I visited Joel, Annalisa and Ayla Wild Miller of Wild Miller Farm in Palermo, Maine.
Joel and Annalisa’s endeavor started with an excess of garlic. When the surplus from Annalisa’s garden was too much to give away, she started sending her garlic to market with her parents, who farm in Lee, NH. Joel and Annalisa officially became Wild Miller Gardens in 2009 on land leased from the family farm.
That year they also began working horses. Annalisa’s father had worked horses in the past, but hadn’t kept drafts in a long time. The family did have riding horses, however, including one haflinger who had come with a harness. Under Annalisa’s father’s mentorship, Joel and Annalisa dug out the old harness and got started.
Who are your horses today?
Mentoring Joel and Annalisa inspired Annalisa’s father to buy himself a team of Belgians. As their farm and commitment to draft power grew, Joel and Annalisa bought a pair of 8 month old Suffolk Punch colts and trained them alongside the steady walk of the experienced Belgians. They say “for us, draft horses combine the assets of art, craftsmanship, intention, history, kindness, and ingenuity on the farm. They sustain our interest in farming and keep us focused on the lifestyle intentions and values that are so important to our family.”
Tell us about the new farm.
Joel and Annalisa found a farm of their own in Palermo, Maine. They closed on the property in April of 2014, just in time for a busy growing season in New Hampshire while coming up to Maine to prep ground, start moving and restore the “new” barn. The family and horses were finally able to move in last November. The new farm is 80 acres, 20 of which are open and the remainder in wood lot. The horses will help them raise vegetables and hay in the summer and log in the winter.
What is the multi horse powered farm CSA?
This year Wild Miller Farm is one of 4 horse powered farms in Waldo County contributing to a collaborative CSA. The 4 farms coordinate crops to provide a broad range of produce to CSA members in Portland. The effort is managed by New Beat Farm. The other farms involved are Terranian Farm in Troy and Sandy Meadow Farm in Unity.
Joel and Annalisa also sell crops through an onsite farm stand. Their own CSA memberships are available for credit at the farm stand.