The Tuttle Farm in Dover is the oldest family farm in the United States. When Bill Tuttle and his family, the 11th generation to farm this land, decided to conserve it, they turned to the Strafford Rivers Conservancy.
Tuttle: The farm at some point became a viable enterprise that grew products for sale and this was sometime in the early 1800's. My sister, Lucy, and I are the two principles in the business, and we're both thinking about retirement. And it doesn't appear that any of our children have the interest or commitment to continue the operation as a family business.
Obviously this concerned my sister and I. We came into contact with Strafford Rivers Conservancy. They are a very eager, helpful, knowledgeable group of local people who have done a lot of great conservancy work in Strafford and Rockingham Counties. The family started conversations with them about what options may be available to us, and about a permanent conservation easement on the farm.
The history of the farm, and the history of the family is important only to the family. It's nice that the farm is here. When people drive by they see it, they say, "oh, boy that's been there a while." But the real emotional feelings about it come from the family. So it would be a pleasant ending to our careers to know that all of the work we've put in here isn't just going to be used to grow houses.