We’re in the height of summer visitor season, when relatives and friends descend on your home like seagulls looking for a French fry handout.

I love it when my family visits – my brother is coming in September for a little leaf peeping during shoulder season, and I can’t wait – but if your life is anything like mine, you need a vacation before your vacation to get ready for your guests. Making sure their room is clean and they have clean towels is one thing, but feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner can be downright exhausting.

I do love to spoil my relatives by baking their favorite blueberry pie, whipping up a batch of homemade clam chowder and keeping the lobster flowing freely. (My father would eat lobster every night if I let him.) But sometimes there’s just not enough time – or, if this is your seventh round of summer guests, you’re simply too exhausted to make yet another pan of lasagna.

Over the years, I’ve come up with a few shortcuts I use to give my out-of-town guests a Maine experience to remember without chaining myself to the kitchen. For someone like me, who is obsessive about feeding family and friends well, it’s hard to admit I can’t do it all myself. It makes me feel better about being the less than 100 percent DIY hostess if I can be creative about sourcing the week’s food. For me, the secret is keeping the menus Maine-centric. So I buy local, and I make sure my guests know that the bacon I’m serving them for breakfast came from a Maine-raised pig.

684090_549883-whoopieMake your family and friends feel special from the moment they drag their suitcase into your guest room. You know how nice hotels put chocolates on your pillow? I pay a visit to the Wicked Whoopies store in Freeport, buy a variety of whoopie pies (in addition to the usual chocolate, they make flavors such as red velvet, banana cream and orange creamsicle) and put a classic Maine snack on every pillow. It always makes guests smile, and buys a lot of good will for that inevitable night when you just throw burgers on the grill for dinner.

About those farmers market vegetables…one of my favorite things to do in summer also makes for a great “let’s make dinner together” night with your summer guests. Let your guests pick out the vegetables and herbs they want at the farmers market, or just bring a wide variety home with you. Next, pick up flatbread from Ameera Bread. They have a bakery on Forest Avenue (it used to be called Tandoor Bakery), but also sell their breads at a little table in Monument Square during the Wednesday farmers market, making this a potentially one-stop-shopping experience.

At home, lay the ingredients out on the counter for a make-your-own-pizza party. Brush the flatbread with olive oil or pesto, then tell guests to top it with a thin layer of whatever vegetables they like. Sprinkle with cheese, and bake for 12 minutes at 450 degrees. You can add meat if you want, but that’s more work, and I think they are better without because the bread is so thin and the vegetables so fresh. Combinations I like: yellow squash, zucchini, onion and cheddar cheese; tomato slices, basil leaves, a mix of wild mushrooms and mozzarella.

Beats ordering from Dominos.

684090_549883-beer I’ve found the one thing my male guests want, in addition to all the lobster they can eat, is lots of beer. (Sorry if that sounds sexist, but it’s true. The women in my family prefer wine.) But instead of stocking the fridge with Budweiser, I visit Maine Beer & Beverage in the Public Market House in Monument Square, the Bier Cellar or RSVP Discount Beverage(both on Forest Avenue), or the Craft Beer Cellar on Commercial Street and pick up a range of beers from Maine craft brewers such as Maine Beer Co., Rising Tide Brewing Co., Allagash Brewing Co. and Geary’s. There’s more than 50 craft breweries in Maine to choose from, so go nuts!

 For an incredibly quick, but also incredibly fresh, salad, visit the salad bar at Whole Foods Market. Sure, you can get even fresher vegetables at the farmers market (no worries, I’ve got that covered) but if you are so pressed for time you don’t even have a few moments to wash and chop produce – or you want to use that time to enjoy a cocktail with your guests – nothing beats the Whole Foods salad bar. My mother loves their crab soup, so I usually get a quart of that to serve with lobster on one of our lobster nights.

 If you’re packing a picnic, use the bacon ranch chicken salad from Leavitt & Sons Deli for sandwiches. It’s not homemade by you, but the bacon and ranch dressing lovers in your family will go ga-ga over it.

 Other appetizer/picnic ideas: Introduce your guests to some of Maine’s great cheesemakers. Take a trip to K. Horton Specialty Foods at the Public Market House in Portland or The Cheese Iron in Scarborough and put together a cheese plate. Some of my local favorites to serve virgin tourists: Bleu Velvet from Hahns End in Phippsburg, an outstanding blue cheese; Sea Smoke from Sunset Acres Farm in Brooksville, a bloomy rind goat cheese made with layers of ash; and any of the herbed curds from Silvery Moon Creamery in Westbrook.

Don’t forget smoked salmon. Virtually any Maine-made product will do, but a couple of my favorites are the Omega Burst Maple & Pepper from Sullivan Harbor Farm in Hancock Village and the Citrus & Basil Smoked Atlantic Salmon from Browne Trading Co. in Portland.

 Let your visitors show off their flair with the grill. Buy fresh local fish and – if you’re feeling too lazy to even make a marinade – sprinkle DennyMike’s Fintastic Seafood Seasoning Blend on it while it cooks. I’ve never been disappointed in this seasoning that’s made in Westbrook, whether it’s on swordfish or shrimp or halibut, and what could be simpler prep than a few shakes of a little container? Add some farmers market vegetables grilled next to the fish and some rice or potatoes, and you’ve got dinner.

Paciarino pestos and sauces Need a break from lobster? Stop by Paciarino, a restaurant on Fore Street owned by an Italian couple who make their own fresh pasta and sauces every day – and they use Maine meats and other products whenever they can. When my oldest niece came home from two years in South Korea, she came for a visit and asked for “Maine food.” She was now an expert on Bibimbap and rice wines, but craved fresh American food and all the cuisines she was used to having in this country. I took her to Fore Street and Hugo’s, but I also stopped by the little store in Paciarino one night to pick up goat cheese ravioli – my niece is a goat cheese fiend – and homemade tomato sauce to prepare at home. I served it with a salad and a Standard Baking Co. baguette. It was a big hit.

Got leftover lobster? Add it to scrambled eggs the next morning. You may do this all the time, but no one eats lobster for breakfast in Phoenix or Oklahoma City, so your guests will really appreciate this extra-special treat. (Just don’t do what George Costanza did when he made lobster scrambled eggs on Seinfeld.

 Pick a morning to showcase Maine breakfast treats. I make runs to Standard Baking Co. in Portland for croissants and morning buns; Holy Donuts in Portland for Maine potato donuts in fun flavors; and Scratch Baking Co. in South Portland for the best bagels in the state. (Warning: Don’t sleep in. Scratch opens at 6 a.m., or 7 a.m. on weekends, but the bagels are usually sold out by 10 a.m.)

Even if your pantry is filled with corn flakes and Cheerios, you can still add a Maine touch. I never put cereal on the table without also putting out Maine-made yogurts. Maple Greek Yogurt from The Milkhouse Dairy (sold at the Portland Food Co-op) and goat yogurt from Creeping Thyme farm in Buxton (sold at the Jordan’s farm stand in Cape Elizabeth) are two of my favorites. For guests who request toast or hot cereal, I set the table with a bottle of Maine maple syrup, jams from Stonewall Kitchen, and the strawberry jam from Alewive’s Brook Farm in Cape Elizabeth.

 Stop by Foley’s Bakery in Portland or the European Bakery in Falmouth and choose a variety of pastries for dessert. Cut them into bite-sized pieces and arrange on a platter so people can try a little of everything.

As much as we all love baking blueberry pies, baking pie can be an endeavor when you’ve got work deadlines and company coming. Spare yourself the stress – stop by Portland bakery Two Fat Cats for one of theirs. Or pick up one of the truly gorgeous berry pies at Aurora Provisions in Portland or The Good Table in Cape Elizabeth. (The Good Table also sells take-and-bake cinnamon rolls, but call three or four days ahead to order those or one of their pies.) Stick the pie in a fancy pie plate at home and tell your friends you baked it. I won’t snitch.