Mitchell & Savage
    Maple Farm
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Name:          Mitchell & Savage Maple Farm

Address:      Earle “Mitch” Mitchell

                     Penny Savage

                     485 West Burrough Road

                     Bowdoin, Maine 04287

Phone:         207-353-4090



Products and Services:

-organic maple syrup

-maple candy and maple granola

-maple butter and maple walnuts

-potato rolls

-draft horses

-wheat and spelt flour

-free-range eggs

-Crystal Spring Farmers Market - Brunswick

-Brunswick Winter Farmers Market

-Common Ground Fair

What Makes Mitchell & Savage Maple Farm Unique?

Maple sap isn’t the only item that’s being tapped and processed on the farm owned by Earle (Mitch) Mitchell and Penny Savage in Bowdoin.  If you have ever have the opportunity to visit their one-hundred acre farm in the spring you will be able to observe how Mitch and Penny have seemed to tap into and share a distinct positive energy that envelops the entire property.

This positive energy at the Mitchell and Savage Farm is demonstrated in the warm welcome that Mitch and Penny provide; the respect that they have for their land and their animals; the self-sufficient lifestyle that they support and their optimistic philosophy on work and life in general.  When you enter their sugarhouse, it’s not only the fragrance and warmth that surrounds the visitors, it’s the upbeat vibes that Penny and Mitch just seem to naturally communicate as they share several laughs and stories.

Anyone who is knowledgeable of the process of making maple syrup is aware of how extremely time-consuming and laborious it can be.  Forty gallons of sap need to be collected to make one gallon of syrup.  The Mitchell family was never one to shirk hard work.  Mitch is the eleventh generation of a Maine family who has made their living from the land either working with wood, farming, or fishing.  Jacob Mitchell settled in North Yarmouth, Maine, way back in 1727, before Maine had become a state and the land was part of Massachusetts.

The Mitchell and Savage family has continued the close relationship with the land that was begun almost three hundred years ago. Gathering the sap in buckets and lifting it high above one’s head to deposit in the five-hundred gallon sap tank can by backbreaking work.  When the snow is deep in the woods, travel can be treacherous and greatly hindered.  In cold weather the sap often freezes solid in the bucket.  Can you imagine tackling all of this with the added responsibility of leading two draft horses and a wooden sap sled through steep inclines and uneven paths that are obstructed with branches, surprise holes, and patches of mud and running water?

Mitch and Penny have collected sap by hand with the use of horses for many years.  Mitch started maple sugaring in 1977, with sixteen taps that he whittled from the shoots of sumac

along with any pail or container he could find.  In those days the sugar operation was what one might classify as rather “primitive,” - an old flat pan that was placed on stones in the driveway!

Mitchell and Savage Maple Farm has come a long way in the world of maple syrup.  Mitch served on the Board of the Maine Maple Producers Association for twenty years.  They built a beautiful sap house that is home to a 2x8 foot evaporator and a brand new filter press. They have participated in the Common Ground Fair since 1993, with their array of maple products and they extend a warm welcome to many visitors on Maine Maple Sunday each year.

2013 marked the first year that Penny found the lifting of the sap buckets to be simply too arduous for her back. Their friend, Keena Tracy from Little Ridge Farm in Lisbon Falls kindly stepped forward to help out in the woods.  She also lends a hand with the care of the horses.

To say that Mitch has a special way with horses is quite an understatement.  It is difficult to describe the incredible relationship that he has formed with Dick and Dock, his two draft horses.  If you saw the demonstration of the team of four horses at the Common Ground Fair  this past September,  it was most impressive. Mitch was called upon to help out and he kindly lent a hand with the rather involved hitching of all the horses so that they were able to move around the ring in tandem.

As Dick and Dock traversed through the woods with the sap sled with the five-hundred gallon sap container they seemed to know exactly what to do without being told.  Their degree of cooperation seemed surreal.  One wondered if they even knew how to misbehave!  When questioned about this, Mitch admitted that they can occasionally have their moments.  He specially went to Ohio and purchased the horses from an Amish farm because he has great respect for the way Amish horses are trained and raised.

Mitch is well-known throughout the state for his expertise with horses.  He volunteered to help with the Low Impact Forestry program that was established by the Maine Organic Growers and Farmers Association.  He has used his horses over the years to help with the planting and cultivation of his crops.  He has grown large quantities of oats, beans, spelt, wheat, corn, and hay. The horses are also used in the logging that Mitch carries out on his farm.  According to his online journal, in January of 2013, he cut a load of fir pulp in trade for a load of firewood.

It is interesting to read Mitch and Penny’s

yearly journal that they post on their website:  There are entries about the weather on particular days and information about the horses and the number of trees that were tapped, the number of gallons that were filled, and acknowledgments for the various people who volunteered to help out. 

Mitch’s last entry for 2013 in his online journal was composed on April 9, and it said, “Tough year for a man with buckets. Made 73 gallons mostly dark syrup from 422 taps.”  The diary entries provide a great insight into the day-to-day happenings of a farmer using horses to gather sap.  One journal entry on March 28, 2012, was quite humorous.  It read: “Snow. Cold. Everyone has pulled their taps. Looks like I am the only idiot out here.”

Penny and Mitch have lived on their homestead in Bowdoin since 1978.  With Mitch’s experience as a carpenter, they built their beautiful farmstead.  This past July Penny retired from her twenty-four years of family medical work at Maine Medical Center.  She has thoroughly enjoyed working with Mitch with the maple syrup and attending farmers markets throughout the year.

Mitchell and Savage Farm is home to The Maine Maple Kitchen.  Penny has always enjoyed baking and cooking.  Her potato rolls have received rave reviews.  She brings them

and maple syrup, maple candy, maple butter, maple granola, spelt and wheat flour, and eggs to the farmers markets. Australorps, White Rock, Bard Rock, and New Hampshire Reds make up their flock of forty free-range chickens.

Individuals interested in purchasing the homemade items that Penny and Mitch sell can catch up with them at the farmers’ markets in Brunswick.  During the summer, they participate in the Crystal Spring Market. In the fall they can be found at the Brunswick Winter Market at Fort Andross.  Mitch and Penny sell their maple syrup in quarts, gallons, half-gallons, pints, and eight ounce bottles.

Family is a major priority for Penny and Mitch. Their three sons have relocated to far-away places.  Caleb is living in Portland, Oregon.  Lars is residing in San Francisco and Luke is in Singapore.  They look forward to seeing their sons as often as possible and thoroughly enjoyed this past Christmas when they all were reunited.

Unique Maine Farms extends a thank you to

Mitch and Penny for hosting such a friendly

welcome to their farm.  On a cool March day

when a bout of cabin fever had already taken hold, there’s nothing like a visit to a maple

syrup farm to liven one’s spirits.  The warmth

of the wood fire, the fragrance of the syrup,

the interaction with the horses, and the walk through the woods provides a great appreciation for all the work involved in the tradition of gathering and boiling sap.

The friendliness and positive energy that

is transmitted at the Mitchell and Savage Farm

just added to the delight of the day.  The maple syrup activity with which Penny and Mitch and their horses are involved is the best natural antidote to that “shut-in” feeling that a long winter often evokes.  Wouldn’t it be nice if their positive energy could somehow be processed into different size containers that could be sold along with their maple syrup at the farmers market in the middle of a cold Maine winter!