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Maine produce - what's in season now?


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Is it strawberry season yet? Local Jersey berries were at the greenmarket last week, but I'm wondering how quickly the season spreads northwards. (Assuming that the crop hasn't been washed away.)

Any suggestions re where to find good fresh produce in the mid-coast (Bath) area?

There's supposed to be a farm stand in Woolwich but they never seem to be open when I'm by there. Any others?

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Bath has a farmer's market that started in early May. Take a look: http://www.bathfarmersmarket.com/

There are bound to be others within a short drive. I got into the habit of going to farmers markets four or so days out of the week when vacationing in Camden for the past several years. Not sure what other towns are close enough to Bath.

Here is a search engine for Maine farmer's markets. Good luck!

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Jordan's on Cape Elizabeth is expecting Strawberries by this time next week.

I have to add that Harbor Fish Market in Portland had quite a bounty of whole fish for sale monday: Fresh Red Snapper - tons of them - for $6.99/lb; Sea Bass for $5.99/lb; Scup for $4.99; the last of the softshell crab, primes and hotels for $3.99 - 5.99/lb; piles of haddock and monk loin too, plus the usual mountain of salmon and tuna. Damn, I love that place!

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Thanks folks. Love the search engine! I now have a huge list of farm stands in 3 counties! Berries, yessss.......

Johnnyd, as things have worked out, I doubt that we're going to hit Portland at all this time. Pity, Harbor Fish sounds like my kind of place. But we will be by the water, just a short walk from Five Islands Lobster Co., so I'm not complaining. :biggrin: At all. :biggrin:

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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  • 2 months later...

Today's Farmers Market at Deering Oaks Park was chock full of produce picked before hurricane Ernesto falls apart over northern New England. Among them, these heirloom tomatos:

gallery_16643_1028_12755.jpg

The shocker: They sold for $1 per pound! :shock: This is six pounds, the largest at five inches across. Yeah, baby!

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Heirloom gazpacho in your future??

Those tomatoes are just so pretty... :smile:

Bingo, Katie!

I flash-boiled the three in front for a few seconds to remove skins and dig out scars, then roasted a green pepper, one onion and two cloves garlic. Added 3tbs each of EVOO and sherry vinegar, S&P in a blender with a cup or so of yesterdays bread to all the de-skinned veg and presto! A mighty tasty gazpacho. :smile:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I can't say enough about Beth's farm stand near Waldoboro. Believe me when I say this is locally famous, particularly for organic produce. I'm not sure exactly what town they're in but it's a few miles off of route 1, on the west side.

Heading north, I believe you'll see signs (handmade or otherwise) either at the intersection by Moody's Diner or soon thereafter. Heading south, I think it's just a homemade sign that points you there through pretty back roads. Watch for it! I was there two weeks ago and came back with strawberries, blueberries, onions, potatoes, all kinds of other stuff. They take credit cards, thank goodness.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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I can't say enough about Beth's farm stand near Waldoboro.  Believe me when I say this is locally famous, particularly for organic produce.  I'm not sure exactly what town they're in but it's a few miles off of route 1, on the west side. 

Beth's is in the town of Warren and, while they have excellent produce and use as few chemicals as possible, it is not organic.

Another excellent farm stand is Spears' on Route 1 in Waldoboro. They have some of the best corn available, with many varieties as the season progresses. They also have great frozen farm-raised chicken. Very meaty and some of the best I've had.

Yet another good farm stand is Clark's on business Rt. 1 in Damariscotta. They have, to my mind, the best blueberries.

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Can you find different varieties of heirloom potatoes at some of the farmer's markets? I thought John Thorne (in "Serious Pig") mentioned that there were still some producers in Maine; the descriptions of the potatoes sounded great.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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If you want heirloom potatoes, you will probably have to seek out individual organic growers. You'd be unlikely to find such potatoes from large commercial growers in Maine, or elsewhere.

Edited to add: Just noticed your sig - "Tammy Wynette & George Jones"

George Jones is an old favorite of mine, along with Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.

Edited by Country (log)
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$1 a pound? I think they cost $5 or $6 a pount at stop n shop so sometimes I treat myself to a mixed heirloom salad.

I have never been out to Maine to seek produce. I hear that there are some places that sell sea greens, is this true? If so, what kinds? Anyone sell wild mushrooms?

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
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That's right: $1.00!

They just had too many that day. Crates and crates of brandywines and cherokee purples in all their deformed splendour.

Just got back from today's Deering Farmers Market (the cold weather coming through tonight made me speculate that much harvest would be available) and the price for heirlooms averaged $2.50/lb. There was one yellow one that must have weighed three pounds on it's own - at least seven inches across - wow.

Picked up some heirloom carrots too. Yellow and purple that are really cool. I also saw heirloom potatos for sale in quart baskets for $4. Not very many and no different coloring to speak of. I didn't buy them.

I hear that there are some places that sell sea greens, is this true? If so, what kinds?

I have seen a couple up-starts, Coastal Plantations in Easport and these guys among them, but I also bought a small bag of seaweed "pasta" that I'm going to try soon, and post on the Adventures in Eating forum. In general, there is new vigor in the seaweed produce arena up here. I'll post more when I find out.

Anyone sell wild mushrooms?

Mushrooms are prolific. I was contacted through friends by a picker/buyer in Belgrade Lakes who had many flats of choice chanterelles, black trumpet and Matsutake to "get rid of" and fast. Conditions that year were perfect. Ended up driving to top restarants around the coast in my jeep stuffed with very expensive mushrooms and making a little money. We always get in touch this time of year to survey the market and growing conditions just in case we can do it again.

Today's farmer's market had a few flats of good looking local oyster-like shrooms for sale.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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I've heard there's a good wild mushroom purveyor at the Camden Farmer's Market, but more than that I do not know.

God, I'd love to find matsutakes. Never heard of them in NE except on the Cape, and only in October.

I apologize if I steered anyone wrong about Beth's being organic, as the poster said they are not, in general, an organic farm stand, though I seem to think they had a lot of organic stuff last time I was there. However, I'm not a careful label reader when it comes to that kind of stuff - if it looks and smells good, it's in the pot.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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My Belgrade Lakes friend had a half dozen "pickers" that inundated her with big, beautiful matsi that year and I found myself frantically googling around looking for knowledge. Indeed, I actually had to educate a few chefs about them in order to sell them at $30/lb.

This Site was the most helpful (and entertaining) about the crew who lose themselves in the Oregon woods in search of matsutake.

I did wrap a few grade A matsi in tissue and give them to the sushi chefs in town who, as you may imagine, were most grateful. They prepared them in a simple miso with scallion, and in a simple rice dish. Unforgetable flavor. :smile:

Edited by johnnyd (log)

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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If you want heirloom potatoes, you will probably have to seek out individual organic growers. You'd be unlikely to find such potatoes from large commercial growers in Maine, or elsewhere.

...

Sounds right; I thought some of the smaller and/or organic growers of heirloom potatoes might frequent some of the farmer's markets.

Edited to add: Just noticed your sig - "Tammy Wynette & George Jones"

George Jones is an old favorite of mine, along with Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard.

:smile:

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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My Belgrade Lakes friend had a half dozen "pickers" that inundated her with big, beautiful matsi that year and I found myself frantically googling around looking for knowledge.  Indeed, I actually had to educate a few chefs about them in order to sell them at $30/lb.

This Site was the most helpful (and entertaining) about the crew who lose themselves in the Oregon woods in search of matsutake.

I did wrap a few grade A matsi in tissue and give them to the sushi chefs in town who, as you may imagine, were most grateful.  They prepared them in a simple miso with scallion, and in a simple rice dish.  Unforgetable flavor. :smile:

I've only ever seen a native one once - it was picked in VT and brought into an ID meeting. There was an expert there who said in Japan, in that perfect condition (it was still completely veiled - the cap had not yet spread open), it would've been worth $100 or more. For what it's worth, in that young state it had a very phallic shape.

I know in Japan matsutake fields in the woods (they grow in pines) are handed down as precious legacies.

The one I saw and sniffed did not have the marked spicy smell that is supposed to be their big distinction. I've heard the US ones are not as good as the Japanese when it comes to that, but there's apparently a lot of regional variation.

There are definitely people who pick them on the Cape, and who even claim to be able to find them by smell. Very cool! Maybe I could buy one someplace and then train a bloodhound or something.

As a strange and controversial note, a recent book on mushrooms of the cape excluded matsutake, although it's thought the author was thoroughly aware they could be found there.

In the northwest, I think, and maybe some other places there is a strange marker plant called candy cane I think - a red and white saprophytic plant maybe? - easy enough to look up but I'm being lazy - and wherever it grows in the summer, it's likely you'll find matsutakes in the fall. I don't know of anything like that in the northeast, unfortunately.

Anyway, you've got me going johnnyd as usual - I'm going to have to try the cape this year! But right now my hopes are on hen of the woods (maitakes) and I just have a feeling it will be a good year for porcini and other boletes.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Stop fidgeting, elrap and get your ass to Belgrade Lakes as soon as we get drenched by a hurricane! :laugh:  :cool:

Hah! Wierd, I went to summer camp on Belgrade Lakes, haven't been back since. Beautiful area. Camp's not there anymore, I heard it's a vacation home development.

Matsutake's a good excuse to get up there again! Actually do let me/us know if your friend says they're in season there and reasonably abundant. It's a ways up if I remember right, but a beautiful ride.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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There was an expert there who said in Japan, in that perfect condition (it was still completely veiled - the cap had not yet spread open), it would've been worth $100 or more.

My friend did separate the load she drove down into four "grades". The unopened, still-veiled ones were grade A, the ones with a small rip in the veil were grade B, and the ones with little veil but still phallic-like were C and ones whose caps were opening up were D-grade.

We got an offer from a japanese fellow I used to sell sea-urchins to on the waterfront here for $25/lb for the A grade which we refused. After selling them to restaurants he called back and haggled, creeping up to $30/lb. We refused but the load was all gone and the pickers were back in the forest filling baskets with more matsi. Another call from the waterfront buyer said he would buy grade A's for $35/lb and we delivered about twenty lbs of fresh, fully-veiled matsi. He wasn't expecting so many and nervously started picking out the supposedly B-grade ones.... a sordid affair! Much like haggling over sea urchins. Or maybe semi-automatics by the crate-load?! :blink:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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FRESH FISH ALERT:

I went to Harbor Fish off Commercial Street y'day and what a wealth of delicacies!

Just in that morning - Fresh Sardines, anchovies and polpo - all for $7.99/lb. It was all gorgeous and I wish I'd had my camera. Owner Ben said all the cool chefs had been in already, including the Caiola's crew who purchased the polpo. Ben said he was going there that night specifically to see what Abby would do with it. I bought a pound of sardines, dredged them in flour and salt and did 'em up in veg oil 'til crisp, added a heirloom tomato, onion and cilantro "salsa" - awesome.

They will probably last through today so everybody get down there ASAP!

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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FRESH FISH ALERT:

I went to Harbor Fish off Commercial Street y'day and what a wealth of delicacies!

johnnyd--

Oh my goodness! The polpo was fantastic!!! We managed to get the last of it. Ronnie says to me, "that's not enough to make it worth it." I say, " I don't care, I want it!" Let me say, we now both agree it was absolutely worth it, a total treat. We were very simple with the preparation, simmered it in water, red wine, onion, garlic, oregano, etc than finished it quickly over hot hardwood coals. Tender, tasty and delicious.

BTW, we also tried the tiny white fish (bottom of the barrel), tried to do "little fried fish". It wasn't quite successful, we should have gone with the bigger (and beautiful) anchovies. We also passed on the sardines because only the very smallest were left.

Otherwise... :) Yours sounded great! You really can't go wrong with sardines - grilled, fried, broiled, its all good!

We asked the guy if there would be more, he thought maybe in a few weeks. I couldn't tell if he was guessing or not. So please, if you spot this stuff again, I'd appreciate another heads up.

Take care!

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That's great, ellie!

Ben said they were express-shipped from somewhere in the Mediterranean - I'd venture to say Portugal - so there is no regular timetable. I wish I'd gotten the anchovies - no need to extract the bones; I'd eaten 'em heads and all. My sardines were a little too big for that - but delicious, just like I remembered them from my teens in Portugal.

Did you add a piece of cork to the cooking liquid for your polpo? It apparently makes it more tender. I once asked Mario Batalli when he joined eG for a week of Q&A about it and it's an old italian trick that seems to be forgotten.

Next time I'm getting those and trying it a la moda ellie! :smile:

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello there,

This is my first post to eGullet, so forgive me if I screw it up.

Oyster Creek are the mushroom folks at the Camden's Farmers Market. Here is a link to their site: http://www.oystercreekmushroom.com/

I've never foraged for mushrooms before, but people are really into here on the midcoast. Its one of those million and one ways that Mainers have of making extra income.

--Rachel

PS I love Beth's! Try their farmhouse cheddar! Crumbly but delectable.

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Hi Rachel,

Welcome to eGullet! I see nothing screwey about your post - all is well! :biggrin:

What's happening down your way these days?

Johnnyd

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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