Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

Taste, Memory by David Buchanan

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Taste, Memory: Forgotten Foods, Lost Flavors and Why They Matter, a book by Portland resident, local farmer, and expert on heirloom fruits and vegetables David Buchanan, is being launched later this month.

In his Forward for Taste, Memory Gary Paul Nabhan writes,

Taste, Memory may well be the most beautiful book ever written about food biodiversity and how it has “landed” on earth, in our mouths and in our hearts. Once you have read and digested David’s book, you will never again regard this two-word phrase as an abstraction, but as a essential element of our common food heritage, one that continues to nourish and enrich our lives. In turn, we must nourish it, or it will surely fade away. As Poppy Tooker famously says, “You’ve got to eat it to save it.” Taste, Memory offers the rationale and the inspiration you need to embark upon your own voyage of food discovery.

SPACE Gallery is hosting a launch part for Taste, Memory on October 24.

We’ll set up cider pressing equipment and taste a variety of apple blends, as well as samples of hard ciders from David and Eli’s fermentation experiments (feel free to bring apples if you’d like to press some of your own). David will read passages from his book about collecting rare fruits and working with Eli, and the movement to preserve biodiversity and traditional foods. Acoustic live music by Jake Hoffman and Tyler Leinhardt of Sugar Shack.

A pair of excepts from the book (Seeds of an Idea and The Cider Tree) are available on the publisher’s website.

NYT: Common Ground Fair

Friday, September 28th, 2012

The New York Times has published an article about last weekend’s Common Ground Fair in Unity Maine.

Organic food may not be feeding the world yet, but it was feeding thousands of people at the Common Ground Country Fair last weekend.

They lined up at 10 a.m. to pay $4 for Steve’s Organic French Fries, made with organic potatoes fried in cold-pressed safflower oil for the vegetarian crowd. Although “beef tallow is better,” said Steve Aucoin, 61, who has been selling fries here since the first fair, in 1977.

Food Sciences, Wine Storage and MOO Milk Documentary

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Today’s Press Herald includes a front page article on the Food Science program at the University of Maine,

At a time when enrollment at UMaine is down overall, a record number of students is enrolling in the university’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.

advice on how to best  store your growing home wine collection,

How should you store the wine you keep at home for dinner parties or your own drinking pleasure? Do you really need one of those wine refrigerators that are so popular these days? And when should you take the leap to a real wine cellar?

and an article about a documentary on MOO Milk.

In a film that is at turns humorous, heart-wrenching and very humane, Pingree and Mann follow three farm families in Aroostook County and Downeast Maine as they and seven other farms strike out on their own to create Maine’s Own Organic Milk Co., better known as MOO Milk.

Fishbowl Leaving Public Market

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Maine a la Carte reports that Fishbowl Farm will be exiting the Portland Farmers Market at the end of this year.

Once these summer markets close up shop around Thanksgiving, Fishbowl Farm intends to change its business model and focus on wholesale accounts for salad greens. The plan calls for selling greens from early spring through late fall.

Apples Harvest Ready

Monday, September 17th, 2012

Today’s Press Herald includes an article about the 2012 apple harvest.

Here in Maine, some growers are reporting yields coming in just a little bit early. But there’s no question that by this weekend, the apples will be ready to go — whether you pick them yourself or buy from a local farm stand.

At Rollins Orchards, a Garland farm that’s been in the family since 1821, owner Jean Rollins has been stocking her market for a while with help from her son, Ernest, and his wife, Andrea.

“We’ve been picking for three weeks,” Jean Rollins said. “That’s early. It’s a pretty good crop this year; overall, it’s about average.”

Crowdsourced Funding for Farm Stand

Friday, September 14th, 2012

The Forecaster has published an update on Alewive’s Brook Farm’s use of Kickstarter to raise $60,000 to build a new farm stand.

“It’s like a barn raising, but we’re calling it a market raising,” said Caitlin Jordan, manager of the farm and daughter of owner Jodie Jordan. “We’re asking the community to go one step further in their support for our farm. We’re not asking them to lift the beams, just to buy them.”

So far 42 people have pledged $4,345 towards the goal.

Apple Crop Down 30%

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

MPBN is reporting that the 2012 Maine apple crop is “off by as much as 30 percent”.

The first hint of trouble for some orchards came back in March, when temperatures rose into the 80s in some parts of the state, shattering records. Apple trees started to bloom.

“And this was before the danger of the last freeze, so while they were in full bloom, or just around the time of full bloom, there was an event that killed flower buds,” says Renae Moran, tree fruit specialist at the University of Maine.

Review of Joe’s, Organic Study, Portland Brew Fest

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

Today’s Press Herald includes a front page article that examines why people buy organic in light of a recent study that found no difference in nutritional value,

“I tend to buy organic because of the impact conventional farming has on the environment and the pesticides that are in a lot of conventionally grown food,” said Anna Korsen of Portland, who shopped Wednesday at the farmers market in Monument Square with her 2-year-old son, Arlo Korsen-Cayer. “I don’t want that in my body or my family’s bodies.”

Today’s paper also contains a report on last week’s Portland Brew Festival, and a review of Joe’s NY Pizza.

For additional reporting on the organic foods study listen to this report from MPBN.

2012 Potato Harvest

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

The Maine Sunday Telegram includes an article about the 2012 potato harvest.

This year, the farmers are struggling with the opposite extreme: too little rain, which is stunting the potatoes’ growth and will hit farmers’ wallets hard this fall.

Like the corn crop in the Midwest, Maine potatoes are withering, but they’re underground and out of sight, so how poorly they’re doing is a bit of a guessing game.

Two Local Farms on Kickstarter

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Two Portland-area farms are using Kickstarter to raise funds for infrastructure projects:

  • The Long Barn Educational Initiative at Broadturn Farm is trying to raise $4,000 by August 31st to fund the construction of a cob oven which will be used in an upcoming class
  • Alewives Brook Farm is trying to raise $60,000 by October 6th to fund the rebuilding of their farm stand

Youth Program at Wolf’s Neck Farm

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

The Forecaster has a report on a youth program that’s provided four teens with the experience of working on a farm.

By the end of the week, the small crew will have followed as much as 5,000 pounds of produce from seed to table, and donated it to food pantries in Freeport and Brunswick, while learning about all aspects of farming.

Wine Cellar Dining & Mushroom Hunting

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about Dan Agro, an expert in foraging for edible and medicinal mushrooms,

After we make our way to the base of the birch tree, we gaze high above our heads at two dark, misshapen knots protruding from either side of the white bark. We all ponder the same question: is the growth the sought-after medicinal mushroom known as chaga or is it a wooden burl?

and an article on the wine cellar dining rooms at Caiola’s and the White Barn Inn.

Just last week, Caiola’s hosted a wedding in the cellar. It’s also been used for business meetings, birthday celebrations, marriage proposals, and lots of rehearsal dinners. “With the music going,” Vaccaro said, “it’s pretty romantic.”

North Star Sheep Farm

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

The Food & Dining section in today’s Press Herald includes an article about North Star Sheep Farm in Windham. North Star provides lamb to several local restaurants as well as to Whole Foods.

The thin line of animals marching in single file is part of a larger flock of 500 to 600 that Webster and his wife, Lisa, keep here on about 650 acres of leased land that is just steps away from the country’s first woolen mill. The sheep that grazed here during the American Revolution provided the wool blankets that kept patriots warm.

Soon, this pastureland may once again be filled with these gentle creatures and the distant sound of their soft bleating.

Local Hop Farm, Reviews of Mellen Street Market and Congress Bar & Grill, Lobster Dinner Math

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

Today’s Press Herald includes a bar review of Congress Bar & Grill,

The menus were tucked in between condiments in round tins on the bar. Specialty drinks range from the house-made sangria for $6 to the “JD Rita,” the bar’s spin on a margarita, for $12. There are eight beers on tap for $4 or $5 apiece, and a number offered by the bottle for $2 to $4. There’s also a selection of white, red and pink wines costing $5 to $7.

and a review of Mellen Street Market.

I ordered a steak-and-cheese with green peppers and onions for $6.49, which I thought was a fair price. The bun was chewy, the veggies were freshly grilled, and American cheese embedded underneath the meat melted into a favorable gooey mix.

The steak? Eh. So-so. It was very chewy, which disappointed me. But it was mostly chunky and not cut into strips, so it was easy to eat.

Also in today’s paper is an article about Rock Island Hop Farm in Springvale which raises hops for Sebago Brewing Bunker Brewing, and a detailed explanation from the President of the Maine Restaurant Association on what factors go into the price of a lobster dinner.

Calculating the average lobster cost at $4.25 per pound, a 1.25-pound lobster means a $5.31 raw lobster food cost for a typically served one and a quarter pound lobster. Add drawn butter, side salad or fries and a roll and you arrive at a total food cost of $6.815. This would result in a retail price of $20.63 for the meal, with a 33 percent food cost. All of that retail price except for $1.03 (5 percent profit) goes to pay the business overhead.

Out on a Limb Apple CSA

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

For the fourth year running, apple expert extraordinaire John Bunker, is offering shares in Out on a Limb, a rare apple CSA. Shareholders will receive 5 deliveries of apples every other week starting in September of approximately a quarter bushel each. The CSA will “be offering a wide assortment of endangered, historical and just plain unusual eating and cooking apples, including some that we’ve never offered before.”

Shares are $125. This year Out on a Limb is expanding beyond just Portland to offer pick-up spots in Waterville, Freedom, Belfast and Mount Desert Island. For more information and details on how to sign-up, read the CSA’s FAQ.