Wild Meadow Farm
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Name:             Wild Meadow Farm

Address:          Jim Rough

                         Anne Hallward

                         80 Simpson Road

                         Saco, Maine  04072

Phone:             207-632-6350

Products and Services:

-all natural, pasture-raised lamb

-all natural, pasture-raised turkey

-free range, all natural chicken

-farm fresh eggs

What Makes Wild Meadow Farm Unique?

When you travel through the state of Maine, certain locations sometimes stand out as

exceptionally beautiful.  Wild Meadow Farm is one of those places.  At the end of a long dirt road, visitors to Wild Meadow Farm are treated to a view of wide open fields, beautiful gardens, and various animals grazing in the pasture.  There is a scenic farm pond, woodlands, and frontage on the Saco River.  A picture of the farmhouse that was built in 1804, and a large barn are postcard worthy.  What is especially exciting about this “hidden treasure” is that Jim Rough, Anne Hallward, and their ten-year-old son, Noah, are working hard to turn the land back into a productive family farm.

While just about every farm profile in this Unique Maine Farms’ project concentrates on individuals who are devoting their entire efforts to farming, Jim and Anne also have full-time occupations as a psychologist and psychiatrist respectively.  Jim’s grandparents ran a fruit farm in Michigan and he always had a dream to establish a farm.  Garnering the support of Anne and Noah, he introduced animals to the property in 2006, and began seriously working on a sustainable farm vision at the end of last year.

Jim participated in workshops led by Dr. Richard Brzozowski of Maine Cooperative Extension that were geared towards helping individuals who wished to learn about raising sheep.  He visited the Websters’ North Star Sheep Farm in Windham and the Webb Family Farm in Pittston and increased his knowledge of such topics as pasture management and parasite issues. 

Tom Settlemyer, a retired biology professor from Bowdoin College, proved to be a wonderful resource in Jim’s exploration of possible farm animals.  Tom is very involved in the development of the Katahdin sheep line.  He works closely with Seth Kroeck from Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick. This particular breed of sheep is known for its exceptional maternal instincts, multiple births, and strong resistance to parasites.

After much research, Jim felt drawn to raising sheep because of their manageable size and their beneficial effects on pasture land.  Wild Meadow Farm consists of twenty acres, of which ten acres are pasture.  Wild Meadow Farm purchased six Kathadin sheep and five Friesian sheep.  They presently have eight breeding ewes with five lambs for meat.  The meat will become available for sale in December.

Jim and Anne and Noah raised fifty-two chickens on pasture this year.  They were a Cornish cross and they are presently selling the meat.  They will begin selling their pasture raised turkeys on a limited basis this Thanksgiving.  There is a variety of laying hens on the farm including Gold Comets, Bard Rock, Brohmans, and Ameraucanas.

The farmland surrounding the house is teeming with wildlife.  On the walk through the woods to the Saco River, the turkey vultures, which were raised in the craggy rock ledges, were visible high in the trees, along with a porcupine.  Hawks, coyotes, fisher cats, and fox are abundant.  Jim and Anne purchased two Great Pyrenees dogs from Jackie Wood in Missouri to help guard their animals from the coyotes and other predators.  Fourteen-month old Pyrenees dog, Bear,  and seven-month Kaiya, have been on diligent duty since this past spring!  Jim is considering the possibility of breeding the dogs in the future.  Plans are also being made for the raising of pheasants and rabbits on pasture.

The philosophy of Jim and Anne is to raise free-range, all-natural animals in a relaxed and safe environment.  Jim explained that free range chicken eggs have less cholesterol than commercially-produced eggs.  When Unique Maine Farms’ visited there was a clear sense of tranquility and kindness at the farm.  The sheep came right up to the family and the dogs were fulfilling their role as loving protectors.  Jim wrote his doctoral thesis on the healing experience of being out in nature.  His training as a psychologist plays a role in how he approaches the treatment of animals.  Kindness to animals and all forms of nature is a key in the operation at Wild Meadow Farm.

Anne’s flowers and vegetable gardens are also reflective of the keen appreciation for nature that is an inherent part of the farm.  Anne grew a diversity of vegetables that the family consumed this year.  At the time of the visit from Unique Maine Farms, she was harvesting pumpkins, squash, and kale.  There was an abundance of tomatoes that were ripening and the herbs were flourishing.  Vibrant flowers were situated in various spots on the property.

A distinct sense of peacefulness permeates the property.  A well-maintained historic cemetery is located on top of a ridge overlooking the river. After traversing a steep decline, visitors to the farm end up on a very private and picturesque section of the Saco River.  Jim is contemplating constructing a yurt in the area sometime in the future that might accommodate woofers.

Jim and Anne continue to focus on their psychology and psychiatry professions.  You can check out Dr. Anne Hallward’s “Safe Space Radio” show on WMPG (90.9 &104.1FM) every Monday at 1 p.m.  It is a show about subjects that are often difficult to discuss.  Noah attends school and life is busy.  Yet, the family is excited about expanding their farm operation and becoming more sustainable. 

Jim explained that raising animals is like “bringing the land back to life.”  It will be interesting to follow Jim, Anne, and Noah, as they pool their efforts in adding more animals and products to their farm operation.  There seems to be quite a renewed interest in Maine among families wishing to incorporate farming into their lives. Jim, Anne, and Noah are proof that this can successfully happen when there is a strong commitment and a willingness to learn from others.