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Tidbits for May 19

By Emily Burnham, BDN Staff

You know it’s been an early, mild spring when Tate’s Strawberries in Corinth opens early. According to Albert Tate, purveyor of the well-known strawberry farm, if all goes as planned, his pick-your-own operation will open on June 15 — two whole weeks ahead of 2009, when it opened the last weekend of June. The unseasonably warm weather of April sped up the growing process, though the overnight frost eastern Maine experienced over the second week of May meant Tate had to scramble to irrigate his fields and save his berry blossoms. This year’s early crop comes on the heels of a poor 2009 crop, because of above-average amounts of rain last May and June. Tate says the strawberry season is always 21/2 weeks long, no matter when it starts, so a June 15 opening means berry fans will have to pick early and freeze in order to have fruit for the Fourth of July. Additionally, Tate’s roadside stands, found at several locations in the area including Wilson Street in Brewer and Stillwater Avenue in Bangor, will have berries available as early as June 5 or 6. Tate’s strawberries also are served at local restaurants such as Governor’s, Dysart’s and the Muddy Rudder, and they are sold as they are available at Hannaford supermarkets. Tate’s Strawberry Farm is located at 136 Puddledock Road in East Corinth; it opens at dawn daily for pick-your-own. For a list of other pick-your-own farms, visit www.getrealmaine.com.

Mainers tend to get a little overexcited after two consecutive days with temperatures above 70 degrees, even if it’s only the middle of May. Regardless of what the calendar says, summer is on the brain for many, and with summer comes your favorite summer beers. Most summer brews already are on the market, including Shipyard Summer and Sea Dog Summer, both available at grocery stores and beer and wine stores, and both regional favorites for seasonal beverages. More locally, Bar Harbor’s Atlantic Brewing Co. makes both a summer ale and a crisp, delightful Island Ginger, either of which are ideal for warm weather sipping. Black Bear Brewery in Orono makes a Blueberry Wheat ale that’s available at a handful of local bars such as Paddy Murphy’s in Bangor and the Bear Brew in Orono, and at Burby & Bates in Orono and State Street Wine Cellar in Bangor. For southern Maine breweries, you can’t go wrong with Casco Bay Summer Ale, Geary’s Summer Ale, and Gritty’s Vacationland, all available in stores and often on tap in various establishments. And finally, it’s not technically a seasonal ale since it’s available year-round, but Allagash White is one of the ultimate summer brews, with a fruity, clean taste that goes great with burgers on the grill. What’s your favorite summer beer? It doesn’t have to be a Maine brand, either — any beer fan knows Sam Adams and Magic Hat both make some seriously tasty brews. Send an e-mail to eburnham@bangordailynews.com with your suggestions.

Three events at the Woodlawn Museum in Ellsworth are set for the last two weeks of May, for gardeners and for those folks equally interested in history and food. At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 22, master gardener Martha Cross will teach people how to make a lasagna garden, which uses cardboard or newspaper to create a raised bed. At 10 a.m. Saturday, May 29, Woodlawn gardeners will lead a workshop on creating a container garden — a popular alternative for those interested in growing, but who lack any land with which to work. Finally, on Thursday, May 27, food historian and Bangor Daily News columnist Sandy Oliver will give a lecture titled “From Peas on a Knife to Peas on a Fork: Towards Genteel Dining in the 1800s.” Oliver will illustrate just how we came to eat food in the way we do, and how different it was in centuries before. Admission to all three events is by donation; for information, visit www.woodlawnmuseum.com.

Tidbits is hungry for news about local food products and events. Send your Tidbits by mail to: Bangor Daily News, attn: Tidbits, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329; by fax to 941-9476; or by e-mail to tidbits@bangordailynews.com.

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