Sandra Smith is the owner of Sunset Farms, located off Johnson Rd. in Perry, Maine. She runs a 92-acre farm which produces mostly potatoes, tomatoes and has a maple syrup grove. In the past, Smith used to run a farm stand from her home and now sells to a few faithful customers and donates to the food pantries and Perry Elementary School 8th grade class.
Smith believes food insecurity in Washington County to be related to the lack of knowledge of how to prepare the food that is accessible. Smith said that when her children were young, there was always food for them. Deer, rabbit, and berries were always in abundance, people just had to go out and find it themselves. Lack of knowledge of how to get local, basically, free food and how to prepare it is what worries Smith. For instance, the many different ways to use wild apples such as by making juice, jelly, butter, sauces and the ability to freeze it all for later use is something the younger generation could learn how to do.
One thing Smith thinks is being lost on younger kids is how to cook with fresh veggies. Today, a neighbor boy helps her with the upkeep of her farm and she takes pride in being able to show him and other youth the difference between food from the garden and food from the store. “If I’ve done anything in my life, I taught those two boys to cook vegetables,” Smith said. This high school boy now brings a bag of potatoes home from her farm every day and has learned how to prepare and cook them himself.