HILDENE, THE LINCOLN FAMILY HOME harvsev
Hildene Farm is located in Manchester in the heart of The Shires of Vermont on the 412 acre estate of Robert Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln and wife, Mary. Robert built his home in 1905 and named it Hildene, an old English term that means hill and valley with stream. This mountain retreat would be home to three generations of Lincolns for 70 years. Until construction of the farm in 2009, however, the family’s agricultural heritage was little known.
The entire agricultural initiative now falls within the context of the historical interpretation of The Lincoln Family Home. Research indicates that generations of Lincolns including Robert, and his granddaughter Peggy, one of the last three Lincoln descendants, raised a dairy herd and chickens that produced the eggs, milk and butter that were used on the estate and shared with friends.
Hildene Farm also connects the family’s legacy to the sustainable and green practices necessary for the 21st century and important to the environmental education that takes place on property. The 40 by 100 foot post and beam barn is built with timber felled and milled on the estate. It utilizes renewable energy resources from solar panels and wood fuel. This solar installation, coupled with a heating system which uses cord wood from the property, provides a unique opportunity to both teach about the importance of clean renewable energy, a forest management plan and the value of sustainable small scale farming.
The barn is designed specifically to house Hildene’s herd of Nubian goats and for public viewing of cheese production from milking to small batch processing, pasteurization, aging and packaging of Hildene Farm Artisanal Cheeses. This is a micro operation with our cheesemakers, making and banking cheese year round using cow’s milk from local farms to produce havarti. After the annual kidding season, production turns to the making of fresh chevre. Goat’s milk havarti is also produced during the spring and summer seasons. The goat farming operation clearly broadens the focus of Hildene, beyond its designation as a historic home, and is now an integral part of the thriving agricultural education component of the institution.
Hildene Artisanal Farm Cheeses are available in The Museum Store at Hildene, open daily 9:30 to 4:30. These cheeses are also available through, the wholesale purveyor, Provisions International, Ltd.