This 3.66 acres property is a hidden gem right in the heart of Gardiner, Maine, a booming food-hub community minutes from Augusta and only 45 minutes north of Portland, right off of Interstate 95. The homestead is walking distance to all that Gardiner has to offer, all services, the Gardiner Food Co-op, the Gardiner Farmers Market, and various other food & agricultural businesses (Cap’N’Stem mushrooms, Mid-maine meats, Crescent Farm, Oakland’s Farm, Sebago Lake Rum Distillery and Crooked Halo Cider House). It is literally next-door to the Gardiner elementary school, on busy route 201, which boasts more than 20,000 daily passersby for easy growth of an on-site business.
It is a historic apple and pear orchard which still has approximately five of the original ~100 year old trees still in production.
We have converted a majority of the grass lawn area into productive vegetable plots and have used permaculture techniques to create a landscape that is on its way to becoming a highly productive urban homestead. We grow a wide array of fruits and vegetables, having planted several new trees (5 year old and already fruiting heart nut trees, arctic kiwi vines, concord grapes, elderberries, currents, high bush blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, Nanking cherries, edible dogwood, plums and hazelnuts. We have also grafted the older pears and apple varieties onto saplings and ornamental root stock that were already present on the property to regenerate the old stock. Even with the large gardens we now have under cultivation, the homestead still has more potential for growth.
A 1.5 acre overgrown wooded area in the back boasts 30 foot tall black-locust, cherry, apple and maple wood. There is no understory in this area, and it could be easily converted back to its original use as an orchard.
We have been cultivating and nurturing the soil and microbial soil communities using organic fertilizer blends and beneficial herbal blends and know from the soil tests that our soil is of top quality. For the region where we are we seem to get a very good micro-climate, with earlier last spring frost dates and later first fall frost dates than most other farms in our region. This could be because we are on top of a knoll and set back from the Kennebec river valley, and potentially because of the tree line surrounding the entire property.
The main house has 5 bedrooms and two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, dining room and playroom. Very tall ceilings (10’) and spacious rooms makes this house welcoming to everyone. Four of the five bedrooms have built-in furniture and/or closets and the upstairs bathroom includes two claw foot tubs. The first floor boasts several floor to ceiling windows (96" tall) on the east and south sides, wide pine wood floors, beautiful curved walls and a large front porch (that can easily be screened or glassed in). Five of the windows in the most used/critical locations have been replaced with Replacement by Anderson (25 year part and labor warranty) top quality windows for ease of ventilation and aesthetic appeal.
Since the installation of the hearthstone wood stove in 2011, it has been our primary heating source. The main house yet still has an oil burning furnace with forced hot air that can be used as a primary or secondary system. Natural gas supply is piped to the furnace as well, and the Carlin natural gas converter to switch from oil to natural gas also comes with the property, giving you flexibility to choose your preferred source. The kitchen has a separate on-suite 12’ by 7’ pantry with a north facing window for easy temperature control. The basement has a poured concrete floor and there is plenty of space for a large root cellar, food storage and other uses.
We have access to city water and sewer (and we meter our outside usage), as well as well water from a hand dug well, rain barrels and all these sources are used in conjunction with a drip system.
The Attic of the main house has been converted into a complete one-bedroom bachelor suite. The renovation used all environmentally friendly and repurposed products. A private staircase up the north-side of the house provides private access to the third-floor suite. A locking door also connects the third floor with the second floor of the main house. The third-floor suite shares all utilities with the main house. The space is perfect for a farm worker or for a single or couple outside renter.
The third living unit is a fully separate 3-bedroom apartment at the back of the main house. The adjoining wall is that of the mudroom and the pantry, thereby creating almost zero noise transfer. The unit is fully independent in terms of heating, entrance, laundry and electricity. There is one second floor full bathroom. Although it is well maintained, not much has been done in terms of renovations to the interior of the apartment because it is currently still rented by the same man who has been there for 45 years. He is now 90 years-old and is a great wealth of information for us about the history of the property, as he was the grounds-keeper in his younger days!
There is also a very large post and beam barn (60’ by 30’), with three levels. The barn has an asphalt shingle roof and vinyl siding. Its foundation, a mix of stone and cement footings, as well as some of the inside posts have been reworked approximately 15 years ago when a new first floor and half a second floor were rebuilt. We had great plans of renovating the barn to include a second story hot yoga studio and third floor in-law apartment, hence the separate 200 AMP electric service and natural gas hook-up. The first floor of the barn is currently used for a workshop and a double car port with two electric garage doors. A sliding bard door on the gable end gives easy access for a tractor and the farm equipment storage room.
We hope that whoever will take over the stewardship of this property will continue to expand the diversity of plants and animals that live and grow there, and care for the historic orchard trees. The potential for the property to be a space for the expansion of community and general good will is expansive: potential education, cooperative or community based initiatives. We really encourage young farmers to contact us, because even though it may seem like an unattainable goal, the massive housing potential of this farm house could help to pay for your dreams to come true. We couldn’t believe the property’s potential when we purchased it, and living here has been a wonderful adventure! We hope that we can share this gem with someone else who gets excited about sustainability, community and revenue neutrality! Thank you for reading!
Priced at $325,000