Bark-Eater Farm
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Name:           Bark-Eater Farm

Address:       Jerry and Kathy Doxtader

                      Bark-Eater Farm

                      68 Dunn Road

                      Dexter, Maine  04930

Phone:           207-924-3086

Products and Services:

-organic eggs

-organic vegetables

-workshops on poultry


-workshops on greenhouse season extension

-farmers markets

-farm stand at farm

-exotic plants




Farmers’ Markets

Dover Farmers’ Market - May -October

Tuesday,  2 p.m.-6 p.m.

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

Dexter - lot of Mountain Enterprises             

              45 Spring Street - Dexter

Saturday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.  year-round

Dexter - lot of P&L Country Market

Friday 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. June-Oct.

What Makes Bark-Eater Farm Unique?

On every Saturday for the past five years (with the exception of two Saturdays) Jerry Doxtader sets up his farm stand on a business lot owned by Geraldine and Tim Mountain of Mountain Enterprises on Spring Street in Dexter.  Even in the middle of winter, he has plenty of farm produce to offer to sell.  Among his offerings early this March were organic eggs, carrots, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, storage radish, onions, celeriac, daikon radish, garlic, and shallots.  It takes a determined individual to brave Maine’s often brutal winter weather to stand outside and sell farm goods for several hours in the cold.  Geraldine Mountain, who owns the property where the Doxtader family sets up their farm stand, commented on how they are such a polite and respectful family, and how their vegetables and produce are always of such exceptional quality.

Jerry Doxtader, and his wife, Kathy, and their seven children are a great example of a farm family who has been able to operate in a highly self-sufficient farm lifestyle.  They are members of the Amish Mennonite Fellowship and they attend the Plain Christian Fellowship Church.  Each of the families in the church have developed a specialty to make ends meet.  Some of these careers include running a dairy operation, sewing, making cabinets, carpentry, and operating a portable saw operation.  Members of the church gather for Sunday service each week. Every other Sunday, after the service, they enjoy sharing a meal together.

Jerry and Kathy became converts to the Amish Mennonite faith eighteen years ago when they were living in New York state.  They made a conscious choice to embrace a Christian life which includes self-denial.  While they have electricity and use a phone, the use of a television, radio, and computers are not allowed in their particular church.

Ever since he was a little child, Jerry dreamed of being able to live off the land.  Jerry and Kathy purchased their thirty-five acre farm in Dexter in 2007.  Having hailed from the Adirondack region of New York State, they named their farm “Bark-Eater” after an Indian word that was used for “Adirondack.”   Jerry explained that there was evidence of beaver activity on their farm property and he felt the choice of the name for their farm was quite appropriate.  The image of a beaver eating bark has been included on their farm labels.

The Doxtaders have cultivated two acres of their farm with crops.  With the exception of a walk-behind tiller, all of their farm work is done by hand.  They do not use a tractor. The collection of hand tools that neatly hangs on two sides of an upright structure in the middle of the fields is quite impressive.  They even harvest and thresh the oats that they grow by hand. There is no question that a great deal of physical labor is involved in running Bark-Eater Farm.  The family operates nine or ten greenhouses that are all forty-eight feet in length.  Some of the greenhouses have been built so that they are portable and can be moved on a wheeled system that moves over pipes that are laid in a horizontal fashion on top of the ground.

Much of the Doxtader’s farm background comes from reading and hands-on experience.  Jerry and Kathy’s children will attend school through eight grades.  Four of their seven children (seven-year-old Sarah, nine-year-old Susanna, eleven-year-old Seth, and twelve-year-old Sharon) presently attend the one-room Corinna Amish Mennonite School.  Although their formal education ends at eighth grade, a great deal of learning continues to take place on the farm.  The older children (sixteen-year-old twins Samuel and Silas, and fourteen-year-old Salome) work around the farm.  It was interesting to see Silas’s homemade go-kart and listen to him share information about how they all enjoyed skating in the winter on their farm pond.

Years ago in New York state, Jerry Doxtader did masonry work to help supplement the family’s income.  His efforts are now focused on year-round farming.  He explained how the family is well trained to save their earnings from the spring, summer, and fall.  The farmers markets from July, August, and September, feed them for the year.  The Doxtaders have no debt and are extremely frugal and live simply. They are always very careful about how they spend their money.  They harvest their own wood for their heat and cook on an old-fashioned wood stove.  Some of their vegetables are processed on an outside fire. Their clothes are all handmade.

The Doxtaders raise and butcher almost three hundred chickens a year.  When Unique Maine Farms visited their farm this past September, Jerry, Kathy, Silas, Samuel, and Salome were all busy

helping with the processing of the chickens.

The family sells a large quantity of organic eggs.

Quite a few chickens had escaped from their pen that morning and Silas seemed quite skilled at capturing them and returning them to their greenhouse enclosure!

The Doxtaders plant a large variety of crops and farm with organic practices. Jerry has earned quite a reputation for his expertise in raising chickens and growing plants. In 2011, he conducted a workshop on poultry raising for the DDATT (Dexter Dover Area Towns in Transition) at the Abbott Library in Dexter.  He has also given presentations on hoop houses that are used as extenders to the growing season.  Liz Breault, the Director of the Abbott Library,  shared that Jerry even set up a fifty-foot greenhouse on the library lawn when he conducted his greenhouse presentation. The Doxtaders have become skilled at growing lettuce and cold weather crops until the end of December.

One of Jerry’s favorite activities is to learn from reading a large variety of farming books, magazines, and newspapers.  He loves to experiment with exotic and novelty plants.  This past year he grew oca, which is a tuber plant from South America similar to a fingerling potato that grows in all kinds of bright colors. Unfortunately the marigolds next to the oca grew very tall and shaded many of the plants.  He was able to recoup seed tubers from the oca.  Jerry also planted a packet of cane sorghum seeds which had a shorter growing season of 105 days in comparison to the average 120 days.  He obtained the seeds from the Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. 

The Doxtaders successfully grew sweet potatoes.  Jerry chuckled when he explained that they had more rhubarb than you could imagine.  They had plenty of rhubarb stalks to sell at the farmers markets in the spring.  If you had an opportunity to visit the greenhouse nearest the road at Bark-Eater Farm it was quite a treat to witness the yacon.  It is an extremely tall and vigorous tropical plant from South America.

Underlying the Doxtader’s farming operation is a dedication to a Christian life based on the teachings of the Bible.  In the summer they often awaken at 5:00 a.m. to begin the day.  There are always Devotions which includes a Bible reading, a prayer, and the singing of a hymn. The days are long and filled with work.  There are gardens to weed, wood to harvest, chickens to process, eggs to collect, food to preserve, and an abundance of farm chores. Sundays are the day of rest. Opportunities to travel and get together with other Mennonite families are arranged on occasion. For Jerry Doxtader, his dream of living off the land, with the assistance of Kathy and his seven children, is happily being fulfilled.


the FarmBark-Eater_Around_the_Farm.html
At the Farmers’ MarketBark-Eater_at_the_Market.html
Some of the CropsBark-Eater_Some_of_the_Crops.html