Chicken Farmers Corner Grace

There are several articles of interest in today’s Portland Daily Sun:

  • A feature article on the new restaurant initiatives that are proceeding during a downturn in the economy. The optimists behind The Corner Room, The Farmer’s Table and Figa were all interviewed for the piece.
  • An update on Grace, the new restaurant being built in the renovated Chestnut Street Church.
  • An article on Portland’s local food movement and the new Portland chicken ordinance.

Maine Street Marketplace

There’s an article in today’s Press Herald about the goals of Maine Street Marketplace initiative that’s meeting this week at USM.

Maine farmers, fishermen and others are working to create a new delivery system to connect customers with locally produced food and agricultural products.

The idea is to set up an online grocery store that would take customer orders for the wide range of produce, fish, meat, poultry, dairy and other agricultural products produced around the state. A warehousing and distribution system would be part of the venture, which may also include a retail store and commercial kitchen for food processing.

Farms in Maine

The total number of farms in Maine increased 13% from 2002 to 2007 and the number of organic farms increased 139% over same time period, according to an article in today’s Press Herald.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its latest five-year census this week, showing that the number of farms in Maine increased by 13 percent, to 8,136, from 2002 to 2007, compared with a 4 percent increase nationwide. The average size of a Maine farm declined 13 percent, to 166 acres, during the same period.

Community Supported Fisheries

CSFs are front and center in this article in the Food & Health section of today’s Press Herald. According to the article, a number of community supported fisheries will be on hand at the CSA Fairs taking place across the state on February 8.

As of last week, organizers were expecting lobster and mussel shares to be offered in Portland, lobster and shrimp in Brunswick, and mussels in Newcastle. Seafood shares were also expected to be available in Belfast, Orono and maybe Saco and Ellsworth.

Maple Sugar

Poor weather conditions the past couple years have constrained supply of maple syrup. Maine syrup producers are adding capacity in anticipation of this year’s season in hopes of capitalizing on the market conditions, according to an article in today Maine Sunday Telegram.

“The largely mom-and-pop operations don’t tap sugar maples until the sap starts to flow, usually around the third week of February.

But this year, maple syrup fever is raging across the state thanks to a shortage of the sweet amber liquid. This January, prices have soared and syrup makers are racing to increase production, laying new sap lines and preparing to tap more trees than ever before.”

Maine Maple Sunday is taking place on March 22nd this year.