BTLT in the News, “These little doggies will not be going to market”

“These little doggies will not be going to market”

September 9, 2018

Mary Pols wrote a well-balanced piece featured in The Source on Sunday, September 9 on the new dog policy at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm.

One Monday morning this summer, Jacqui Koopman, the manager of the wildly popular Saturday morning market at Crystal Spring Farm, walked into her office and announced she’d had it.

Maybe it was the pooping that pushed her over the edge. Possibly the peeing. Lunging and snarling were also a problem.

“We have got to have a dog policy,” Koopman says she told her colleagues at the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, which runs the seasonal outdoor market. From her official vantage point at the market, standing behind a table in the middle of a rectangle of booths manned by oyster and vegetable farmers, cheesemakers, spice merchants, coffee roasters and bakers, she’d seen every manner of bad behavior, both from the four-legged attendees who lifted their legs on everything from tablecloths to coolers to the booths, and from the humans at the other end of their leashes.

Just the week before, as the market drew to a close, she said a co-worker called her attention to “a giant pile of dog poop” left in the middle of the market. A paper bag was lying next to it, as if signaling a right intention undermined by the wrong material.

Starting October 6, all dogs but those belonging to vendors will be banned from the market at Crystal Spring, which according to the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets, is believed to be the first outdoor market of the approximately 120 in the state to say no to dogs.

“I am not aware of any that prohibit customers from bringing dogs,” said Hanne Tierney, the chair of the federation’s board, as well as the chairman of farmers markets in Portland and Waterville.

But there is certainly debate. Tierney said in an email that customer surveys show that people “feel strongly on both sides of the issue.”

In Brunswick, the issue has been discussed before. “For 19 years,” Angela Twitchell, the executive director of the land trust, said ruefully. “As long as the market has been there (at Crystal Spring).” They’ve tried signage, outlining the rules – including leashes and keeping your dog out of the vendors’ booths – and gentle in-person persuasion.

“We have talked to people about it,” Twitchell said. “We have had board members and volunteers at the market handing out little cards when we have seen misbehaving dogs and owners.”

But between dog “quarrels” as the land trust sweetly describes it, small children being scared by big dogs and the issue of defecation and urination – along with related food safety issues – the market, which is overseen by 19 board members, felt the tipping point was reached this summer.

“It was getting worse,” Twitchell said. “The board felt it was becoming a safety concern.”

To read the full story, click here.

Dogs at the Farmers’ Market

Sadly the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust board and staff have found it necessary to adopt a no dog policy at the Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm beginning October 6.

The Farmers’ Market has struggled with the challenges of having dogs in the busy space of our Market for years. More recently, the amplified popularity of the market has brought an increased number of dogs to the market green which unfortunately has caused more challenges and concerns for public safety.  These challenges have included dog quarrels, defecation, unhealthy conditions created by dogs in vendor booths, and safety concerns such as not respecting the space of small children and the tripping hazard of leashes. In the best interest of our visitors and to provide a safe, positive community space we will institute this new policy at the Farmers’ Market beginning the first Saturday of October.

We encourage you to visit the trails at Crystal Spring Farm and the other BTLT trails where leashed dogs are welcome. Please see our trail map of Crystal Spring Farm by visiting this link: https://www.btlt.org//land-trust-trails-crystal-spring-farm.

Thank you for your understanding.

Easy Oysters

Spring Asparagus

Market Opening Excitement

BTLT in the News, “Spring inspiration at Midcoast land trusts from Brunswick to Lincoln County”

Spring inspiration at Midcoast land trusts from Brunswick to Lincoln County

April 26, 2018

Local land trusts, including the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust, are featured in the Coastal Journal for some exciting spring happenings. Read on to see how you can get involved this season!

There is no shortage of areas to explore along the Midcoast this spring, but local land trusts offer more than just trails. Each organization has its own focus and schedule of events coming up. Some are out on the trails while others are workshops focused on preparations for spring, like how to start your garden.

You may know the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust from its role in the outdoor farmers market at Crystal Springs Farm in the summer and on the town green in the spring and fall. I am eagerly waiting for the first spring market day on May 5.

Following on the gardening theme, BTLT also puts on the impressive Taking Root Plant Sale on May 26, where you can simultaneously provision your garden with lovely native plants and support the land trust’s efforts.

And, if you don’t have your own garden to tend, but love digging in the dirt, one of the many volunteer opportunities possible with BTLT is to help at the Tom Settlemire Community Garden. The garden is used for educational programs and also provides produce for local food banks, in addition to having private plots for those interested in having their own patch. You can find out more at www.btlt.org/volunteer.

To read the complete article, click here.

 

 

Quarry Trail to Market and More!

By Susan Olcott

The Quarry Loop is easy to miss as it is the only trail on the “other” side of Woodside Road – separate from the bulk of the trails at Crystal Spring Farm. You reach the Quarry Loop by  starting from the little spur of the East Trail at the corner of the parking lot for the Farmer’s Market (from the trail head near the porta-potties), taking a right onto the short Quarry Trail link that runs behind the farm, and crossing over Woodside. It’s only .2 miles from the parking lot to Woodside Road, and is flat and has good footing. Along the way, you might see an assortment of animals on the farm and also peek at some of the things growing by the farmhouse. After carefully crossing the road, you will find the short Quarry Loop, just another .2 miles or so around. When we went recently, there were blackberries and black-eyed susans along the way, and there’s a nice granite bench to sit and rest as well.

One great thing about the Quarry Trail is that it provides a safe link to walk between Woodside Road and the Farmer’s Market. If you’ve been to the Market, you likely have noticed that you are not alone, but a part of the throngs of others coming to enjoy the cornucopia of goodies on Saturday mornings. Parking is always a challenge and many park along the busy Pleasant Hill Road. But, Woodside Road is an alternative place to park that many people don’t think of. Perhaps it is because they don’t know about this lovely short linking trail. 

A great thing about the Quarry Loop is that there is a lovely secret pool that has fresh, cool water in a shady spot. Often after nibbling on delicious pastries and sipping hot coffee while dancing in the sunshine with my girls to sweet fiddle music, we are ready for a little cool forest reprieve. And, this is a great spot to find it. On a recent visit to the pool, we were surprised by multiple plops as frogs hopped back into the water upon hearing us. Swimming on the surface of the water were giant solitary water beetles and flotillas of water boatmen with oar-like appendages paddling along. And, tiny silvery minnows darted back and forth under the surface. My daughter took this watercolor-like photograph of the still water reflecting the clouds and a frog peeking up. We were amazed at how much life was in this little pool. We even found tree frog eggs in a thick jelly on a few leaves dangling above the water, waiting to hatch and drop down to their aquatic home.

The rock surrounding the pool is smooth pink granite flecked with silvery mica and there are lots of little outcroppings. If you’re looking for ideas for kiddos on this trail or any others at Crystal Springs, you can print out a copy of a neat little Activity Book that Bowdoin Environmental Studies students put together with BTLT and the farm. We were satisfied just studying pond life and taking pictures. But, next time I’ll have to bring a net.

So, next Saturday when you find yourself heading to the market, leave a little extra time before or after to park along Woodside and follow the Quarry Trail over to the market and then on your way back, cross over the road to walk the Loop Trail to see the Quarry and its abundant life – and dip your toes.