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Of the hundreds of visitors who join in Brae Maple's Open
Farm Day activities every summer, many are customers from the area
farmers' markets, where most of the Smiths' produce is sold. Among
the stars of Open Farm Day — indeed, every day — are the Smiths'
Scottish highland cattle.
Brae Maple beauty
Allan and Andrea Smith's hilltop farm in Union is as
picturesque as it is productive. The Smiths make their living on the
plants and produce they sell to their community. Perennial gardens and
educational displays on the farm help their visitors connect with the
But the real crowd-pleasers, in addition to inquisitive donkeys and a
surly goat, are the Scottish highland cattle with their long red
"Andrea does some spinning and makes ornaments from the wool, and they
dispose of the surplus from the gardens and give us fertilizer, but
this is a retirement community for the animals for the most part,"
says Allan Smith, describing each member of the herd by name, birth
date and personality. "People really look forward to the cows and the
sheep and the donkeys when they come out here. (The animals) keep us
busy in the winter and we just like to have them around."
The Smiths also host University of Maine Cooperative Extension's
Master Gardener Program, welcoming dozens of area garden enthusiasts
to their farm to practice sustainable gardening techniques, test new
gardening methods and conduct field trials.
"The master gardeners have been here for 10 years. It's been one of
the best things that we've done," says Smith. "We share a lot of great
ideas, and they have just been good friends. We get an amazing turnout
for Open Farm Day, and we just couldn't do (the event) without them."