Fairwinds Farm is our family’s choice for annual berry-picking in Maine. The farm is located in Bowdoinham on the banks of Merrymeeting Bay, where six rivers – the Androscoggin, Kennebec, Cathance, Eastern, Abagadasset and Muddy rivers – converge. A unique ecosystem, Merrymeeting is not really a bay at all since it is some 17 miles from the ocean, and not a true estuary because of its low level salinity, according to the conservation group, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay. The region has alternately been called a “tidal riverine” because it does have a tidal surge, and an “inland delta” because of the wide areas of rich sediment. Fairwinds is one of several farms in Bowdoinham, and they all are rich producers.
Fairwinds Farm is known for its u-pick strawberries, but farmers Cathy and Pete Karonis have expanded their u-pick offerings this year to blueberries and raspberries. Both crops have been robust, likely due to a combination of nutrient-laden delta soil and near perfect summer weather.
I picked six pints of plump raspberries the size of strawberries, if you can believe, and made them into jam. I can also attest to the quality of the blueberries.
Fairwinds is based in Topsham, but most of its u-pick fields are in Bowdoinham. Hours for picking are posted on the farm’s Facebook page, and it appears berry picking will continue for at least a couple more weeks. If you go, wear a hat and sunscreen; the raspberry patch can get quite hot. It also helps to wear gloves or at least a long sleeve shirt since the raspberry canes have small thorns that can scrape or cut.