Originally published in Castine Patriot, August 9, 2018
King Hill Farm continues Penobscot tradition
by Anne Berleant
Working a small, organic farm in North Penobscot, owners Paul Schultz and Amanda Provencher grow six acres of lettuce, rutabagas, peppers, garlic, eggplants, herbs, corn, tomatoes, hay and carrots—lots of carrots.
The farm is well-known for its two-day community carrot harvest over Columbus Day weekend, where about 12 tons are pulled and topped by as many as 60 volunteers.
King Hill Farm carrots and other produce ends up at local co-ops, food banks, farmers’ markets and in boxes packed weekly for its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members, who pre-buy for the growing season. The farm also doubles as a homestead for the two farmers and their children.
Restored as working farmland in the 1970s, King Hill is a Forever Farm, protected with a Blue Hill Heritage Trust agricultural easement.
“There is a long tradition of the farm here producing food,” Schultz said, noting that in earlier years the Hutchins family raised vegetables that were sold to the Penobscot Cannery.
On an August 6 farm tour co-sponsored by the Blue Hill Co-op and Blue Hill Heritage Trust, Schultz led a small group into the fields, after a visit to the drying shed and two coolers that keep root vegetables fresh long after harvest.
“We’re still pulling carrots out of here in June and July that are delicious,” he noted.
A small herd of cows grazed in the distance as, in 90-plus degree heat, Schultz explained how the farm uses a seven-year crop rotation to keep weeds down and a combination of manure and cover crop to keep the earth fertile. Irrigation runs through a PVC pipe system feeding from a farm pond off in the woods. Three hoop houses are used to start seedlings.
“How do you keep the critters from eating everything?” asked one tour participant.
“We keep an eye out,” Schultz said.