Maine Agricultural Trade Show and Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets Convention.

Thank you for your interest in my blog, I am Kala Godard, my husband Josh and daughters Melody and Harley own Four Hearts Farm Udderly Delicious Creamery in Waterboro, Maine. I am new to the whole “blog” idea, but I continue to have experiences and opportunities that reveal so much information to me in regard to our farm, business and family. This will be the first of many blogs, probably not as long as this one but there is so much information I want to share from this trip.

This week Harley and I journeyed to Augusta, ME to learn, network and facilitate new goals for 2020. For those that know us you have met Harley, she’s always at the markets and one of if not the first face most people see. She aspires to become a Vet Tech and taking on the farm herself one day. She is only 12 so she is getting a good head start!

The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, or DACF for short, has continued to host the Agricultural Trade show yearly each January bringing Farmers together for three days of agricultural vendors, education, state and federal programs, all with a common goal of making Maine farms successful and improving access of the community to local nutritious foods. This event is provided for FREE to anyone that wants to attend. Even if you are not farming to sell, it will be well worth your time.

Tuesday January 14th, 2020

Harley, the youngest farmer on the farm, and I left Tuesday evening and checked in to the Senator Inn and Spa to kick off the trip. We grabbed a light dinner and then sat down and discussed the schedule and must-see vendors. Each educational session was 1-2 hours in length, more on the specifics of those sessions later. Very rarely do we get to go away from the farm, and with kidding season around the corner, we took full advantage of the little getaway! After planning and Harley doing her schoolwork for the day we headed to the pool and hot tub to just relax! The Senator Inn was affordable and a one stop type of hotel, enough to keep her occupied and the both of us fed!

Wednesday January 15th, 2020

We woke up in the morning enjoyed some free waffles and with full bellies and a good bit of coffee we were ready to start the day! Off we went to the Augusta Civic Center, unloaded the wheelchair for me for the 9-hour day ahead of us, and headed in to get a lay of the land.

Doors open at 9 AM, but if you’re a planner like me I like getting in there a little early and scoping out where the classes I want to see will be taking place. We started off in the resource room, we started to gather resources about SNAP/EBT programs for our markets and ran into a few vendors that were already set up. One thing I personally appreciated was every single vendor we met this week sought out Harley and interacted with her in such a way that she had a blast while learning! One thing we can all agree on as farmers is the fact that kids need to be engaged and develop healthy relationships and views with our farmers of 40-50 years, listen to their stories and successes and little tidbits of advice hidden in it all.

9 O’clock came and the doors opened, make sure to get your ticket for the hourly door prizes! We had a couple hours before our first seminar that we decided to make it through the vendor tables on our “must visit” list. These included Johnny’s Seeds, Fedco Seeds, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, The Maine Cheese Guild, Maine Sheep Breeders’ Association, Agribility, Dairy One, Dairy Industry Production, and so many more. Hannaford was onsite with handy grow kits for kids under 13, so Harley scored a kit with 6 packages of seeds, pots for planting and all the fixings for a small garden. They also provided us with a stack of re-usable bags that we can use to encourage the use of them at the farmers’ Markets’.

This fall we prepared two large garden beds to start broadening our offerings. We planted 80 cloves of garlic and have another 15’x15’ bed to be used as an herb garden and a 25’x50’ garden bed for a variety of vegetables, fertilized with our own composted goat manure. So next stop was Johnny’s Seeds and Fedco Seeds. Both are Maine companies and both I have heard rave reviews from fellow farmers with larger organic farms. We loaded up with catalogues talked with the staff and Harley was able to ask a few questions. One of the best parts of trade shows is some of the swag! We began a collection of stickers this week all relating to Maine Agriculture to display later. Fedco had posters and Harley picked one out of a Viking Farming Woman in a canoe to display in the creamery. Fedco hosts an annual tree blowout sale, they called it the black Friday for trees in April. Johnny’s seeds had handy seed planters that she could use for her garden bed that dispenses 1-3-5 seeds at a time per hole dug. This was one of my favorite stops because it got me excited for spring, planting and new growth not only in the plants but in the farm and myself.