Eating dinner out, literally, to benefit Maine Huts & Trails

Jay Villani, chef/owner of Sonny’s and Local 188 in Portland, will be cooking at the July 28 Guest Chef Night, a benefit for Maine Huts & Trails.

Guests will hike, bike or boat into Flagstaff Hut, where Villani will prepare a special dinner right on the shores of Flagstaff Lake.

The cost, which includes dinner, wine, lodging at the hut and a full breakfast prepared by staff the next morning, is $250 per person or $450 per couple. Proceeds support the nonprofit Maine Huts & Trails organization.

Jeff Hinman, a Maine Guide, is offering a scenic boat cruise from Stratton to Flagstaff Hut on Saturday afternoon, with a return trip Sunday morning.

The cost is $60 round-trip per person, and requires a minimum of four people.

The dinner is one of a three-dinner series. Michael Gagne of the Robinhood Free Meetinghouse in Georgetown was the guest chef at the first event in March.

The next event will be held Sept. 22, when the guest chef will be David Turin of David’s restaurant in Portland and David’s 388 in South Portland. Space is limited to 44 individuals.

To make a reservation for the dinner or the boat cruise, call (877) 634-8824.


Tickets go on sale for fifth Harvest on Harbor festival

Tickets are now on sale for the fifth annual Harvest on the Harbor food and wine festival.

This year, in addition to the popular Grand Tasting, Lobster Chef of the Year competition and the annual marketplace, the festival will feature a new competition for Maine culinary students and a big barbecue-and-beer event.

This year’s festival will be held Oct. 24-27. To purchase tickets, go to HarvestOnTheHarbor.com.


Kneading conference features workshops, baking and more

The sixth annual Kneading Conference will be held July 26 and 27, followed by an artisan bread fair on July 28.

The conference is a gathering of professional and beginner bakers, grain farmers, millers, researchers and wood-fired oven fans.

They spend the two-day conference in hands-on workshops, lectures and panel discussions on the art of baking bread.

On the schedule, for example, are a “Baking With Sprouted Wheat Flour” workshop and a discussion about “Introducing Rice as a New Crop to the Northeastern United States.”

Keynote speakers this year include Ben Hewitt, who runs a small-scale, diversified farm in Vermont and is the author of “The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food,” and William Alexander, best-selling author of “52 Loaves: A Half-Baked Adventure,” about his experience learning to bake bread.

Registration for the conference is $300 and includes all meals from Thursday breakfast through Friday lunch.

The Maine Artisan Bread Fair on July 28 is free and open to the public, who will be able to speak with professional bakers and watch them do demonstrations.

There will be lots of fresh-baked breads and wood-fired pizza to sample and buy, and baking equipment, tools, books and other products will also be available for purchase.

Both the Kneading Conference and the bread fair will be held at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds.

For more information, go to kneadingconference.com.


Terra Optima Farm opens retail food store and kitchen

Terra Optima Farm, known in the midcoast for its grass-fed beef and woods-raised pork, has opened a retail store and sausage kitchen at the corner of U.S. Route 1 and Route 131.

The new farm market will carry Terra Optima’s pork, beef and veal products, link sausage, broiler chickens and fresh eggs. Also for sale will be premium local products such as Morse’s Sauerkraut, Appleton Creamery cheeses, Dolce Vita breads, vegetables from Hatchet Cove Farm and Dandelion Spring Farm, Stone Fox Farm Ice Cream, Uproot Pie Company pizza dough and Oyster River Wine.

Store hours will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.


Stonewall Kitchen holding  breakfast, raffle for charity

Stonewall Kitchen will hold its sixth annual community charity pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. July 28.

The breakfast will be held at the Stonewall Kitchen Headquarters, 2 Stonewall Lane, and feature Stonewall Kitchen’s pancakes with maple syrup or fruit and whipped cream. Coffee, milk and juice will also be available.

The price is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 10. All proceeds benefit the York Food Bank and Hilton/Winn Farm, a nonprofit organization dedicated to youth development through farm experience.

A raffle for a variety of Stonewall Kitchen products and Cooking School classes will also take place, with the winner drawn at the end of breakfast.

The rain date for this event is July 29. For more information, call 351-2713.

– Compiled by Meredith Goad, staff writer

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