Mackie Family Farm
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Name:            Mackie Family Farm

                       Ben and Angela Mackie



                       P.O. Box 170

                       Unity, Maine  04988


Phone:            207-245-9424


Products and Services:


-Muscovy ducks



-medicinal and culinary herbs



What Makes Mackie Family Farm Unique?

If you attended the 2012 Common Ground Fair in Unity you most probably passed the

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s farmhouse in the area near the South Orchards.   This farm is home to Ben and Angela Mackie, the Farmers-in-Residence on the grounds of the MOFGA Education Center.

If you didn’t have the opportunity to participate in one of the farm tours led by Ben and Angela Mackie during the Common Ground Fair, you missed out on learning how MOFGA’s Journeyperson program is proving to be instrumental to Ben and Angela’s plan of soon independently owning their own farm.

In the MOFGA’s Journeyperson program the farmers sign up for a two-year commitment.

They receive instruction in business-planning and have access to many resources from MOFGA such as technical assistance and hands-on support.  The Journeypersons are able to participate in workshops that offer networking and education in topics such as permaculture and biodynamics.

The Journeypersons who remain focused on their farm plans can even be eligible for loans from MOFGA’s Organic Farmers’ Loan Fund.  Journeypersons also receive an educational stipend of $500 per year which can be spent on workshops, classes, conferences, or farm-related educational supplies.  They also are eligible for group discounts with FEDCO and Organic Growers Supply.

MOFGA compensates the Journeyperson for

their time.  They assist with certain repairs and long-term field issues.  The Journeypersons are responsible for buying their own livestock. At the incubator farm in Unity the Mackies have access to five acres of tillable land and about fifty acres of pasture and hayfield.

Ben Mackie grew up in New Hampshire and Angela Revallo hailed from Michigan.  They met when they both were enrolled in the Sustainable Agriculture program at Sterling College, a small liberal arts college in northern Vermont.  They graduated from Sterling College in 2009, and they have been farming together ever since.

When they applied to MOFGA to become the Farmers-In-Residence in Unity, they had many years of farming experience behind them including time on farms in New Jersey,  North Carolina, Michigan, Colorado, California and Vermont.  Angela had worked at Blackbird Gardens in Petoskey, Michigan, in high school and also spent spent a year in Brazil, including several months at Iracambi, a farm and reforestation center in the Atlantic Rainforest.   The Mackies were Garden Managers at The Farm at Natirar in Peapack-Gladstone, New Jersey.

Immediately before moving into the MOFGA farmhouse in February 2012, Ben had been busy with vineyard and farm work in Napa, California, while Angela had spent a year

studying butchery and charcuterie at The Fatted Calf Charcuterie in San Francisco.

Upon arriving in Maine, the Mackies wasted no time in getting their farm plans in order.  Their goals include producing certified organic pastured livestock and poultry.  They explained that they are committed to raising animals with a tremendous respect for the welfare of the animals and the land.  They purposely raise their animals in a low-stress, grass-based system which they feel results in healthier animals and a superior product.

Because of the  large number of visitors to the Common Ground Fair, the free-range certified organic Cornish cross boiler chickens that the Mackies raised were rounded up and placed in the large greenhouse to keep them safe and also to guarantee that they would be situated on organic land.  Normally they would be

in  pasture foraging for bugs and grass and eating left-over tomatoes and weeds and organic compost.  Their manure is highly prized for fertilizing the fields. The Mackies’ pigs and sheep were also moved to other locations when the fair took place since surrounding them with 59,000 Common Ground Fair visitors that weekend just didn’t seem like a wise option!

The Mackies are producing pasture-raised lamb. They plan on offering wool and pelts this winter. Lilac, Amelia, and Butter are the pigs which are being raised on the Mackie Family Farm. They keep busy grazing, foraging, and rooting around their pasture. Lilac and Amelia are purebred Large Blacks and Butter is a Large Black/Berkshire cross. The Mackies have plans to breed all three pigs and will be offering certified organic heritage-breed piglets in the future.  They will also be producing certified organic pasture-raised pork.

The pasture-raised chickens that the Mackies have been raising have had  free access to adiverse grasses, legumes, and bugs. They have been moved daily to ensure a fresh supply of greens and an even distribution of their manure. Their foraging has been supplemented with a locally-milled, certified-organic, GMO-free grain mix. The Mackies explained “Our priority when raising chickens is to keep them healthy, happy, and allow them to act like birds – soaking up the sunshine, eating bugs and grass and dirt, flying, and making dust baths. The combination of their diverse diet and low-stress lives ensures that these chickens will be juicy, tender, and more flavorful than you can imagine! Chickens are available now! Fresh or frozen, whole or in pieces. We offer discounts on 5+ birds.”

The Mackies also have a small breeding flock of Muscovys, which are a breed of duck from South America. According to Angela, they are extremely self-sufficient, active foragers, and excellent parents.  The Mackies presently have thirty naturally-brooded ducklings.  They plan on keeping some as breeders and the rest will be processed for meat.

In addition to building up their livestock acquisitions, the Mackies are also seriously interested in raising culinary and medicinal herbs and heirloom vegetables year-round.

They moved in right before it was time to

get their spring seedlings started.  Because heating the greenhouse with propane proved expensive Ben set the alarm to go out and feed the woodstove in the greenhouse two times each night during the colder weather.

Year-round leafy vegetables are the Mackies’ specialty such as amaranth, spinach, radicchio, mustards, kales, chard, and dozens of lettuces. They also grow unique varieties of heirloom tomatoes in their greenhouses and fields and

melons suited for northern climates. A variety of peppers, dry beans, and popping corn has also been produced.

The Mackies are grateful for many of the perks that come with their farm.  They heat their two-bedroom farmhouse with wood in their small but highly-efficient Stanley woodstove.  Their large greenhouse can be towed and moved to different locations . They have access to the walk-in cooler, two root cellars, and earthen oven that are located on the property.

Ben and Angela explained that Journeypersons in the MOFGA program are given a great deal of flexibility to choose a mentor farm with which to work.  Ben and Angie are presently working with Zack Wood Herb Farm, a thirty-acre certified medicinal herb farm in Hyde Park, Vermont.  The Mackies have been growing basils, cilantro, dill, marjoram, parsley, calendula, comfrey, mullein, yarrow and even experimenting with growing burdock root and dandelions.  They intend to offer a large variety of herbs in fresh, dried, and processed forms such as salves, teas, tinctures, and oils, etc.

The Mackies grow heirloom vegetables with a focus on greens, tomatoes, melons, peppers, and storage crops.  While leading the farm tour, Ben opened the cool box and generously passed around a bag of delicious sweet carrots that they had harvested from their garden for everyone to enjoy. 

Ben and Angela have participated in the Bangor Farmers’ Market on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. and at the Ellsworth Farmers’ Market on Monday and Thursdays from 2:00 to 5:30 p.m.

The Mackies summed up their views on farming when they said, “Farming is not just a job, its a lifestyle to which we are fully committed and can’t imagine changing. Our passion for creating healthy, productive, and permanent food ecosystems to provide nourishment for our family and community is what drives us. The pleasure we get by providing our loved ones and customers with amazing food is what brings us joy.”


Photo courtesy of Common Voice -

Sterling College Community Blog

the earthen oven

Ellie enjoys carrots, long walks, standing guard over the poultry, and chasing rodents and digging up their nests!

Ben explained the benefits of the walk-in cooler.

Ben made the beautiful farm sign.

Angela gathers some water for the ducks.