Year In Review: 2014
The year started with strong sales of the farm’s 100% grass-fed beef, which is only available a couple of times a year. Strong beef sales continued throughout the year ending with the highest beef sales since the farm started selling beef in 2000. It was due in part to the help of the new Program Assistant, Jeremy Lucas, who started in late February. He helps with all things beef related and assists all the managers here at Aldermere and Erickson including the two program managers, herd manager, operations manager, and the general manager.
Also new to the crew this year was Aaron Englander who started in late March as the new Farm and Program Manager at Erickson Fields Preserve. He graduated in May with his Master’s degree from University of Maine at Orono and hit the ground running with the vegetable growing operation, Teen AG Crew program, summer intern supervision, and more. He was not only able to meet the goal for the year, but whizzed by it by growing over 10,000 pounds of food for local food pantries.
2014 was the first year participating in Maine’s Open Farm Day. All eyes focused on Erickson Fields Preserve on that July day since there had already been a very successful Calf Unveiling Day event at Aldermere in May. Tours of the gardens, music, and children’s activities helped bring a presence to the place for local people that wanted to learn more about this beautiful 93-acre preserve.
In the midst of fair season of showing cattle, Herd Manager Heidi Baker assisted in a new Steer and Lamb Youth Auction, which assisted youth in selling their livestock to the local community. From a buyer’s reception to a live auction, many people worked hard at making this sustainable agriculture initiative a new successful market.
After the Aldermere Farm Visitor’s Center closed in mid-October, many of the volunteers who regularly volunteered each week explained that this was their best year in the Center due to the great visitor’s to the area, good weather, numerous cattle in the fields, and good informational materials to provide to people.
Regular events and programs continue to have great attendance and draw in the community including the Calf Unveiling Day, Member Appreciation Night, Art Show, Beltie Holiday, Farm Hands program, community gardens, Kids Can Grow program, and the hardworking 4-H club.
This was a landmark year for the farm and for MCHT. MCHT has now owned and managed the property for 15 years now, having past to the land trust in the fall of 1999 upon Mr. Albert Chatfield’s Jr. passing. Ron Howard has managed the property as the General Manager since 2000 and Sarah Post just hit her 10-year mark as managing programs for the Farm.