Turning Page Farm – Turning passion into livelihood
MONSON — What do you have when you combine your passion and your dreams and create a new reality for yourself? For Joy and Tim Bueschen, it was the creation of their new home in the woods of the Central Maine Highlands, Turning Page Farm Brewery. Located just four miles from downtown Monson, at the intersection of Steward Road and the N. Guilford Road, they have created a thriving business with their small artisanal goat dairy and their small-batch brewery.
“This chapter of our lives is about cultivating Joy by courageously following our passions,” said Joy Bueschen. “Growing our goat dairy, making cheeses and other goat milk specialties has provided a new breathtaking vista that can be enjoyed with our feet firmly planted on the ground. And now Tim has added a small-batch brewery to the mix.”
The seeds for Turning Page Farm were sown some time ago. Both Joy and Tim were plodding up the corporate ladder, climbing higher and higher but the essential view was still the same. Sure, there was a decent paycheck at the end of the day, but their hearts and souls weren’t restored. It was becoming an uninspiring grind. “At some point we lost interest in what we were supposed to be chasing,” Tim noted.
A trip to Ireland helped push them off into their new direction. Ireland, a lush and rural landscape similar to Maine on its northwest coast beckoned. There they met a father and daughter team who raised a herd of goats and made artisanal cheeses. What’s more, they were able to be self-sufficient. According to the Turning Page website, Joy was first in line to try her hand at milking a goat and she surprised herself by successfully squirting milk into the waiting pail. She was hooked and the couple spent the rest of their Irish vacation dreaming of creating their very own goat dairy and learning “all things Goat” from the farmers of Ireland.
Lucky for us here in Piscataquis County, they put their money down on a farm in central Maine, and without ever even seeing the place, made that giant leap of faith. “We moved to Maine in April of 2016 and started the goat dairy that summer,” said Joy “The beer garden opened in Aug 2018. Our motto is ‘Small Town and Small Batch’ and this drives all our business decisions. We are happy to serve our local community and hopefully be a draw for others who are visiting our region of Maine for the first time.”
The universe smiled on the fledgling farmers and in that very first year of Turning Page Farm’s existence, the Bueschens had chickens for eggs and meat and two piggies for clearing land – they’re like the roto-rooters of the soil – and later on they became the family bacon. “Cheeses, and soaps were now being produced on our own land from our own animals,” grinned Joy. “The reality of our first year of this new chapter of our lives exceeded all expectations!”
Joy’s passion is as mentioned before, goats and cheesemaking and for Tim it’s beer. During their corporate lives, the couple ended up in Munich, Germany for eight years – what a great place to be a beer connoisseur/consumer! According to the Turning Page website, Tim “found mentors and a peer group that offered a chance to explore and create other types of beer as well. This period also offered the opportunity to step into the commercial brewing world as an occasional guest brewer at Richelbrau,” a popular brauhause (beer house) in Munich.
Brewing beer is a rich tradition in Germany, going back hundreds of years and the traditions of celebrating that beverage involve joyful gatherings outside in gardens, with much laughter, music and such. For the folks at Turning Page, making small batches of fresh flavorful beers is where it’s at.
“Life in Munich was centered on beer gardens and the leisurely pace of life sitting under shade trees or tents eating pretzels and cheese while sampling local beers,” observed Tim on their website. “Our hope is to create a unique experience for you when you visit our farm in Monson.”
Their outdoor beer garden is open every weekend from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Normally, “Year round sunshine and beer tasting can be found in our earth battery greenhouse/tasting room,” he said “ And, that tasting room overlooks the goat pastures.” Watching happy goats with a handcrafted beer in your hand on a summery day has got to be one of life’s most delightful pleasures indeed. You can also take away their cheese, honey and soaps yourself to enjoy on another occasion.
Happily, with goats comes goat products and Turning Page Farm has a number of offerings, both in-store and online. There are fabulous chevre, feta and manchego, as well as a new line of goat cheese salad dressings. And you can be kind to your skin by using their specialty lavender-mint goat milk soaps.
Gift certificates are available too and there are also Goat School classes where you can learn to milk goats just as Joy did. With the recent Covid-19 Pandemic, they’ve had to make adjustments “We were hit hard like everyone else in Piscataquis county when businesses were forced to close,” Joy said. “We were able to move to a take-away model for a few months but are now happy to have our customers come back to our outdoor beer garden on the weekends. They can relax and enjoy the farm where physical distancing is easily observed.”
Visit them online at www.turningpagefarm.com. They have a very friendly and easily navigable website. Give them a call if you have questions or would like to schedule a visit: 207-279-6142. They are located at 842 N. Guilford Road in Monson, Maine.
This article contributed by the Moosehead Lake Region Economic Development Corporation as we celebrate new business and business growth in the region.