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Welcome To the Maine Foods Network

Maine Foods Network is a web site meant to help put more Maine food on more Maine tables more often. This network of several Maine sustainable agriculture projects-- -- aims to make it easier for Maine farmers to find local markets for their world-class produce, as well as for Maine businesses to offer the highest quality local foods to their customers.

New Services

The Maine Foods Network is expanding the services that it offers to Maine food producers, buyers, and consumers. The Local Foods Challenge will allow Maine food consumers to track their purchases of local foods; and Our Food / Our Farms / Our Families will offer Maine food producers the ability to add sales, images, and journal entries, to their existing contact information.

Let us know what you think!

The MaineFoods.Net Development Team

Winter's White Wonders
Posted by: erector2 on Wednesday, November 28, 2007 - 05:42 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine There are many wonderful white foods that grow in Maine -- pearly sweet corn, nutty parsnips, the flesh of a tart apple, good milk and cheese -- but winter specifically features two Maine heavyweights in this color group: potatoes and scallops. Potatoes come in many colors, but the classic white fleshed varieties (with buff, brown, or red jackets) are what I think of for making mounds of fluffy mashed potatoes so prevalent on holiday tables this time of year.

We actually eat only the opalescent grey abductor muscle of the scallop organism (of the Pectinidae family), but we rarely get to see the other bits (such as the bright red roe). You know when they're cooked because they turn a brilliant milky white. Although dragged scallops are available year-round, winter is the season for diver scallops that, when hand harvested by careful fishermen, are sustainable, sweet, and grit-free by nature and don't contribute to the destruction of the ocean floor. Troquet, a restaurant in Boston, currently features these pale but mighty Maine ingredients in a single dish to delight our winter taste buds.

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Late Fall Lack of Lobsters
Posted by: erector2 on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 06:56 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine Warmer waters in November may feel like a Florida vacation to a lobster, allowing them to hang out in the shallower coastal waters to catch a few more rays. Normally the lobster families are packing up their summer cabanas and heading to deeper waters this time of year to escape the rapid decent in coastal temperatures. Along the way they have tended to stop for a bite to eat in many of the "free" netted diners along the way, ending up on your and my dining tables. October and November have recently been a boon to lobstermen, but not this year. Whetever the reason, combining the lower hauls with the spiraling cost of diesel fuel and bait and the question arises: could these Maine symbols of freedom and self-sufficency be on the same path as the Marlboro men?

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Sallow Spuds Sport Special Status
Posted by: erector2 on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 06:56 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what is most meaningful in our lives -- but it's impossible to adequately reflect without a giant scoop of mashed potatoes under the gravy and beside the slice of turkey (or TofuRkey if that's your pleasure). In other words: potatoes pull our lives into focus. And increasingly, yellow fleshed potatoes are becoming the most popular vehicle to meaningful genuflection. "They look like butter, so people think they taste buttery," Jim Cook, a farmer and local food distributor in Maine, said of yellow-fleshed potatoes. “But really, they just taste more potatoey.”

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Challenge Yourself
Posted by: erector2 on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 06:55 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine As if we need an excuse...the Belfast Coop and Food For Maine's Future have challenged Mainers to cook at least one meal this month using 100% local ingredients as part of their Eat Local Challenge effort in 2007. While we may not have the summer bounty of fresh tomatoes, sweet corn, and green beans that we relish from our own garden or local farm stand, we do have lots of tasty and wholesome Maine food to choose from this month, whether it's an entire Thanksgiving feast, or a quiet family dinner (MPBN audio story) on a weeknight. So look a little closer at the "source" labels at your favorite food store this month and take the challenge. You may be surprised to find out how good it tastes to eat only Maine food for an evening.

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Talk About Eating Local
Posted by: erector2 on Tuesday, November 20, 2007 - 06:55 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine The idea of eating locally has caught hold of the public's consciousness in 2007, as reflected in many books and articles that have been published detailing the ideas behind the movement. So it shouldn't be any surprise that "locovore" has been voted Word Of The Year in 2007 by the New Oxford American Dictionary. Now we can all talk about eating locally and properly identify those who do.

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Five Easy Ways To Eat Maine Organic
Posted by: erector2 on Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - 03:52 PM
Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Assoc. If you're interested in adding more organic ingredients to your diet, you can easily support Maine farmers at the same time. The NYTimes on-line has published a list called The Five Easy Way To Go Organic which explains why it makes sense to buy more organic milk, potatoes, and apples, as well as peanut butter and ketchup(?!?). These are organic crops that Maine excels in producing both in quantity and in quality, so you can't go wrong adding a Maine organic baked potato and sour cream, followed by an apple pie. Yum.

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Maine Cheese Please
Posted by: erector2 on Wednesday, October 03, 2007 - 07:48 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine The Maine Cheese Guild is opening their doors to the public this Sunday, October 7th, to show off the high quality of cheeses that earned them 17 ribbons at the 2007 American Cheese Society competition. "Cheese lovers from New England to the West Coast were greatly impressed with the wide array of artisan cheeses being made in Maine, and this Open Creamery Day is a way to celebrate the harvest season and the bounty of Maine cheeses available," Guild president Jennifer Betancourt says. From Brooksville down to Westbrook, Maine's superior climate for grass and dairy animals is featured in cheeses from simple chevre and Jack to "world class" European styles of cheese are made and sold.

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The World Is Finding Common Ground
Posted by: erector2 on Friday, September 21, 2007 - 02:31 PM
Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Assoc. Every year at this time Maine focuses few hundred acres of former potato fields in Unity where the Common Ground Country Fair takes place (Sept. 21 - 23 this year), organized by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). There you can share in the commitment to make our food supply, as well as the rest of our environment, as good and pure as it can be. Hundreds of seminars, displays, exhibits, and happy people cover the grounds through the three day event, as they have for over thirty years now. Back when it started, only the dedicated few made an effort to organize and attend -- now it seems as though the world has finally caught up with them.

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Tasting Maine
Posted by: erector2 on Monday, September 10, 2007 - 06:20 PM
Maine Organic Farmers & Gardeners Assoc. On Friday, September 14th Mainers will have a chance to experience the full range of their state through their taste buds. "Tastings" is a MOFGA fund raiser that will kick-off the second annual Maine Fare food festival in Camden for the weekend.

In 2006 the Maine State Legislature updated Maine's Food Policy, the first update since it had been created in 1986. One of the new initiatives is a goal for Maine to grow at least 80% of the food it eats by 2020; currently the state produces about 20% of all the food consumed by its citizens. At "Tastings" these chefs will demonstrate how good our meals can taste when every dish features at least 80% Maine-grown products.

This year the featured chefs at "Tastings" will include: Melissa Ettinger of Valerie Jean's in Milo; Maureen Fauske of Flour Power in Topsham; Tom Gutow of the Castine Inn; Rich Hansen of Cleonice in Ellsworth; Eloise Humphrey and Daphne Comaskey of El Camino in Brunswick; Melissa Kelly and Price Kushner of Primo Restaurant in Rockland; Leslie Oster and Salvator Talerico of Aurora Provisions in Portland; Dean Zaloumis of Sweet Fern Farm and Mother Oven in Bowdoinham; a cheese plate from the Maine Cheese Guild; and others.

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How Does Maine Fare?
Posted by: erector2 on Monday, September 10, 2007 - 06:19 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine Camden becomes the center of Maine's food universe this weekend - September 14th through 16th - when Maine Fare lights the pilot light and starts cooking with gas. The festival includes marketplace exhibitors, presentations, panel discussions, cooking demonstrations, book sales and signings, and fresh local food everywhere. It will kick off Friday night with "Tastings," a MOFGA fund raiser that features lots of Maine food and drink served by some of the best chefs in Maine who feature local food on their menus every day.

And that's just the main event! In addition to the marketplace activities and presentations, a series of special events will complement the festival:
  • Professional-caliber cooking classes provided by local chefs in some of the most lovely venues on the Maine coast.
  • Special dinners offered at some of the finest local restaurants.
  • Three guided tasting events with Maine handcrafted food products: Maine's Beers, Breads, and Sausages; Maine Wine and Cheese; Maine's Smoked Seafood and Spirits.


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Gad-Zukes!
Posted by: erector2 on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 - 04:34 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine Swimming in zucchini yet? Discovered an anonymous basket of these large dark green fruit left on your doorstep last night? It's a shame that this fast growing gourd gets such a bad rap because when young and lightly cooked (pan-fried with some onions or shallots, then tossed with cultured butter and sea salt) it can provide a light and nutty counterpoint to many of the other big summer bumper crops. The secret when growing them is to grow ONE plant., no more than two, and harvest daily. Once the bounty swells into firewood worthy sizes (seemingly overnight), there's not much they're good for except doorstops -- even hogs have a hard time getting excited about dining on those logs. However, between tiny and too big, zucchini is a very versatile ingredient in many clever dishes: chocolate zucchini cake? Actually it's very moist with a grassy tone that mellows out the bitterness of the cocoa.

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Clam Dance
Posted by: erector2 on Wednesday, August 29, 2007 - 04:16 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine Anyone who went to the beach (ocean or fresh water) in New England knows what a fried clam is: oddly shaped, alternately soft and chewy, a hot savory nugget that spreads a sweet- salty sea breeze across your palate. Properly made out of soft-shelled clams (never "clam strips"!), they are THE oceanside lunch in Maine (and someways south), as important as lobster has become for a visitor's plate after dark. Maine clams and other shellfish have had a rough time the last few seasons, but they never go out of style, and now the NY Times samples clams on the way up to Portland. That kind of survey misses many prime spots in Yarmouth, Searsport, Bucksport, as well Bar Harbor and beyond. But that's OK -- most Mainers know where to find good clams, and at least north of Portland we won't have to stand in a long line for them.

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Savoring The Surplus
Posted by: erector2 on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - 01:03 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine All year we wait for the big three -- corn, beans, and tomatoes -- to come into season so we can savor those strong flavors of summer, and now they're finally here by the bushel! If you haven't already been overwhelmed, head to your nearest farmers' market as soon as possible. All three are best enjoyed at their peak as the star of their own show: sweet corn on the cob with butter and salt; steamed or sauteed green beans with butter and a quick squirt of lemon; thick slabs of sliced tomatoes seasoned with salt, pepper and maybe a few wisps of chopped basil. After gorging on these classics you can mix things up in the spirit of the season by grilling your corn and beans: soak the corn with its husks in water for an hour, then put the whole thing on a hot fire; toss green beans with olive oil before grilling. Tomatoes don't grill well, but for variety with them they can be served at the end of the meal, as well as at the beginning: why not try tomatoes as part of your dessert?

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Maine Cheese Guild Big Winners At The American Cheese Society Awards
Posted by: erector2 on Wednesday, August 08, 2007 - 07:32 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine Cheese makers of the Maine Cheese Guild won 17 ribbons including six blue ribbons for first place in their category at the 2007 American Cheese Society (ACS) Competition. Ten of the participating Guild cheese makers won at least one award. The judging took place at the annual ACS Conference, held in Burlington, VT this year, and included a record 1208 cheeses entered from 200 North American cheese producers making this the largest US cheese competition in history.

The winners from Maine competed in a broad range of categories and styles using cow's, goat's , and sheep's milk, several of them organic. Because the competition provides useful feedback to cheese makers from the judging in addition to the chance to win a nationally recognized award for their efforts. This is the first year that the Guild organized as a group, with help from the Maine Department of Agriculture and other supporters, to generate as many competition entries as possible, which resulted in over 30 entries from Guild members up from 5 entries in 2006.

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Raw Power
Posted by: erector2 on Wednesday, August 08, 2007 - 07:31 PM
Eat Local Foods Coalition of Maine Raw milk has achieved a cultural milestone: a puff piece in the NY Times featuring pictures of smiling New Yorkers (including babies!) in soft focus pictures admitting to risking "illness or even death to drink their milk the way Americans did for centuries: straight from the cow." Illness or death? That's how I would have described the risk of participating in one of New York's more celebrated events: the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4th. Actually, shouldn't that tag line be applied to the act of eating ANY foods from China at the moment?

Maine is one of the 26 states that allows the regulated sale of raw milk, as is New York. It's great to see people who are interested in learning more about their foods, how they are processed, and making their own choices about what to eat. It's also nice that fluid raw milk is largely a local food because it has a shorter shelf-life than pasteurized (or ultra-pasteurized) milk. But it's unfortunate that we still approach raw milk (and lately any raw food like spinach) as if it's nuclear waste. Pasteurization alone doesn't make food safe -- proper handling at every processing step makes food safe, whether it starts out raw or cooked. But given this constantly reinforced fear of raw products, one publicized incident where a raw food is blamed (justifiably or not) could cause our government regulators to outlaw this and every kind of raw food in the name of food safety. Salad greens from small farms are in danger of disappearing from store shelves because a gigantic greens processor in California had a hiccup in their quality control. Raw apple cider (and other fruit juices) were outlawed a few years ago, which drastically changed the Maine food landscape forever. Despite (or because of) the positive attention it has lately received, could raw milk and raw milk products be next?

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