Rogers Farm
University of Maine- Orono
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Name:     Rogers Farm at the

                University of Maine at Orono

Address:   914 Bennoch Road

                 Old Town, Maine 04468

Phone:      207-827-4695

Fax:          207-866-0335

Office Hours:


                8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Products and Services:

-forage and crop research

-Black Bear Food Guild

-Penobscot County Master Gardeners

-Harvest for Hunger project

What Makes Rogers Farm Unique?

It’s not every state university system that can

claim that they have more than one farm for teaching and research activities.  The University of Maine at Orono is fortunate to

have several sites that provide opportunities

for staff and students to take part in agricultural-related activities.  Rogers Farm in Old Town is one of the University’s farms that serves many uses.  Besides functioning as a teaching and research site, the participation of the Penobscot County Master Gardeners and the support of community members for the Black Bear Food Guild are warmly welcomed at this farm.

In the 1940’s, the University of Maine at Orono realized the critical need for additional land to be used to grow forage for their dairy herd and to conduct research on forage crops and grains. The University purchased the 100-acre Rogers Farm in 1947.  Over the years studies have taken place at the farm on growing crops such as alfalfa and with new varieties of field corn, oats, wheat, barley, and soybeans.  Ground covers that could be utilized for highway plantings were evaluated.  There was also research on potatoes and organic farming practices.

When one visits Rogers Farm today it is immediately apparent that it is a hub for a multitude of farm activities.  The Penobscot County Master Gardeners have established several demonstration gardens on their 3/4 acre plot.  There is a white garden, herb garden, and perennial borders.  The cultivation of many shrub roses has been evaluated for hardiness.  The Master Gardeners have hosted free educational programs throughout the growing season including such offerings as Art in the Garden, and Dividing Perennials.

Each Tuesday evening from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. from June through August they conduct an “Ask a Master Gardener” program where  gardening questions are answered.

Exploring the Rogers Farm property is a true delight.  There seems to be one unique garden after another.  Some of the selections include a moon garden, native garden, pollinator research and demonstration area, peony garden, and asparagus and blueberry patches. There is a garden of plants that can be used for dyeing and a garden for a family of four.  The Japanese Karesansui meditation garden is fascinating. One of the gardens showcases All American Selections and another incorporates permaculture techniques.

Some of the gardens at Rogers Farm contain some whimsical features. There is a welcoming children’s garden and Zane’s Eclectic Garden and the Wild and Wacky Garden.  A visit to Rogers Farm makes one wonder if there is another location in Maine where child-oriented gardens are situated on the same property as serious scientific studies.

Sharing the same farm space at Rogers Farm are several experimental plots.  Current research projects are focused on such concerns as weed control through green manures, tillage, residue management, and crop rotation. Other projects include weed control in field and sweet corn and potatoes.  Cover crops have been evaluated for soybean production to prevent soil erosion.  There have been variety trials on soybean silage and cover cropping and mulching in potatoes. 

For the past four years Dr. Ellen Mallory has conducted trials on different varieties of organic wheat at Rogers Farm including hardy red winter wheat and hardy red spring wheat.  According to Tom Molloy, a technician with the grain research project, area millers and bakers have shown a great interest in local organic grain production.

Rogers Farm has also focused on insect management.  There has been research on controlling striped cucumber beetles in winter squash and insects that affect potatoes.  A laboratory is situated on the farm as well as well as a Quonset hut with a shop and drying room, two storage buildings, and a 30x50 hoop house.

The Black Bear Food Guild has been located at Rogers Farm since 1994.  It was established by Sustainable Agriculture students at the University of Maine at Orono to gain more hands-on learning.  They grow a selection of over forty types of MOFGA-certified vegetables and perennial and annual flowers on their two acres of land and a cover crop on one acre.  For $405 they offer full shares of a CSA program.  The half shares cost $220.  The sixty participants in the Black Bear Food Guild’s CSA program pick up their shares on either Mondays or Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.  Extra produce is sold at the farm stand at Rogers Farm and at the Orono Farmers’ Market.

At Rogers Farm there are gardens that have been planted specifically with peppers, beans, assorted vegetables, and onions and garlic for the Harvest for Hunger programs.  The food that is grown in these gardens is donated to local food pantries.  According to the sign posted in the garden by the Penobscot County Master Gardeners, Maine ranks ninth in the nation for food insecurity with 13.3 % of Maine households (about 175,000 people) experiencing food insecurity or an inability to access nutritional food.  With such worrisome information it is gratifying to see a commitment by the Master Gardeners at Rogers Farm to address the critical hunger issue.

Supporting local agriculture is of paramount importance.  If you live in the Orono area, supporting the farming efforts of Rogers Farm takes on special meaning since you will also be recognizing the work of the state university. If you have garden questions you can always visit Rogers Farm on Tuesday evenings and access the assistance of one of the Master Gardeners. If you would like to have fresh produce in your home during the growing season there is an opportunity to register in the Black Bear Food Guild’s CSA program.  If you are looking to enjoy some quiet time in a diversified public garden, the demonstration gardens are open every day from dawn to dusk.   With the explanatory signage that has been erected throughout the Rogers Farm property a self-guided tour proves most enjoyable and educational.

Black Bear Food GuildRogers_Farm_-_Black_Bear_Food_Guild.html
Photos of GardensRogers_Farm_-_Photos_of_Gardens.html
Variety of GardensRogers_Farm_-_Variety_of_Gardens.html
Master GardenersRogers_Farm_-_Master_Gardeners.html
Around the FarmRogers_Farm_-_Around_the_Farm.html
Some FlowersRogers_Farm_-_Flowers.html
Research -Dr. Richard KersbergenRogers_Farm_-_Research.html
Research-Dr. Eric Gallandt -
Weed Control ToolsRogers_Farm_-_Eric_Gallant.html
Research - Dr. Eric Gallandt - 
Managing Weed Seed RainRogers_Farm_-_Managing_Weed_Seed_Rain.html