Conant Acres Canton, ME
“Where families come first.”
Situated in the picturesque Androscoggin River Valley in the western Maine foothills, four generations of the Conant family work together. The slogan at Conant Acres is “Where Families Come First” and this is evident not only in the deeply pedigreed herd, but also in the people who care for the cows. In the early 1970’s, Duane Conant concentrated his efforts on purchasing promising young registered Holsteins, which led to a worldwide reputation and many awards for the family farm. Duane and his wife, Betty, had two children, Dennis and Debbie, who both joined the family operation with their spouses, Heidi and Steve, respectively. Several members of the next generation work on the farm. In addition to her farm responsibilities, Debbie also happily provides “Grandma daycare” services for her younger grandkids.
Beyond top-quality breeding stock and milk—which they starting selling direct to local consumers through a fully stocked farmstand Conant Acres also produces bushels of a sweet summertime favorite. By mid-July, Debbie Keene says the phone starts ringing. “Everyone wants to know,” she says, “‘Is the corn ready yet?’” During the average year, all those callers will have to wait another couple weeks, but apparently plenty of folks think Conant Acres’ sweet corn is worth the wait. “We’ve done sweet corn for as long as I can remember,” Debbie says. “I can remember as a kid being in the back of the truck before we were big enough to pick.”
During sweet corn season, the family sets up a plywood stand under a huge old river maple tree and stocks it with freshly picked corn every morning “as soon as the cows get fed,” Debbie says, “and sometimes two and three more times a day.” About 10 lawn chairs are arranged under the tree and that’s where you’ll usually find Duane. “We’re trying to get my dad to slow down,” Debbie says. “People ask him why he doesn’t retire to Florida and he says, ‘Why would I do that when I can sit here in this office with four great-grandkids nearby and see all my granddaughter Kaicey’s basketball games?’”