Swathmoor – Cates Family Farm

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Uniqueness Factors


Cates Farm is bordered on its north end by Mill Creek, which supplies the both Mebane and Graham, NC its drinking water. It also hosts a wide variety of native flora and fauna, including significant aquatic species.

A Closer Look

Ecological - Protected

All of the streams and the land along Mill Creek are protected by conservation easements held by the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the City of Mebane and Natural Resource Conservation Service. These conservation easements will protect the ecological and water quality function of Mill Creek into perpetuity.


One hundred acres of the Swathmoor–Cates Family Farm and multiple outbuildings in the farmstead area are registered with the National Register of Historic Places. The farm was a substantial pickling operation in the early 20th century and continues to provide agricultural products to the local community.


The property has always served as a functional farm. A majority of the soils on the tract are "state important" ranked soils. As a fifth generation, female-owned and operated Century Farm, the property has played an important role in the community as one of the most prosperous 20th century dairy farms in North Carolina, and the birthplace of the Cates Pickle Company.

A Closer Look

Agriculture - Protected

A majority of the arable land on the farm is protected with a permanent farmland conservation easement. The Cates Family placed two conservation easements on the property, one with Natural Resources Conservation Service and the North American Land Trust and the other with the City of Mebane. These conservation easements will help ensure the permanent protection and viability of Cates Farm as a sustainable agricultural operation into the future.


The Swathmoor–Cates Farm contributes to the local economy and community by providing locally grown produce, dairy milk and grass fed beef to a Community Supported Agriculture program. This type of community presence and investment allows the farm to remain viable and sustainable into the future, while simultaneously providing an important local service to the community.

Property Description

The Swathmoor–Cates Family Farm is located just northwest of the town of Mebane in Alamance County, NC.  The farm consists of 278 acres of land and includes historic structures relating to the former Cates Farm Pickle manufacturing operation. In the early to mid 20th century this property housed not only the Pickle Company, but also successful dairy and cattle operations. The Cates House is surrounded by large trees and 14 outbuildings including a pack house, office barn, granary, well house, milk barn, mule barn, gas house, tool shed, pump house and privy.  Many of these outbuildings have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Swathmoor–Cates Farm is bounded to the north by Mill Creek, a perennial stream that has both historic and ecological contributing values.  Today, the farm produces locally grown vegetables, dairy products and grass-fed beef that are available through a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  In addition, the farm hosts educational workshops and even opportunities to stay in the historic Cottage located on the farm.

Property Summary

Bedrooms: N/A
Bathrooms: N/A
Kind of Place: Stay
Square Feet: 1500 sq/ft
Acreage: 200 acres
Property Type: Farm/Ranch