Winter Hill Farm is located about 5 miles northwest of Freeport Village. The farmstead is located on a picturesque hilltop, surrounded by 55 acres of gently rolling pasture and mixed forest. The farm is made up of about 25 acres of open pasture and 30 acres of mixed woodlot. The farmhouse sits on the highest point along with 2 barns, a milking parlor, a farmstead creamery and a small permanent chicken coop. We also have 2 big hoop houses, a greenhouse, mobile chicken coops and pig huts. Though the farm has a rural homestead feel, there is easy access to Portland, Freeport, and Brunswick, which keeps us from feeling too isolated out here on the farm.
Winter Hill Farm was started nearly a decade ago by Jim Stampone and his wife Kate LeRoyer. It was their dedication to the Randall Lineback breed which led them to build the small dairy and creamery that we have here at Winter Hill. Jim and Kate decided to retire from milking cows in 2011. Upon their retirement, Winter Hill was purchased by two families dedicated to the preservation of farmland in the midcoast area.
Today Winter Hill is managed by Steve Burger and Sarah Wiederkehr, who live in the farm homestead with their two children, Isaac and Calla, their dog Tucker and cat Oliver. There are also seaonal part time employees who help the farm run, and Winter Hill farm also hires apprentices who stay, work and learn on the farm for a year at a time.
MEET THE TEAM
Steve grew up in rural northeast Missouri, where his favorite childhood activity was to follow his grandfather and uncles through their workdays on a large hog, cattle and grain producing farm. From a young age he appreciated the hard work that farming requires, and valued the idea that such work produces the food that every person relies on. While studying English in college, Steve took a part-time job on a small farm that grew organic produce for local restaurants and farmer’s markets. This introduction to a different way of farming- a way of farming that embraced ecological sustainability and connected directly with consumers was a wake-up call. Since that first experience on a small organic farm in northern Illinois, Steve has grown produce in New Hampshire, fruit in Colorado, taught children about food and agriculture in California, and for six years prior to his arrival at Winter Hill Farm, managed livestock operations at Hidden Villa Ranch in Los Altos Hills, California. Few things excite Steve more than a springtime field with a beautiful stand of grass!
Sarah moved to Maine as a teenager, but left for college a few short years later. After receiving a BS in Horticulture and Agronomy from the University of New Hampshire, she took a bus to California. Having only experienced the farms of New England, Sarah wanted to see and learn about farming in the Central Valley- the vegetable, fruit and nut basket of the US. Sarah worked for the USDA as a researcher in walnut orchards as well as a technician in a soil biogeochemistry lab before deciding to pursue degrees from the University of California, Davis, in International Agricultural Development and Integrated Pest Management. In her 4th year of graduate studies, Sarah started a small diversified CSA and educational farm just outside of Davis. After three years of farming that land, Sarah purchased some goats from a guy named Steve Burger. Shortly thereafter, Sarah took a job managing the 11 acre urban education farm, Full Circle in Sunnyvale, CA, to be closer to Steve. After their marriage in 2008, Sarah accepted a job at Stanford University as the school's first ‘farm educator’, managing a small farm and teaching courses in sustainable food systems and organic farming. It was a tough job to leave, but Sarah is thrilled to be back in Maine and close to her family after 13 years away. Sarah’s first love has always been plants, but she also enjoys raising poultry, experimenting with cheese making, managing the farmers' markets, and helping out with all the administrative aspects of the farm.
The farm kids
Isaac is our resident chicken wrangler, and loves to ‘help’ his dad with chores in the barns. Calla is still too little to care much about daily farm operations, but she does seem to love the pigs and chickens best.
Stay tuned! We hope to have new apprentices hired to start in spring of 2013.