Maine Harvest Festival is a wonderful celebration of rural Maine

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          The Maine Harvest Festival is our favorite annual event. “Celebrating Farm Fresh,” the festival’s slogan, doesn’t even begin to describe this amazing event at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Festival Director Judy Perkins of Garden Ridge Farm has done a great job, expanding the festival every year.

          While this year’s festival featured 150 vendors, from farms to basket and earring makers, I (of course) focused on food, including delicious donuts from Elaine’s Café and Bakery in Milo, and lots of chocolates (my favorite, produced by Martha Bar of Brunswick, was billed as “energy food”).

          For lunch I enjoyed crab cakes made by Harmon’s Clam Cakes, which has been producing both crab and clam cakes since 1923. While eating, I had a great visit with Steve, who directed me to their two sauces – the best I’ve ever had with crab cakes.

          It took me more than two hours to make my first swing through all the aisles, because I spent lots of time visiting with people, including pasta maker Roxanne Quimby who produces her products at Raven Nest Farm in Gouldsboro, Karen Raye, who with her husband Kevin produces my favorite mustards, and Denise Murchison of Silverton Sporting Ranch, who offers great hunting and shooting experiences at her ranch and also produces a range of sauces.

          From Wild Cow Creamery of Belfast, offering delicious “healthy” ice cream, to samples of the gourmet meals produced by The Maine Meal in Skowhegan, this is a diner’s delight. We enjoyed talking with TV5 weatherman Todd, who was there selling his salsas.

          Sister Edie joined Linda and me at the festival this year, and the two of them often moved on as I talked with people in the booths. It was inspiring to see so many farms that are prospering, including Chase Farm Bakery in Whitefield. And the sauerkraut at Thirty Acre Farm in Whitefield was calling my name. Some of these farms have been in business a long time, including Luces in North Anson that has been producing maple syrup for over 200 years and beef and pork for more than 100 years.

          And here’s the really good news. Many of these products can now be found in supermarkets and farmers’ markets throughout the state.

          Kate Krukowski Gooding’s stage show about wild game cooking was very entertaining, and the Scorpion Moose Sausage Stew that she cooked on stage and served to all of us was very tasty.

          We passed up the beer tasting and crossed the street after the festival to enjoy the wonderful beer at Geaghan’s Pub, while we waited for a large order of their awesome boneless chicken wings to take home for supper. Yup, by supper time, I was hungry again!


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