News Feature

Sedgwick
Originally published in The Weekly Packet, December 20, 2018
Couple moves farm to Sedgwick, fulfills dream
‘We made a pact we would move here someday’

Arianna and Colin Smorawski

Arianna and Colin Smorawski will open a farm stand with hot and cold food to go at the former Country View, located next door to their Roaring Lion Farm in Sedgwick.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

A love of the ocean and a honeymoon on the peninsula created a vision for farmers Colin and Arianna Smorawski: to move their Roaring Lion Farm from western Maine to the local area.

“Every time we did get a chance to escape, we came here,” said Arianna while curled up in an easy chair in the living room of their Caterpillar Hill Road farmhouse. The Smorawskis moved themselves, their 2-and-a-half-year-old son Otto, a herd of cows, a few dozen pigs and many, many chickens from Rumford this fall.

“People always say they want to do something. Well, what’s stopping you?” Colin said of the couple’s decision to move the farm 140 miles east.

The couple bought the 93 acre property next to the former Country View from John and Annie Gray and are turning it back to what it was 40 years ago, a farm. And, as they transform the land back into a working farm, they stumble over reminders of its past, like buried barbed wire right where Colin was pounding in fence posts for a new animal enclosure, or finding piled stones in woods that, he said, may have been open fields a few decades ago.

“A guy was standing here, just like me,” he said.

The couple had been keeping their eye on the Sedgwick property, which had been on the market for a few years, Arianna said.

“Definitely the history of this place was a huge component of what drew us here,” she said. “Someone already thought it through, so this property has everything, fields, springs, etc.” The property also leads down to the Bagaduce River, “a big selling point,” she added, and home to an eagles nest.

“People say when the alewives come through, the eagles just line up for them,” Colin said.

Arianna said that the local active farming community, with weekly farmers markets and an active Halcyon Grange, were a big part of the attraction of the peninsula.

“Everyone was happy to see this was going to be a farm again and not just be [inhabited] by summer people,” Arianna said.

“It’s been great,” Colin added. “I always worry about meeting new people but they just pull in your driveway.”

Roaring Lion Farm raises meat, eggs and produce, offering seasonal shares of beef, pork and chicken with once-a-month pick ups. They also plan to expand their reach next door, where they have rented the former Country View to operate as a farm stand and “a place where you can get a good breakfast sandwich and coffee,” Colin said, with lunch items and ready-made food to go. They are also hoping to build a relationship with other local farmers looking to sell their produce, Arianna added.

While Roaring Lion Farm is not certified organic, the Smorawskis said they follow organic practices, raising Meishan pigs, a Chinese breed “with a good temperament” and on the critical list for conservancy, Colin said. Their chickens free range and their cows are grass-fed half-Hereford and half-Angus, “bred to a Murray Grey bull.”

So how does one move a working farm? The answer is over several months, including dismantling a big barn and a greenhouse to reassemble in their new location.

“There was a lot of back and forth,” Arianna said. “The hardest thing was to move the animals.”

Meishan pigs

Roaring Lion Farm raises Meishan pigs, an endangered breed on the livestock conservancy list.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Arianna and Colin Smorawski

Arianna and Colin Smorawski will open a farm stand with hot and cold food to go at the former Country View, located next door to their Roaring Lion Farm in Sedgwick.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Cows

Roaring Lion Farm raises half-Hereford, half-Angus cows, and offers shares for monthly pick ups of beef, pork and chicken.

Photo by Anne Berleant
Half-Hereford, half-Angus cow

The animals of Roaring Lion Farm, such as this half-Hereford, half-Angus cow, made the move from Rumford to Sedgwick in October.

Photo by Anne Berleant