Cooperative Extension chosen for food program

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension is one of 10 national organizations selected to participate in a new Food Corps program designed to improve access to healthy, affordable food and train young people for careers in food and agriculture.

FoodCorps is a national AmeriCorps school garden and farm-to-school service program that is being launched with 50 workers in 10 states.

The Maine program will be launched with a two-day orientation and training program at the extension’s Bryant Pond 4-H camp. The programs on Monday and Tuesday will cover healthy food choices, community and school gardening, food preservation, agricultural education, nutrition and other topics. Field trips to school gardens in Bethel and Buckfield will be included.

In Maine, FoodCorps members will work in Portland, Standish, Lewiston-Auburn, Oxford Hills, Machias and Gardiner.


DaVinci’s, Baxter Brewing plan Balloon Fest barbecue

DaVinci’s Eatery is teaming up with Baxter Brewing in the Bates Mill complex Friday night to offer a barbecue dinner and beer celebrating this year’s Balloon Festival.

The event, which is limited to 200 people, features barbecue, tickets for two Baxter beers, a guided tour of the brewery, a private concert by the Squid Jiggers, and one of the best views of the ascending balloons.

Tickets are $30. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Museum-L/A.

Gates open at 6 p.m., and dinner will be served at 6:30. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, or to make reservations, visit the Tasting Room at Baxter Brewing Co., 130 Mill St., Thursday through Sunday; call 333-6769; or go to


Cinque Terre, Vignola host Harvest Dinner in Greene

Dan Kary, Michelle Mazur-Kary and executive chef Lee Skawinski, co-owners of Cinque Terre and Vignola, will host the restaurants’ annual Harvest Dinner at the Karys’ Grandview Farm in Greene on Sept. 18.

Grandview Farm provides much of the fresh produce used at the two Portland restaurants.

Guests will be provided transportation to the farm at noon from Vignola, 10 Dana St. Guests will return to the restaurant by 7 p.m.

The event will begin with light appetizers and aperitifs alfresco, followed by a tour of the farm and dinner. The Three Point Trio, a jazz trio from Auburn, will furnish the entertainment.

Guests at the dinner will also be able to meet other farmers and artisans, including Rob Tod from Allagash Brewery; beekeeper Mark Raczynski; Chris Campbell from C and P Imports; Martha Putnam of Farm Fresh Connection; oyster farmer John Hennessy; Eli Cayer from Urban Farm Fermentory; John and Doreen Simmons, who raise lambs and turkeys at Stoneheart Farm; and others.

The event costs $100, which includes dinner, wines, transportation, tax and gratuity.

Reservations are required. Contact Guy at Vignola at 772-1330 or Matthew at Cinque Terre, 347-6154.


Sonny’s libation garners top DivaTini2 honors

Sonny’s summery cocktail, the Pink Stiletto, won the Aug. 12 DivaTini2 Challenge at the Italian Heritage Center.

The mix of pink guava, fresh lime juice, vodka and St. Germain garnered the most votes in a competition featuring eight cocktails created by southern Maine bars and restaurants. Sonny’s is located at 83 Exchange St. in Portland.

The contest was sponsored by “A Dash of Diva,” a series of events sponsored by Maine Today Media that bring women together for food, drinks, entertainment and opportunities to contribute to their communities.