By Gordon Lambie
Local Journalism Initiative
Topher Farm in Waterville is branching out this year with an eye for making their farm stand a local tourist attraction. Now in the fourth year of growing organic fruits and vegetables from their home on Gosselin road, Christopher “Topher” Maynard and Bridget Sweeny have set up a stand just off the side of route 143 alongside a home-made, farm-themed playground, a u-pick wildflower field, and a large-scale sorghum maze.
“It was our original plan to start here,” Maynard said, explaining that between the family’s young children and questions about whether the smaller crop yields in the early years could sustain a stand on the side of the highway, the couple ultimately decided to stick closer to their house at first. “We started with one acre, then went to four, then ten,” he added. “Now we’ve learned the ins and outs of production and know we can meet the demand.”
In a similar vein, the farmer said that there was always an interest in having ‘agrotourism’ be a part of the family business, but the work needed to be done to get crops established before the fun side of the project could find a home.
“We really like the idea of doing agrotourism and providing ways to get people to come and experience the farm,” Maynard said, sharing that his sister has an active tourist farm in Ile Perrot that served as inspiration for the idea.
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