Farmers market vendors offer Valentine’s Day items

Sample the products of farmers market vendors and State of Maine Cheese at the Rockport Marketplace from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday.

The market, located at the marketplace on Route 1, is a special Valentine’s Day event that will include samples of eggs, sausage, cheese, chocolate and other foods that could make a Valentine’s meal or gift. State of Maine Cheese will be selling cheddar cheese hearts wrapped in bright red wax, as well as gift baskets and other products.

Other vendors include Emma’s Family Farm in Windsor, selling pasture-raised pork, chicken and beef, plus eggs and garlic; the Chocolate Moose of Rockport; Dilly Dally Farm of Plymouth, with greens, winter vegetables, poultry and eggs; and Green Hollow Orchard of Whitefield with pies, apples and cider.

For more information, call State of Maine Cheese at 236-8895 or Emma’s Family Farm at 445-2141.


New York chef and author to give a dinner reading

Gabrielle Hamilton, award-winning chef/owner of Prune restaurant in New York City, will be in Portland March 3 to celebrate the launch of her first book, “Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef.”

Rabelais and Grace restaurant will host a 7 p.m. dinner at Grace, 15 Chestnut St., that will include a roast lamb dinner inspired by the book. Hamilton will give a short reading and sign copies of her book.

The dinner costs $120, which includes food, wine and a copy of Hamilton’s book. For reservations, call 828-4422.


Chili, chowder challenge offers annual winter respite

It’s one of the best ways to get warm during the bitter cold of February: Sunday’s Great Chili and Chowder Challenge, an annual love affair with comfort food that brings winter-weary Mainers out of their houses and down to the Holiday Inn the Bay.

The event will be from 12:30 to 3 p.m. this year, with musical entertainment provided by Dick Clark & Curtis (Motown) Haines. For $17.50 (or $20 at the door), ticket holders can sample more than 30 different chilis and chowders made by southern Maine chefs. Sneak Preview tickets are also available for $50.

The Great Chili and Chowder Challenge is a benefit for Altrusa International of Portland.

Tickets are available at all locations of Big Sky Bread Company and Skillins Greenhouse, or by calling 772-0379.

The Holiday Inn by the Bay is located at 88 Spring St.


It’s a February to savor as Whole Foods turns 4

Whole Foods Market, 2 Somerset St., has several special events coming up in February, beginning with a Valentine Wine Tasting from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, the store will hold its fourth birthday celebration, and will have birthday cake and other food samples available throughout the store from 1 to 4 p.m.

On Feb. 19, learn about gluten-free foods in a lecture from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the store’s cafe, followed by storewide sampling of gluten-free foods until 1:30 p.m. The lecture will be given by Susan Fekety of True North Health Center.

From 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. that same day, the store will have a beer tasting, focusing on stouts and porters.

Feb. 27 will bring the Vegan FEST from 1 to 4 p.m. There will be lots of sampling, and members of the Maine Vegan Meetup group will be on hand to talk about their mission and upcoming events.


A special taste of honey at Maine Mead Works

On Tuesday, the Cumberland County Chapter of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association hosts a free tasting event at the Maine Mead Works headquarters from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy samples of HoneyMaker mead, take a tour of the facility and learn how honey is turned into mead.

Maine Mead Works is located at 51 Washington Ave., in the old Nissen Bakery building. If you plan to attend, RSVP to [email protected]


Can’t decide where to dine? Simply check this out

If you find yourself in the Deering neighborhood wondering where you should go for dinner, pop into Simply Scandinavian Foods and ask for a recommendation.

The store stocks a wealth of menus and information about eateries across the city, and store owner Mary Grant is always willing to make a recommendation.

Grant also invites owners of restaurants to drop off menus and businesses cards so she can share them with patrons.

Simply Scandinavian Foods is located at 469 Stevens Ave., and can be reached at 874-6759.


Local business biting mad about Snack Food Month

Scarborough-based Kitchen Gardeners International has launched a campaign called #20ate in response to a push by national lobbyists to make February National Snack Food Month.

The campaign website states, “One day after the US government issued its clearest and strongest statement on the need for Americans to eat less and better foods, the snack food lobby kicked off ‘National Snack Food Month’ whose goal is to get us to eat more and worse.”

The campaign urges supporters to opt out of processed foods and junk foods for the 28 days of February and use social media to spread the message of whole foods cuisine.

For more information about the organization and the campaign, visit


Fundraiser at St. Maximilian to get a lift from ‘rat pack’

Anthony’s Italian Kitchen will put on a fundraiser at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, 150 Black Point Road, in Scarborough from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The Portland restaurant will be bringing its “Rat Pack” show from its dinner theater to perform the songs of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

Anthony’s has donated beer and wine to be sold along with many gifts for a 50/50 raffle and silent auction.

Tickets are $25 per person and include an Italian buffet and the show. For tickets or more information, call Judy at 883-0334.