Situated on four miles of coastline just minutes from Freeport’s downtown district, Wolfe’s Neck Farm bustles with visitors, summer campers and young people learning to farm. Its 626 acres of preserved scenic landscape hosts thousands of visitors each year, but is rooted in the Smith family legacy and their early vision for its use.
Wolfe’s Neck Farm is the creation of LMC and Eleanor Houston Smith, summer residents from Philadelphia, who came to the area just after World War II when the economy was failing and farms were going back to forest. Together they were committed to the future of Maine farming, to the new idea of organic agriculture, to conservation and the preservation of open space, to public access to the sea, and to the preservation of historic buildings and sites.
In the late 1950s the Smiths started an organic beef farm, putting together a series of 19th century farmsteads, which has since become the collection of historic structures that Wolfe’s Neck Farm continues to operate out of today. One such historic building is the Mallet Barn, located at the end of Wolfe’s Neck: E.B. Mallet built this soaring post-and-beam barn in 1890 to the store the hay before he sent to Boston, Philadelphia, and New York by sailing ship from the end of the neck. Experts believe the barn may be the largest of its kind in the state. The Banter House, at the corner of Burnett and Wolfe’s Neck Road, now serves as the residence for Organic Dairy Program apprentices, and the nearby Pote House is another preserved building with an interesting history.
The farm progressed into a public nonprofit in 1997. The current leadership embraces all aspects of the Smiths’ vision, having added and grown the dynamic education program that builds on their prescient gift. Today, Wolfe’s Neck Farm is shaping the future of sustainable agriculture by training new farmers, inspiring people to make informed food choices, and facilitating farm-based education and research. In addition to being a certified Organic Dairy, it hosts annual barn dances, farm dinners and festivals as well as growing vegetables and pasture-raising poultry and lamb for the local community. Open free to the public year-round, the farm encourages visitors to explore its miles of hiking trails, meet the livestock, explore the gardens and enjoy the open space.