Growing season is pretty much done here in Maine, but this weekend at the Bangor Auditorium it’ll be like August all over again with the first-ever Maine Harvest Festival. More than 50 vendors from all over the state will sell their wares and make connections with both professional and home chefs who can not only sample the goods but also buy them and bring them home. Then there are all the demonstrations from the likes of Dysart’s, the Sea Dog, Winterport Winery, Montes International Catering, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Eastern Maine Community College and Cheryl Wixson’s Kitchen. Oh, and Portland’s Pizza Pie on the Fly will bring their mobile brick oven. We can hear your tummy rumbling from here. Admission is $5, and the show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, at the Bangor Auditorium. For information, visit maineharvestfestival.com.
Bread and baked goods
Carb-lovers will rejoice to find folks such as Daily Bread from Levant and Enchanted Kitchen at Fire Fly Farm from St. Albans, both of whom make gloriously yeasty breads, rolls and flatbreads available all over eastern Maine. Those who abstain from gluten can try the Better Bread Company in Windham, which specializes in gluten-free pizza dough, and Irish Daisy Bakery from Hermon, which makes gluten-free whoopie pies. For whoopie pies that do have gluten, try Weezie’s Whoopie Pies out of Eastbrook. The New England Cupboard out of Bangor makes baking mixes, so you can do it yourself — and they also sell Bakewell Cream, a staple of Maine pantries for more than a century.
Cheese and dairy
Cheesemakers are plentiful in Maine, and there are five of them selling at the festival. Cow’s milk cheese will be offered up by Harmony Mill Farm out of Waltham and Longfellow Creamery at Second Chance Farm in Avon, while goat cheese is made by Garden Side Dairy at Hatch Knoll Farm in Jonesboro, Old Oake Farm from Maxfield and Seal Cove Farm in Lamoine. Maine’s Own Organic Milk, providing fresh Maine organic milk to stores statewide, will have booth, as will Stone Fox Farm Creamery out of Monroe, offering tastes of their delicious ice cream.
Condiments, spices and preserves
It’s the special touches that add magic to a meal, and spices, herbs and condiments can bring that unique flavor to a dish. Of course Raye’s Mustard from Eastport will be there — which pairs nicely with the homemade ketchup, chutney and relishes from Greenville’s Northwoods Gourmet Girl. Feeling spicy? Try Sister’s Salsa out of Blue Hill or the fiery hot sauces from W.O. Hesperus Company out of Portland. Waldostone Farm from Montville makes lots of special sauces, including oyster mignonettes and pepper sauces, while Hamilton Family Farm Products makes pesto and hummus that are hard to stop eating, once you’ve started. For flavors both familiar and exotic, Gryffon Ridge Spice Merchants out of Dresden make everything from vindaloo to Herbes de Provence, while the Herb Widget offers freshly grown herbs to brighten your kitchen. The Bar Harbor Jam Company makes a wild blueberry jam that’s to die for, while Better than Average Jam and Jellies from Mechanic Falls makes raspberry jalapeno jelly that’s sweet and spicy. And Maine Sea Salt, based in Marshfield, will help tie the whole meal together.
Locally raised meat is better in so many ways than factory farm meat, and for just a little bit more money you can support local farms and businesses. Common Wealth Farm in Union specializes in poultry including duck and chicken, while Nelson Family Farm in Palermo offers pasture-raised beef and Midsummer Night in Garland sells lamb and sausages. A wide array of meats can be got at Bagaduce Farm in Brooksville and Old Ackley Farm in Blue Hill, and Kniffin Specialty Meats in Madison offers just about every kind of meat you could imagine.
Pick up some of the bumper crop of apples this year as well as cider and apple butter from either Avalon Acres Orchards in St Albans, or Rollins Orchard in Garland. One of Maine’s cranberry bogs, Sugar Hill Cranberry Company out of Columbia, will offer up their berries. And Sweet Land Farm from Starks and Thomas Farms from East Corinth will offer information on their farm shares and other services for a wide array of fresh produce.
Here’s where it gets dangerous, since there’s a number of natural sweet treats available at the festival. Fudge of all varieties will be offered by Fudgin’ It out of East Livermore. Luce’s Maine Maple Syrup, from Anson, has maple syrup and candy available, and Nelson’s Candies from Cornville will sell some fantastic peanut brittle, toffee and much more. Safe Harbor Confections from Waldoboro creates artisan chocolates, and for the sweet stuff straight from nature, Sparky’s Apiaries in Hope will have honey on hand.
Wineries, breweries and beverages
Maine wine will be represented at the festival by the inventive and community-minded Cellardoor Winery out of Lincolnville; Shalom Orchard Winery out of Franklin, which makes organic fruit wines and Bangor area vintners Winterport Winery, which also brews beer at their Penobscot Bay Brewery. A sweet alternative to wine is mead, and the Fat Friar’s Meadery from Newcastle and Maine Mead Works from Portland will be on hand to offer samples. Bangor’s own Sea Dog Brewing company will also be there to show off their many microbrews. For teetotalers, there are three tea makers setting up shop, including Common Folk Farm from Naples, which also makes vanilla, rose and mint waters; Herbminders of Maine out of Trescott, which also sells organic plant fertilizer and Somerset Coffee and Tea from Skowhegan, which also roasts coffee.