Franklin County’s “Garlic Guru” prepares for retirement

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Dave Fuller, Maine’s “garlic guru,” will be retiring this year.

FARMINGTON – After a long career of helping agricultural and home food producers produce healthier crops, University of Maine Cooperative Extension professor David Fuller is preparing for retirement.

Fuller described feeling a combination of satisfaction from having a fulfilling career and the opportunity to work with every age group and excitement about the journey ahead.

“I feel very enthusiastic about it,” Fuller said. “I love my job; there has never been a better fit; it’s exactly what I was made to do. That combination— a rare combination— of helping people using the skills that you have is a great combination. And I learn constantly.”

Fuller stated that he will continue gardening and being a resource on an as-needed, unofficial basis as well as spending more time in his antiquarian book shop. He also has a forthcoming book on the natural history of spruce gum and says that his interest in learning about the natural world is sure to keep him occupied.

Fuller, who is leaving behind a legacy as the “Garlic Guru,” is leaving some pretty big shoes to fill. Having worked with students aged five to 95 on various research projects and learning experiences, consulting with people about sustainability and non-timber forest products, he wants to reassure the community that the Cooperative Extension will continue to provide that resource.

David Fuller, with the Franklin County Extension Office, shows CCHS students how to plant garlic. (Photo by Janet Plouffe)

“I worked with virtually everybody in the county…we’re really a resource hub; we answer many questions directly, but then we also direct folks to other areas,” Fuller said.
“I think it’s super important to point out that we will be replacing the position…I anticipate we’ll have somebody in here before spring…you want to have someone in there before the black flies come out.”

At the moment, he is working on some unfinished business regarding research and data entry and analysis, but is relieved that his colleagues will take up the garlic torch as a teaching method.

“Garlic has really been a canvas that I’ve chosen to teach from; it’s a small part of my work, I make that clear, but if someone is growing garlic well, they can pretty much grow other things well,” Fuller said.

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