ROCKPORT â Farmer Mary Nelson nÃ©e Clayton and her husband Tom recently purchased the nearly 40-year-old Cardinal Cove mini-golf facility and adjacent home with big plans for its future.
The first floor of the house, on Commercial Street in Rockport, and which was once an arcade, has evolved into a small retail space for Nelson’s natural products called Bee Wild Farmacy. It has just celebrated its inauguration on Sunday, November 21.
Growing up in Rockland, Nelson moved to central New York City for a decade to run a pasture meat farm. Now back in Maine, she intends to chart a different course with her husband while using all the skills she has learned as a farmer – a golf course, that is.
The mini-golf course, where Nelson remembers playing as a nine-year-old, will remain the same, with a natural touch.
âI have always been fascinated by wild plants and finding food,â she said. âI grow a lot of edible, medicinal and culinary plants, so the spaces between the golf course will be landscaped with these types of plants with signs identifying their uses. “
The picnic tables in the center of the golf course function as an open-air agrotourism workshop space.
âWe held a natural dyes workshop in this space last summer,â she said. “And we will be running more classes and events like this in the future.”
In addition, she and her husband plan to put a few campers on the rental property.
âThe plan is to offer an agrotourism center with a mini-golf course right in the middle,â Nelson said. âIt’s a bit of everything, you know, it’s Maine; everyone has to jostle each other.
Did you know?
Farmed eggs do not need to be refrigerated.
âChickens lay eggs with this natural coating called ‘flower,’ said Nelson. “It prevents bacteria from entering the egg, which will stay cool at room temperature.”
Every item in his shop is made by Nelson under the Bee Wild brand. In addition to raising chickens and selling eggs locally, she is also a beekeeper and makes many products such as herbal teas, balms, ointments, elixirs and tinctures with her forage products and natural honey. Hand knitted items, also made by Nelson, are available.
âI pick as many ingredients as possible where they are grown,â she said.
As she still owns the farm in central New York, with two markets in New York still run by her business partner, and now operates Bee Wild Farmacy full time, and with eight children between Nelson and her husband, she said she ‘she was trying to be careful not to stretch out too much.
âMy husband says when I die my gravestone will say, ‘I have another idea! “”
The Bee Wild Farmacy, located at 773 Commercial Street in Rockport, will be open year round. During the winter, hours will be Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Evenings, weekends and off-peak hours are available in person. Online ordering, shipping and local delivery are also options. Visit: www.beewild.me
Kay Stephens can be reached at [email protected]