Easement Excursion to Brookford Farm in Canterbury

Grass-based farm protected by Forest Society conservation easement

September 7, 2017

The Forest Society recently completed its third Conservation Easement Excursion with a tour of Brookford Farm in Canterbury.  Our Easement Excursion Series offers landowner-guided tours of Forest Society conservation easements to explore lands with outstanding conservation values, learn about exemplary stewardship practices, and discover why landowners choose to protect their land with conservation easements. 

Luke Mahoney explains the creamery operations, joined by his two sons. Photo by Reagan Bissonnette

We started our visit with a tour of the farm led by Luke Mahoney, who owns Brookford Farm with his wife Catarina.

Chicken enclosure, photo by Reagan Bissonnette
  Luke explained the farm’s philosophy of diversified, grass-based agriculture and showed us around, joined by his two sons.  First we visited the creamery, where we watched cheese being made and admired the wheels of finished cheese.  Then we walked to the milking parlor, where the farm’s cows are milked twice daily. 
Maremma puppies, photo by Paul Gagnon

Next we visited the laying hens, which spend their days scratching and pecking outdoors.  We also met the two Maremma puppies that are learning to protect the flock.  The farm experienced considerable predator pressure last year, and these guardian dogs will hopefully alleviate that.   

Back by the farm stand, we sampled cheese and learned about the history of the property from Paul Gagnon, the Forest Society’s conservation easement steward for this property.  Before the Mahoney’s acquired the farm, it had been a plant nursery and sod farm.  The Forest Society’s conservation easement was acquired on the property during that time.  After purchasing the property, the Mahoneys have worked to rebuild the soil to support their pasture-based operations. 

Group photo by Woolly Mammoth trash sculpture, photo by Paul Gagnon

Paul Gagnon led the second half of our tour.  We viewed remnants of the former tree nursery and visited a public access point on the Merrimack River that is popular for launching canoes and kayaks.  Then we explored the nearby sensitive flood plain habitat.  We came across an interesting trash sculpture, which made for a memorable group photo.  And of course many of us returned to the farm stand afterwards so we could bring home a taste of the farm to share with family and friends.      

Our final Easement Excursion takes place on Saturday, September 30th at the Lakes Region Conservation Trust’s 600-acre Homestead Forest.  Learn more and register here

The 2017 Easement Excursions Series is funded by the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.