Winterberry Farm
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Name:          Winterberry Farm

Address:      Mary Perry

                     Winterberry Farm

                      Route 27

                      538 Augusta Road

                      Belgrade, Maine 04917

Phone:          207-495-2593



Products and Services:

-organic vegetables and fruits

-homemade pies and baked goods

-meat and dairy products


-cut flowers

-vegetable and herb seedlings

-wreaths and cut-your-own Christmas trees


-sleigh rides and farm tours



-wedding and floral design

-farmer markets

What Makes Winterberry Farm Unique?

Threads of goodness, community, love, perseverance, and triumph seem to weave together and underly so much of what has taken place at Winterberry Farm in Belgrade, where Mary Perry and her three children live and work.  The farm has proven to be a safe refuge, a place of healing, and the home of many remarkable accomplishments for this single-parent family. 

Any parents reading this farm profile can understand the myriad of responsibilities that are involved in raising children. Single parents often have the added challenge of facing the decisions; providing the financial support; nurturing; and maintaining the home on their own.  Can you imagine the additional energy, skills, and determination that would be needed to care for three children single-handedly, provide their education at home; and also run a successful highly-diversified sustainable organic farm? 

Many people have stepped forward to support Mary Perry and her children - Kenya, Gill, and Sage in their quest to obtain all their income from the farm. Mary and her children believed in the importance of protecting their farm from development.  They worked closely with Maine Farmland Trust to make sure that the farm would be a “forever farm.”  This was able to materialize in December of 2012, when an agricultural easement was placed on the property by Maine Farmland Trust and the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance. So many individuals from the community were committed to see this farmland preservation come to fruition.

The sense of community at Winterberry Farm is huge. The tradition of community events at the forty-acre farm that borders Great Pond has been greatly appreciated.  These events have provided important educational, cultural, and social experiences. A sheep shearing day takes place in April. In June there is a summer solstice picnic. Open Farm Day occurs in July, along with a Harvest Potluck Dinner in September. 

During the winter, sleigh rides are provided and ice skating takes place on the pond, while sledding is offered on the hill.  Three hour tours of the farm are offered to groups.  Marshmallows are toasted on an open fire while hot cocoa and homemade cookies are served.  A visit to the farm in the winter is like stepping back into some old-fashioned fun.

Visits to the farm in the summer and fall are also enjoyable. Over seventy-five CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members appreciate stopping by for their weekly shares from Winterberry Farm during the harvest season.  Fresh, seasonal organic vegetables and cut-your-own herbs and flowers are part of the shares.  CSA members are always welcome to help out at the farm.  A group of individuals formed a Farm Aid Friends of Winterberry Farm and several fundraising events for the farm have taken place due to their efforts.

Last April 2012,  a public supper was held at the Union Church in Belgrade Lakes to benefit Winterberry Farm.  There were homemade soups, bread, and desserts.  Dave Peloquin provided the entertainment and there were door prizes and a raffle.

In June 2012, a Wine and Cheese Reception was held at the new Belgrades Lakes Resource Center to benefit Winterberry Farm.  Guests learned about the Belgrade Regional Conservation Alliance and their role in local land easements.  There were representatives from Maine Farmland Trust who discussed the importance of farmland protection on a state and national level.  The work of three local artists was shared. In July 2012, a Dinner on the Farm fundraising event for Winterberry Farm sold out.  There was a pig roast, organic side dishes, live music, and activities for the children.

If you are getting the feeling that there is a lot of support for Mary and her children in their farm efforts, you are certainly correct. On May 27,  2013, the Fiddlin’ & Food Potluck Supper and Silent Auction took place at the Rome Grange.  Music was provided by the Gawlers and the Pineland Fiddlers.  Donations were accepted at the door to benefit Winterberry Farm.

The concept of “community support” is beautifully illustrated with the annual plowing event at Winterberry Farm when members of The Farmers Steer & Oxen Club of Maine gather at the farm and prepare the soil for the spring planting.  Watching all the handlers with their steers and oxen is quite a sight to behold.

Also incredible to behold are all the animals

which Mary and her children raise, their farmstand, their fiber products, their greenhouses, and their organic gardens.  The

farm is a real testament of a successful sustainable enterprise.

Winterberry Farm is grateful for the support and guidance that has been provided by MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association).  Apprentices from MOFGA help out and learn from Mary and

her children.  There is a strong commitment

to organic practices and farming at Winterberry Farm and all the farm operations takes place by hand or animal power.

The farmstand at Winterberry Farm was built in 2005, with assistance from the Farms for the Future program and a loan from the Coastal Enterprises Inc. It is an attractive building with a rustic decor that is filled with homemade preserves and honey, condiments, cut flowers, herbs, vegetables and produce, dairy products, and maple syrup. It houses a bakery and a licensed kitchen that produces homemade breads, pies, soups, and cookies.

Just as the community has stepped forward to help Mary and her family, Winterberry Farm has reciprocated by offering support to local women artisans to sell their products.  Their farmstand carries such items as Maple Lane pottery, maple syrup, herbs, beeswax candles, Avena botanicals, felted dragon fly mobiles, fiddlers green, Trillium soaps, Rayes mustards, and vintage aprons from Maine artisans.

Winterberry Farm raises a large assortment of

over forty varieties of 100% MOFGA and USDA organic certified vegetables and herbs.   Their new 30x80 high tunnel provides the farm with an opportunity to grow fresh salad greens such as kale and spinach through the winter.  Vegetable and herb seedlings are also sold at Winterberry Farm.

Many of the products which Winteberry Farm produces including flower bouquets, baked goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, and pie by the slice can be found at the Waterville Farmers’ Market on Thursday afternoons from 2-6 p.m. from April 9 through November 15, or at the Union Farmers’ Market on Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. from May 25 through October 12.

Mary and her children raise registered Romney sheep at their farm.  They sell natural and organic wool in shades of black, grey, and off white.  By utilizing flowers for the natural dyeing of the wool, an assortment of colors is offered.  Custom-made socks are available.  Other animals raised on the farm include rabbits, turkeys, ducks, pigs, a goose, ponies, steers, laying hens, bees, and a Jersey cow.  The two Haflinger draft ponies are used for the sleigh rides.  Skip and Rosemary are their two beloved Australian shepherds.

Mary’s children take an active role in caring for the animals and working around the farm.

They have enjoyed experiences that have been unique and they have learned firsthand about the satisfaction that can be acquired from hard work.  Gill has trained the steers to help out with various tasks.  Sage helps to feed and water the animals and enjoys riding the pony. 

Kenya grew and dried vegetables and fruits this past summer and sold them to raise money towards her 600-mile cross country skiing and canoeing trip through the length of Vermont to Canada with Kroka Expeditions in January 2013.  She created a display in the farmstand that described the trip and how she would be learning about skills such as harvesting plants and finding dry firewood in the snow.  The trip involves skiing the entire Catamount Trail and spending a month at base camp building a canoe and paddles and then paddling down the Connecticut River to the home of Kroka Expeditions in New Hampshire.

It is quite interesting that the farm where Mary and her children live is called “Winterberry Farm.”   The bark of the winterberry plant was used by the Native Americans in healing.  When Mary and the children moved from Connecticut and headed out on their own in 2001, there was some healing that needed to take place.

For many, winterberry (Ilex verticillata) is one of highlights of the natural surroundings in winter.  The berries provide a burst of vivid red coloring when most vegetation has disappeared  in the cold and snow. The berries have a history of attracting songbirds and providing food for many types of birds and mammals when the temperatures dip below freezing.  They are prized by crafters for their decorative uses in wreaths and flower arrangements. 

Like the winterberries, Winterberry Farm attracts many visitors to their farm in the winter.  Some come for the horse-drawn sleigh rides; others visit for the sledding or skating, or the farm tours; or they drop by for the cut-your-own Christmas trees, or the beautifully decorated and fragrant balsam wreaths.

There is no question that there is something

very special taking place at Winterberry Farm.  So many people have come to think of the farm as a vital part of the community.  There was a time long ago when the farm flourished after it was established in 1870.  It was known for its cream, lamb, and corn production.  Farming then stopped and there was a period of dormancy.  How fortuitous for Mary and her children that they have been able to successfully live off the land.  Healing has taken place and Mary has provided inspiration for many people on how a single parent with the support of their children and an entire community can truly triumph.

The FarmWinterberry_Farm_Animals.html



Photo courtesy of Winterberry Farm’s Facebook page.