Farmers Facing Uncertainty

Today’s Press Herald reports on the impact the pandemic is having on Maine farmers and how they’re adapting.

In any given year, farming is a notoriously risky business: It’s too dry or it’s too wet. A nasty pest wipes out the tomatoes; a late freeze kills the apple blossoms; a fast, ferocious gale destroys the strawberry crop. Or the federally set price of milk doesn’t cover the cost for dairy farmers to produce it.

And then there is the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rise of the Restaurmart

‪A growing number of takeout restaurants now sell groceries too. If a restaurmart sounds like a good match for your needs, then check out this list:

  • Botto’s Provisions – is selling “Baking Essentials: flour, sugar, breadcrumbs, and YEAST!” Order online.
  • Drifters Wife – will begin selling provisions and meal kits in early May. Order online.
  • Frog and Turtle – sells a variety of canned goods, cheeses, breads, meats. Order online.
  • Lake & Co – sells a wide variety of groceries. Order online.
  • Local 188 – is selling groceries and provisions, “toilet paper, flour, eggs, butter, yeast, OJ, milk, half and half, paper towels, honey, olive oil, sugar, English muffins, corn tortillas, flour tortillas, canned tomatoes, hot peppers, onions, carrots, peppers, garlic, peppercorn, salt, dried beans, rice, hot sauce, potatoes AND fresh local fish from our fish monger”.
  • Maine Beer Co. – sells flour, rice, cheese and other provisions. Order online.
  • Mainely Burgers – has pick-up and delivery for a wide variety of provisions. Order online.
  • Market Street Eats – is selling a regular and burly sized Basic Box consisting of eggs, flour vegetables, chicken, toilet paper, etc. Order online.
  • More & Co. – is selling weekly Care Packages which include “Wine/beer/sparkling water, coffee, bread, cake, cheese, carrots, micro greens, flowers, tea and honey”. Order online.
  • Novare Res – is selling ice cream, waffles, pasta, slim jims, nitrile gloves, potato chips, toilet paper, and other items. Order online.
  • Po’ Boys & Pickles – Po’ Boys & Provisions sells “Eggs, Sugar, AP flour, Rice, Butter, Frozen Gumbo, Hot Sauce, and more items coming”. Order online.
  • Sur Lie – sells “weekly, rotating selection of vegetables and meats from our local farmers at Stonecipher Farm and LP Bisson and Sons. There are two options…a vegetable farmer’s basket or a meat & vegetable farmer’s basket.” Order online.
  • The Garrison – is selling staples like eggs, butter, pasta and paper towels along with chef Christian Hayes food. Order Online.

Update: The James Beard Foundation and the Bangor Daily News have now written about the trend of restaurants selling groceries.

Definitive Brewing Expanding to Kittery

Boston magazine reports that Definitive Brewing is expanding to Kittery.

For Definitive Brewing Company, the past month has been a rollercoaster. The almost-2-year-old brewery has temporarily closed its Portland, Maine taproom, and completely changed its business model to focus on to-go sales and home delivery in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The owners have also continued to oversee buildout of a second Definitive location in Kittery, which cofounder and CEO Michael Rankin expects to open soon after the government allows businesses to reopen.

Farmers Adapt

Buzz Feed has published an article on how Maine farmers are adapting to the current situation.

On a back road in Freeport, Maine, $35,000 worth of cheese is sitting in a dark cave. With names like Bradbury Mountain Blue, Tide Line, and Frost Gully, these cheeses are usually on the menus at high-end Portland restaurants. Steve Burger and his wife, Sarah Wiederkehr, proprietors of Winter Hill Farm, would normally be looking to sell that cheese between now and July 1. They also would be making new batches of cheese, to get through the rest of the frantic summer season. But right now they aren’t doing any of that. When will they be able to move that cheese?

Family Meal

Family Meal is a new weekly delivery service providing free meals to restaurant and bar staff in Portland who have lost their job due to the pandemic. The program will launch on Sunday, April 26th. Complete this form to sign-up.

Each week Family Meal will deliver “either a homemade lasagna or mac n’ cheese, two drinks (Rising Tide beer or soda) and a baked item.” Food will be provided on a first-come-first-serve basis. If the demand exceeds the supply the organizers will cycle through the list on the second week.

Family Meal is being launched by Those Familiar Spirits and the first week is sponsored by Hardshore Distilling and Rising Tide Brewing. To become a sponsor, or for more information contact

That Restaurant Sound

Restaurant critic Andrew Ross has written an article about the sound tracks restaurants use to reinforce the brands of their establishments.

To some, the opening bars of “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens sound like a station identification break from some long-forgotten, Deco-era radio station, the kind of tinkling glockenspiel theme you’d hear played live, every 15 minutes. But to me, that song will always sound like milky coffee and scones.

Review of The Local Press

The Press Herald has reviewed The Local Press.

Turkey is still my go-to deli meat, and if I’m taking the sandwich plunge, lettuce, tomato and mayo aren’t going to do. That’s led me, most often, to the Beacon Street, a turkey panini with avocado, tomato, red onion, hot pepper relish, provolone and mayonnaise for $9.50. At first, the hot pepper relish almost kept me from ordering it, but it ending up being the element that brings it to another level – or, in other words, makes it totally worth it.

Fire at Browne Trading

A fire broke out at Browne Trading Thursday night. The 3-alarm blaze was mostly contained to the retail store but the wholesale facility also sustained some damage, reports the Press Herald.

The flames were centered on the one-story retail store, Gautreau said. Fire heavily damaged the interior of the building and roof. Most of the three-floor production facility sustained smoke and soot damage, but firefighters were able to save about $250,000 worth of caviar that was stored inside, [Portland Fire Chief Keith] Gautreau said.

Frontline Foods Launches in Maine

A local chapter of the national organization Frontline Foods (website, facebook, instagram, twitter) has been established in Maine. The organization raises money that is used to pay restaurants to produce meals that are delivered to healthcare workers at hospitals. Frontline Foods is operating in 44 locations across the country.

The local chapter has been set-up by Portland area natives Christopher Curran and musician Lyle Divinsky. Allagash Brewing and Peak Organic are both making donations to Frontline Foods Maine, and the organization is partnering with chefs from Chaval, Duckfat, Evo Kitchen + Bar, Knotted Apron, Luke’s Lobster, and the Foreside Tavern to produce meals that will be provided to medical staff at Mercy Hospital. In addition to the work to organize the local chapter, Curran is donating all profits in April and May from his winery, Strider Wines to support the initiative.

Frontline Foods is working with World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit established by chef José Andrés, which is functioning as Frontline Foods’ 501(c)(3) partner.

For more information, you can read about Frontline Foods in the Time magazine. To make a donation to the Maine chapter visit their website: