Just off busy Route 9 in Wells sits an immaculately kept country store boasting a bevy of seasonal produce, farm-raised meats, dairy and baked goods.

Jars of newly canned pickles, preserves and condiments line the store’s outer walls. Dill pickles age in a large glass jar on the counter opposite a display of fresh flower bouquets and handmade artisan chocolates. Nearby, an employee adds fresh-picked corn to a colorful aisle display of fruits and vegetables. And, at the rear of the store, Anadama bread rises in a large bowl while baker Carol Campbell packages a mouth-watering array of homemade pastries in trendy hot-pink boxes.

This is the Chase Farm country store where the atmosphere is a melange of country chic. 

Q: You have quite an operation here. Are you a farm stand or a convenience store?

A: It started out as a small stand that has evolved over the years to include a greenhouse, bakery and specialty items. The Chase family, who also owns another farm stand on Route 1 south at Buffum Hill, also in Wells, said the intent is to be an “indoor farmer’s market” where the products are high quality and as fresh as can be. 

Q: A bit of family history please.

A: The Chase family is direct descendants of Wells’ first settler Edmund Littlefield. They have farmed this land for 12 generations, beginning in 1745, and have multiple connected properties. Owner Rick Chase’s parents, Richard and Elizabeth Chase Sr., live across the street in an original homestead from the 1600s. Rick and wife, Belinda Chase, live on this side of the road and there are brothers and sisters who also live in the area. But the two Richards run the farm. 

Q: How big is the farming operation? 

A: There are 60 acres of vegetable gardens, 75 acres of haying fields and we raise our own pork and beef — which is antibiotic- and hormone-free. We supply the majority of the produce that is sold here, including our own cantaloupe, which is just glorious right now. We sell 17 different varieties of corn throughout the summer. I can some of the produce to make pickles, dilly beans and peach preserves to sell. Right now, I’m eyeing the peppers for some sweet pepper relish I will make. We also sell a limited line of other locally made products, like Stonewall Kitchen sauces and preserves as well as honey, maple syrup and a full line of dairy products and wine. 

Q: Who selects the items sold here? 

A: Rick and Belinda decide that. A young man came in today with line of dried bean samples. They were just beautiful and included varieties I’ve never seen before. They looked like something that we would do ourselves if we could. And that is one key to the store’s success: While Rick does not have the time to do everything he’d like, he strives to offer products that are unusual, delicious and worth coming back for … Rick is very clear about who we are and what our purpose is. He deliberates very carefully before choosing products he believes will reflect the kind of quality he would be proud to produce himself. 

Q: How did you get your start here as baker? 

A: I’d worked for decades in the health care field, as a nurse and businesswoman, and was looking for a change. I’d known Rick for 25 years and he knew about my interests with baking and catering various functions. People used to tell me, “You really ought to do this for a living.” So, when he told me about his plans to add a bakery, I came on board. 

Q: What are you baking today? 

A: White bread, blueberry muffins, oatmeal raisin cookies, blueberry whoopie pies and a chocolate wedding cake with a vanilla and raspberry filling for a wedding on Cow’s Island in Casco Bay tomorrow. On weekends, I make four different kinds of bread: white, cinnamon swirl, Anadama and Chebeague Island – a maple oatmeal bread that’s a favorite of our customers. I also make several kinds of whoopie pies, muffins, cupcakes, cheesecakes, Danish, cookies, brownies, bar desserts and special-order cakes for families and gatherings. Soon, I will start making homemade donuts. We also sell fruit pies, made by Laura’s Pastry in Sanford. Because of the sheer volume of things we make here daily, there is no way I could do it all. 

Q: Do you have a set day for baking specific items?

A: No. I bake a lot by demand. Lately, that has been for a lot of the chicken pot pies using Elizabeth Chase’s own piecrust recipe along with potatoes and carrots that we grow here. This fall, I’ll make shepherd’s pie, using our own potatoes, corn and farm-raised beef. Rick uses his draft horses to harvest the potatoes in the field the old-fashioned way. I am always dialoguing with our customers about what they like and they tell me about their favorite family recipes, which I can duplicate. I had one man in here recently translating one of his mother’s Hungarian holiday recipes. 

Q: What makes Chase Farms special? 

A: I once asked Mrs. (Elizabeth) Chase that question. She responded, “We’re fresh! Fresh people and fresh produce!” Not many people can say they are part of something 266 years old that is still fresh. I agree. And I love the absence of pretense. It’s a real working farm — a slice of authentic Americana. People can see the cattle grazing, watch the horses kick up their heels when they are not working to dig potatoes, pull sleighs and haul firewood, watch the farmhands bring in bushels of corn, and can smell the bread baking that they’ll put on their table that night.