed on the most diverse pollen in town. See if he has any honey available (207) 468-1105. No twitter, no insta, and better not check his FB.
Andy cuts hay every day that the weather allows. He farms a number of different properties, but you know he is at Broadturn Farm when you see his fleet of green tractors in the hayfield, lined up like a John Deere dealership. He sells hay mostly to horse farms in the area, but he always provides our animals more than enough round bales to carry us through the winter.
Alexander and Linzy approached Broadturn Farm in 2018 with ideas for a research and development plot for their technology company. Based in Biddeford, they are building an agricultural robot to take some of the drudgery out of farming. On their small plot they are bringing Broadturn Farm into the future!