Our Mainiacal Summit Springs Farm-ers, Sonya and John, recently stepped out of their mud-encrusted togs and into clean jeans and headed out to savor what their colleagues in the growing biz were providing.
Here's John's report:
"The Savoring the Harvest dinner was put together by
the Oxford County Ag Group, who describe themselves as “a coalition of
organizations and individuals who support agriculture in western Maine
and believe working farms produce healthy economic growth“. Along with
local chefs and producers, they staged the dinner to celebrate the
bounty of the season and promote the “buy local” message.
As you all know by now, we love food--both the growing and the consuming--and this event was right up our alley. The five-course extravaganza began with fresh bread from LolliePapa Farm in South Paris (the baker is Jeanette Baldridge, a friend and fellow vendor at the Bridgton Farmers’ Market) accompanied by a butter/herb spread and a goat cheese/roasted pepper spread, plus fresh crudites. The official first course consisted of goat cheese and caramelized onion crustini plus cucumber and “guacamole“, roasted red potato stuffed with carrot puree, and a bursting with quinoa taboule.
Excellent creamy roasted pumpkin or corn and potato chowder came next, followed up by a mixed green salad with maple mustard dressing. Then veggie pot pies or a chicken breast with a pear sauce atop sweet potato “haystacks“. We went for the chicken, and it was divine. The sweetness of the pears and the sweetness and saltiness of the roasted sweet potatoes complimented each other wonderfully. Dessert was another hard choice: apple crisp or a 5-layer chocolate/raspberry/almond torte. We gorged on the towering torte.
Throughout the feast, the chefs responsible for each item would come out to explain to the crowd their creations, reveal where the ingredients were from, and speak their piece about the importance of local eating: the quality, the freshness, the satisfaction of helping local farmers and retailers, etc. All in all, it was a wonderful evening of eating amazing food and mingling with other like-minded folks who care tremendously about the health of their bodies and of their communities. "
And as a bonus, our farmers discovered they need not drive into Portland in order to eat out well--they'll be trying the Rising Sun Café and Bakery or the McLaughlin Garden Café, both in South Paris; the Taste of Eden Café in Norway, an all vegan breakfast, soup, and sandwich establishment; the Brick Restaurant, a family-style place on Main Street in Norway; and Café Di Cocoa over in Bethel.
(Norway and Paris are not as distant as one might think, apparently, though Beth-El has not been seen in at least 2000 years.)
(Diners at McLaughlin Garden Cafe .)