The farm has existed in various forms since the 1700’s. The property was part of a land grant from the King of England to Samuel Davis. The current barn and house were built by Samuel’s son, Jonathan Hayes and his wife Mary Ham, both of whom are buried on the property. Beginning in 1931, the property was operated as a dairy farm by John Fernald. After his death, his daughter, Debbie Tasker, working with LCHIP, placed much of the property in a conservation easement that bears his name. Gray and Kitty Cornwell purchased the property from Debbie in 1991 and founded Old Orchard Farm. We are just the eighth family to occupy the farm and look forward to continuing the tradition of working with the land to strengthen our community.
We believe that we are all stewards of the land rather than owners. As stewards we have a responsibility to:
These are not just lofty principles. We take our role as stewards to heart. Since the beginning, we have worked with what is now the Natural Resource Conservation Service and Strafford County Extension Service to be sure that we are following the best management practices for our farm. Together, we have established wildlife clearings, a pond, and are currently working on a project to restore habitat for the endangered New England Cottontail. The majority of the farm’s electricity and all of its hot water comes from solar energy. The heat is provided by a high efficiency, carbon neutral wood furnace. Wood ash produced by the furnace is used as a liming and fertilizing agent in our fields. We have a state of the art manure composting facility that provides another great nutrient resource for the farm. The farm operates under a Nutrient Management Plan and a Forest Management Plan designed to protect and enhance our natural resources. We have developed a Rotational Grazing Plan as well.
Old Orchard Farm, LLC