MSAD #1 
Educational Farm
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Name:        MSAD #1 Educational Farm

Location:    340 State Street

                    Presque Isle, Maine 04769

Phone:         207-764-7725


School Farm Store’s Summer and Fall Hours:

    Monday through Friday:  9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

    Saturday:                          9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

    Re-opening May 13 for 2013 season!

What Makes MSAD #1 Educational Farm Unique?

When Unique Maine Farms ventured into Aroostook County this past summer to explore

some of the farms, several individuals encouraged a stop at the MSAD #1 Educational Farm.  A visit to this diversified teaching farm truly is a “must see destination” when you do decide to visit the Presque Isle area. 

The MSAD #1 Educational Farm opened in 1991, when it employed only seven students.  In 2013, up to sixty students will be employed at the farm.  The program is a source of pride in the area.  Produce from the farm can be purchased at the School Farm Store.  The fruits, vegetables, and cider are incorporated in the MSAD #1 school lunch program and at other schools in Maine. Some of the produce from the farm is donated to local food pantries and non-profit organizations while some is sold to local markets and restaurants.  The revenue that is earned from the sale of the farm products is put back into the school farm program.

Thirteen of the thirty-eight acres of the MSAD #1 Educational Farm are devoted to the growing of apples. The state-of-the-art apple cider facility that is situated on the property was opened in 2005.  Its combination of education and large scale production for students sets it apart as one of the most unique agricultural educational facilities in the state. Through the use of ultraviolet technology at the facility, the cider is treated and sold safely without the inclusion of any additives.  The cider is packaged in 8 oz. bottles, pint, quart, half-gallon, and gallon containers.  It can be purchased at the School Farm Store or at local markets.  It is enjoyed by the general public and several schools, nursing homes, and hospitals.

Kristi Kingsbury has been the Cider/Orchard Supervisor of this highly successful operation for the past eight years. Over 2500 apple trees have been planted on the property with twenty-five different varieties including Duchess, Gala, Macintosh, Cortland, Honeycrisp, Red Free, and Wolf River.  In 2011, there were 98,000 pounds of apples that were harvested, of which 70,000 pounds were made into cider. An interesting story about the apple cider making process that was filmed by News Source 8 can be viewed on YouTube:

The School Farm Store carries a large selection of

products that are raised at the farm.  During the summer and fall, it is open from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Vegetable choices include beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, kohlrabi, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, spinach, squash, tomatoes,  turnips, and zucchini. There are three types of berries that are grown on the farm including highbush blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries.  Value-added products that are made from these berries include pies and jams, jellies, and preserves.  There is a commercial kitchen located next to the farm store.

Many visitors navigate to the MSAD #1 Educational Farm to enjoy the strawberries.  There are five acres of strawberries that have been cultivated over the past four years.  Eighty-four students participated in the harvesting of the strawberries in the 2012 season.  A pick-your-own strawberry operation is also available in a designated area at the farm.

One very unusual offering at the MSAD 1 Educational Farm Store is tropical fish.  A course in Aquaculture is offered at the Presque Isle Regional Career and Technical Center.  Students are instructed on the procedures of raising fresh water and tropical fish under controlled conditions. They have access to circular fish tanks and elevated aquariums.  Some of the fish that they raise such as angelfish, guppies, angelfish, mollies, swordtails, and African cichlids are transported to the Farm Store and are available for purchase by the public.

Another unusual crop being raised at the MSAD #1 Educational Farm are the sunspuds.  They are a cross between artichokes and sunflowers.  Crop Supervisor Tom Gregg explained that their 2012 sunspuds crop was in the testing phase.  The stalks of the plant can be utilized in the production of ethanol.

In order to have a source of pollination for the crops raised at the farm, there are twelve honey bee hives situated on the property.  Natural honey is collected and sold as pure honey in eight or twelve ounce bottles or as honeycomb.  Area residents who checked out the local news this past July most probably read about the large black bear who seemed to appreciate the honey, apples, and assortment of crops that could be found at the farm.  The bear was spotted on the property on more than one occasion!

Attracting bears is certainly not part of the farm

plan at the MSAD #1 School Farm.  The farm staff dedicates their efforts to welcoming students and community members to their grounds.  They have realized the benefits from agritourism.  They offer tours of the farm and the apple processing facility.  They have a pick-your-own pumpkin patch and a corn maze.  They work to encourage and recognize the efforts of the local students who participate in their programs.

Students attending Presque Isle High School and

the Presque Isle Regional Career and Technology Center have the opportunity to enroll in the Horticulture/Nursery Management class.  They access the greenhouses and farm property for hands-on learning.  Topics in the course include

landscape design, greenhouse and nursery management, pest management, disease control, and hydroponics.  There is a focus on plant propagation in the greenhouses and an introduction to the orchards and commercial cider production. The Applied Science Life Science I and II classes also tap into the resources of the MSAD #1 Educational Farm.  There is a combination of classroom learning and agricultural-related projects at the farm in this course.

Students in the AgriScience Cooperative Work Experience program are required to spend two or three class periods per week at the MSAD #1 School Farm working in various capacities to learn the different aspects of maintaining a small farm operation.  They are required to create a project related to the farm experience that they present at the end of the term.  There are summer cooperative experiences for students who are accepted after an interview and application process.  This provides the students with a stipend and valuable work experience.

Students and staff keep busy planting and caring for all the bedding plants that are grown in the greenhouses.  Over 500 hanging baskets were sold in 2012. There is a large selection of perennials and annuals including marigolds, pansies, petunias, and poinsettias.  Geraniums and chrysanthemums are also grown.  The bedding plant sale will begin on May 13, when the Farm Store opens for their 2013 season.

If you are interested in visiting a highly-successful farm operation that provides a highly-diversified farm experience to students, then a tour of the MSAD #1 Education Farm is truly one of those “bucket list” destinations.  With the farm knowledge and work opportunities that the Presque Isle students are gaining at the MSAD #1 Educational Farm, it is gratifying to know that farming is very much alive and relevant in this geographical area of Aroostook County that has such a rich cultural and historic agricultural presence.

Tom Gregg is the Crop Supervisor

Tropical fish raised by the students are available for sale at the Farm Store.