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News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, October 10, 2013
Halcyon Grange breaks ground on community kitchen

Construction on a new commercial community kitchen

Construction on a new commercial community kitchen began last month at the Halcyon Grange in North Blue Hill. From left, Cary Anderson, kitchen committee chairman Phil Retberg and Jared Ellis are the crew on September 26.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

After kicking off a $150,000 capital campaign in September 2012 to build a commercial, community kitchen and weatherize the building for year-round use, the Halcyon Grange broke ground on the kitchen project last month.

“It’s going pretty well,” said capital campaign committee chairman John Tyler. “We have a good $30,000 in the account-that should get us pretty well along in the kitchen.”

The capital campaign received a boost in July from neighboring Victory Grange in Orland, which voted to consolidate with Halcyon Grange in July. It signed over assets worth an estimated $50,000, including property yet to be sold. That property, said kitchen committee chairman Phil Retberg of Penobscot, is worth approximately $28,000.

When completed, the commercial-grade kitchen will be rented to the community for processing food, educational programs and community and family functions, with the proceeds covering heating and utility costs.

Insulating the 1898 building, replacing windows and installing an elevator at the grange are also part of the overall project goals.

The kitchen renovation is estimated at $68,000, with commercial equipment costing an additional $20,000.

The Halcyon Grange campaign has received contributions from local businesses TradeWinds Market Place and The First of Blue Hill, the Flood Foundation and community members totaling about $20,000. In addition, EBS of Ellsworth donated a $1,500 gift card and is providing materials at cost.

“That’s a huge help,” said Tyler.

Retberg is leading the construction, tearing down the existing kitchen to build a 600-square-foot commercial space. The construction, he said, is not a challenge. “It’s a process.”

Retberg estimates the renovation will be completed by the end of December.

In the meantime, a roof and running water should be in place in time for the harvest supper and pig roast on October 12 (a Foliage, Food and Wine Festival event), followed by an auction to benefit the capital campaign and a presentation by David Grumpert, author of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights, which highlights some members of the Halcyon Grange. The Celtic Maclir Ceilidh Band will perform.

Donations to the capital campaign can be made at the grange’s website,