Tide Mill
Organic Farm
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Name:          Tide Mill Organic Farm

Location:     91 Tide Mill Road

                     Township of Edmunds  04628

Phone:          207-733-2551

Website:      www.tidemillorganicfarm.com



Products and Services:

- certified organic chicken

  1. -certified organic pork

  2. -organic grass-fed beef

  3. -organic milk and dairy

  4. -organic vegetables

  5. -organic meat sampler packs

  6. -Washington County CSA

  7. -Hancock County CSA

  8. -balsam products - wreaths and greenery

  9. -sustainable wood harvesting

  10. -turkeys

  11. -farm tours and farm stand

  12. -blueberry management

Why is Tide Mill Organic Farm So Unique?

At around fifteen years of age, Robert Bell emigrated from Scotland in 1765,  and landed in the Eastport area.  He was befriended by Passamaquoddy Indians and taken by canoe from Sipayik, where the Passamaquoddies hunted and fished, to the Crane Mill Stream which cuts through the beautiful property now known as Tide Mill Farm.  It was at this spot that Robert decided to build a grist mill to grind corn and wheat.

After obtaining a land grant, Robert married Jemima Merrill and settled on the property. There is a sense of history which pervades the Tide Mill Farm property.  Robert successfully ran the mill and built up the farm. It is interesting to reflect on how Robert Bell would feel if he were brought back to the present and guided once again to the land where he originally landed and farmed.

There has been an abundance of changes that have taken place since Robert’s initial settlement. Six family homes, a large greenhouse, an enormous certified composting structure, and several other buildings have been erected.  There is now a creamery and a major wood harvesting business. But there are also several striking aspects that have remained constant over the years. 

Robert Bell would most certainly be pleased to see that the land is still farmed.  Family is still at the forefront of priorities.  How could Robert Bell not be extremely proud about the fact that eight generations have followed in his footsteps valuing and preserving the natural beauty of their surroundings? The twenty-five foot tides that surround the farm still ebb and flow.  Cattle are still raised.  Children still flourish. 

The history of the Bell property is fascinating.

One of the grist mill stones can be found on the bank near the river and it is said that some of

the timbers from the mill are visible during low

tide.  The Passamaquoddies called the property

“home of the little chimes” because of the family name of “Bell.”  Fourth generation Elmer Bell used to sell vegetables from the seat of his 1911 International Harvester truck in Lubec over one hundred years ago!  The Bell family has some

significant historical connections.  They are related to Alexander Graham Bell and also to Betsy Ross.

The Bell property is protected by a conservation easement with the state of Maine created through the Quoddy Regional Land Trust.  In 2000, Bob and Terry Bell were recognized as Tree Farmers of the Year for their sustainable timber and wildlife management programs.

It will be a challenge to have enough space on this webpage to explain all the activities at Tide Mill Organic Farm that contribute towards its uniqueness.  There is that keen sense of history, a feeling of peace, and a distinct natural beauty when you exit Route One in Edmunds and approach the section of the Tide Mill Organic Farm on Tide Mill Road where the farm store and dairy barn are located.

The ninth generation of the Bell family is

farming at Tide Mill Organic Farm.  It is an accomplishment that few other farms can claim.    On the wall outside the milking parlor there is sign that recognizes the farm for being a National Bicentennial Farm.

Underlying everything that takes place at the Tide Mill Organic Farm operation is the amazing interaction and cooperation that takes place among family members.  Each individual in the family seems to have found a niche where they dedicate their efforts.  Bob and Terry, members of the seventh generation of the Bell family, manage the sustainable wood harvesting and blueberry operations. 

The husband and wife team of Aaron Bell and Carly DelSignore own and operate Tide Mill Organic Farm.  Aaron’s mother, Jane Bell, and Aaron’s brother, Jesse Bell, lend a hand with a multitude of all sorts of tasks around the farm.  Jane also is employed as a technician with the USDA and inspects the cows that are exported to Turkey from Eastport.

Rachel and Nate operate Tide Mill Creamery and Ironwood Farm.  Colin is vital to the operation with his milking, pasture management, and mechanical skills.  His wife, Jody, helps in the greenhouse and with the chicken harvest.   Chickens are processed two days a week.

The young children who constitute the members of the ninth generation of the Bell Family  (Hailey, Henry, Paige, Ruth, Finn, Inez, and Jonah) lend a hand with farm operations when they are able.  Aaron and Carly homeschool their children.  Their oldest child, Hailey, has opted to attend public school this fall.  During November and December all the generations come together to help with the balsam fir wreath production business where they create and sell traditional wreaths, seaside wreaths, natural wreaths, sprays, centerpieces, kissing balls, and tabletop trees.

The children may be seen helping with the decorations or the mailing boxes or other tasks.

Work never seems to cease at Tide Mill Organic

Farm.  Family members continuously communicate with each other about various developments and needs over their hand-held radios.  On the day the interview took place for this website, Aaron was scrambling to fix a trailer, contemplating a solution to the problems with the broken-down refrigerated truck, and preparing to take the five-hour ride to Scarborough to pick up quality milk containers. 

On the same day, Carly kept busy addressing the needs of her children, watering the chickens, weeding the garden, and responding to one concern after another while frequently nursing the baby.  Jane and Jesse spent time greeting visitors and helping with various aspects of the operation.  Rachel and Nate were monitoring the Farm Stand. Colin was seen milking the cows, fixing the equipment, and weeding the garden.  There are no idle hands at Tide Mill Organic Farm.

The Tide Mill Organic Farm encompasses a large area that hugs six miles of the coastline of Whiting Bay.  The farm is composed of 1600 acres of which 1450 acres are woodlands.  Stunning views abound in all directions.  The number of natural resources found throughout the property is highly prized.

The Bells are a prime example of how a farm has learned to diversify.  They currently market vegetables, chicken, beef, pork, milk, variety packs, wreaths, and pet treats.  For eleven years they have hosted an annual Memorial Day certified organic seedling sale. Additional income is derived from the farm tours that they lead on Saturday afternoons and the weekly vacation rental of their historic farmhouse.  They offer a CSA program where they sell shares of organic farm fresh produce, milk, and meat in both Washington and Hancock counties.  They also participate in the Senior Shares program.

The Bells produce Tide Mill Farm whole raw milk and also send milk and market it in the MOO Milk (Maine’s Own Organic Milk) dairy cooperative program.  Seventh-generation Bob and Terry Bell manage wood harvesting and blueberry operations.  There is a certifiable composting operation in place on the farm in a large building funded by the Natural Resources Council.

In addition to raising milk and beef animals,

Aaron and Carly count on raising 10,000-12,000 meat birds each year.  Fresh organic chicken is sold and frozen organic chicken is also available.  Tide Mill Organic Farm sells their products to several buying clubs located in Lubec, Calais, Machias, and Eastport.  This means that a great deal of time is spent on the road for deliveries.

Carly used to take care of the Tuesday deliveries which involved the drop-off of chicken, meat, and milk on an over 100 mile ride to Mt. Desert Island but Colin now handles that trip so her schedule is freed up a little to concentrate on other farm concerns.

A commitment to the environment is paramount

for the Bell family.  Their animals and fields and pastures are all MOFGA certified.  Their goals revolve around connecting people to healthy food and educating consumers and the community about the importance of locally-farmed organic food.  They aim to strengthen the local economy and to rejuvenate agriculture as an economically viable lifestyle in Washington County.

An emphasis on good, solid wholesome values

is intrinsic to the Bell family.  A sign greets visitors at the entrance to their dairy farm about

the use of appropriate child-friendly language.  In the milking area Aaron has posted his philosophy about the humane treatment of cows.  It is such a powerful philosophy that a photo of it appears on the Tide Mill Cows webpage on this website.

School children and families feel welcome on the farm since Carly and Jane frequently lead tours.  Aaron and Carly have made the special effort to homeschool their children.  They hope to instill a sense of responsibility in their children of the significance of caring for animals and the land.

They host and participate in special community

events.  Have you ever heard of another farm that organizes a Christmas Eve caroling to the cows in the barn?

Yes, it seems quite certain that if Robert Bell

once again today stepped out of a canoe 247 years after his arrival, he might be totally awed with all the happenings that have taken place on his Tide Mill Organic Farm.  There have been a lot of changes and many new descendants added to his family tree.  How proud he would be listening to Jane Bell describing the captivating Bell family history!  Can you picture him smiling broadly while observing little six-year-old Henry Bell showing a visitor the location of the old grist stone and explaining its use?  Through hard work, strong convictions, and perseverance, Robert Bell’s legacy continues to live on at the Tide Mill Organic Farm in all its splendor. 

Aaron Bell and Carly DelSignore

Back row from left: Aaron is shown holding Ruth, Carly, and Hailey.  Henry is standing in front of his father.  Missing from the family photo is Paige who is shown in the photo below.

Jesse and Jane

Six-year-old Henry explains the history of the grist mill stone.

Bell FamilyBell_Family.html
Tide Mill EnterprisesTide_Mill_Enterprises.html


Jane and Bob Bell - seventh generation

Terry and Cathy Bell - seventh generation

                      (photo coming)


Nate and Rachel