The Cape Farm Alliance lobster bake and pig roast, the kickoff event for Strawberry Festival weekend, brought together 260 supporters of local farming and fishing June 29 at Shady Oak Farm.

“There are more than 20 different farms in Cape Elizabeth,” said volunteer Tina Fischer. “It’s kind of a surprise. But Cape has a really long tradition of farming. We lost a lot of farms in the 1950s and ’60s, but it’s been coming back. Some of the largest farms – Jordan’s, Maxwell’s and Alewive’s – have been around for generations.”

It’s a true community effort serving hundreds of Maine lobsters, as well as locally raised and roasted pork and locally harvested clams, alongside Jordan salad greens, roasted corn and potatoes and fresh rolls, followed by Maxwell strawberries in strawberry tarts from The Good Table and Kettle Cove Creamery strawberry ice cream.

“Anything we can have native, that’s what we use,” said Kelly Jordan Strout, who has been hosting the dinner in her equestrian event barn at Shady Oak Farm for eight years.

At $35 per ticket, the annual lobster bake is more about celebrating Cape Elizabeth’s farming and lobstering heritage than about fundraising.

“It’s about creating visibility for agriculture in our town,” said event co-organizer Caitlin Jordan, who runs Alewive’s Brook Farm, which sells produce as well as seafood. “My family has been farming for 400 years in Cape Elizabeth. I came home from law school, and they weren’t hiring lawyers at the time so I started farming. It’s important to continue this agricultural way of life. I want to be sure that the way of life I grew up with is an option for my nieces and nephews.”

The dinner is a bit of a family reunion for locals who left the area but time their summer visit to coincide with the Strawberry Festival. But out-of-towners also enjoy the authentically down-home dinner and come back year after year – if they can get tickets weeks in advance.

“I had tried to get tickets to this in previous years, and it had sold out,” said Cindy Talbot of Cape Elizabeth. “So this year I got tickets early.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

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