[Snakeroot Organic Farm logo]
 • What's New Here
 • Snakeroot Poultry

 • About Our Farm
 • Annual Farm Tour
 • Community Supported
    Agriculture Plan (CSA)
Directions to our Farm
 • From a Run Out Hayfield to
    a Prosperous Organic Farm
    in Ten Easy Years

 • Get Real. Get Organic!
 • History of Our Farm
 • Pictures of the Farm
 • Where We Buy
 • Where We Sell
 • Our Yearly Work Schedule
 • Just Pretty
 • Subscribe to our e-newsletter.
 • Newsletter Archive.
 • What We Will & Won't Ship

 • Working Here
 • Our Apprentices
 • Our Farm Workers
 • Pictures of Us at Market

 • Fresh Vegetables
 • Fresh Fruit
 • Fresh Herbs
 • Perennials
 • Aloe - a magical plant
 • Our Bird Houses
 • Lupines
 • Rosemary Plants
 • Lovage, Tansy & Yarrow
 • Our Product Brochures
 • Dried Vegetables
 • Dried Culinary Herbs
 • Maple Syrup
 • Maple Syrup, p.2
 • Sugarin' Is Like Ice Fishin'
 • Our New Sugarhouse
 • Tomato Seedlings
 • Tomato Seeds We Offer
 • Tomato Seed Production
 • Paste Tomatoes
 • About Garlic
 • Garlic for Sale
 • Garlic Year Round
 • Mulching Garlic
 • Growing Rounds from Bulbils
 • Whole Bulbil Cluster Method
 • Planting Garlic

 • Using Mulches
 • Combatting Quackgrass
    with Mulch

 • We Want Your Leaves!
 • In Praise of Chips

 • Buying in Bulk for
    Storage, Canning & Freezing

 • Winter Storage Tips
 • How to Freeze Our Veggies
 • Building Techniques
 • Our Outbuildings
 • Evolution of the Farm Table
 • The Story of Our Cooler
 • Prepping Veggies for Market
 • Crop Rotations
 • Drip Irrigation
 • Low Pressure Water
 • Planting with Spreadsheets
 • Greenhouse Vegetable

 • Let-tuce Begin
 • Recipe Favorites
 • Our "Remay Roller"
 • Gardening Class Notes
 • Your Most Expensive Crop

 • Being Green
 • Digging Potatoes by Hand
 • Farmers' Markets in 2012
 • History of Pittsfield
 • Hybrids or Open Pollinated?
 • Making Websites
 • Open Source Software

    Our Retirement Plan
 • How Should a Farmer Retire?
 • Impediments to the want-to-be     farmer
 • Reducing the Value
    of the Land

 • Who Will Farm Here When
    We're Gone?

 • Apprentice Terms and Stages
 • From Apprentices to Partners
 • Transferring Farm Ownership

…and now for something completely different…

At dawn
Canoe bow waves are quickly lost
    on the shoreside
But go on out of sight
    on the lake side.


The constant swish-swish of skis
    On a day long ski.
The constant swish-swish of wiper blades
    On a day long drive.


My dog, trotting barefoot
Steps on a garden slug
And thinks
Nothing of it.


Word spreads quickly
as I approach the pond.
All becomes quiet.


Hidden in the vines
a large warted cucumber
jumps out of reach.
A toad!


Delicate puffs
of marshmallow snow
carefully perched
on a branch,
await the trigger of my hat
to melt their way down my back.

Deep in the tomato jungle
Fruits of yellow, purple and red
Tell of their readiness
To go to market.

Sugarin' Chores
Snowflakes hurry through my flashlight beam,
As my boots knead new snow with spring mud,
On my nightly Hajj to keep the boil alive,
For as long as possible until the dawn,
To match the power of the flowing sap,
With my meager evaporator and will.
The prize at the finish line are jars of syrup
And Spring.


Our Apprentices (2006-2009)

For years we have wanted to host real apprentices, not just annual summer interns, but folks who were serious about living the farming life. We believe it is critical for apprentices to be immersed in farming by experiencing the entire annual ebb and flow of farm work and plant growth, including crop and soil management. In order for us to teach them to become farmers themselves, we must show them the whole gamut of our farm, from the leisurely winter months to the intensity of high summer, from the preparations of spring to the cleanup in autumn. We have been looking for apprentices in the old style, when young people would leave home to apprentice with a guild member to learn a trade. We think we may have found them.

Look for our apprentices at the farmers' markets during the summer and say "hi". Here are their stories in their own words, after a brief introduction to each by yours truly.

Jack · Coco

Postscript. During the summer of 2009, Jack and Coco became increasingly dissatisfied with almost everything that was going on at the farm. We had given them more autonomy than in previous years, and it is possible that they weren't ready for the increased responsibilities. At any rate they left at the end of August, and we haven't heard from them since. Several of our hourly workers stepped in to pick up the slack, so we were able to finish out the year on an even keel. We still miss them, and we are not averse to trying the same plan again with new apprentices. See our Working Here page for more info.


Jack Cozart joined us in January, 2006, as an apprentice, after working here the previous fall. He came to help out a friend work here planting garlic, and after a morning's planting and mulching, was invited to return for regular employment. Nearly always barefoot, in the photo he is picking up the last of the September onions.

"I was brought to Snakeroot by Mitch Miller, a mutual friend of Tom, Lois, and me. After spending the afternoon planting garlic I was offered a job. Coming day after day and week after week I grew to understand that the physical labor, the good times, and the education I was receiving without even knowing it was really what I was looking for in my life. This place gave me the opportunity to engulf myself in a lifestyle that I was already half living while I was getting my education at Unity College in Environmental Studies.

"Tom and Lois gave me the opportunity to settle down and use all of the skills I have been developing over the years, and not have to do all the traveling that I was getting weary of. Now after being here for two seasons I know that I would like to keep the farm up and running and be able to do what I enjoy: that is being in touch with nature and doing my part to keep the earth the way it should be in its natural state; that is living communally with mother nature and having the opportunity to educate the public about how the way they shop and purchase goods effects everything. "

Coco Page joined us in the fall of 2006, after meeting Jack at the Waterville Farmers' Market, where she was apprenticing a farm in Athens. She arrived here just in time to get one last picking from the green beans before frost totally killed the plants.

"I am farming because I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished school. I graduated with a B.A. in Art and many semesters toying with Education and Environmental Studies. I knew what I didn't want: a job in an office, the need to buy fancier clothes to wear to work, or a small apartment and a long commute. I didn't want to leave Maine, and I didn't want to live in a city. Before graduating I met Bob and Arleen Lovelace, who invited me to live and work with them on their small farm for the summer. Since I was immediately in love with them, their home, their attitude, and their lifestyle, I decided it would be a nice way to live while I figured out what I would do next. At first it was just a fun and beautiful job, but the more time I worked and saw the results of my labor the more I was convinced that growing vegetables was something I could do happily into the future.

"Working on a small organic farm has many benefits—nice colors, smells, sounds, and tastes, exercise; it is a healthy way to live. We are preserving wilderness and open space, maintaining a safe and nutritious community food source, and living in a low-impact manner which creates a lot from few inputs. I like that we can ignore the convenience that chemical agro-science has provided and depend instead on natural life cycles and an awareness and understanding of how things interact.

"I came to Snakeroot to hang out with the cute apprentice, and simply never left. Now I learn from and work with a family of like-minded people, and I could not ask for more. The work we do creates fresh food while caring for the land that allows us our lifestyle. The way we have chosen to live demands a lot of hard work; the return is independence, creative freedom, and a sense of satisfaction at the end of every day."

27 Organic Farm Road, Pittsfield Maine 04967
owned and operated by
Tom Roberts & Lois Labbe
Tom: Tom@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5417
Lois: Lois@snakeroot.net (cell) 207-416-5418

Gardening for the public since 1995.

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