Monday, April 21, 2014
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Stephanie Hedlund of Clara Burke Kitchen, right, buys greens and edible flowers from Mary Ellen Chad of Green Spark Farm in Cape Elizabeth.
Photos by Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer
Stephanie Hedlund shops for tomatoes at the Olivia’s Garden table at the Portland Farmers Market in Monument Square.
SEE WHAT'S COOKING
Stephanie Hedlund's website is claraburkekitchen.com.
After the market closes at 8 a.m. Monday, the farms get busy gathering their orders. The food is ready to be picked up between 3 and 6 p.m. Thursday at the two farms or at the American Legion in South Portland.
Payment is made at pick-up, not when ordering.
When home delivery starts, it will be within a 7-mile radius of the farms, which Jordan estimates will take them as far as Scarborough and the Portland peninsula.
There is a 7 percent packing and processing fee added to the bill, and there may be a nominal charge for home delivery, depending on where the food is going. Jordan said deliveries to Cape Elizabeth homes will probably be free.
This week the farms are adding another twist to the market by starting delivery to local businesses.
The first one will be New England Rehabilitation Hospital, Jordan said. Its employees will be able to order food online beginning Thursday and have it delivered to them the next week at work.
At-work deliveries allow busy professionals to participate in the system without worrying about taking time off from work to pick up their food, or missing a pick-up time because of a meeting that went too long.
For people who find themselves too busy to cook, but still want to eat healthy, Clara Burke Kitchens will do all the work for you.
The business is named after Hedlund's two grandmothers, who grew up on farms in Iowa and Texas and were always cooking for large numbers of people.
Hedlund sources all her ingredients from Maine farms and prepares the meals in a shared kitchen arrangement with Taco Trio in South Portland.
"In the last several years, I moved out to Poland and got to know the farmers around there, and was just amazed at how much better their meat was and their produce was," Hedlund said. "At the same time, this whole trend or movement of eating local was coming about. I was doing CSAs and kind of found all my friends asking me, 'What do you do with the 20 pounds of beets they just gave us?' And I loved figuring out what to do with 20 pounds of beets.
"I saw that as kind of a hole," she said. "You know, you go to the farmers market and there's amazing things there, and it's just hard to know what to do with it every day."
Hedlund, 36, comes from a business background and also empathized with other busy professionals who have no time to cook. Her biggest customers, as it turns out, are empty nesters and baby boomers. She also does catering, mostly for the same crowd.
"They're in their early 60s and they really care about what they're eating," Hedlund said. "They just don't necessarily feel like cooking every night any more. That's about half my business."
Other clients are just "really busy people," Hedlund said, who don't want to rely too much on restaurants – especially if they have kids and need some family time.
"If you're out of your house all day working, it's nice to come home and enjoy your house," she said. "There's a million great restaurants in Portland, (but) enjoy dinner. Bring back dinner. Bring back sitting down with the family and enjoying it. I think that's what a lot of my clients like about it."
Hedlund makes everything, including stocks and sauces, from scratch. She cooks two or three nights a week at Taco Trio, and then freezes the food, although she is starting to do more fresh meals as weekly specials for her clients who want to order vegetarian.
Hedlund's menu includes chicken and biscuits made with Harvest Hills Farm free-range chicken, maple chipotle beef brisket, and oxtail posole. Every order comes with cookies because – well, just because Hedlund loves to bake cookies.
Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Stephanie Hedlund visits with Samantha Williams of Aurora Mills & Farm in Linneus.
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Stephanie Hedlund checks out the produce from Fishbowl Farm in Bowdoinham at the Portland Farmers Market.
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Stephanie Hedlund's new business, Clara Burke Kitchen, features meals prepared from locally grown food.