Preserving the Food Homestead Business

A Maine couple goes back to the land and makes a business of homemade foods and crafts.

| April/May 2007

In 1997, Ana and Roy Antaki moved from corporate jobs in Kansas City, Kan., to a 150-acre former dairy farm, which they call Weeping Duck Farm, in Montville, Maine. The Antakis’ journey back to the land led them to discover a more satisfying, traditional way of life. Now they earn money selling handcrafted products at the local farmers market, including woodcrafts, personal care products, and homemade food items, such as veggie burgers and healthy fermented foods.

How It All Began

Ana was working for Hertz in New York City when she met Roy, who was employed by a trading company that transferred him there. Two months later, says Roy, he and Ana “met, got married, then started dating,” and they’re still dating after 30 years.

From New York, Roy was transferred to Kansas City, where he and Ana quickly saw what they’d heard environmentalists talking about: suburban sprawl and the destruction of wildlife habitat. “We decided that maybe we should live in a way that is less noxious to the planet; a much simpler way,” says Ana.

Their four years in suburban Kansas City, where neighborhood rules prohibited hanging out laundry and even growing tomatoes in the back yard, “were a blessing in a sense,” Roy says. “It made us realize that we wanted to get out of the rat race.” They sold everything (except their 15 exotic birds) and moved to Maine. “We were innocent enough that we moved in mid-January — we were lucky,” Roy says. They arrived at their farm just ahead of a snowstorm.

They didn’t know anyone in Maine at the time, but Ana had been to Camden before on business. “I thought Camden was the prettiest place I had ever seen,” she says. Later, when Ana read about legendary Maine homesteaders Helen and Scott Nearing (authors of The Good Life) and their pursuit of a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle, she thought, “Somebody else has thought about this, so I’m not nuts!”

They found that people in Maine were “very, very nice; still very down-to-earth.” Once they were settled, the Antakis began exploring ways to make a living with a home-based business.

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