The 73rd Annual Maine Agricultural Trades Show is underway in Augusta and you can check it out for free, through Thursday.


The show was kicked off earlier today with the recognition of notable contributions to Maine agriculture, by Governor Paul LePage and the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Walter Whitcomb.


A couple from Freeport, Maine was presented the 2014 Commissioner’s Distinguished Service Award.

In recognizing the efforts of Ralph and Lisa Turner of Laughing Stock Farm, Governor LePage applauded their willingness to educate the federal government about the impacts of federal regulations on Maine farmers.


“The Turners articulated very clearly the concerns of Maine food producers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) during the DACF-hosted listening session on the proposed food safety rule last summer,” said Governor LePage. “Their willingness to help educate the FDA concerning the negative impact of one-size-fits-all federal rules on Maine’s agricultural community is greatly appreciated.”

According to a press release announcing the award recipients, the Turners have been very involved in Maine Agriculture since 1997. They are graduates of the University of Maine; Ralph as a Mechanical Engineer and Lisa as a Civil Engineer. In addition, Lisa has a degree in Soil Science and Ralph in Business Administration.


The Turners have mastered four-season growing with 15,000 square feet of greenhouses, irrigation in the fields, and a state-of-the-art walk-in cooler to assure the product in the field stays fresh from the time it’s harvested and packaged, until it’s delivered.


The farm currently employs 8 full-time seasonal employees. 


The trade show is happening at the Augusta Civic Center and features dozens of lectures, demonstrations, and meetings involving some 40 major agricultural organizations, as well as over 110 exhibits.