If you’ve ever gone to an orchard, plucked an apple from a branch, and bitten into its crispy, juicy flesh, you know what fresh means. Food simply doesn’t get any tastier than when it travels only a few miles from the farm – or even just across the farm field – to your plate. Rich in small farms and aquaculture, Maine is the perfect place to explore the farm-to-table phenomenon that allows us to connect directly with our food sources and become conscious eaters. Over the course of this ten day, summer farm camp for teens, you’ll work on a local farm, interact with livestock, learn to make cheese, harvest local shellfish, visit farm-to-table restaurant experts, and even craft your own community dinner. No farming experience necessary; just bring an open mind, hard working hands, and an adventurous palate.
On the Farm, Cheese Making & Aquaculture
We’ll have two home bases during our time together. The first few days will be spent exploring mid-coast Maine through a variety of introductory field trips. Here our organic farming youth program will learn to make cheese and spend time with seafood harvesters off the coast, getting a taste for the amazing variety of food producers in the area. Then we’ll transition to our primary farm where we’ll spend four days fully immersed in farm life. Living and working alongside our host farmers, we’ll learn about sustainability and what it means to make a living as a farmer. We’ll cook collaboratively and enjoy produce that we’ve harvested together. In the afternoons we’ll take time to play games, hike, swim, and enjoy our surroundings.
Community Dinner, Kayaking & Farm to Table Meal
For our final days together we’ll focus on the table side of the equation. After visiting farm-to-table restaurant experts, we’ll work with a professional chef to put on a community dinner for a local organization – using locally sourced ingredients, of course. Our last day together we’ll enjoy a morning of care-free kayaking and indulge in one final group farm-to-table meal with a local, specially selected farm. Then it’s sad goodbyes and back home to impress our family and friends with new food knowledge and culinary skills.
Please see our General FAQ page for many more frequently asked questions and answers!
Aside from the trip cost, what are the additional expenses for this trip?
Apogee’s tuition costs are meant to be all inclusive and include all meals, accommodations, and activity fees. The most significant expenses on our Maine Farm to Table program will include travel to and from Freeport, Maine (Apogee staff members will be available to pick-up and drop-off any students who are flying in at the Portland Airport), a sleeping bag, and a sleeping pad.
Does my child need to have farming experience?
No. The most important prerequisites for this trip are a good attitude and an open mind. There will be challenging physical farm labor on some days and there may be unpleasant farm smells on others. You may try food you’ve never had before and will almost certainly learn new skills; to come into the trip recognizing these things and being prepared to work hard will be totally sufficient.
Can this trip accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies?
While we are eager to say that we can accommodate all dietary restrictions and allergies on this trip, it may be difficult for our host farm to accommodate certain, more severe restrictions. Please reach out to the Apogee office to discuss any concerns about this further – we will be happy to talk with you to provide realistic expectations for meals and food interactions on this trip.
What are the accommodations like on MFT?
Your group will be camping for the entire trip. Both the campground and the farm will have access to running water, toilets, and showers. In addition, the farm will have access to a full kitchen.
What does a typical day on MFT look like?
Our MFT group’s schedule varies greatly from day to day. While the group is on the farm, they will eat breakfast, work on various farm projects throughout the morning, break for lunch, and then work for another hour or two. Come early afternoon the group will have the rest of the day to explore the local area together until dinner prep begins. Days off the farm will be even more varied, but will generally be broken up into a morning activity and afternoon activity – such as visiting a farm, restaurant, or other local operation. In the evening, we’ll cook as a group, spend time playing games, and continue to get to know each other and enjoy the beautiful Maine coast.
My child will be flying to this trip start. How will they connect with their leaders?
Please note that Apogee staff members do not travel with students; our trip leaders will already be in Maine on arrival day and will stay in Maine after the trip ends. Apogee staff and trip leaders will have a detailed flight itinerary for each student who is flying to the trip start and will be at the airport to greet them on arrival. Once students are with their leaders, they will call home to let their parents know they have arrived and are with their group. Please see our blog post for specifics regarding students traveling as Unaccompanied Minors. Further, we encourage you to coordinate travel with other attendees; we’re happy to put you in touch with other enrolled families from your region. We will provide enrolled families with a Travel Information document covering details specific to traveling to and from Maine, including airport information and arrival and departure time windows. Please contact Apogee with any specific questions or concerns regarding drop-offs and/or pick-ups.