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In July, the
Stutzmans sponsor a community Berry Festival, featuring live,
down-home music and a feast prepared with fresh produce, like
raspberries and strawberries for shortcake. Among the festival
entertainers: Sid Stutzman and the Douty Hill Band.
Destination: Douty Hill
In a low-slung building at the crest of a hill in
Sangerville, Sid Stutzman eyes bushels of neatly arranged produce,
picked that morning in the field below. Tucked away in a corner
kitchen behind the cash registers, more than 40 pies a day are mixed,
rolled, poured and baked to flaky perfection, offering his customers
an even tastier way to enjoy the farm's harvest.
Customers come and go, making their just-picked or fresh-baked
selections, pausing to chat with one another about family and friends,
the latest news and gossip.
It's a far cry from the impersonal fluorescence of the grocery store,
and that's just the way Stutzman likes it. Raised on the same hill
where he harvests the day's crops, Stutzman's personal connection with
his customers, his workers and his fellow farmers means much more to
him than just revenue for the farm.
"We try to do a lot with the community. We're big into the Senior Farm
Share Program, we give a lot of local kids their first job, we do the
Berry Festival. It really gives you a good feeling," says Stutzman, a
third-generation farmer and talented musician. "We used to do a lot of
wholesale, but we expanded the farm stand and now we sell most of what
we grow to our own customers."
Stutzman and his wife, Rainie, work closely with University of Maine
Cooperative Extension specialists to improve their farming and
marketing practices. The result is a successful, multifaceted
agritourism business built on the Stutzmans' reputation for supplying
the freshest, most flavorful food available.
"People want to buy local because they want to know where their food
is coming from," says Stutzman. "They can go to the store and get
week-old produce anywhere, but they come here and they know what
they're buying was picked the same day."