Today’s announcement from the James Beard Foundation includes this description of the farm:
When Gloria married Gregg Varney, she insisted that they open a café on the farm in Turner, Maine that has been in the Varney family for more than a hundred years. The first organic dairy farm in Maine, Nezinscot Farm takes its name, shared by a nearby river, from the Abenaki word signifying a place to gather. The Abenaki name is seemingly also a mission for the Varneys. In 1987, Nezinscot opened its Café and Coffee shop, and Gloria’s original vision has since expanded to include a bakery, a fromagerie, and charcuterie. The Café has something beautiful and exciting on every shelf—cases of homemade cheeses and meats, bagels, freshly baked pies, and perfect breads rolling out the kitchen, topped with farm eggs and homemade sausage and cheeses. The energy behind it all feels directed at building community, with delicious homemade everything (even the teas, even the crackers) serving as the vital instrument of creating and sustaining that gathering. The Varneys feed the community in many ways, significantly providing a warm space to gather around food on a farm in the middle of Maine.
The America’s Classics Awards are given to “locally owned restaurants that have timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of its community.” Maine has celebrated two prior award winners in this category: Waterman’s Beach Lobster in South Thomaston in 2001, and Bagaduce Lunch in Penobscot in 2008.
The Varneys will receive their award at the Beard Awards Gala taking place on June 5th at the Lyric Opera in Chicago.
Additionally, 11 Maine restaurants and chefs have been named semifinalists and are in contention for the 2023 awards. The final list of nominees are due out on March 29th with the award winners also being announced in Chicago on June 5th.