Food quote of note

"The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience"…Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Taste of Maine

We spent a long weekend in Maine not too long ago with our dear friend Mason - what a great time!  I love Maine - the trees, the water, the down-to-earth Mainers wearing their muddy LL Bean boots and flannel while they walk their dogs - and, of course - I love the FOOD!  Maine is a great place for a foodie - in addition to the amazing seafood you can also find a wide array of delicious fresh produce, artisinal meats and cheeses and any number of interesting eats.  We tried to get in as many outdoor activities as we could - but, when we weren't enjoying the beautiful Maine landscape, we were enjoying their delectable food.  Here's a quick slice of our most recent visit to Maine....

We started our weekend with a visit to the SabbathDay Lake Shaker Village - founded in 1783, this is an active community of Shakers and a working farm .  (I know, this seems like a very old folks kind of stop, but trust me, it was really very interesting!!)  Not only did we get to tour the Shaker Village and learn about this very interesting slice of American history, we bought apples from the Shaker orchard and actually pressed our own cider!  It was a VERY MAINE experience!

Of course, it wouldn't be a trip to Maine without a Lobster Dinner.  Each year we go to the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster Company for the freshest of lobster.  It sits right on the dock  in South Freeport and, like most of Maine and its' inhabitants, Harraseeket is a very unassuming and functional place - nothing fancy - just fresh lobster pulled right out of the water and cooked when you order it.  It's a little messy - but, oh so good!! 

And - talk about a real New England experience - we spent our Saturday night at a Barn Dance!  Had a great time at the Wolf's Neck Farm Harvest Dance - lots of boots, plaid, good music, bales of hay and a great campfire! 

The next day we headed up the Coast from Freeport, stopping at some lovely, quintessential Maine towns - Brunswick, Bath, Camden, Wiscasset.  The day was slightly overcast, but that didn't stop us from enjoying the charming towns, beautiful coastline and, of course, some great seafood for lunch.

One of our favorite stops was Beth's Farm Market, in Warren Maine.  We had been to Beth's on a previous visit and knew we had to stop there again - a true farm stand with an amazing collection of Maine's harvest as well as some homemade treats like jams and jellies, apple cider, cheddar cheese, and apple crisp.  A little rain didn't keep us from enjoying all of the shapes, sizes and colors of  Maine's fall bounty - I wanted to take one of everything home with me in my suitcase!   

The next day we headed North to drive what is considered one of Maine's best Leaf Loops - up to Skowhegan, almost to Jackman (which means almost to Canada!), along the Kenebec River and Moosehead Lake.  While the weather was still a little overcast, the colors were amazing - what a lovely way to spend an autumn day!

Too soon it was the last day of our trip! We woke to a beautifully sunny and warm day and decided, of course, to spend it outside.  We headed to Pineland Farms, a 500-acre local farm that is dedicated to "Connecting the Community to the Land".  We were able to stroll the grounds and gardens, visit the barns and pet the calves, observe local workers make their award-winning cheese in the creamery and enjoy that same cheese in our lunch.  It was a great day and a great visit. 

We reluctantly headed to Portland to catch our flight home.  We stopped by the Portland Headlight, the lighthouse at Cape Elizabeth. 

One of my favorite foodie finds of the trip was Scratch Baking Company - a truly neighborhood place located in South Portland, not too far from the lighthouse.  Our friend Mason recommended we stop there for lunch because he knew it would be "my kind of place" - and OH WAS HE RIGHT!! I love everything about this place - from its quaint storefront, to its stacks of fresh baked bread to its homey soup, sandwich and dessert recipes made with great local and fresh ingredients - it had great food and it was full of heart!  The local kids were stopping by for a cookie on their way home from school while their parents picked up something for dinner (wine, bread, cheese, dessert).  You could tell this was someplace special...and you could see that the owners of Scratch were indeed accomplishing what they set out to do...

    From the Scratch website..."changed the name to describe our mission of providing quality products with personality that reflect the joy and bounty of every season.  We continually refine what we learn, and how to best grow our business to reflect our ideals; combining great food and neighborhood spirit. The environment you will find is personal, welcoming and good natured.... our goal is to throw a party every day."

Our visit to Maine was great and this was a special way to end it -  I was totally inspired by what I saw, what I tasted and what I felt in that small neighborhood bakery.  Like all of Maine I had seen and experienced on our trip - it was fresh, simple, hearty and authentic.


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