A Royal Afternoon on the Farm
Recently, for the first time in 10 years, I moved out of Portland. I lived in every conceivable nook and cranny of our beloved little port city, from the commoner's end of Sheridan St to the little beige building at the end of State St that looks like a tiny prison. So needless to say, moving out to Scarborough with an actual backyard and guaranteed off-street parking was welcome change to my living situation.
While I'll dearly miss being within walking distance of my favorite haunts and not having to pay $50 to take an Uber home, the change to a calmer pace of life has already done wonders for my mental health. And as if right on schedule, Goronson Farm reached out with an offer to tour their farm as well as join them for tea and scones from Two Fat Cats and accompanied by feathered 'royalty'. With an offer to tour a beautiful farm, enjoy local refreshments and meet some very cute ducks and chickens, how could I say no?
The Goronson Farm is a small, MOFGA-certified organic farm in Maine, established in May of 2014. They pride themselves on producing a wide diversity of certified organic products on a small, intensive footprint. Products include eggs from pastured, free-range rare breed poultry and ducks which are raised for eggs only. Not only that, but they are 100% no-kill. They also grow organic vegetables, fruit, flowers & herbs, and by next spring they hope to expand to bees and growing their small vineyard.
Maureen Goronson, one of the owners of the farm, spoke of the land's origins as belonging to the Wabanaki tribe. In that history, they believe the land has spiritual properties that encourage crop growth and that called them to purchase this property. For this reason, they believe that fruits such as figs, Chinese honey peaches, and even Iranian apricots; all fruits that don't typically grow well in Maine's hard, cold soil.
Following our introduction of the agriculture side of the business, we got down to the really fun part: meeting the royalty! The farm boasts many different breeds of fancy chicken and duck, including Polish chickens, a Gold-Laced Polish rooster, Guinea Fowl and Crested Ducks (the ones with the fluffy noggins) With so many varieties of chicken, the eggs they produce come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and yolk consistencies. All of the fowl get to roam the property as they please, foraging and exploring to their heart's content. Happy birds make delicious eggs!
After our tour we all found our own individual tables, some sitting with a friend and some not, to enjoy our scones and tea. I went with some hot green tea and a scone with clotted cream and marmalade. Yum! I enjoyed my treats on the far end of the farm, sitting in the early afternoon breeze while I took in my surroundings quietly and appreciatively. It had been a busy morning at work and to just sit here enjoying a scone, listening to the sounds of nature was healing beyond measure.
Mid-snack, Maureen and the farm hands came around to introduce us to a few of their animals, including the Duke. I even got to hold a baby chick! (to questionable success, he was NOT having it) They weren't joking when they said an 'afternoon with royalty'. It's clear how much they love their animals as well as the land they inhabit, taking the utmost care in making sure the chickens, ducks, and plants are all happy, healthy, and well.
I can't thank Maureen and her staff enough for allowing me this time on their farm. Not only was it incredibly cathartic, but I think I found my new favorite eggs to buy. If you are interested in having your own afternoon tea with royalty, follow this link on their website to book your reservation now. I can only imagine you'll have just as much of a good time as I had, and be sure to give the Duke a nice pat on the head when he comes by your table.