4262 Kennebec Rd
Dixmont ME 04932
Photo by American Images, Marshfield WI
Jean Hay Bright David Bright
Our Growing Season Shakes Out Like This:
April & May -- Vegetable and Herb Seedlings
June -- Strawberries
July -- Red Raspberries
August -- High-Bush Blueberries
Check Out our Facebook Page for Current Updates
BrightBerry Farm is a small organic farm in the hills of Dixmont, Maine, about 20 miles southwest of Bangor. The farm is the last 30 acres of a large dairy farm that was first homesteaded in 1830, and, as far as we can tell, has been farmed or homesteaded continuously since then. Our piece includes about 20 acres of open fields, a year-round stream, two spring-fed ponds (which we have expanded) and about 10 acres of woodland on the edges of our property. The property is quite steep, particularly around the house, but it slopes south and southwest, which is great for sun exposure and drainage. That orientation was key to our excited purchase of this farm in 1999.
(Jean owned and operated Hay's Farm Stand in Blue Hill, across from the Blue Hill Fairgrounds, in the 1980s and early 1990s.)
We've planted about two acres in several different kinds of berries, extending the season with early, mid-season and late ripening varieties.
Seedlings. April and May. We had a banner seedling season in 2017, selling thousands of tomato, pepper, garden vegetable and herb seedlings (basil, parsley, sage, etc.) at Natural Living Center in Bangor and Tiller & Rye in Brewer, as well as here at the farm. We plan to expand our offerings in 2018, including additional varieties requested by customers.
Strawberries. June. We have a couple of small patches, about a quarter-acre in all, much of that planted in 2017. Obviously not enough for pick-your-own (the big guys have acres and acres), but we hope to have a decent crop in 2018.
Blueberries. Mid-July thru August We have Pick-Your-Own high-bush blueberries. Our 350-plus high-bush blueberry bushes are in two plots, which are finally full-grown. The blueberry season normally stretches from mid-July all the way through August. Check our Facebook page or call first to check for availability (to make sure previous pickers haven't cleaned out the patch for the day).
Raspberries. July & early August We have six varieties of red raspberries. The season is short, but usually runs from early July into early August. For our raspberries, pick-your-own is best. Because they are so fragile, we do not sell fresh raspberries wholesale to stores, and only sell them fresh here at the farm if they are pre-ordered, and even then we carefully coordinate pick-up with same-day picking.
We fresh-pick and immediately flash-freeze those berries not picked by the Pick-Your-Own crowd. We wholesale our frozen red and black raspberries to folks who do great things with them -- like John's Ice Cream, Wild Cow Creamery, a candy maker or two, and vendors at the Common Ground Fair in Unity. Collectively, the Pick-Your-Own pickers and the ice cream and candy makers have been taking our entire crop several years running now.
Blackberries. August The thorns on our single row of blackberries are wicked, so those are only available pre-ordered, fresh or frozen, not U-Pick. Some pints are also available in season at Natural Living Center in Bangor and Tiller & Rye in Brewer.
Farm changes. Now semi-retired, we have decided to focus more attention on the spring seedlings and berry patches, and cut back on the annual vegetables.
That means, starting in 2018, no more tomatoes, or fall vegetables (onions, pumpkins, winter squash).
Farmhouse changes. The original 1830 farmhouse, with its fieldstone foundation, was remodeled in the 1980s and early 1990s.
So in 1999, when we moved in, we could concentrate on developing the property into our dream of a pick-your-own raspberry and high-bush blueberry operation.
Four years ago we turned our focus to our housing again, adding a three-car garage/barn on the east side of the house. In 2016, we had a small addition and second story built over our kitchen and what we call the West Wing (our seedling-starting and packing area) on the west side of the house. We're slowly finishing up the insides ourselves, insulating, wiring, sheet-rocking, etc.
Included in the addition is a small room off the kitchen which we hope will serve as our farmstand next year, replacing the self-serve table.
We'll let you know when that's open for business.
On to 2018!
Look for our label!
Jean Hay Bright
One of our raspberry patches Some herb seedlings
Black Raspberries West Wing seedlings
Some agricultural links
Maine Dept. of Agriculture web site http://www.state.me.us/agriculture
Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association http://www.mofga.org
Maine Farm Bureau http://www.mainefarmbureau.com