By Hannah LaClaire
September 6, 2019
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust celebrated the 25th anniversary of the conservation of Crystal Spring Farm and the 20th anniversary of the BTLT Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm this past weekend with a festival on the Market Green at Crystal Spring Farm.
Twenty-five years ago, the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust stepped in to keep Crystal Spring Farm, a property they say has been at the heart of the Brunswick farming community for generations, from becoming a large housing development.
The property, now 320 acres of conserved land, was purchased in two pieces, according to Angela Twitchell, land trust executive director. The first 160 acres were purchased in 1994 for about $700,000, and then between 2004 and 2008, the trust raised another $2.7 million to buy the other 160 acres and renovate the existing farm buildings.
To celebrate community and conservation over the last quarter-century, the Brunswick Topsham Land Trust is hosting a festival on Sunday afternoon with live music, locally sourced food and even a special basil-infused beer released in collaboration with the land trust and Flight Deck Brewing.
If you haven’t heard, BTLT is hosting a Crystal Spring Farm Festival this Sunday, September 8th from 12 – 4pm. We’ll have tasty local food from Henry & Marty, Sowbelly Butchery, and Mere Point Oysters, along with wine and beer provided by Cook’s Lobster and Ale House with and EXCLUSIVE beer release from Flight Deck Brewing.
The Portland Press Herald recently covered the festival in two event-based articles.
For more information on the Festival or to buy tickets, CLICK HERE.
The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm is a community favorite and a foodie destination for many vacationers. The Market each week has continued to set records with the number of visitors and with that comes challenges of traffic, parking, and safety.
We ask your patience while waiting for parking at the Market. Our parking attendants have experienced verbal abuse from customers on multiple occasions. This is unacceptable in any welcoming, community space.
Please note that it has been necessary to close the parking lot periodically during market hours to accommodate for high volume.
Our parking attendants are here for your safety, please respect them and abide by their directions.
There are clearly marked “No Parking Areas.” It is imperative that you do not park in these areas.
There are alternative ways to get to the market to decrease congestion in the parking lot and along Pleasant Hill Road. There is easy parking along Woodside Road with quick access to the Market via the Quarry Trail. There are trails from Crystal Spring Farm – North, where the Labyrinth in the Woods and the Tom Settlemire Community Garden are located. There are bike racks for your convenience if you choose to bike.
For a map of Crystal Spring Farm in totality, to better plan your upcoming trip to the market, CLICK HERE.
If you google the plant “Euonymus fortunei,” or “wintercreeper,” you’ll get two different kinds of results. The first kind will detail a plant that has won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, has cultivars named “Emerald Gaiety” and “Emerald Surprise,” and may be on sale at your local garden center for $39.99. The second kind details a plant that is listed on the Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States, was named an “alien plant invader” by the Plant Conservation Alliance, and often is accompanied by the words: “DO NOT PLANT.”
We sure got an “Emerald Surprise” when we realized this plant was growing rampantly at our Smart Property this summer. The Smart Property, one of our newest acquisitions, is a 3-acre floodplain forest on the banks of the Androscoggin River, filled with towering silver maples and green ashes and home to warblers and waterfowl alike. We first noticed the mysterious emerald evergreen vine climbing nearly to the tops of some of these trees, and saw that where it touches the forest floor, it transforms into a blanket of dense groundcover growth. We can’t know for certain how or when wintercreeper first appeared at this property, but its proximity to the riverbank indicates that it hitched a ride on the Androscoggin River, likely after getting washed out of somebody’s garden upstream, and was deposited during a spring flood.
As stewards of our conserved lands, it is our responsibility to protect our properties from invasive species—which reduce biodiversity, threaten rare species, and choke out native trees and herbs. But there are many occasions and circumstances where the battle against invasive species feels futile—that you could spend your whole life cutting brush and yanking weeds, and you’d hardly put a dent in the waves of bittersweet, knotweed, honeysuckle, and barberry that seem fated to overtake our native landscape.
However, this time is different: because this is only the second known wild population of wintercreeper in the state, treating this infestation means that we have a real chance to prevent this plant from creeping into the rest of the state and strangling floodplain forests from Salmon Falls to the St. John. And we weren’t about to let that chance pass us by!
So we spent a few days with our Regional Field Team yanking the vines down last week—they come off the tree with a satisfying zzzzzip!—and digging the roots out of the ground, but it will likely take a few years of active management to fully remove wintercreeper from the Smart floodplain forest.
So if you’re looking for new plants to put in your garden, don’t just go with what’s on sale at your local garden store, because it may have ulterior motives for world domination. Please consider buying New England natives! The Native Plant Trust has published a database of great garden plants that also support our native biodiversity—learn more by visiting their website.