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Damariscotta River Association (DRA), Maine Farmland Trust (MFT), and the United States Department of Agriculture collaborated with Brady Hatch and Brendan McQuillen of Morning Dew Farm to finalize the permanent protection of 60 acres of farm fields and woods on Route One just east of downtown Damariscotta.
“This complicated project has been almost seven years in the making, and it is hard to imagine a better outcome,” said Adam Bishop, Farmland Protection Program Director at Maine Farmland Trust.
Maine Farmland Trust, in partnership with Damariscotta River Association, and with generous financial support from many in the local community, purchased this property in 2011 to ensure that the property would remain in agriculture, and remain an important scenic site for the local community. Area residents will remember that prior to the Trust’s purchase these roadside fields were under consideration as a development site for a Super Walmart.
”I can’t think of a better welcome to Damariscotta than the fields of Morning Dew Farm,” expressed Damariscotta River Association Executive Director Steven Hufnagel. “It speaks of a place that values sustainable economic development, natural resources and the skills and well-being of its people. We at DRA feel grateful to have worked in close partnership with Maine Farmland Trust and the many supporters of this project, including more than 100 DRA members, who in turn learned about the important work of MFT and together made something wonderful happen.”
Hatch and McQuillen, of Newcastle had been leasing the property from Maine Farmland Trust for several years, cultivating a wide variety of vegetables and herbs to supply their customers at the local farmer’s market, farm shares, and at their Midcoast wholesale accounts. The farmers now own the property, which is protected with a conservation easement that will ensure the land always remains available as farmland.