Cape Elizabeth farmer takes to the road; seniors, businesses benefit from mobile farm stand

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CAPE ELIZABETH — Barbara Page was a school bus driver for 27 years in Cape Elizabeth and Scarborough.

But now, instead of driving a bus filled with school children, she carts one full of vegetables to senior citizens and large businesses.

“These passengers don’t talk back as much,” she said of the cucumbers, tomatoes and onions she transports every week.

Joy Montgomery and other employees of Jordan’s Farm Stand on Wells Road fill the former school bus with produce twice a day. Penny Jordan, owner of Jordan’s Farm, said the bus has been on the road for two years and is a huge success.

It was purchased from the Cape Elizabeth School Department, gutted, painted and is now a mobile farmer’s market.

Every weekday Jordan and her employees fill the bus with fresh produce, local yogurt and fruit and travel to senior citizen housing and businesses in Scarborough and South Portland. They visit Ridgeland Terrace, Betsey Ross House, 1700 Broadway, Landry Village and Piper Shores; business site include NorDx, Maine Medical Center, Anthem and InterMed.

“This project was initially geared to target seniors,” Jordan said. “Now, with the help of Anthem, we are able to provide a service for businesses, too.”

Jordan said the idea of a mobile farm stand came from friends of the family who worked on a traveling farm stand in the 1940s. The bus makes it possible for people who cannot drive to a local farmer’s market to experience fresh vegetables.

In addition, Jordan’s mobile bus allows seniors to participate in the state’s Senior Farmshare program without having to go anywhere. Through the farmshare program, eligible seniors are given a certain amount of money a season to spend on fresh produce.

Beth Dazet, a Jordan’s employee, said the people who buy their produce from the traveling bus are happy the service is provided each week.

“The people living in the senior housing are so grateful we come to them,” Dazet said. “They are really sweet, and come week after week.”

Although the bus travels to senior housing units and businesses, Page said anyone can visit the stand to buy produce.

“I believe if we didn’t provide this service, some people wouldn’t be able to enjoy this food,” she said.

Sara Beck, an employee of NorDx in South Portland, said she visits the bus each week because she doesn’t have time to visit other markets on the weekends or during the week. She said she was delighted to learn the visits from Jordan’s mobile farm stand were part of a wellness initiative at her workplace.

“I can never find the time to make it to Portland, so this is perfect,” she said.

Laura Gervais and Rachel Roy, co-chairwomen of the Works on Wellness Committee at NorDx, helped make the farm stand a reality for employees of the company.

“This program has been great. There’s been a great response and people find it convenient,” Gervais said. “We hope to make these visits a yearly occurrence.”

She said the weekly visits are a benefit to busy business people, and to the local farmers.

“Supporting local farmers is important to most people, and we are happy in this partnership,” Gervais said.

Just like the schoolchildren she transported years ago, Page greets each person who enters the bus to buy fresh produce.

“I see the same faces week after week,” she said. “It’s so nice to be a part of this.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

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Jordan’s Farm in Cape Elizabeth provides a mobile service to seniors and business people with its traveling farmers market. Each week, the bus visits senior housing units and large businesses to bring fresh produce to those who cannot get to the farm.

Jordan’s bus schedule

Monday: InterMed 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.; NorDx 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Tuesday: Ridgeland 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.; 1700 Broadway 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.; Maine Medical Center 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday: Betsey Ross House 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m.; Mill Cove 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.; NorDx 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Thursday: Landry Village 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.; Anthem 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Friday: Piper Shores 11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.; Maine Medical Center 2:30 p.m. –  5:30 p.m.

Some of Jordan’s customers are a part of a Community Supported Agriculture share program, but it is not necessary to be a member to buy the produce. Cash and credit cards are accepted.

Miss the bus? Go to the source for a professionally prepared meal

CAPE ELIZABETH — For a locally sourced, fresh meal, residents can buy produce at Jordan’s Farm and cook it themselves, or they can have chef Jason Williams cook for them at The Well restaurant, on the farm.

Williams, former sous chef at the Back Bay Grill in Portland, will soon be preparing lunches and dinners from inside a mobile, custom-made restaurant.

The Well, named for its address at 21 Wells Road, will be a cash-only take-out spot open for lunch and dinner. Williams will cook three to five local items for lunch and dinner, and will offer local chicken, fish and vegetarian items each day.

He said he plans to open in the beginning of September and serve through December, and will reopen when the farmer’s markets reappear next year. People can take lunch or dinner home, or eat at a few picnic tables on the spot.

“This has been a fun project,” he said. “The food is sourced right from this land, and the project supports the community.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or aanderson@theforecaster.net

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