Tidbits: Farmers Markets, Maine cheese, Mark Bittman and vodka

Posted Aug. 10, 2012, at 4:15 p.m.
Turner Farm Creamery garnered first place in the Flavor Added — spices, herbs, seasoning, fruits — all milks category in the American Cheese Society’'s annual competition, held last week in North Carolina.
Turner Farm Creamery garnered first place in the Flavor Added — spices, herbs, seasoning, fruits — all milks category in the American Cheese Society’'s annual competition, held last week in North Carolina.

Farmers in the Skowhegan region have a lot to crow about — their farmers market is currently in sixth place nationwide for small markets in the American Farmland Trust’s America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest online. The Skowhegan Farmers Market — which is in first place for the state of Maine — is No. 6 overall for small markets with 15 or less vendors, being beaten out only by small markets in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. To vote for the Skowhegan market or for any other Maine market, go to the American Farmland Trust website and click vote, and search for Skowhegan or another Maine market. The contest runs through Sept. 3. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the number of farmers markets listed in its National Farmers Market Directory has increased by 9.6 percent over the past year. The goal of American Farmland Trust’s fourth annual contest is to highlight the role that farmers markets play in keeping family farmers on the land.

Three Maine farms were awarded first and third place prizes in the American Cheese Society’s annual competition, held last week in North Carolina. The winners were Turner Farm Creamery in North Haven, which garnered first place in the Flavor Added –- spices, herbs, seasoning, fruits — all milks category; Pineland Farm Creamery in New Gloucester received a 3rd place finish in the Flavor Added Monterey Jack — spices, herbs, seasonings, fruits — all milks category; and Spring Day Creamery in Durham was in first place in the Original Recipe/Open Category — made from cow’s milk category.

Speaking of North Haven, the Waterman’s Community Center, one of the first buildings you encounter as you step off the ferry, will host a very special discussion featuring New York Times food columnist and author Mark Bittman. Bittman, writer of “How To Cook Everything,” will be joined in discussion by U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, who is from North Haven and whose family owns and operates the Nebo Lodge on island. The talk is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, and admission is $15.

According to the folks at Twenty2 Vodka — the Houlton-based microdistillery — they’ve been honored four years in a row with major awards in the spirits industry. Their latest accolade includes the distinguished Platinum status at the 4th annual SIP Awards, held July 14 in Irvine, Calif. The event invited 60 select consumer judges to evaluate more than 300 spirits from around the globe on aroma, taste and finish. Twenty 2 Vodka is the first spirit to ever receive back-to-back Platinum honors at this international consumer tasting competition, previously taking home Platinum honors at the 2011 SIP Awards. The vodka has won numerous awards, including Double Gold in 2012 at the San Francisco World Spirits Competitions and Gold for Quality at the 2011 MicroLiquor Awards. The vodka is available in liquor stores and Hannaford supermarkets statewide. For information on this unique Maine-made spirit, visit twenty2vodka.com.

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