Friday, May 04, 2007
SLOW FOOD, MAINE-STYLE
Getting a little sentimental with a clam in this photo! This beach was loaded with giant clams, an unlikely event since we arrived after the record storm that closed ports. Thus, lots of molusks escaped the fishing vessels and landed joyfully on the beach. Seeing their advent, I sought to know the secrets of the ocean from the clam itself.
John and I just returned from Maine, seemingly, one of the capitals of Slow Food. The idea of slow food feels new to Utah, but in the East, they seem to speak this language more natively. They've been speaking it longer, that's for sure. The economy in Maine is made up almost entirely of cottage industries which are more sustainable than our industrial way of life out West. It's such a "literal" breath of fresh air. What is it about the West that seems to encourage new, unchecked and out-of-control growth? (St. George in southern Utah is the fastest growing city in the United States.) Though it's harder to get a great paying job in Maine than in Utah, look at the quality of life there. No grotesquely-large homes build with gaudy Greecian pillars on the hill of a small agricultural community. And the big box stores were mostly contained in "mall" neighborhoods. Or in Freeport, which I loved, all the big box stores are housed within old historic structures, or build to resemble them. Even the McDonald's was not allowed to hoist their fiberglass golden arch into the sky.
Looks like it's housed in some old home. In Freeport, everything seems to fit, to belong there.
More about Freeport from Boston Globe travel guide: (Incidentally, John and I were snapped by the photographer and it looks like made the travel guide!)http://www.explorenewengland.com/travel?photo_gallery=maine/galleries/freeport/&pg=9
Obviously fresh lobster, crab, mussels, clams and and other yummy molusks served at local restaurants are all taken from the sea within a short distance from neighboring harbors. From the fisherman right to your plate! Maine lobster is the best. Somehow, eating right from the harbor gives you a sense of place hard to experience when eating in the west. Restaurants here serve food from all over, it seems, so eaters perhaps get a little jet lagged after partaking. Just a thought. Really though, it does elevate the experience when you know you are eating locally-- besides the food tastes better. This lobster roll from Gilbert's in Portland was to die for.
Another great place, in Freeport, is the rustic tavern at Haraseeket Inn. I ate from their buffet: local fish and chips, mussels, hand-cranked pasta dishes, roasted farm veges and fresh berries or rhubard baked up in pies. On the back of their menu was a list of all the farmers and markets where they get their food. Another feel-good dinner.
Look at this Website and note:
Chilled Maine Lobsters from Potts Harbor with dandelion aioli;Organic Greens from New Leaf Farm
And another place I loved, was a market in Belfast. A huge bulk-food section; buckets of cashew and peanut butter. The guy at the cheese counter pointed out all the local cheeses; spigots flowing with Maine maple syrup and lots of fresh produce and cottage-made treats wrapped in plastic and bearing a crafty label telling you where in Maine the treat came from. Loved it!
Belfast Coop's mission: "Fresh Produce from potatoes to artichokes free of agricultural chemicals. . . Competitively priced organic produce awaits your selection from local vegetables and fruits to exotic fruits from around the globe. . . A priority to support local organic and natural farmers. We have in season a large selection of fruits and vegtables. We have free-range and organic poultry products, organically raised beef products and our own hand crafted sausages from naturally raised animals. Seafood products either come from local distributors or from the fisherman directly."