Life in the Hilty household works in circles. Food at meals is passed around the table in a clockwise circle; while questions regarding the morning’s bible reading come around the table in an anti-clockwise direction. The seasons impress their own circular influence on the family’s market gardening business and their method of farming cycles the soil through a process that ensures the soil is enriched rather than stripped. Perhaps most importantly, the family’s philosophy on farming for the future generations is according to an over-arching cycle. Their philosophy is to work with the land instead of against it and they don’t want their children to have to deal with problems they’ve created by farming the land to excess.
Milo and Velma Hilty and their family of five moved to the old abandoned dairy farm in Smyrna Mills, northern Maine, near the Canadian border, in the spring of 1996. Back then the farm was covered in wild strawberries and paint-brush. Nowadays the family sustainably and organically farms 20 acres, mostly vegetables, which they sell locally and at mid-coast towns further south, Bangor and Rockport, ME and at their “Back 40 Growers” farm-stand on route two, which sells the produce of eight Amish families.
The Hilty's are down-to-earth folks. In the spring they are down on their knees literally: hands deep in the soil planting seedlings in the soft, mellow earth. Following the summer's rigorous growth and the aging of autumn is the breather offered by winter when a deep blanket of snow covers the sleeping earth in Smyrna Mills. It is then that the Hilty's have the time for reflection back on the past growing season and the time for browsing through seed catalogs dreaming about future summer gardens. Thus the cycle continues.