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Maine

26th Annual Open Farm Day Sunday

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Jennifer Mitchell
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Jessica Farrar and water buffalo at farm in Appleton.

 Appleton, Maine (AP) _ More than 85 family farms are open Sunday for Maine's Open Farm Day, affording residents a chance to learn about local farms and the foods they produce.

    "It's something that's been really great for us," says Jessica Farrar of Maine Water Buffalo Company in Appleton. She and husband Brian keep 21 head of the black, horned, bovines. "Where this is an unusual product, it gives the public a chance to try the meat and dairy, and learn about the work aspects of the water buffalo. Traditional mozzarella in Italy comes from water buffalo." explains Farrar. 26th Farms in all 16 counties will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.

    State agricultural officials say participating farms are offering demonstrations, hay rides, tours, petting opportunities, and displays as well as farm products for sale.

   Gov. Paul LePage says the number of Maine farms is rising. The state has 8,174 farms, up from 7,196 in 2002. He says the increase reflects ``renewed consumer interest'' in locally grown foods.