Keeping it local — Farmers markets tend to wind down around October, but there are still a healthy handful of them that continue throughout the winter. The Orono Farmers Market continues throughout the colder months, from 9 a.m. to noon on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month in the downtown Orono municipal parking lot. The Belfast Farmers Market will be open from 9 a.m. until noon Fridays, through Dec. 18, at Aubuchon Hardware Store on Route 1. And, as always, the European Farmers Market is held from 9 a.m. until noon every Saturday on Buck Street in Bangor, next to Sunnyside Greenhouse. During the winter, expect lots of hardy root vegetables brought up from the root cellar, meats, cheeses and baked and cooked foods. Maple syrup and Maine shrimp will arrive in early 2010. Growing season might be long over, but Maine still has plenty of good stuff to offer.
A nod to New England — There are lots of things synonymous with New England, and fortunately for beer lovers, fine quality microbrewed beer is one of them. Sam Adams, the originator of the microbrew craze, will honor its New England connection as it unveils its limited edition Barrel Room Collection only in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Colorado stores. The three beers that make up the Barrel Room Collection — New World Tripel, American Kriek and Stony Brook Red — are available only in 750-milliliter bottles, the size of a wine bottle. They’re priced each at $9.95 and have a higher alcohol content. The beers are barrel-aged, which means that after the beer has been brewed in metal tanks, it’s poured into huge wooden barrels and left to age for a full year. It’s then blended with other beers, resulting in a truly unique taste. Ask your local beer, wine or liquor store if they’ll be carrying the Barrel Room Collection.
Peppermint, Pumpkin and Pistachio — Gifford’s Ice Cream has rolled out three new flavors in time for the holiday season. Pink Peppermint Stick and Pumpkin arrive in stores this week, while Pistachio Nut will arrive a bit later on in the season. The pumpkin is full of nutmeg and cinnamon, while the peppermint stick is chock full of crunchy bits of peppermint candy. Pistachio retains its traditional green hue, but is loaded with pistachios to give it some extra crunch. Gifford’s also will roll out holiday-themed packaging, featuring winter and Christmas scenes for a limited time. For information on Gifford’s Ice Cream, visit www.giffordsicecream.com.