WINDSOR — Molly and Ozzie will take a break from their guard duties on Sunday to greeting visitors to Emma’s Family Farm.

Molly and Ozzie are donkeys. Their usual job is to protect the farm’s chickens and turkeys from foxes and other predators, but they’re perfectly friendly with humans, Steve Hoad said.

“Ozzie likes kids, and Molly seems to like adults,” he said.

The donkeys will probably be a hit when Emma’s Family Farm joins more than 100 other farms across the state in opening its doors to visitors on Sunday for Open Farm Day.

This is the 22nd year for the annual Department of Agriculture promotion.

“This is a free day to go on the farm and view demonstrations of viewing farms or shearing sheep or crop production,” said Janet Ballard, agricultural promotions coordinator. “There’s always samples to taste, farm products for sale. It’s a great day to get to know your farmer and see where your food is being raised.”


A list of the participating farms can be found on a Department of Agriculture website,, or in an insert in today’s Kennebec Journal.

Many farms extend Open Farm Day to a whole weekend but visitors should call ahead to check, Ballard said.

Emma’s Family Farm, which is operated by Rose Hoad and her parents, Steve and Helen, will be open to visitors only on Sunday, but they hope to have lots of people come to see them at their farm on Windsor Neck Road.

The farm has about 120 laying hens and raises several kinds of livestock for meat — chickens, turkeys, pigs and cattle. All the animals are pasture-raised.

“So many people have seen pictures of chicken barns, where the chickens are all packed together,” Steve Hoad said. “The pasture methods surprise people.”

The Hoads participated in Open Farm Day last year and host tours for groups with advance notice.


Hoad hopes visitors will understand why their products are more expensive than meat and eggs at the supermarket — and superior in quality, he said — and that farming is not “the simple country life.”

“Honestly, one of the things we talk about when we tour with people is that it’s a lot of work,” he said. “We hope that people will understand the importance of farmers to the local economy because more than romance, farming’s a business.”

Ballard hopes that people who visit farms on Sunday will be inspired to choose Maine products in the future.

“Our children need to know that our farms are 24/7, they work hard to produce our food. I think we need to know where our food is coming from,” she said. “It’s important healthwise and it helps the local economy.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.