Maine is one of the leading producers of farm raised marine seafood in the United States.  Farm raised oysters, salmon and mussels are the most valuable crops raised in Maine.  The state is also a worldwide leader in developing new methods of aqua farming that will protect our ocean.  Over ten species are farmed in Maine.mussel farming

There will be a major shortage of food throughout the world by 2030.  The development of more aqua farming will be critical to meet these demands for food. Currently our country falls behind Norway, Chile, Scotland, Ireland and Canada. The United States imports about 90% of the seafood we consume.

Farming off the coast of Maine has met many problems, downturn of the sardine industry, the decline in ground fishing and the closure of the Eastport fertilizer plant. SalmonFestival Salmon farming has met with issues of disease, waste, predators, environmental restrictions and changing economic issues.salmon pic

Cooke Aquaculture of Canada bought the three Maine salmon operations that went out of business.  Salmon farming in Maine is on the rebound.

The salmon are monitored 24 hours a day using underwater cameras to enable sufficient food for the fish.salmon farming safe1  Fish with desirable traits are selected as future parent salmon. Cooke does the cleaning and gutting of fish as well as processing at their facility in Machiasport.

Clamming in mid coast Maine has been hit by green crabs eating the young clams.  They have turned to aqua farming to battle the invasion of green crabs.

Norwegians have developed a land-based lobster farming technology.  It is land- based to avoid escapes, pollution and impacts on the environment.  These methods are expanding throughout the world.

When visiting at the Ocean Point Inn, be sureglidden sign to visit Glidden’s Oyster Farm on the River Road alongoysters in the river the Damariscotta River.  You may taste their freshly harvested oysters.  There is a tour boat out of Damariscotta that will take you down the river to see the oyster farming.oyster 1

On Route 220 in Washington, Maine, you will see a sign for Agriculture Engineering, Inc.  They have developed a system that combines large fish tanks with hydroponic garden vegetables.  Fish Farming in the Unites States has usually been in natural bodies of water which is inexpensive but damages the environment.  They first raised trout but have now changed to Tilapia which breed and grow very quickly.  Tomatoes and lettuce are irrigated with water from the fish tanks that is rich with nutrients.

Another great aqua farming combination is raising seaweed on mussel farms in Maine. Seaweed has become a $6 billion dollar industry worldwide.mussel farming

Maine Sea Grant is helping Maine shellfish farmers to grow kelp.  They are raising sugar kelp which is native to Maine and grows quickly.  In addition to raising seaweed as a source of food and fertilizer,kelp on mussels 1 some types of seaweed contain half their weight as oil which is a potential biofuel.kelp on mussels2

Maine, Florida and Washington vie for the number one spot in saltwater aqua farming.  Seaweed and scallops are the most recent additions in the industry.

During a recent trip to Southeast Asia, I was amazed at how much aqua farming is being done, even in very poor areas.  They were farming shrimp, sharks, tilapia and seaweed.  When you saw the incredible amounts of seafood in their fish markets, the necessity of aqua farming became very clear.  Seaweed was served to us regularly in many forms and tasted delicious.

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Based on “The Compleat Wetlander” fairy houses have been a Maine tradition for over a hundred years, especially along the coast.  School teachers once traveled to islands off the coast of Maine and brought folktales about fairies.  This inspired the islanders to build little houses that might attract fairies.  The original fairy houses had a small altar with an offering, such as a coin or nickel, to pay the fairies so they would help farmers.

“Fairy Houses of the Coast of Maine” by Maureen Heffeman is afairyBOOK delightful book on the crafting of fairy houses.  The photos are inspiring.

Children and adults create fairy houses so the fairies will have a place to live.  Traditionally they are made from things found in nature – twigs, shells, bark, stones, leaves, dried berries, sea glass, etc.  The houses are usually nestled at the base of a tree for support or in a garden by a rock.  Today many garden shops sell all sorts of miniatures to build a fairy house with, including ready made houses.

You do not have to be on the coast of Maine to build a fairy house.  Wherever you live you may create one from things you find in the woods and along the shore.  If you live in a city apartment,istock-fairy-1  you can build one in a container for your balcony.

Fairy House Villages have popped up in the northeast recently.  The Coast Maine Botanical Gardens near Ocean Point Inn has an area of fairy houses and you may build one of your own there.  They also sponsor a special fairy celebration each summer which is lots of fun for children and the adults with them.  They can build their own houses, dress like a fairy, have a fairy tea, do fairy crafts, hear the author of a book on fairy houses, etc. I have enjoyed taking my grand daughters to this event and they have had lots of fun.

Monhegan Island is known for fairy houses on their trails.  Be sure to check this out on your next trip to Monhegan.  Mackworth Island in Falmouth, Maine, has a large Fairy House Village of permanent fairy houses.  The cliff trail in Harpswell, Maine, also has fairy houses.

Building a fairy house is limited only by your imagination and creativity and is enjoyed as much by adults as children.  There is no end to details you can add – chandelier over a table, wall art, chimney, smoke out the chimney, beds, walkways, gardens,…… name it!istock-fairy-2

To build a fairy house you first decide where it will be located – base of a tree, in a garden, in a container?  Once you have the location, collect as many materials as you can find. One of the rules of fairy house building is not to destroy anything that is living.  Leaves, twigs, pine cones, shells, sea glass, seaweed, pebbles, dried moss, bark, feathers, acorns, horse chestnuts, dried grasses are all useful items.  Now the fun begins!  If you start your first house next to a tree or rock it gives you something to help support the structure.

Enjoy – I bet you will want to build more that one fairy house!

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