During the 1800s, the Hill family's ownership of the land in Greene marked the beginning of a remarkable agricultural legacy. With a vision for sheep farming, they transformed their vast property into a thriving hub for the wool industry. As pioneers in their community, the Hill family's endeavors left an indelible mark on the region's history.
The fertile acres of the Hill family land became the site of the largest sheep farm in the Eastern United States. Through meticulous breeding, careful land management, and an unwavering commitment to excellence, the Hill family raised an impressive herd of sheep that provided the raw materials for the region's textile industry. Their dedication and expertise made their farm a model for sheep farming practices.
Recognizing the need for efficient transportation to ship their herds to markets across the country, the Hill family made a significant contribution to the infrastructure of Greene. In a bold move, they spearheaded the construction of the first railroad in the town, connecting their farm to the wider network of rail lines. This innovation not only facilitated the transportation of their sheep but also opened up new opportunities for economic growth and prosperity in the area.
However, like many families during the Great Depression, the Hill family faced financial hardships. As the weight of economic turmoil intensified, they made the difficult decision to sell their cherished land before the bank could claim it. The Hill family's close relationship with their cousins, the Sawyers, led to the transfer of ownership, ensuring that the land would remain within their extended family.
Under the stewardship of the Sawyer family, the sheep farming tradition on the land continued for several more decades. Their dedication and respect for the land allowed the legacy of the Hill family to endure. Generations of Sawyers carefully tended to the sheep and upheld the high standards established by their predecessors. Their unwavering commitment ensured the farm's ongoing success until the last Sawyer passed away in 2011.
In 2013, the Ricker family, drawn to the rich history and potential of the land, acquired the farm from the Sawyer family estate. Building upon the agricultural heritage of the Hill and Sawyer families, the Rickers embarked on a new chapter in the farm's story. Recognizing the evolving needs of the community, they transitioned from sheep farming to cultivating apples and grapes.
In 2014, the Ricker family began planting crops on historic land, embracing sustainable farming practices and utilizing modern techniques to maximize productivity while preserving the area's natural resources. The farm became a vibrant symbol of resilience and adaptation, embodying the values passed down from the Hill and Sawyer families.
Today, the former Hill family land stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of those who came before. It serves as a reminder of the rich agricultural heritage of the region and the determination of families to overcome adversity. The legacy of the Hill, Sawyer, and Ricker families lives on, weaving together the past, present, and future of this remarkable piece of land in Greene, Maine.
Driven by a passion for crafting exceptional wines and ciders that showcase the beauty of our region. We invite you to embark on a sensory journey with us, savoring the flavors, embracing the land, and connecting with the community.
At The Vista of Maine, we foster a welcoming and educational atmosphere, where our knowledgeable staff share their passion and expertise with visitors. We invite you to explore the beauty of our land, celebrate life's special moments, and participate in our wine and cider tastings.
"The family history goes," explains Harry Ricker, CEO of The Vista of Maine. "that there were two brothers who immigrated from the isle of Jersey in the mid-1700s. One of the brothers was sharp and decided to start Poland Springs. The other one was just a dumb ole apple farmer." Ricker smiles. "Now we're in eight towns and three countries." With nine generations of experience under their belt, the Ricker Family knows a thing or two about apple farming.
"At the Vista of Maine, we have something for everyone. Whether you're coming for a tasting or coming to tie the knot." Explains Christine Strout, the manager of The Vista of Maine. Strout has been managing since July 2019.