Canterbury land sold to organic farmer
Canterbury residents voted overwhelmingly today to sell a town-owned property to an organic farmer from Rollinsford, rejecting a bid from two local dairy farmers also vying to work the land.The 600-acre property, formerly the Gold Star Sod Farm, will now be sold to Luke and Catarina Mahoney, who own Rollinsford’s Brookford Farm. Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirschberg will pay $900,000 for the property, acting as a lender for the Mahoneys, who will own the property.
While approving that sale, voters also rejected a lease-to-own proposal from brothers Eric and Peter Glines. The Glineses’ initial bid for the property was rejected as financially unstable by the selectmen, but the brothers secured enough signatures to have their offer included in the warrant for today’s meeting.
The sale has drawn passionate proponents on both sides. Nearly a quarter of the town turned out for the vote, with more than 550 people casting ballots. Town officials said it was the largest turnout at a town meeting in at least 25 years.
The Mahoney family’s proposal passed with 420 in favor and 145 against. The Glineses’ proposal failed with 101 voting in favor and 404 against.The Glineses, whose ancestors settled in Canterbury in the 1730s, had proposed paying off the town’s remaining bond on the property in monthly installments, with a final payment of $210,000 being made in 2025. Peter Glines as well as his father George Glines declined to comment following the meeting. George Glines said simply he was “disappointed” in the outcome.
The Mahoney family, who use a form of organic farming known as biodynamic farming, plan to move their business to the property when their current lease in Rollinsford expires on April 1. At the meeting, Luke Majoney said he plans to continue producing dairy while operating a farm store and growing other crops. The town bought the property, located along the Merrimack River, in 2005 for $1.1 million.
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