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Organics and Pest Management

Levesque’s Organic Farm September 2019 Edition “We have neglected the truth that a good farmer is a craftsman of the highest order, a kind of artist.” -Wendell Barry Welcome Back It’s hard to believe that summer is almost behind us! The kids are now back in school, the mornings are cooler, and the squash is just about ready for picking. Although we wish that summer could stay just a little longer, we’re excited and ready to see what’s in store for the next season. Before we all know it Fall will be here. Until then let’s all enjoy the last few weeks we have of summer with our loved ones. Who Are We? We thought that it would be fun for you to get to know a little bit more about each member of the Levesque family. Each family member plays an important role in the operation of the farm. Let’s start with the patriarch of the family, Paul Levesque. Without him Levesque’s Farm would not be where it is today. Some might remember Levesque’s Dairy Farm in Lewiston. Paul’s family used to own that farm and that’s where he grew up. Growing up on the farm taught Paul many skills that he would carry throughout adulthood. He learned how to milk the cows, take care of the animals, and to hay. He would also have to do daily pre-dawn deliveries with his father, Armand. It was Armand who instilled the strong work ethic that Paul continues to carry out to this very day. It’s the same work ethic that he instilled in his children.

ASK A FARMER Have you ever had a question about farming? Have you ever looked at produce and thought, “What do I do with that?!” Send us these and any other questions you may have about farming, our operation, or produce in general and we may include it with an answer in our next newsletter. Email questions to and put, “Ask the Levesques” in the subject line. If you don’t wish for your question to be made public, let us know in the email and we will answer your question in a private email. Paul later went on to graduate from high school and worked as an electrician, delivery driver, and eventually an operations manager for the Coca-Cola plant that was once in Lewiston. It was while working at Coke that Paul slowly started building Levesque’s Farm. The time eventually came in the late ‘90s where he was able to leave Coke and follow the path that he knew God wanted for him and his family. Today, Levesque’s Organic Farm is a thriving local farm located on Rt. 219 in Leeds all because of a vision Paul had and his obedience to follow the path that God had laid out before him. man” -George Washington “Agriculture is the healthiest, most useful and most noble employment of

Many people believe that organic means no spray, however, that is a mistake. Being organic means that we adhere to very strict standards set down by M.O.F.G.A. (Maine Organic Famer’s and Gardner’s Association). Which includes what we can and can’t use for materials like, fertilizers, sprays, and even seeds. The materials that we can use need to be listed certified organic by OMRI (organic materials research institute). Even though we spray we use it as a last resort. We use several different methods to control bugs and other pests. We use floating row covers to keep the bugs away from the crops, and on larger scale, we have several greenhouses that are used to isolate the crops from pest pressure and the weather. If that fails, then we try using predatory insects to help kill off the pests. When pest pressure is high the predatory insects have a plentiful food supply and the number of predators grow; as the number of pests decreases, the predators move on to find more prey, but some will stay behind, lay eggs and begin a life cycle that will help to maintain pest levels. Unfortunately, sometimes even with the preventative method of row covers and greenhouses and the use of natural kill methods like predatory insects, the pest numbers grow too fast and the threat to the crop becomes to great. It’s times like this that we have to use one of the sprays that are OK’d by MOFGA. Unlike many of the sprays that conventional farmers use, which are chemical and synthetic, the sprays we use are natural and derived from naturally occurring products.

Another benefit of the sprays we use is that they are very short acting. We spray at night for a couple of reasons, we are not being sneaky and trying try hide the fact that we spray, it’s because the sprays we use degrade in the sunlight, so if the bugs need the time during the night to feed on the applied spray. In fact, after about a day of exposure to light the active ingredients in some of the sprays become inactive. They can’t do anything to harm a bug, let alone you or me. The exception to this is Spinosad which can stay active for up to 28 days. However, Spinosad will wash off with a little bit of water so if it rains or even if there is a heavy dew in the morning the spray washes off. Just to be safe we always wash all product that have been exposed to any type of spray before it ever goes to market. Another reason that we spray at night is because we care about our pollinating friends. Bees are essential to any farming operation and we wouldn’t want our application of spray to affect the bees. Since bees don’t fly in the dark we capitalize on this time as a “safe time” to go after only the pest insects. Another problem that every farmer has to face is the issue of weeds in the fields. Many farmers use herbicides to control the growth and spread of the pesky plants. However, we do not. Instead we use a combination of field rotation, mulch, cultivating, and hand-pulling of weeds. It’s not easy, but it’s the best solution that we have. While we know that some people think that this nullifies the idea of organic farming, we feel that we are very conservative with the amount of spray we use, and we are always sure to leave a more than ample window between any spraying and harvesting. We hope that this article will help to clear up any misconceptions anyone has about the relationship between what being organic is, and how spraying works into our operation. Thank you again for all of your support and business. Be sure to follow us on Facebook for more news and updates. Sincerely, The Levesque Family

Instructions Creamy Four Cheese Spinach Butternut Squash Ingredients

  • ▪ 1 butternut squash

  • ▪ 1/2 cup vegetable broth

  • ▪ 1 cup heavy cream

  • ▪ 5 garlic cloves (or to taste), minced

  • ▪ 1 cup Italian 4 cheese mix

  • ▪ 1 cup freshly chopped spinach

  • ▪ Fresh thyme, to taste

  • ▪ Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

  • ▪ Red chili pepper flakes (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Scrub the outside of the squash clean and cut each in half down the middle from the stem to the root end. Scoop out the seeds and scrape a bit of the flesh with a melon baller, leaving a nice border all the way around. Sprinkle each half with salt and pepper. 2. In a large bowl, combine minced garlic, heavy cream with 1/2 cup vegetable broth, cheese and spinach. Mix well. Divide the mixture into each halves, then top with additional cheese and sprinkle with additional pepper, fresh thyme and red chili flakes. 3. Roast in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on the thickness of your squash, or until the flesh of the butternut squash is very tender when poked with a fork. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

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