Aldermere Farm
A Property of Maine Coast Heritage Trust
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Name:             Aldermere Farm


Address:         Aldermere Farm

                         70 Russell Avenue

                         Rockport, Maine  04856

Phone:            207-236-2739

Aldermere Farm Website:

Maine Coast Heritage Trust Website:



Farm Access:

-special events and programs

-Farm Tour:   10 a.m. on Fridays

                       late June through August

Products and Services:

-Belted Galloway beef

-Belted Galloway champion cattle

-Breedings and Semen

-Educational Outreach

-Hay for Sale

-Visitor’s Center

-Farm Tours - Friday 10 a.m. late June-Aug.

-Farm Hands program

-Aldermere Achievers 4-H

-Special Events

-Teen Ag Crew

-Erickson Fields Preserve

What Makes Aldermere Farm Unique?

When the name of Aldermere Farm is brought up

in any discussion, the image of their award-winning herd of Belted Galloway cattle often comes to mind.  As the home of the oldest continuously-operated herd of Belties in the United States, the farm has earned quite a reputation for excellence. Belted Galloway are distinctive bovines with their black, dun, or red-colored coats with the striking white band around their middle.  But, it is not only the Belties that have set the farm apart, it is the emphasis that has been placed in the operation of Aldermere Farm to connect people to the farmland.

Intrinsic to the establishment and success of Aldermere Farm has been the story of a group of people with a keen sense of the value of preserving farmland. If it were not for the amazing generosity and forward thinking of Albert Chatfield, Jr. and his wife, Marion, and the environmentally-conscious individuals associated with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust, there is a good chance that the beautiful 136-acre saltwater farm would no longer exist in its pristine state.

When one becomes aware of how the Chatfields

researched organic practices and implemented improvements to their farmland in the 1950‘s, long before it was in vogue,  there is a realization that many people who now enjoy the property should be very grateful. There is a sense of wonder about how two landowners and a group of people associated with a land trust could have worked together in such a progressive way and developed such a cutting-edge vision when the concept of conservation easements and land trusts had just come on the horizon. The collaboration that resulted from the Chatfields and Maine Coast Heritage Trust has had such a lasting impact for so many people in the state of Maine.

Obviously the Chatfields and Maine Coast Heritage Trust shared similar goals.  The words that characterize the Trust’s mission of “Preserving Maine Character for Future Generations” are often seen in the newsletters and literature associated with the Maine Coast Heritage Trust.  It is a concept that certainly must have rung true with the Chatfields as they placed three conservation easements on their farm and deeded it to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust so that it would permanently remain a working farm.

Albert Chatfield Jr. inherited Aldermere Farm in 1950 from his mother, Helen Chatfield.  Within a year he was focusing on restoring the fields.  He modeled soil improvement practices after those which had been successfully introduced by Louis Bromfield’s Malabar Farm in Ohio.  He used various animal manures, phosphate rock, and ground limestone to replenish the soil. 

Chatfield incorporated the practice of planting cover crops such as soy beans, clover, and winter rye at Aldermere Farm.  When these crops were plowed under some of the benefits that resulted included improving the quality and fertility of the soil; helping with the control of erosion; and assisting with the suppression of insects and weeds.  The chicken manure that he purchased from area farms added nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to the soil.

In keeping with his forward way of thinking, Albert researched cattle breeds and determined that the Belted Galloway breed would be a great addition to his farm plan. Belted Galloways hail from the Galloway district of southern Scotland and they are known for their hardiness and their ability to thrive in cold and harsh environments.  The likelihood of Belties being affected by disease or genetic complications is low. Their coarse outer coat allows them to shed rain and their soft undercoat provides waterproofing and insulation,  This double coat enables them to be comfortable outside in the cold Maine winter. Unlike some breeds that destroy fields by trampling or over-grazing, Belties are prized for their foraging which is environmentally-friendly.  They are satisfied with rough pasture and they will graze on grasses that other breeds will shun.  The  beef of grass-fed Belties is often considered to be of higher quality than other breeds.

In the 1950’s, Belted Galloways were not common in America.   Harry Prock of Whitemarsh, Pennsylvania, was the first person to introduce Belted Galloways in the United States in the 1940’s. Mr. Chatfield was able to purchase a bull and six cows from Harry Prock’s farm in 1953. In the following years he purchased additional stock from various farms throughout Scotland.  Aldermere Farm is now recognized as one of the premiere breeders of Belties in the world.

Anyone familiar with Aldermere Farm in its early days when the Chatfields owned the farm, and who may have stopped by the farm in recent times, might not have observed any distinct outward changes.  The Farm still offers beautiful views of a strikingly peaceful and verdant landscape.  The farm management position is still in the hands of the same Howard family.  The responsibilities have transferred from Dwight Howard to his son, Ron Howard, and the land is still lovingly maintained through thoughtful environmental practices.

The major change at Aldermere Farm has been the development of a broad-based educational outreach program at the Farm which was not in place when Albert and Marion Chatfield resided there.  How pleased they most probably would be, if they were still alive, to learn about all the programs that connect people to the land such as the Farm Hands after-school program, the Teen Ag Crew, and the Aldermere Achievers 4-H group.  All these undertakings are based on participants experiencing the operation of a farm firsthand.  The work taking place at Aldermere Farm is closely aligned with Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s mission of preserving Maine’s character. Maine is a state that once was home to many farms, but sadly a large number have been lost to development.

The Farm Hands program has been in existence at Aldermere Farm for over eight years.  In the summer and fall, the Farm Hands programs that are offered are six weeks in duration and they are held after school for an hour to an hour-and-a-half.  The summer programs are held for eight weeks for three hours in the mid-morning.

The participants in the Farm Hands program range from twelve to eighteen years of age.  They learn to halter, train, and groom the young Belted Galloway calves.  The program not only benefits Aldermere Farm by providing volunteers to work with the calves and to introduce the calves to becoming accustomed to people, it teaches a sense of responsibility and provides an idea about the commitment that goes hand-in-hand with farming.

The Farm Hands have the opportunity to attend the Union Fair in August to watch the Aldermere Achievers 4-H participants show their Belted Galloway cattle.  The Aldermere Achievers 4-H was established ten years ago. It is primarily a beef 4-H club and members lease a calf, halter train it, and show it at various fairs including The National Belted Galloway Sale and Youth Show in Fryeburg in April; the Skowhegan Fair, the Windsor Fair and the Union Fair in August; and the Fryeburg Fair in October.

Participants in the Aldermere Achievers 4-H club meet throughout the year and perform chores, fundraise, and become involved in community service projects.  In 2011, the Aldermere Achievers raised money for a trip to the North American International Livestock Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky.  In 2013, they are fundraising to attend a clipping camp.

The Teen Ag Crew program is also run by Aldermere Farm and it is in its fourth year of operation.  Young adults from fourteen through eighteen years of age grow a wide variety of vegetables and herbs for food pantries, the Good Shepherd Food Bank, and several area schools. 

The Teen Ag gardening takes place at Erickson Fields Preserve.  The Preserve is located a mile away from Aldermere Farm in the town of Rockport and it is owned and managed by the Aldermere Farm Staff of the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. 

The Erickson Farm was previously a working dairy farm.  When Erickson Farm was operating, Aldermere Farm had been welcome to graze their Belted Galloway cattle and also hay the fields. When the Erickson family decided to sell the land, they worked with Maine Coast Heritage Trust and Maine Farmland Trust to save the land from


Several other farm-related programs have been established at Erickson Fields Preserve including the Kids Can Grow program, which is a five-session course once a month from May through September, where families can learn about growing food using the square foot gardening method.

Community garden plots are available at the Erickson Fields Preserve where gardeners can grow for themselves or for Maine Harvest for Hunger.  A Youthlinks Summer Program in the Garden enables summer camp students to provide a community service by working in the garden one day a week.

The Master Gardeners of the Knox-Lincoln

Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program maintain the gardens at Aldermere Farm.  Many special events are planned at the Farm throughout the year including the New Calf Unveiling Day in May, the Annual Art Show and Sale in August,

and the Beltie Holiday in December.  Moonlight Ski Tours are offered in the winter and maple sugar events are available to attend in the spring.

Each Friday morning at 10 a.m. from late June through August, Farm Tours of Aldermere Farm are offered.  Special workshops are held throughout the year.  The Beef Basics Workshop is a two-day course for people interested in raising beef cattle.  Topics such as breeding, pasture management, and feeding are covered.

Various nature walks are scheduled during the spring, summer, and fall.  Naturalists skilled in birding, wildflowers, photography, and art conduct the walks and special programs.

It appears that Albert and Marion Chatfield would certainly be most pleased if they were still alive to see how their beloved Aldemere Farm has fared.  It is obvious that their dream for the sustainability of Aldermere Farm as a working farm has been fulfilled.  The fields still remain open with a healthy herd of cattle. The trees still stand and they are harvested with sustainable forest practices. The shore and marsh are still home to diversified aquatic populations. Lilly Pond continues to attract visitors. The Belted Galloway herd is flourishing and its champions and breeding stock are recognized throughout the world. A large assortment of grass-fed and grain-fed Beltie beef is available for sale. No development on the land in the form of subdivisions or sprawl has occurred.  In

summary, Aldermere Farm is doing very well.

Individuals interested in getting involved in the

farming activities that take place at Aldermere Farm are encouraged to do so.  There are volunteer opportunities and individuals can participate in one of the youth-oriented programs or they can garden in one of the community garden plots.  There are many special events which can be checked out on the Aldermere Farm’s Facebook page or on their website:

Aldermere Farm is most definitely carrying out

Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s mission of “Preserving Maine Character for Future Generations.”  Unique Maine Farms strongly

recommends that readers take a few minutes to check out some of the other properties of the more than 136,000 acres that have been preserved through the efforts of Maine Coast Heritage Trust. 

Maine Coast Heritage Trust has conserved and monitored many stunning coastal lands and islands in Maine.  They have demonstrated a keen awareness of how certain properties are particularly valuable because of their natural beauty, their potential for recreation, their valuable diversity, or their contribution as productive working land.  They understand how conservation easements can prove critical to Maine’s future and how people can work in a collaborative fashion to prevent the loss of valuable land and habitats.  Amazingly they have worked to protect over 275 entire islands in Maine. Like Aldermere Farm, these islands and coastal properties are true treasures.  To access information about the other properties that Maine Coast Heritage Trust has had the foresight to preserve, go to:

Visitor’s CenterAldermere_Farm_Visitors_Center.html
At Wolfe’s Neck on Sunny DayAldermere_Farm_at_Wolfes_Neck.html
At Wolfe’s Neck in the MistAldmere_-_Wolfe-Mist.html
4-H at Youth ShowAldermere_Farm_4-H.html
Teen Ag ProgramAldermere_Teen_Ag.html
At Fryeburg FairAldermere_Farm_at_Fryeburg_Farm.html
Farm Hands ProgramAldermere_Farm_Farm_Hand.html
Beef for SaleAldermere_Farm_Beef.html

                  Sarah Post

Program Manager at Aldermere Farm

4-H Photos from EllieAldermere_Ellie_Pendleton.html
A Little HistoryAldermere_History.html
Erickson Fields PreserveAldermere_Erickson_Field.html

Dwight Howard was Manager of Aldermere Farm

when Albert Chatfield Jr. owned the Farm.

Four generations of the Howard family pose for a photo.  From left:  Aldermere Farm General Manager Ron Howard holding his granddaughter Izzy;  4-H leader Heidi Howard Baker  holding daughter Zoe; and Dwight Howard, the former Manager and present volunteer.

Ellie Pendleton with the Reserve Champion at the 2013 Fryeburg Youth Show.