Unexpected contestants

Sunflower oil.

On display at one booth was a sunflower seed press, used to extract oil. Seeds are pressed, with shells, through a small, cranked tube, yielding an 80 percent extraction efficiency. For industrious growers, this offers the potential for a Maine-made cooking oil.

Waves of grain.

Showcased at the fair were all kinds of Maine-grown grains, from spelt to wheat. In the 1800s, most small New England farmers grew grains ground by water- or wind-powered grist mills, a tradition that had lost footing until only recently. Today's state movement toward locally grown grains is headed by Jim Amaral of Borealis Breads.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.