THE BITTERSWEET STORY
I always joke the name of my farm should be Left Turn because it was a left turn in 2010 that brought me where I am today. I come from 4 generations of farmers, beginning in Ireland. Oddly, I didn’t grow up on a farm but, as it turns out, roots run deep.
I moved to Maine from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, on the Chesapeake Bay, in 2009, with half a dozen chickens, my shelter pup Sage and no plans to run a farm. There I lived on a peninsula, in a tiny village, predominately settled by fishermen. Finding a property in Maine, at the end of a peninsula, predominately settled by fishermen, felt like home. It also felt like the rocky coast of Ireland, where for years, I spent time in spring, surrounded by water and sheep.
The farm is named Bittersweet as that’s how it feels after the loss of my son. He loved animals, his middle name was Francis, after the patron Saint of animals. It seemed fitting to honor him this way.
But, what about the Left Hand Turn?
A left turn is what brought me, on an Open Farm Day in 2010, to Seabreeze Farm and the Robinson family. That turn, returned me to my farming roots.
I was looking for sheep that day, what I found instead was a lifetime connection to farming, Maine history, and the Robinson family who have patiently mentored my farming ambitions every step of the way.
Today, I celebrate 11 years as a registered Maine State Dairy with the Department of Agriculture. Bittersweet’s days are filled with tending flocks (sheep) and herds (goats), tripping over Heritage Breed Turkeys, a variety of wayward chickens and celebrating a history of farming in Maine. This all overlooking the waters of a harbor leading out to Muscongus Bay in the Gulf of Maine. My sheep’s fleeces are filled with the sea air and my cheeses are infused with the spirit of the hardworking men and women who work the waters.
2019 MAINE FARMS FOR THE FUTURE GRANT RECIPIENT
For 12 years, Bittersweet has been a certified Maine State Dairy, producing small batch cheeses. In 2019, thanks to a grant from the Maine Farms for the Future Program, Bittersweet Heritage Farm has launched a new effort focused on the farm produced milk…Maine Caramel Company!
Working in partnership with local Maine brewers, caramels are being specialty batched with hand crafted beers. It’s a combination of traditional Maine farming and the exploding Maine brewing industry together, creating a quintessentially Maine product.
Visit the mainecaramelcompany.com site.