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Mainely Tipping Points

Turkey Tracks: Saturday Road Trip

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Turkey Tracks:  July 9, 2012

 Saturday Road Trip

Last Saturday, John and I took a little road trip west of Camden.

Our primary destination was The Village Farm in Freedom, Maine–home of Prentice Grassi and Polly Shyka since about 2001.  See http://www.villagefarmfreedom.com/

For the past two years, we have raised our year’s supply of meat chickens with Pete and Rose Thomas–and slaughtered them all together.  But this year, Arabella, the wood-fired bread oven, is up and running.  Rose is fully occupied with making pizzas and breads of all kinds.  She is baking or getting ready to bake many hours every day, and Pete is buy cutting wood and filling in all over the farm.

So, I took on the job of researching where we could get healthy, non-Cornish chickens, preferably with the feet still in the mix.

That place turned out to be The Village Farm, so John and I headed out to pick up ten meat chickens–with the promise of being able to get more over the winter when the freezer gets depleted.  Best of all, these Red Bros (a cousin to Freedom Rangers) come with their feet in a separate packet.  And, Prentice and Polly raise them on grass in little tractors that are moved three times a day.

Freedom is about an hour west of us–in the vicinity of MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair Ground.  It’s beautiful country and a beautiful ride through rural Maine to get there.   We crossed the St. George River several times–this time of year it’s full of water rushing over stones and filled with pools where trout would live.  Our route is partly on the St. George River scenic by-way.

Along the way, we were amused at all the creativity we were seeing.  Here’s an example:


Gardens were starting to flesh out, and it was really fun to see how many people had vegetable gardens.  There are beautiful fields, glossy-coated animals, interesting houses, glorious barns, beautiful woods.  It’s such a joy!

We had no trouble finding The Village Farm.  Here’s the entrance sign–with some corn (probably sweet corn) planted beyond it:

The main farm buildings and house sit at the end of this longish road, which is bordered by vegetable fields on both sides.  Polly told me they have several commercial customers as well as CSA members.  And she told me that when she and Prentice bought the far in 2001, I think, that it was all commercial corn fields–just corn stubble and dirt.  Now it’s filled with green grass, grazing meat cows, chickens, and vegetables.   That’s a heartwarming story of land recovery, and I am so grateful that there are people in this world like Prentice and Polly who are willing to do this work–and indeed–love this work.  They are the future of America, if we are wise about helping them.

Once down the road we parked, and here’s the first thing we saw.  A lush, fenced enclosure with beautiful little white pet goats:

Here’s Polly bringing us our chickens.  That’s a rabbit hutch to the left.  And you can see three of the chicken tractors way down in the fields to the left–past the fruit trees.

Here’s Polly and Prentice–at the center of this amazing farm they have created:

After we left them, feeling richer because of our chickens and feeling energized by our visit, we traced our steps home–with a small detour.

Mainers who love ice-cream probably know about John’s Ice Cream.  It’s a little store on Route 3, just a few miles beyond Liberty and Lake St. George.  John’s ice cream is all hand-made from whole, rich ingredients.  There isn’t a chemical in it.  And, it tastes like ice cream should taste–a taste long forgotten now by most people who have not had  the real thing with which to compare what they are buying in their local grocery store–or, even, a local ice-cream stand.  Slow down and take a look at the labels, which show the chemical brew that ice cream has become.

Here’s the board of flavors we could chose from Saturday:

I had Rocky Road–chocolate oozing with marshmallow running through it–creamy and dreamy–and replete with big, fat, whole nuts.

John had Chocolate Orange Peel–a dense chocolate with big fat LONG candied orange peels embedded.

The Bay Wrap in Belfast carries a few of John’s Ice Cream flavors–about six I think.  And, you can take home hand-dipped quarts from John’s if you think ahead and bring some ice packs and a cooler.  We brought home peanut something or other.  John loves peanuts.

This ice cream was so rich that we weren’t hungry for lunch.  That’s not a really good thing, but once in a while, it’s a real treat.

I can see a future swim at Lake St. George, an ice cream at John’s, and a slow ride home enjoying the beautiful Maine countryside and the river rushing over stones, big and small and topped up with sunshine and shadows.

Written by louisaenright

July 9, 2012 at 1:18 pm

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