KiwiHill Farm
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Name:         KiwiHill Farm

Contact:      Tom Vigue & Eileen Fingerman

                    127 Robinson Road

                    Sidney, Maine  04330

Phone:         207-547-3000


Products and Services:




What Makes KiwiHill Farm Unique?

Tom Vigue and Eileen Fingerman of KiwiHill Farm in Sidney have incorporated the raising of many unique plants and innovative energy-saving practices at their farm. Their vegan diet and distinctive farming methods have resulted in contributing to a successful subsistence lifestyle.

Tom Vigue’s maternal grandfather was an industrial mason.  Tom obviously inherited some masonry skills from him.  He built their beautiful passive solar house from stone in 1980.  The wood for the interior of the house came from the land and the construction took place without the convenience of any electrical access.  Their Finnish Contra-Flow Masonry Heater is not only a magnificent work of art and a gathering place with its welcoming built-in bench, but it also serves as a highly-efficient source for heat and baking.

The vegan diet that is enjoyed at KiwiHill Farm is grounded in the philosophy that the butchering of animals is personally not acceptable.  Eileen Fingerman is a physician, and according to Tom, she believes that eating meat is “not good for you.”  The family feels that a vegan diet is the healthiest way to eat.  They have shared their enthusiasm for the consumption of vegetables with their fifteen-year-old daughter, Kira.

Tapping the landscape for a healthy diet takes on a whole new meaning at KiwiHill Farm.  Tom has become quite an expert in cultivating rare plants from throughout the world.  He is skilled at grafting and breeding plants. When Tom worked at Johnny’s Selected Seeds in the 1970’s, he was responsible for the creation of a new soybean variety.

When you tour Tom and Eileen’s property you are treated to an impressive selection of trees and shrubs that produce delicious fruits.  There is an Illinois Everbearing Mulberry tree, highbush blueberries, elderberries, and several varieties of Cornelian cherry trees.  Tom has enjoyed ordering plants from around the world from One Green World Nursery in Portland, Oregon. He has propagated various trees found on his property from root suckers and he has grafted several plum trees.  There are also thirteen species of nut pine trees located on the property.

The impressive hybrid American Chestnut tree at KiwiHill Farm yielded a large supply of chestnuts last year.  Because Tom and Eileen’s primary focus is raising and harvesting food for their own consumption, they have decided to provide a CSA to only one other family.  They grow ninety-eight percent of the vegetables that they consume.  Some of the vegetables they raise include squash, peppers, eggplant, three varieties of snap beans, four varieties of peas, and tomatoes. 

Freezing, drying, preserving, and root cellar methods are combined for building up their food supplies.  They make homemade jams and jellies. Each year they raise between fifty and eighty pounds of dry beans. Hummus is made from the ground beans. Edamame is one of their favorite crops. Soybeans and corn are a companion planting that results in providing nitrogen to the soil. Amaranth is a grain that is grown on the farm.  Tom and Eileen purchase very few commodities such as pasta, rice, whole wheat flour, and oats.

Tom sells one-half of the garlic that they raise for planting stock and he keeps the other half to replant for their own food. Occasionally they have surplus vegetables from their quarter-acre garden that they sell to the local food markets.

Tom’s composting system is highly-developed.

He has large stockpiles of compost that have been created from mown grass clippings and vegetable scraps. He explained that he does not follow the instructions for composting that are normally included in gardening publications. He incorporates the use of air spaces and a  chimney to assist in the uniform breakdown of the materials.

KiwiHill Farm is certified organic with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.  Tom has become quite adept at tackling the various pest problems that have arisen over the years.  He has applied kale and clay mixtures, tansy tea, and pyganic concoctions.  His recent article “Onion Thrips - How I Learned a Lesson in  Pesticide Resistance” can be found online.

There is a large stand of kiwis that are flourishing at the Vigue/Fingerman Farm. While many people visualize kiwis as being fuzzy and brownish in color, the kiwis grown in Sidney  bear a small green smooth-skinned fruit.  Tom has high praise for the hardy Michigan State variety.  Anyone interested in learning more about growing kiwis in Maine should refer to Tom’s article, Yes, You Can Grow Kiwis in Maine,  that was published in the Spring 2009 issue of the Maine Organic Farmer and Gardener newsletter.

Both Tom and Eileen enjoy sharing their farming knowledge with others.  Tom has led workshops on organic gardening and edible landscapes. At the 2013 Common Ground Fair, Eileen led a workshop on Food Processing Made Simple & Quick.  Tom led a Soil Block Demo in which he explained the benefits of growing seedlings without the use of plastic pots.  He shared his recipe for the soil block medium which included wood ash, azomite, greensand, colloidal phosphate, soybean meal, leaf mold, peat, vermicompost, and vermiculite.

Kiwihill Farm appears to be a most fitting name

for Tom and Eileen’s farm.  They have a thriving kiwi crop.  Kiwis are still considered to be quite a unique fruit to be grown in Maine.  Tom and Eileen have demonstrated that when people are willing to broaden their horizons and embrace plants and practices from all different locations that the results can often be very positive and productive.  In their efforts to eat healthy,  conserve energy, and experiment with new methods and crops, they serve as a great source of inspiration to farmers in Maine who strive to become more self-sufficient.

At 2013
Ground FairKiwi_at_Common_Ground.html