As the town of Falmouth marks its 300th birthday, the Falmouth Land Trust celebrates not only the conservation of land but the preservation of the town’s rural character. The land trust threw a farm-style Harvest Moon bash Sept. 27 at Hurricane Valley Farm, with 250 supporters enjoying fiddle tunes, local food and drinks, walking tours at sunset and a bonfire under the stars.

“This farm was the first acquisition we had done in 15 years,” said Analiese Larson, who was executive director when the land trust purchased the farm in 2015. “This land was approved as a subdivision, but we raised $1.4 million in four months to save it in a combination of town money, grants and amazing town citizens who opened up their wallets.”

Much of this farmland was cleared of trees by a hurricane in 1767, and in recent years, it had been a horse farm. After conserving the 62 acres from development, the land trust leased some land to Cultivating Community for row farming through its New American Sustainable Agriculture Program.

“Their mission is food security and reconnecting people to the land, and we thought they’d have the best impact in terms of the ripple of positive effect,” said Jenny Grimm, executive director of the land trust.

“It’s a team thing,” said farm manager David Berdeja, an immigrant from Mexico. “We grow different things, mostly vegetables. And chickens. Next year, maybe goats.

“If you look at the plot, you can see about 50 different crops next to each other,” said Kyle Glover of Falmouth, returning from a walking tour.

“I’ve been wanting to see this farm,” said Ellen Klain of Falmouth. “I was very glad to see it remain as open space and farmland, and the fact that Cultivating Community is involved is a win-win.”

With tickets at $40 per person, the annual Harvest Moon event was expected to raise about 10 percent of the land trust’s annual operating budget.

“Tonight is more of a friend-raiser,” Grimm said. “We try to get people outdoors and connect them with each other and the land here in Falmouth that has been preserved.”

“It’s a great time being out in a field with a bonfire going,” said Mike Sweeney of Cape Elizabeth. “The food is always fantastic, and there’s free beer.”

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

[email protected]

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