Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 1 : Summer 2009 - Page 29

Acadian variety grown by the Bouchards today, is planted in late May and matures quickly, in 10-12 weeks. It’s a very resilient plant, one that is able to grow in harsh conditions and is well adapted to northern Maine. According to Janice, buckwheat isn’t actually a grain at all, but a fruit and a member of the rhubarb family, which may help to explain the glorious reddish-brown appearance of the fields at harvest time. Joe Bouchard grows approximately 200 acres of buckwheat, a little more or less depending upon the seasonal rotation with other crops. Oats, potatoes, and canola are also grown on the 350-acre family farm, as well as on land leased by the Bouchards. Roughly 3,500 bushels of buckwheat are milled on the farm each year. In 1995, Joe and his father, Alban, found a dismantled mill in New Brunswick, which they brought home in pieces and restored, taking a year to put it back together. While reassembling the mill, they found a label inside stating that it had last been repaired in 1898. Most of the work on the farm and in the mill is done by members of the immediate family, including 13-year-old Philip, the youngest Bouchard. Janice manages the farm office in addition to handling most of the sales and marketing for the Ployes business. Bouchard Family Farms is actually two businesses – the farm and mill that produces the Ployes mix and the Acadian Buckwheat Flour; and the Joseph A. Bouchard Farm, which grows a variety of c ɽ