New greenhouse business opens in Greenville
GREENVILLE — Lately there’s been a lot of good news about young people moving to Maine to start a new business and a new life, all the while being engaged in their local community. Such is the case with Backwoods Harvest Company LLC, a family organization who bought the former Autumn Brook Farm on East Road in Greenville.
Managing Partner Deven Cooley was delighted to speak with me about how this all came about. He and his business partner (Gerard O’Neill) had been up bear hunting on the KI Road a couple of years ago and noticed a “For Sale” sign on the farm as they drove by. They decided that this would be a wonderful opportunity to start a business in Maine in an area they loved. “When I saw the sign, I thought, wow this is a gorgeous piece of property,” Cooley said. “And, it’s so beautiful up here! You just can’t beat it.”
Deven, Gerard and family members talked at length about it and decided to take the plunge moving the entire family to Greenville. They spent the winter and early spring getting things fixed up and ready for opening. It was a lot of work fixing up the rundown greenhouses and store front as well as starting everything from seed, as opposed to buying plant plugs from other nurseries.
“Everything on this farm is started from seed – we do not import any plants,” Cooley said. “So everything you see is our own blood, sweat and tears. We started all our plants some time in March, and so now, by the end of May and beginning of June everything is blooming and beautiful.”
They currently have one greenhouse for flowers and one for organic produce. “We encourage people to bring their own pots,” Cooley said. “And we are delighted to fill them with the flowers they choose; we only charge for the plants, not the labor.”
Cooley says they also encourage people to bring back any unused pots and flats. “We take pots in return and every pot returned generates 5 cents that gets donated to the Greenville High School,” he said. In their effort to be a good citizen of the Greenville community, this is a “win-win” situation for sure. “We hate to see those pots going into landfills and we want to support the local high school,” he explained. “So, we’re asking folks to bring back their pots and trays – you don’t even have to wash them – and then we add up the returns and once a month send a check to the school.”
The fresh organic produce they offer is a hit as well, partially because it’s all grown from seed in special deep beds in the greenhouse. “It’s all made up of an organic compost and loam mixture,” Cooley said. “And, there’s nothing but worms feeding the plants. They couldn’t be more gorgeous. We’re really into the science end of things — the microbiology in the soil and how the plants uptake the nutrients,” he added.
Next year they plan to add another greenhouse for perennials and an additional one for early produce. “We are delighted that the local grocery store as well as local inns use our fresh, organic vegetables,” said Cooley. “So we plan to expand on that.” They will also be raising cows, pigs, ducks, chickens and possibly meat rabbits.
“We’re going to be the local farm that does it all,” Cooley grinned “We like to keep everything right here from our banks to our mortgage lenders to our seed suppliers to even our pig suppliers for example,” he paused to sum things up. “What it comes down to is that we’re here to stay and we want to stimulate the local economy and make Greenville a better town.”
Backwoods Harvest Company, LLC is open Wednesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. “We’re usually here Mondays and Tuesdays as well, if someone needs to come by and pick something up,” Cooley noted. For more information, give them a call at 207-695-2190.
Observer photo/Shelagh Talbot
BACKWOODS HARVEST COMPANY — The folks at Backwoods Harvest Company – David Faulkenham, his daughter Nikki Carlson, Managing Partner Deven Cooley and Nikki’s daughter, Megan Carlson.