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Aldermere Hamish, Champion and Grand National Champion 1975-76

Belties

Ask any local in Rockport or Camden where the "Belties" are, and they’ll point you to Aldermere Farm, long one of the area’s popular attractions, especially for kids longing for a look at the famous black and white colored "Oreo cookie" cows. But the Belted Galloways grazing in Aldermere’s green pastures aren’t just for decoration. Aldermere Belties are known to breeders around the world as some of the finest stock anywhere.

Bred primarily for beef, Belties originated in the mountains of Southwest Scotland--an area once called the province of Galloway. In this cold, damp, and rugged country, the Galloways bred by the Scots became an exceptionally hardy breed, adapting to the severe conditions. In winter they grow a shaggy overcoat which, in combination with the soft short undercoat, protects them from the cold and damp. Unlike many other breeds, the Belties were able to forage for themselves on the range during the winter. Their development under these conditions made the breed highly resistant to disease and genetic problems.

Manager Ron Howard makes friends (photo: Sara Gray)

In 1953 the Aldermere herd of Belted Galloways was established when Mr. Chatfield purchased a bull and six cows from Harry Prock of Pennsylvania. Mr. Chatfield subsequently brought more stock to the farm from Scotland. Between 1955 and 1972, he imported Lullenden Irene and Lullenden Arigusta from the Ian Hamilton herd, along with the bull Mochrum Orion which replaced first herd sire Aldermere Hapwood Dandie. In 1960 Burnside Great Scot, Supreme Belted Galloway in Scotland, was imported. In 1966 he bought two heifers from the Whittingehame herd at East Lothian, noting that the dam which produced these heifers, Whittingehame Serena Neilson, was the largest Beltie cow he had ever seen, weighing 1600 lbs.

Over the years the Chatfields and long-time Farm Manager Dwight Howard worked together to develop one of the premier herds of Belted Galloways in the world. In fairs around the country, Aldermere cattle have been awarded the highest level of recognition of any farm over the last 30 years. Today the Aldermere herd is the oldest continually-operated herd of Belted Galloway cattle in the United States today. Numbers generally range from 75 (winter) to 100 (summer) head.

Together the Chatfields and long-time Farm Manager Dwight Howard built a renowned herd.

Aldermere farm routinely sells cattle and semen to other breeders.

Other Beltie web sites of interest:


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Upcoming Events

April 29 - June 3 Spring Farm Hands Session

Farm Hands is the premier youth program at Aldermere Farm where youth ages 12-18 work with the young Belted Galloway calves learning to halter train, groom, and lead them. This provides a community service to the Farm because it allows the calves to get use to being around people, and to be well tempered and manageable. Participants also learn about important agricultural, conservation, and environmental issues as well as skills such as team work, trust, and patience. Our spring session will be held on Wednesday afternoons beginning April 29 from 3:15-4:30pm and will run for six weeks. Contact our office for a registration form at 236-2739 or jlucas@mcht.org. Sessions are limited to 8 participants.

May 9 - Calf Unveiling Day

With fourteen new calves born this spring, we are ready for Calf Unveiling Day. Our annual open house event attracts hundreds of people will take place this year on Saturday, May 9 from 10:00am-3:00pm. Excitement is in the air to see the Beltie calves as well as the rest of the herd including the show line of heifers that the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club will be grooming throughout the day. Calf Unveiling Day is held at the main farm barn located at 20 Russell Avenue in Rockport. The event is family-friendly with numerous agricultural related activities, tours, and presentations that show off the cattle, farming methods, and agricultural products. More local farms than ever will also be in attendance with their goods and animals including Stone Fox Farm Creamery, Sparky’s Honey and Maple, Final-Lee Acres Farm, Sewall Organic Orchard, The Barber’s Bunnies, Bittersweet Heritage Farm, White Duck Farm, Half Moon Farm, Sunnyside Farm, Frost Fire Farm, Coastal Mountain Land Trust, Edwards Apiary, Knox-Lincoln County Beekeepers Club and more.
Food and refreshments will be available to purchase during the event. The Uproot Pie Company will be offering wood fired pizza made with local ingredients, the Aldermere Achiever 4H Club will be serving delicious Beltie burgers and Sewall Organic Orchard will have cups of their wonderful Apple Cider available for purchase. If that isn’t enough, Stone Fox Farm Creamery will have their homemade ice cream made from locally sourced milk, cream, fruit and maple syrup for sale. Several demonstrations including needle felting, apple cider & vinegar making, antique tractors, a children’s story reading and live music from the Rusty Hinges and a local bag piper will take place mid-day. In addition to the agricultural activities, Camp Kieve will have their mobile rock climbing wall at the farm for an opportunity to try your hand at rock climbing. The local Agricultural Poster Contest is another highlight of the day with posters designed by students in the third through twelfth grades from the Five Town Schools, which show support for local foods and farms. For more information on this free one day event, please call 236-2739. Click Here to find out more about programs and events at Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Aldermere Farm and the Erickson Fields Preserves.

Lawns to Garden Workshop - Saturday, May 30

Would you like to turn part of your lawn into a productive garden? Erickson Fields Preserve is offering a workshop from 10:00am - 1:00pm on “lasagna gardening,” a no-till, no-dig technique achieved by layering organic matter. This workshop is open and free to the public for all interested gardeners and farmers. The workshop will be led by Ellie Brown at Erickson Fields Preserve located at 124 West Street, Rockport. For more info and to register please call the Aldermere Farm Office at: 236-2739 or email jlucas@mcht.org