Vintage typewriters, Civil War relics and sterling silver lockets make the Montsweag Flea Market a roadside stop for thousands of visitors each summer. This season, the flea market has a new food stand, Maritza’s Place, where Daisey Cunningham and Alex Echevarria of Wiscasset serve homemade empanadas and sofrito seasoned rice.
The engaged couple is in the business of Puerto Rican food. When Echevarria’s Puerto Rican mother, Maritza, died two years ago, they fulfilled her wish to own a Puerto Rican food shack.
Cunningham and Echevarria discovered the space available for rent at Montsweag Flea Market, just over the Wiscasset town line in Woolwich, in the beginning of May. Within two weeks, they had opened Maritza’s Place.
Maritza’s Place serves a variety of Puerto Rican dishes, including daily empanada specials.
“The base to Maritza’s cooking was always the sofrito, a special spice made from cilantro, culantro, cubanelle peppers and garlic,” Echevarria said. “We can only find it at a tiny bodega in Portland.”
Maritza would cook without any recipes or measurements. “It’s still a learning process for us to recreate Maritza’s recipes,” Cunningham said. “Her cooking would always be just a pinch of this and a dash of that.”