CAPE ELIZABETH — On Friday, Dec. 18, Nate and Kathy Maxwell, owners of Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field, closed on the sale of an agricultural conservation easement to Maine Farmland Trust. The easement, which is now held by Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, will ensure that the 76-acre farm property will remain available for agriculture in perpetuity. Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field is one of the few remaining farms in the town of Cape Elizabeth, and is now the largest, permanently preserved farm parcel closest to Portland.

Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field is one of the few remaining farms in the town of Cape Elizabeth, and is now the largest, permanently preserved farm parcel closest to Portland. Courtesy photo

Located between Sawyer Road and Spurwink Avenue, Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field has been a family-owned working farm for generations. The parcel is comprised of 76 acres of rich, rolling farmlands and forested areas.

The majority of its acreage is in corn and hay production, and the remaining land supports a thriving pasture-raised beef cattle business that serves many people in the surrounding communities. To allow for productive farming, public access is not allowed.

Maine Farmland Trust partnered with local Cape Elizabeth Land Trust to protect the key farm property to ensure it is never developed and continues to be a resource for community resilience and food production. The easement includes an Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value that stipulates the land be kept in agricultural use and restricts the future sale of the land to the price of its agricultural value, making it more accessible to future farmers.

The easement will be held by the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, who will work with the Maxwells to steward the land going forward.

“Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field is the most recognizable agricultural property in town,” said Cindy Krum, executive director of Cape Elizabeth Land Trust, in a written statement.. “The farm has been the scenic gateway to Cape Elizabeth for generations and protecting it not only ensures farming in town, but also has great environmental benefits.”

Trout Brook, an “urban-impaired” and protected stream, runs through the property to its endpoint in Millcreek.

Nate Maxwell mows hay on his land Thursday. Maxwell’s father was a fifth generation farmer. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Charlie Baldwin, the Maine Farmland Trust staff member managing the easement process, said, “Given the current real estate prices in Cape, there is no way that a typical farmer would be able to buy Maxwell Farm-Dyer Field for continuing farm operations. This easement will make it possible for enterprising farm families to realize their dreams and continue to serve and feed the community for generations to come. Ensuring that this farm stays as farmland is an investment in the future resilience of Cape Elizabeth and the surrounding community.”

Maine Farmland Trust is a statewide, member-powered organization working to protect farmland, support farmers, and advance the future for farming. Since its founding in 1999, the trust has helped to keep over 65,000 acres of farmland in agriculture and has provided over 800 farm families with critical resources and support to grow thriving businesses. For more information, visit mainefarmlandtrust.org.

The Cape Elizabeth Land Trust permanently conserves and provides stewardship for lands cherished by the community — from shore lands to marshes, from farmlands to woodlands — for the education, use and enjoyment of these and future generations. Founded in 1985, the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust has permanently protected over 840 acres. For more information, visit www.capelandtrust.org or call 207-767-6054.