Growing a farm from a single acre of soil into a multi-acre, successful organic farm is no simple task. It takes the right knowledge, proper determination, and the right tools tools that can help a grower get the job done. But when it comes to using what’s on hand to make the biggest impact possible, Kevin Leavitt of Fermer Kev’s Organic Farm knows how to make it work.
Thanks to a good deal of determination, a little know-how, and with the help of some Rimol Greenhouses, Kevin and his team of growers have managed to have their farm take off, and have brought fresh, organic produce to the community around them. Farmer Kev’s organic may still be small, but it’s gaining strength daily - and it’s only going up from here.
When Kevin first started Farmer Kev’s Organic Farm back in 2009, the entire operation was just a single acre. Kevin, a lifelong local, had just graduated from Winthrop High School, and had started to cultivate his acre using the knowledge he had picked up so far - but he still had plans to expand.
“I had found what I loved; being outside, working with plants, getting dirty, and growing food for people that made them healthy,” said Kevin of those early days. “I entered college with my mind set on agriculture and every summer I would return home to farm.”
Demand for fresh, local, and organic vegetables was high in southeast Maine in those days, and with enough effort and dedication, Kevin was able to scrounge up a fairly decent living - not to mention a good reputation - selling to locals at the Winthrop Farmer’s Market.
It was here that Kevin first started to the farm’s overarching mission: to grow fresh, organic produce that all Mainers could afford. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Agriculture and Economics from the University of Maine in Orono, and returned ready to seriously take organic growing by the horns. He spent six years working hard, eventually buying about 20 acres of land in West Gardiner for the farm and picking up his first Rimol Greenhouse, a Nor'Easter.
Newly outfitted with a professional quality greenhouse, Kevin and his team started on their newest goal: to expand to a year-round operation. They had been impressed with the personal attention from their Rimol representative, and in him found someone they could not only trust but could also turn to for advice - a fairly marked departure from the cut-and-dry interactions they’d had with other dealers.
This guidance helped them pick the Nor’Easter for its reliable durability and available heating systems, perfect for withstanding the tough Maine winters. With this addition to the operation, Kevin and his team could really begin on their mission of becoming a true four season farm. This meant planting lettuce, kale, and chard for the winter harvest, all of which can withstand winter conditions thanks to the protection offered by the Nor’Easter.
The results were noticeable that very first year. Adding the room afforded by the greenhouse, which would have otherwise gone unused in the cold weather, added a notable bump in Kevin’s growing space. This would lead to the Farmer Kev team adding another, larger Nor’Easter greenhouse to their operation, as well as two Eastpoint greenhouses for sprouting seedlings and protecting young greens for the winter. With this combination of greenhouses, Kevin has increased his growing space by 17,000 square feet in the winter months - meaning higher yield even when there’s snow on the ground.
Since adding their Rimol Greenhouses, Farmer Kev’s Organic has transformed into a fully Organic Certified, year-round grower that can provide food to Mainers in high demand and at competitive prices. Their goal is to have at least 12 crops available for harvest year round, all thanks to an investment in infrastructure that helped boost just how much their land could produce.
Take a walk through Farmer Kev’s Organic Farm and you’ll see one operation with a passion for providing fresh, organic produce for their community with relatively limited resources. With the added value afforded by their Rimol Greenhouses, however, things are definitely looking up for Farmer Kev’s - and if you ask Kevin, he’ll tell you they’re not done yet.