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Food trucks, cook-offs, Maine grains and more

Posted March 13, 2012, at 11:05 p.m.
Last modified March 14, 2012, at 6:08 a.m.

In midcoast food news, there’s an exciting development in the world of food trucks — already on the verge of being a regular presence in Portland — with the unveiling of the Taco Libre Taco Truck. Created by Camden residents and sisters, Jessica and Becky Neves, the truck will be hitting the streets of Waldo and Knox County starting in the spring, providing tacos, burritos and churros to hungry coastal eaters.

“Becky and I have been cooking as caterers and personal chefs in midcoast Maine for about the last 10 years. Most recently we both worked for Swan’s Way catering where Becky was head-of-kitchen, where we were also involved in the development of Dolcelinos,” said Jessica Neves, referring to the midcoast-based brand of gourmet ice cream sandwiches. “However, it is our Brazilian father who first ignited our love of international cuisine, and had us cooking dinners at home by the time we were 12.”

The website says they will be open Wednesday-Saturday and are available for weddings and parties, and they currently have locations set for Rockland, Rockport, Hope and Camden. Could this mean that food trucks are making their way up the coast? Have you ever had lunch from a truck in Maine? Or a truck elsewhere?

Also in the midcoast, Sweets & Meats Market in Rockland and Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston both have a huge love for cassoulet — the rich, hearty, classic French dish made from duck, pork, beans and a variety of other ingredients. That’s why they’re throwing a Cassoulet Cook Off to benefit Knox County Health Clinic, set for 7 p.m. Saturday, March 31, at Billy’s Tavern in Thomaston.

As Sweets & Meats staff say on their Facebook invite, “We’re looking for those that think they make the best cassoulet in the nation, and we’re also looking for those that want to eat and judge. The judging fee is $5 — with all proceeds going to Knox County Health Clinic — and the fee gets you a fork, plate, ballot and cassoulet. The party starts at 7 p.m., ballots will be collected at 10 p.m. and judgement will be finished and announced at 11 p.m. So bring your best cassoulet and your appetite.

Lastly, we received word Tuesday morning that Maine Grains — the project founded by Amber Lambke, trying to get Maine-grown grains and breads into homes statewide — has launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish work on the Somerset Grist Mill in Skowhegan, where Lambke and company hope to start making Maine flour in the coming months. The Kickstarter campaign will specifically find the purchase and installation of remaining bins, duct work, conveyor systems, electrical hook-up and working capital to get the mill up and running.

Lambke and Maine Grains founded the Kneading Conference in Skowhegan in 2007, a gathering of farmers, millers, bakers, researchers and home bread baking enthusiasts in an effort to revive Maine’s dormant grain economy. The conference has since attracted more than 200 bakers and growers each year, as well as thousands of customers buying bread at its bread fair. Help support a good, local cause and throw your $5 into the fund.

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