Saturday, March 8, 2014
The Portland Maine Winter Farmes' Market opened this past Saturday appropriately during a brief snow squall at the stroke of nine. Held at the Maine Irish Heritage Center on State St it runs every Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM until late April.
Most of the same vendors from last year and a few familiar faces from the outdoor market were there in force. So there was plenty to go around where Mainers can still get their stash of farm-fresh vegetables, dairy, meats, poultry and eggs.
Swallowtail Farm had a nice display of raw milk cheeses that included ricotta salata covered in smoked paprika, manchego and queso fresco. Their bottled cream-top raw milk in half-gallon glass jars was also available.
Cape Elizabeth grower, Green Spark Farm, offered their pristine organic crops including kohlrabi and an unusual offering of frost-sweet broccoli greens that are perfect to substitute for collards or kale.
Dresden grower Goranson Farm was one of the few farmers that had eggs. Laying hens are finicky come winter time and some farmers can’t get them going at all. Goranson’s are pastured and organic with firm deep-orange yolks.
Thirty-acre Farm still had some long pie pumpkins, which are the best to use for pumpkin pie or soup purees.
Elsewhere plenty of canned vegetables, preserves and honey along with cabbages, broccoli, carrots potatoes, parsnip, cauliflower and onions were on display making one think it was mid summer still. But these are now mostly storage crops. Fish Bowl Farm keeps their crops in a giant cooler at 38 degrees whereas other farmers rely on root cellars. Either way, the vegetables will be in great shape for the rest of the winter
Missing were any baked goods, which proliferated last year even though market rules don’t really allow it. Maybe some bakers will join later in the season.
As for chicken, beef, pork and lamb there was enough to go around from Sumner Valley, Maine-ly Chickens, Buckwheat Blossom, South Paw, Cornerstone--indeed a wrap for the state slogan of Get Real Get Maine.
John Golden has written about food, dining and lifestyle subjects for Downeast magazine, the Boston Globe, Cottages and Gardens magazine, Gourmet magazine, Cuisine magazine, the New York Times and the New York Post.
In his highly opinionated blog, John reports on his experiences dining out all over Maine and his visits with food personalities, farmers and farmers’ markets throughout the state.