Bahner Farm
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Name:                Bahner Farm

Address:           Michael & Christa Bahner

                          153 Augusta Road

                          Belmont, Maine  04952

Phone:               207-342-2592



Products and Services:

-Winter and Summer CSA programs


-MOFGA-certified organic vegetables,

    herbs, and fruits

-cut flowers

-Camden Farmers’ Market

    Sat. 9-noon   May to October

-Northeast Harbor Farmers’ Market

   Thurs. 9-noon - June to August

-Bar Harbor Eden Farmers’ Market

   Sun. 9-noon -  May through October

-apprentice program

-Common Ground Fair

Why is Bahner Farm Unique?

How gratifying it is to have the opportunity to visit Bahner Farm and observe a young, vibrant, hard-working couple establishing an organic farm with a beautiful two-year-old daughter in tow.  Michael and Christa Bahner and little Lizzy are a great illustration of the promise and hope for farming in Maine.

Like many young farmers in Maine, Michael and Christa spent many years focusing their efforts on learning about running a successful organic vegetable farm.  Michael attended the University of Maine at Orono and worked for four years with Mark Guzzi of Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont.  Christa was an apprentice on several farms before she decided to earn a degree in Plant and Soil Sciences at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 

In 2007, Christa and Margaret Crouse were MOFGA’s Farmers-in-Residence at Double Bit Farm in Unity for two years. In 2009, Michael and Christa established Bahner Farm.  They were married in 2010, and their daughter, Lizzy, joined their family in 2011.

The thirty-seven acre property that Michael and Christa purchased had not been farmed for over twenty years. The fields were overgrown.  The barn was not in usable condition and the farmhouse was in dire shape. There was no farm infrastructure.  Michael and Christa were faced with challenges including the establishment of a water system.  Their level of commitment was quite amazing.  They built three greenhouses, and storage facilities, and began earnestly working on soil fertility.  They have leased

several fields in the area and branched out from their large organic vegetable production to include several varieties of fruits.

The composting operation that Michael and

Christa have established is impressive.  They

were awarded a grant to install a compost facility on a large concrete slab. The Bahners faithfully record the temperatures of the compost and turn it regularly to foster it in its decomposition process.  The compost has proven to be a vital element in the their organic farming operation.  They closely monitor the process.  Compost is valued for erosion control and its use as a soil conditioner, fertilizer, and a natural pesticide.

As time evolved, the Bahners were producing

abundant quantities of organic vegetables, herbs, and fruits on their four acres of MOFGA certified land.  They knew that they needed to head out and market the produce and they chose to do this with a well-designed business plan.  They now participate in the Camden Farmers’ Market on Saturdays in May to October;  the Northeast Harbor Farmers’ Market on Thursday mornings from June to August; and the Bar Harbor Eden Farmers’ Market on Sunday mornings from May through October.  They also take part in MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair in Unity each September.

Michael and Christa began selling some of their produce in front of their farm on busy Route 3, but realized quite quickly that a farm stand would be essential in successfully expanding their business.  They knew that funding for a structure was not possible without some assistance.

Being young and technologically savvy and aware of the potential of the crowdfunding platform, they decided to produce a video about their farm and their need for financing.  They posted this video on and they were thrilled with the response.

For readers unfamiliar with crowdfunding projects like and, they are Internet websites which profile various creative projects and that encourage collective support from individuals from all locations.  In exchange for supporting a project, specific incentives are put in place.

Michael and Christa initiated a fundraising campaign on kickstarter in March 2012, with a goal of collecting $12,524 to be used towards the costs of constructing a farm stand.  The incentives that they offered included Bahner Farm bumper stickers, tote bags, and note cards. Items awarded for larger donations included a tractor driving lesson with Michael, a sculling lesson with Christa’s mother, who is an award-winning rowing champion, and a handmade coldframe from Christa’s father.  There were offers of a fall farm dinner for four, and the naming of chickens, fields, and greenhouses. 

Their kickstarter campaign turned out to be a great success as 160 individuals signed on and their goal was exceeded since $13, 921 was raised for their farm stand.  A concrete slab was able to be poured and the 16 x 20 farmstand building was constructed.  A much-needed driveway and parking area were also created.

Equally successful for the Bahners has been their popular CSA programs. They offer Growing Season Shares for nineteen weeks from mid-June through mid-October for either two adults (Standard Shares) or a family of four (Family Shares) or Summer Shares for two people for ten weeks.  All shares include generous amounts of their delicious organic local produce.  They aim to provide each shareholder with ten percent more produce than what they paid for.  Shares are accompanied by Bahner Farm newsletters with farm news, recipes, and serving and storage advice.

The Bahners have exhibited a keen sense of ingenuity in their business approach.  Diversification has proven to be key to their success.  They have been quite innovative in their marketing plan offering Early Bird Specials and Refer-a-Friend Discounts.  They operate a Facebook page, website, and blog.

Bahner Farm’s fifty-member CSA share program for 2013 is already sold out.  Their 2013 Winter Share CSA program is still available.  It offers shares that are picked up once every three weeks.  These shares include one hundred percent local organic produce, of which approximately ninety percent is grown on their farm, with a few items from other local certified organic farms.  There is also an option available for an add-on Artisan Cheese Share where a 12 to 16 oz. artisan cheese is available from Appleton Creamery.

An apprentice program has been put in place at Bahner Farm.  Young Michael and Christa Bahner now are ready to share all that they have learned with other young potential farmers.  They offer housing, some assistance with meals, and a stipend. Three apprentices have signed on for the 2013 season. Like Michael and Christa, when they were just starting out a few years ago, they will learn all about seeding, seedling care, transplanting, weed control, cultivation, harvesting, the washing and storage of all produce, greenhouse production, marketing, farmers markets, and many other tasks. 

After experiencing how a small family farm operates these three apprentices will have a good handle on whether a farm career will be in their future.  The hope and promise of small family farms is being kept alive as young Michael and Christa Banner open their farm and extend a welcome to mentor apprentices just as they were guided by other farmers in the past. The Bahners’ work ethic, solid resolve, and positive outlook will certainly be a force in providing an example of how young people interested in farming actually can succeed.

the FarmBahner_Farm_Around_Farm.html
Farm StandBahner_Farm_Farm_Stand.html

Michael and Christa Bahner with their daughter Lizzy.

Christa Bahner (center) spoke at a Slow Money Maine meeting.