March 16, 2011

Soup to Nuts:
Eat, write, say

Essayists impress in Slow Food Portland's inaugural Young Food Writers Competition.

By Meredith Goad
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Ali Perkins with her grandfather, Dave Getchell, before reading her winning essay.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Ellie Sapat enjoys baking and helping her mother in the family garden.

Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below


Eliot Bramble, a third-grader at the Breakwater School in Portland, took second place in the Grades 3 to 5 category for his colorful, richly detailed account of a trip to an apple orchard. Wilson Haims, a fourth-grader at the Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport, got an honorable mention.

Louisa Hetzler, a sixth-grader at Gray/New Gloucester Middle School, took second place in the Grades 6 to 8 category for her essay on Maine's seasonal foods. Honorable mention went to Julia Haskell, a home-schooled sixth-grader from Portland.

Emma Sapat, a 10th-grader from Falmouth High School, won second place in the Grades 9 to 12 category for an essay on her love/hate relationship with the slow food movement. Honorable mention went to Gaelyn Lindauer, a 10th-grader at Bonny Eagle High School.



Read the winning essays by clicking here.


Ellie has decided that whichever CSA her family chooses, it will have to include honey and maple syrup, and have a pick-your-own apples operation.

"We have to buy from places that use pesticides and stuff like that," she said, "so it's nice that I could get organic, local stuff."


Staff Writer Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:


Ali Perkins, senior, Merriconeag Waldorf School, Freeport

Ali took the grand prize in the Grades 9 to 12 category for this essay about a tasty hike she took with her grandfather:


What seemed like the end of our hike brought us to a sign stating that if we went right we would hike three more miles around Kidney Pond and end up at our campsite. If we went left, we were only a few feet from the parking lots. It was the Fourth of July weekend. My family and I had rented a cabin up in Northern Maine, Baxter State Park, with my grandparents. We had spent the whole day hiking up Katahdin's Abol trail with only some nuts and balance bars to nurture us through the hike. My sister, parents, grandfather, and I stood before the sign figuring out which way to go. "I'm gonna hike this one through and take the Kidney Pond route," my grandfather stated. Sweat stained and famished, my parents encouraged him to go back to the car with them, so they could reach food faster. Persisting to his desire to finish the hike, my grandfather headed down the longer trail. "A true hike doesn't involve cars," he called back over his shoulder. My mother tapped my shoulder towards the long trail. "Honey, go ahead and join your grandfather. It won't take long, and he will enjoy the company." To the sound of only snapping sticks and crunching leaves, we hiked around the pond in silence. I was a little annoyed to have to hike the extra distance. I was hungry and tired. Every few minutes, my grandfather would stop and feel a leaf, or hold his large binoculars up to his intrigued eyes towards the lake.

These gestures only lasted a few moments until about a mile into the hike. My grandfather had stood right on the edge of the water with the binoculars up to his face. Without removing them, he waved for me to come closer. When I arrived next to him, he held the binoculars up to my eyes. Through my focused eyes, I saw a mother moose stand in the middle of the pond, making it look shallow. Under her was her young calf nursing. I smiled, then my stomach gurgled. "Ya hungry?" my grandfather asked, removing the binoculars. "Starving!" I replied. "Well then," he said, taking a jack knife from his jeans, and walking up to a tree. I followed him, curious as to what he had in mind. After clicking the blade out from the knife, he sliced off some of the sap that was pasted to the side of the tree. He placed the little chunk of tree sap in my hand, and told me to just chew on it, and not to swallow. I looked at the sap uncertainly. There was dirt on it, and who knows how long it had been clung on to that tree. But I was beyond hungry, enough to the point where even my mom's attempt at meatloaf would have tasted good. So I popped the sap into my mouth. A minty bland taste filled my mouth. "Hey this isn't bad." I exclaimed between chews. "Yeah?" he said, plopping some into his mouth. "It's called spruce gum, longest lasting gum you'll ever find. Beats anything you'll chew out of a wrapper."

(Continued on page 3)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Zoe Popovic’s family has belonged to a CSA since Zoe first started walking.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer


Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



More PPH Blogs