You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl — even if she moves to the city of Bangor. Alicia Lambert grew up on a farm in Orland surrounded by horses, sheep, goats and vegetables galore. When she and her husband purchased a home on a half-acre of land in Bangor, Lambert put her homegrown roots to work right away and created a garden of plenty in their backyard.
“It’s kind of cool knowing you can do it, even living in the city,” Lambert said. “You may not be able to have all the farm animals, but you can do parts of farming and still grow your own plants and herbs. You don’t have to be outside the city.”
Lambert has always loved digging in the dirt. It’s a hobby that was passed down to her from her grandmother.
“My grandmother always had a huge garden so I learned gardening through her and my dad,” she said.
Lambert was pleasantly surprised to find her property was already budding its own fruit.
“It had raspberry bushes. We just put them into rows,” she explained. “We eat as many as we can all summer.”
It didn’t take long before Lambert’s backyard was also sprouting cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and more.
“When we bought our home, one of the first things we did [was] till a big spot in the back for a garden,” Lambert said. “Eating organic is expensive. So we try and do as much as we can so we don’t have to buy anything packaged.”
As her garden continued to flourish, so did her family. Lambert had a son, Jovan, and a few years later another son named Simon was born. Adding to the family unit also meant expanding the family garden.
“I want my kids to eat fruit and vegetables but I also worry about pesticides and everything that is used to grow them. That’s why I like to eat our own food as much as we can because I know where it is grown and what was used in it,” she said. “We never have enough because we eat it so fast. That’s why we keep expanding every year.”
Allowing her boys to get involved in the planting, watering, and gardening process has been more than a financial savings for the Lambert family.
“I found that Jovan will try things out of the garden that I couldn’t get him to eat if I bought it in the store,” Lambert said. “And Simon loves tomatoes. He eats them like apples. Jovan does the same with peppers.”
Lambert doesn’t let a morsel of her crop go to waste.
“We can and freeze the beans. I pickle the beets. I do lots of canned tomatoes and canned tomato sauce; it’s super easy and taste so much better because you get more of the fresh tomato flavor in your own sauce,” she explained. “Things like raspberries, blueberries and all of that stuff is so expensive in the winter time that I rarely buy fresh in the winter because we have them frozen and they’re like little popsicles. The kids love them.”
When she can’t harvest something herself, Lambert chooses to take care of her family from the inside out by purchasing products from local farmers.
“We buy all our meat and pork from a local farmer who is friends with my husband’s family,” Lambert said. “We buy a whole cow or pig and have it all year. They are grass fed and we know they haven’t been fed a bunch of antibiotics and stuff.”
This mother of two hopes she’s planted a love of gardening in her two sons’ hearts and minds so that that they, too, can one day grow their own food — whether they choose to live in the country or the city.
“I have fun and we certainly benefit from it,” Lambert said. “They know a lot about gardening at their age. Hopefully when they are older, they’ll pass it onto their kids.”