Monday, December 30, 2013

Workshops for New Farmers to be Held at Agricultural Trade Show

Bangor, ME – December 27, 2013 -- Are you a new farmer?  Do you need help navigating the various programs and services available to help you succeed in your new farming enterprise?

The Beginning Farmer Resource Network (BFRN)…a coalition of farm service providers supporting the whole farm community including agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry…will be conducting workshops on various topics for new farmers at the Agricultural Trade Show to be held at the Augusta Civic Center on January 7-9, 2014. 

The schedule, topics and locations for these workshops can be found in the Agricultural Trade Show program brochure, which can be found at the Get Real Get Maine website at .  The workshops will be held from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Wednesday, January 8th and from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Thursday, January 9th. There will also be a networking room where you can come and talk to a representative of BFRN about your farm.  The networking room, which will be in the Knox Room, will be open Tuesday-Thursday during the hours of the Trade Show.

BFRN is a group of federal, state and local farm service providers who have joined together to assist aspiring, beginning, and transitioning farmers…providing information and assistance on everything from the soil to your wallet.  They are dedicated to helping farmers succeed, as well as ensuring that agriculture stays prosperous in the future.

Go to BFRN’s website at…the one stop website for new farmers...for a “toolbox” of information on important issues/concerns that farmers should think about when starting their business.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Approaching 3 months open

It's fall!  Can you believe it?  Fossa's General Store has been open for 3 months come Friday the 27th and it has zoomed by. 
We now work with almost 65 LOCAL farmers & producers; some with only berries seasonally and others that make 1 or 2 deliveries a week! 

We use only 3 'traditional' vendors; Maine Distributors for our Maine Root soda, Dennis Paper for our paper goods, dishes and other kitchen supplies and Pepsi who provides 3 types of soda only but quality juices, water etc.  Pepsi also generously provides coolers for our store front.

Fossa's Kitchen is cookin' up more and more food made with as many local ingredients as we can!  ...and we are coming up with more recipes as the cooler weather approaches... Our pizza is selling better and better and people are becoming more adventurous in choosing their combination of toppings :)

You can now find our Homemade Pizza Dough for sale in our storefront freezer.  It is my own recipe and made fresh, bagged and frozen and will keep for a long time in your freezer.

We are adding more and more items to our bakery display case both from our producers and from our own kitchen.
We are becoming a “Bread Headquarters” with our own homemade bread & biscuits to producers providing their own unique breads.

We just got word from the Dept. of Ag that we can have 4 tables in the storefront (no waiting on you though, that is another kind of license), so that during the cold months you can buy a pizza or other food / drink and sit and watch the traffic on Main Street :)
That will be coming in the near future.

As the holidays approach and veggies are less abundant, Fossa's will carry more gifts and decorating items.  We are getting a new line of jewelry in this week (turquoise, beads & stones), we have awesome stick ponies, walking sticks, ice fishing traps, soaps, wreaths, Indian corn, pumpkins... so much more; we are a true General Store!

Open Tuesday thru Saturday 10 am to 7 pm
Sundays 11 am to 4 pm
Closed on Mondays...

Thanks to all that are supporting your LOCAL farmers & producers and Fossa's General Store.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2nd Month down and lots of growing...

Fossa's General Store on 4 Main Street in Dexter has just finished it's 2nd month in business and we are please to say it is growing in leaps and bounds!
We now represent over 60 LOCAL Farmers and Producers within the store and still growing.
Fossa's is truely a "General" Store carrying everything from produce & pickles, milk &d Maine Soda, meats & coffee, note paper, greeting cards, fish flies & ice fishing supplies to gifts and decorating the home items

Our kitchen is growing daily as we come up with new ideas with an old fashion 'comfort food' twist.
We boast our Wood Fired Brick Oven that we cook designer pizzas, Fossa's Hand Pies and so much more.  We will be doing artisan breads in the near future.

Fossa's Hours are:
Tuesday thru Saturday 10 am to 7 pm
Sundays 11 am to 4
Closed on Mondays

We do daily posts to our Facebook page of specials, products and new daily items...

University of Maine Cooperative Extension Event at Rogers Farm

Join the University of Maine Cooperative Extension at Rogers Farm on September 10th at 6:00pm for Dividing Perennial Plants with a special focus on Iris.

Fall is a great time to divide perennial plants.  Mary Betts will demonstrate how to divide different types of iris while Kate Garland offer tips and show how to divide other perennial plants.

No reservation is needed and the event will be held rain or shine.

Rogers Farm in located on the Bennoch Road in Stillwater. From I-95 take exit 193. Turn right onto Stillwater Ave, at the third traffic light take a left onto Bennoch Road. Travel 1.5 miles. Rogers Farm will be on your right across from the University Research Farm. You will see the farm buildings on your left.

For more information or to request a disability accommodation (please allow two weeks for a disability request), call 207.942.7396.

About University of Maine Cooperative Extension:
As a trusted resource for almost 100 years, University of Maine Cooperative Extension has supported UMaine’s land and sea grant public education role by conducting community-driven, research-based programs in every Maine county. 

UMaine Extension helps support, sustain and grow the food-based economy. It is the only entity in our state that touches every aspect of the Maine Food System, where policy, research, production, processing, commerce, nutrition, and food security and safety are integral and interrelated. UMaine Extension also conducts the most successful out-of-school youth educational program in Maine through 4-H. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fossa's announces "Soft Opening" Thursday, June 27th

Fossa's General Store will be having a "Soft Opening" this Thursday, June 27th at 10 am after 3 1/2 years of starting and stopping and starting and stopping on the construction due to forces outside of our control. 

But we sure do have control now and very excited to show you all what marvelous work our local contractors and volunteer have transformed our place into! 

I like to call it "Farmer Chic" which is fitting for highlighting Local Farmers & Local Producers food & wares.
We will not have all items in place on Thursday because as you know many items planted just are not ready yet but will be in another month or so.  So, we are planning a big ole' Grand Opening in August with all the bells and whistles.

We are featuring “Locally Grown, Locally Produced” products and are pleased to be supporting locally agriculture primarily in a 35+ mile radius of Dexter, but for products not available we will have other Maine goods.

Please join us next week, but in the meantime join our Facebook page for all the latest news, photos, specials and farm spotlights & highlights.

Much Happiness,

Fossa’s General Store Facebook Page:

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Before Spring Planting, “Dig a little. Learn a lot.”

 Maine – April 16, 2013 -- “As spring temperatures go up, it’s an excellent time for farmers and gardeners to focus their attention down to the soil below them,” says Alice Begin, Resource Conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Maine.  “A spring check-up of your soil’s health gives clues of your ground’s ability to feed plants, hold water, capture carbon and more.”  No fancy equipment is required. Just grab a spade or shovel and prepare your senses to dig a little and learn a lot.

It doesn’t matter what kind of landowner you are; small farmers, large farmers, organic farmers and even home gardeners can all benefit from this simple discovery project of one of their most important resources.  And in the process you can reap big rewards for your crops and the environment around you.

With your shovel, nose, eyes and hands ready, Begin suggests the following steps to investigate soil health:

LOOK – first at the soil surface which should be covered with plant residue, providing organic matter and preventing erosion.  Dig into the soil and observe the color and structure.  It should be dark, crumbly, and porous—rather like chocolate cake.  Healthy soil is full of air holes and live roots, and of course, you should see earthworms—our wonderful soil engineers!  Poorer soils are lighter in color, compacted or unstructured, and lack living roots and critters.

SMELL – Healthy soil should have a sweet earthy smell, indicating the presence of geosmin, a byproduct of soil microbes called actinomycetes.  These microbes decompose the tough plant and animal residues in and on the soil and bring nitrogen from the air into the soil to feed plants.  An unhealthy, out-of-balance soil smells sour or metallic, or like kitchen cleanser.

TOUCH – Soil should be loose and crumble easily indicating a porous texture.  This holds water better making it available for plants and stemming flooding and runoff.  In healthy soil, roots can grow straight and deep, allowing plants to reach nutrients and water they need to produce the food we love to eat.

Maine is fortunate to have productive soils. It is up to gardeners, landowners, and land managers to preserve and even build their productive capacity. Basic principles to improve or maintain soil health apply to small gardens, large agricultural fields, and even pastures. They include:

Minimize soil disturbance. The less a soil is tilled, and the more shallowly it is tilled, the better the all-important organisms in the soil do. Many farmers and gardeners are turning to reduced tillage and no-till systems to save energy and improve soil health.

Reduce or eliminate bare soil. In nature, healthy soil is covered by something, be it living plants or dead organic matter. Bare soil erodes easily. Rainfall runs off bare soil rather than sinking in. And bare soil temperatures can rise high enough to be detrimental or even deadly to soil organisms. Utilize cover crops and mulches in gardens and fields where crops are grown. If you have livestock, manage grazing with rotations to allow grasses and clovers to regrow before being re-grazed. Maintain a minimum height of 3-4 inches on pasture at all times.

In addition to the vital production values of soil health to the individual farmer or gardener, Begin explains that healthy soil has clear impacts on many of the larger agricultural and environmental issues of our day, from sustainable food production to water quality to mitigating climate change.  Healthy soil holds, filters and regulates water, mitigates drought and flooding, reduces runoff and erosion, cycles nutrients, sequesters carbon and suppresses weeds and pests.  For all these reasons NRCS has recently launched a nationwide effort to “Unlock the Secrets of the Soil.”

Simply put, healthy soils are productive soils and they are important to every one of us.  Visit the Soil Health website at  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Applications for Two Major Conservation Initiatives due April 19

Bangor, ME – February 25, 2013, 2012 – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Juan Hernandez has announced a second ranking period for the Organic Initiative and the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative.  Interested producers should contact their local NRCS office soon to find out if they are eligible for either of these programs.  Applications for the second ranking period of 2013 are due at the NRCS offices by close of business on April 19, 2013.  Both initiatives are funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and offer technical and financial assistance.

Through the Organic Initiative NRCS helps certified organic growers and producers working to achieve organic certification install conservation practices for organic production.  Funding is available to help producers plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns in ways that are consistent with organic production.  “Practices will help the selected applicants meet many requirements of their USDA Organic System Plans and stay in compliance with USDA’s National Organic Program,” said Hernandez.

Through the Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, NRCS helps producers plan and implement high tunnels – steel-framed, polyethylene-covered structures that extend growing seasons in an environmentally safe manner.  High tunnel benefits include better plant and soil quality, fewer nutrients and pesticides in the environment, and better air quality due to fewer vehicles being needed to transport crops.

For more information go to or contact your nearest USDA Service Center, listed online at or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department.

Coalition Providing Assistance to New Farmers

Bangor, ME – February 26, 2013 -- Are you a new farmer?  Do you need help navigating the various programs and services available to help you succeed in your new farming enterprise?

A group of federal, state and local farm service providers have joined together to assist aspiring, beginning, and transitioning farmers to succeed…providing information and assistance on everything from the soil to your wallet.

Known as the Beginning Farmer Resource Network of Maine (BFRN), this coalition of farm service providers supports the whole farm community including agriculture, aquaculture, and forestry.  They are dedicated to helping farmers succeed, as well as ensuring that agriculture stays prosperous in the future. 

BFRN has created a website that will hopefully serve as a resource for beginning farmers.  It offers a “toolbox” of information on important issues/concerns that farmers should think about when starting their business.  It provides resources and contacts on such issues as acquiring land, how to farm, conserving natural resources, planning and managing your business, financing, regulations, marketing, and much more.  It also provides information on events and workshops that may be of interest. 

Finding what you need to start farming shouldn’t be like finding a shear pin in a haystack.  Go to…the one stop website for new farmers. 

Elaine Tremble
Public Affairs Specialist
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
967 Illinois Avenue, Suite #3
Bangor, ME 04401
Tel: 207-990-9569
Fax: 207-990-9599

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

We want to talk to you!

Fossa's General Store seeks Producers

After years of delays and setbacks the Dexter Farm Project is pleased to announce that we expect to open the Fossa's General Store on the corner of Main street and Route 7 in Dexter soon. 

We will be offering food products produced primarily within 35+ miles of Dexter.  

We hope to  be able to offer a wide variety of items ranging from fresh fruits and vegetables to meats, dairy products, baked goods, and value-added items.  We aim to offer the consumer the widest variety of products that we can, weather that be certified organic or not. 

We are currently seeking products that will be available for our opening in April.

 Interested producers are welcome to contact either Ernest Rollins at 717-7057 or by email , or Judy Wilbur Craig at 270.1240 or by email 

Click here for the Guidelines for Producers – adopted 03.05.2013 by DRDC Board of Directors.

 For folks on Facebook we post nearly daily updates on our construction progress at

Judy Wilbur Craig
Dexter Community Farm Project Coordinator

Photo album:
Fossa General Store:  207.924.DEXTer (924.3398) 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Maine Senior FarmShare Program Preparing for New Season

AUGUSTA – Maine’s Senior FarmShare program is gearing up for another season. Eligible seniors will once again be able to get free fruit, vegetables and herbs from local Maine farmers.
Last year, more than 19,000 seniors and 130 farmers took part in the program, which provides $50 worth of produce to each participant. Qualifying seniors contract directly with local farmers for pickup or delivery.
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and administered in Maine by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF). Last year, Maine received just over $1 million to operate the program. The allocation for this year has not been finalized, but USDA anticipates receiving about $20 million to run the program nationwide, the same as in 2012.
“Our local farmers are the bread and butter of Maine’s agricultural community,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “This funding will be used to leverage support to promote and support our farmers while helping our most vulnerable citizens.”
Application letters are now going out to farmers who took part in the program in the past. “We’re hoping for another strong participation level, so we can serve people all over the state,” said Julie Waller, the FarmShare program manager at DACF. “The people in the program, especially folks on fixed incomes, really appreciate the wholesome food the farmers provide.”
A survey of last summer’s participants turned up dozens of glowing reviews about the quality of both the food and the service. “The produce sure helps me get by,” wrote one senior.” I have only 42 percent of my heart, so picking berries is out of the question, but I can go to the farmer and get them.” Another wrote, “The farm stand where I shopped was very neat and clean. The people were friendly and helpful. I look forward to the next growing season. There is nothing more delicious than a red-ripe tomato from a local farm.”
To qualify for a Senior FarmShare, a participant must be a Maine resident, at least 60 years old and with a household income of not more than 185 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines. Last year’s thresholds were $20,665 for singles and $27,991 for a two-person household. 
DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb said the program has proven to be an asset for farmers and seniors. “Under our innovative approach, farmers receive the $50 per customer in the spring so the program provides them with working capital for the summer growing season,” he said. “And it helps ensure that Maine seniors have access to healthy, nourishing food.”
Participating farmers offer a variety of methods for providing produce. Seniors pick it up at a specific farmers’ market, or at the farm or farm stand. Some farmers offer home delivery. Eligible produce includes fresh, unprocessed fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Seniors may contract the Area Agency on Aging at 877-353-3771 to find participating farmers once the list is complete, probably by mid-March. The list also will be available at

Monday, February 4, 2013

Facebook updates

If you are on Facebook, I do almost daily updates there....

GrowME Sprouts and Spurts!

Local collaboration will provide classroom activities
Dover Foxcroft -- While it might be difficult to think about gardening and farming in February, a group of area volunteers are doing just that as they plan this year’s GrowME program being offered to K-3 teachers and schools in the Piscataquis County area. The program is the result of collaboration between Valley Grange, PCSWCD (Piscataquis County Soil and Water Conservation District) and UMaine Piscataquis County Extension.
The program aims to utilize local volunteers who will work with teachers to schedule an agricultural activity in their classrooms during Maine Agriculture Week (March 18-33). Joanna Tarrazi, Executive Director of PCSWCD is particularly excited over the “hands on” aspect of the activities. “Thanks to our rural nature in Piscataquis County, we don’t have the ‘nature deficit’ that some more urban areas experience,” she said. “But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be offering our kids an opportunity to involve all their senses and get some hands on learning.”
Walter Boomsma, program director for Valley Grange agrees. His favorite part is visiting second graders at PCES to make butter. “We have fun and the kids almost don’t realize they are learning--some have even asked for instructions and then made butter at home as a family activity.” Volunteers will also offer seed planting activities and create animal graphs. “We also spend some time just talking with the kids—many have chickens and gardens and it’s fun to share experiences.”
Boomsma notes that the program is expanding this year to include schools in Dexter, but there should be no shortage of volunteers and resources thanks to the collaboration. “We’ve got master gardeners and farmers available through Extension Programs and PCSWCD includes partners and resources that are committed to good stewardship. Our goal is to keep this informal, local, and a true partnership between our schools, teachers, and volunteers. It’s not so much that we have a program to offer—it’s more about working together to make good use of our resources. Our volunteers will have the sort of agricultural experience and background to be especially relevant to students while providing insight into the importance of agriculture in our area.”
Those interested in volunteering are invited to a meeting on February 19th at 3 PM at PCSWCD in Dover Foxcroft where guidelines for volunteers and activity materials will be reviewed.
This year’s offer to local schools is for a GrowME volunteer to visit for about 20 minutes and work with students on a simple, grade appropriate activity. Teachers and administrators who are interested need only furnish contact information: teacher’s name-email address and grade. Interested teachers and volunteers may email or call Joanna Tarrazi at PCSWCD, 564-2321. Additional information is also available at

Applications for On-Farm Energy Initiative due March 15

Bangor, ME – February 1, 2013 – USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Juan Hernandez has announced a second signup period for the On-Farm Energy Initiative, funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. 

Potential applicants should contact their local NRCS office soon to find out if they are eligible for this Initiative. Applications for the second ranking period of 2013 are due at the NRCS offices by close of business on March 15, 2013. This Initiative offers technical and financial assistance.

Through the On-Farm Energy Initiative, NRCS and producers develop Agricultural Energy Management Plans (AgEMP), or farm energy audits, that assess energy consumption on an operation. There are two separate AgEMP options: (1) for a landscape component, that assesses equipment and farming processes, and (2) a farm headquarters component, that assesses power usage and efficiencies in livestock buildings, maple syrup operations, and similar facilities to support the farm operation.

NRCS then uses audit data to develop energy conservation practice recommendations. Clients may apply for financial assistance through the On-Farm Energy Initiative to implement the recommended practices.

For more information go to or contact your nearest USDA Service Center, listed online at or in the telephone book under United States Government, Agriculture Department.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

this week's updates

This weeks updates:
Hi all,
I was planning on a meeting tonight, but between the extreme cold and Board members with the flu,  Roger and I decided that it should wait.
BUT if anyone wants to stop in or call me for updates and decisions please please call me!!!!

If you are on Facebook I have consistently been adding updates and pictures plus adding picture to our online photo album.  All the links are below!

- Furnace work is going well now and may be going as soon as this Friday for parts of the building.  Mike from MAG is very thorough and likes to do things the 'right' way, not just the easy way.  He really wants to be able to put heat upstairs and said it will be about an extra $1000, but in the meantime is putting in the thermostat wire and piping upstairs so it can go in later.  It is pretty cold up there and not much heat comes up from downstairs, and will be even less when the fire doors go in.

- Electrical is coming along, but CMP has not come yet to switch over to the new panel so many things are not working yet or only partly working.  Greg has bugged them and they are supposed to be here this week (maybe even today).

- Drywall is mostly done, taped and mudded and primed.   Painting on those walls will begin very soon.  I am happy with how well Marie and her company has done on the joints and finishing off the drywall.  She has had a heck of a time to get it dry in between because the torpedo heat puts off so much moisture.  Jonathan keeps the torpedo heater going 24-7 and goes in at night and weekends filling it.  It has a thermostat on it, so it works fairly well even in this cold (downstairs)

- Hardwood for floors is in the kiln and should be ready in a few more weeks.  John from Yoders stopped in the other day to check on the building and talked with Jonathan.  The cedar we got there for the refrigeration wall is nice.  Jonathan does have to apply a fire protective coat; so I hope it doesn't change color much

- I heard back from John of Alpha Omega Masonry and his quote is below any others.  He met with me on Christmas Eve and Jonathan made himself available for any questions that John might have.  I am waiting on some pictures of more work similar to what our project is, but I liked him.  I also asked for some customer testimonials and telephone numbers to call and ask what they thought.  This is too big of a project to go with, without pictures and testimonials. This is the 3rd quote I needed for the Grant and it is the best one.

- Fred, Pat and I went to Tillsons yesterday and choose paint colors for the kitchen, sink room, ice cream room and upstairs hallway.  I have the chips at the office if you want to see them.  Darlene and I choose the first colors online, but when I went from one computer monitor to another they changed a lot.  So I took the floor tile and matched 'em up in person.

- Internet and telephone are both working now in the office.  I have a telephone set I took in for now and although we haven't published the number, there were a couple dozen phone messages that were telemarketers.  WHAT THE HECK? 

- Tentative Meeting with Keith and Jonathan tomorrow

- Thats is it for now, please call anytime or drop by!!!  We will shoot for a meeting next week when it warms up a little bit.  I know I forgot a lot, but you have to stop by and see all the work completed! 


-- Judy Wilbur Craig
Dexter Community Farm Project Coordinator
photo album:
Fossa General Store:  207.924.DEXTer (924.3398)

Photos from our photo album on picasa