Nezinscot Farm: A Harvest Highlight

Thoughts of Thanksgiving inevitably lead to thoughts of the harvest. And thoughts of the harvest inevitably lead to thoughts of Nezinscot Farm in Turner.

We had the chance to visit this incredible spot at the height of the growing season, and we can't help wishing we were back there now.

Gregg Varney bought the farm from his parents in 1986, and in 1990, he and his wife, Gloria, started a small farm store out of their house. In 1995, they moved the store into the farm's original dairy barn, and it has since become a destination. Part farm store, part cafe, part knitting and fiber shop, part cheese house, part classroom, Nezinscot Farm has grown into the type of place the Varneys envisioned all those years ago.

"This is my idea of bringing my lifestyle and my education together to educate the community," says Gloria Varney, who has a degree in community health education and nutrition. "When people come here, they not only experience good food, they experience a lifestyle that's healthy. They experience farm life. They experience us working. We're addressing people's mental, nutritional and physical health."

Some people just come to sit on a rocking chair on the farm store's long front porch. Others visit so they can hang out in the yarn shop and knit a few rows. Students from Bates College hang out over gigantic omelets and hot cups of coffee. And people from near and far come for the gorgeous biodynamic produce and tangy raw-milk cheeses.

Nezinscot was Maine's first organic dairy, and Gloria describes "biodynamic" as a step above organic: "basically, it's farming homeopathy. You acknowledge the earth as you would your body."

It's about knowing the rhythm of the land, the elements, even the cosmos, and learning how to respond in a situation like last summer's endless rain. It's the reason why Nezinscot is the place to be during the harvest — and year-round. And it's the reason why the Varneys have been able to thrive when so many other small, diversified farming operations can't.

"They're aren't a lot of farms doing what we're doing," Gloria says. "They're either corporate-owned or one of the spouses is working off the farm. It's a lifestyle that's no longer conducive to most people today. There's definitely been a resurgence in consumers' awareness of wanting to know where there food is coming from — and they also want to be able to see it."

You can see for yourself — and sample meats, cheeses and those crazy-huge omelets, year-round at Nezinscot Farm, 284 Turner Center Road in Turner. For more information, visit


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