About the Cape Farm Alliance
We are a cooperative of growers, gardeners, and community members who advocate for our farms and work to raise awareness of their many products and contributions to our community.
In short, our mission is “Ensuring Cape Elizabeth’s farming future.”
You can support our mission by shopping regularly at our farms, and by donating if you’d like, here. (We are a registered 501(c) 3, non-profit. Funding helps cover our expenses for marketing, insurance for events, and educational outreach. We have no paid staff, just lots of invaluable, hard-working volunteers!)
A Brief History
Cape Elizabeth has a proud farming heritage. As you drive or walk around Cape Elizabeth, you will notice remnants of a rich agricultural history dating back to the 1600’s. Named in 1604 by John Smith to honor King Charles I’s wife Elizabeth, Cape Elizabeth has maintained much of its rural character to the present day. Many of its remaining farms are still owned by descendants of Cape Elizabeth’s original families.
Consider these facts about Cape Elizabeth farms:
•In 1875 the Scarborough/Cape Elizabeth Farmers Association was formed. They held a fair every fall for about 30 years at Nutter’s Field, Pleasant Hill, Scarborough.
•In 1880, cabbage from Cape Elizabeth sold for $10/ton and was considered the best in the state. Cabbage was grown on the mainland and on Richmond Island.
In the early 1900’s peas became a major crop to supplement the already famous cabbage and more produce was being sent by ship (and later by train) to Boston.
•The first tractor in Cape Elizabeth was purchased by Stewart Jordan in 1934. Horses continued to be the standard pullers of plows into the 1940’s.
•Between forty and fifty farms operated in Cape Elizabeth around 1940.
•In the 1950’s, iceberg lettuce became a major product. The town’s approximately 20 farms devoted 300 to 400 acres for growing lettuce. It was not unusual to ship 2,000 crates of lettuce per day to the Boston Market.
•By the 1960’s, about ten farms remained in operation.
Today, our community supports more than 20 growers and equine operations.
The Cape Farm Alliance supports the growth of the many farm and food-related businesses and activities in Cape Elizabeth. Since our inception in 2008 originally as the Cape Elizabeth Farm Committee, we have grown into a vibrant community of viable farms and growing operations. Our members produce a wide array agricultural products including fruits, vegetables and herbs, plants and seedlings, flowers, honey, Christmas trees, hay, and wine.
Some farms raise livestock including cattle, pork, poultry, goats and laying hens, and several farms board horses. Some also offer on-site markets or farm stands. All provide jobs and impact our local and state economy in very positive ways.
To learn more about our community of farmers and horse lovers, click on the Find a Farm tab above.