2014-02-21 / Front Page

Alewives Brook Farm in Cape faces upstream battle

By Tracy Orzel
Contributing Writer


Three generations of Jordans: Jodie Jordan, left, Caitlin Jordan, center, and Caitlin's nephew, 1-year-old Bennett Rideout. Alewives Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth plans to expand operations and increase revenue by building a new farm stand with a commercial kitchen. In order to raise money for the new building, the owners are selling community supported agriculture (CSA) shares starting at $100. 
(Tracy Orzel photo) Three generations of Jordans: Jodie Jordan, left, Caitlin Jordan, center, and Caitlin's nephew, 1-year-old Bennett Rideout. Alewives Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth plans to expand operations and increase revenue by building a new farm stand with a commercial kitchen. In order to raise money for the new building, the owners are selling community supported agriculture (CSA) shares starting at $100. (Tracy Orzel photo) CAPE ELIZABETH – When the lobster industry bottomed out in 2008, Alewives Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth paid local lobstermen more than the boat price in Portland to keep the community afloat. Now the farm’s owners hope the community will return the favor.

The Jordan family plans to expand operations and increase revenue by building a new farm stand with a commercial kitchen in the current stand’s place by selling community supported agriculture (CSA) shares.

Jodie Jordan, a volunteer firefighter, has been farming the land on Old Ocean House Road since his family bought the property in 1957. He runs the farm with his daughter, Caitlin Jordan, who, after graduating from University of New Hampshire School of Law in 2009, was elected to the town council in 2010.


The Jordan family must raise enough funds for a new roof on the current farm stand by mid-April or their insurance company will drop them for safety and liability reasons. The Jordan family have been a fixture in Cape Elizabeth since the early 1600s. Jodie Jordan has been farming the land on Old Ocean House Road since his family bought the property in 1957. (Tracy Orzel photos) The Jordan family must raise enough funds for a new roof on the current farm stand by mid-April or their insurance company will drop them for safety and liability reasons. The Jordan family have been a fixture in Cape Elizabeth since the early 1600s. Jodie Jordan has been farming the land on Old Ocean House Road since his family bought the property in 1957. (Tracy Orzel photos) The family is embedded in the community, which is what one would expect after 400 years.

“The Jordans were the first people to settle here in Cape Elizabeth on Richmond’s Island, so if you do any research on Cape Elizabeth, it goes back a long ways. I’m the 13th generation to be farming in Cape Elizabeth,” said Caitlin Jordan.

If the farm doesn’t start taking in more money, Caitlin Jordan said she might have to become a full-time lawyer.

“It’s just not coming in the way it used to with the economy. So we need to find new ways to make new money and that was the idea – to expand the farm stand, start cooking lobsters, start processing our own surplus vegetables.”

Caitlin Jordan said part of the problem is that business slows down in September and October.

“There’s plenty of business in July and August when the summer people and tourists are here. Natives have family visiting them and stuff. After school starts people think there’s no more vegetables or they don’t need any more of them – I don’t know,” Jodie Jordan said.

The family first tried to raise money online through a Kickstarter campaign and was able to raise $10,000, falling short of their original $50,000 goal. According to the funding platform’s website, Kickstarter.com is an “allor nothing” platform. In order to collect donations, each project must reach its fundraising goal by a predetermined deadline or none of the donors’ credit cards will be charged.

The family has since lowered their goal to $20,000.

To raise the money, the family is now offering CSA shares starting at $100. In return, supporters will receive $110 or 10 percent of the total share to spend on vegetables, eggs, turkeys, lobsters and clams throughout the 2014 growing season.

Not only do members get a little more bang for their buck, they don’t even need to have a buck on them when they go to “cash out” on their investment.

“If you go to the beach and you want to stop and get vegetables for dinner (or) lobster, you just stop in and we have your name and account and everything on file. You just pick out what you want and say, ‘I’m Jane Smith, mark me down for $15,’ or whatever,” said Caitlin Jordan.

So far, 17 people have signed up for CSA shares, a far cry from the 200 needed.

Local businesses such as L.P. Murray & Sons, Inc., Bowdler Electric, Inc. and Royal Construction have already agreed to donate time and resources for free, at cost or at a discounted price to help the Jordans accomplish their goal.

Time, however, is of the essence.

At the very least, the family must raise enough funds for a new roof on the current building by mid-April or their insurance company will drop them for safety and liability reasons.

“I can’t see putting a new roof on an old building that needs a lot of work, but it can be done if that makes them happy,” said Jodie Jordan.

“It really comes down to asking the community to make an investment in their own community,” said Caitlin Jordan. “Do they want the farm to continue; do they want my generation to keep farming and offering vegetables and lobsters or do they want us to go do something else.”

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