Grace dedicates proceeds to anti-hunger effort

Grace, the restaurant at 15 Chestnut St., will be holding its annual Share Our Strength week Friday to March 8.

For every three-course, $30 meal that is ordered during that week, $1 will be donated to Share Our Strength, an organization that fights childhood hunger.


Delegates to share insights from Slow Food conference

Slow Food Portland will host a potluck dinner at the Mayo Street Arts Center, 10 Mayo St., from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

This is another chance to hear about the experiences of this year’s delegates from Maine to Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference. Terra Madre is Slow Food International’s major bi-annual conference held in Torino, Italy. The conference is an incubator of innovative concepts in sustainable food and agriculture with a goal of preserving taste and biodiversity.

The delegates will talk about their trip and what new ideas or perspectives they are bringing back to Maine. This year’s delegates from Maine were Heather Chandler of the Sunrise Guides; Sarah Bostik of Cultivating Community; and Holli Cederholm of Proud Peasants Farm.


Celebrate all things French at Merry Table Wednesday

If you like French food and wine and want to hang out where the cool French-speaking folks hang, get yourself down to The Merry Table Wednesday for a French wine dinner prepared by chef/owner Jean-Claude Vassalle.

The creperie at 43 Wharf St. is known for its “French nights,” where expats and folks who just plain love France gather on the first and third Thursday of every month to eat Vassalle’s delicious crepes and speak French all night.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Vassalle, who was born in Lyons, will hold a French wine dinner with Erika Archer of Wine Wise as host. The dinner costs $60 per person, tax and gratuity not included. For reservations, call 899-4494.

Here’s a look at the menu:

First course:

Smoked salmon toast with creme fraiche and American caviar

N.V. Bailly Lapierre, Cremant de Bourgogne (sparkling Burgundian wine)

Second course:

Maine sea scallop Tahitian-style (marinated in citrus and coconut milk, spices)

2010 Eric Chevalier, Muscadet Cotes du Grand Lieu AOC (Loire region white)

Mixed green salad

Third course:

Peppered 8-ounce sirloin, yellow potato, French green beans

2007 Chateau Pecot, Tentation, Cahors AOC (southwest region)

Fourth course:

Creme brulee with berries

2009 Domaine de Durban, Muscat Beaumes de Venise AOC (southern Rhone)


CSA gatherings to be held all over Maine this weekend

It’s CSA season, the time when people who want to support their local farmers and fishermen can purchase a share of the upcoming Maine harvest by signing up for regular deliveries or pick-ups of fresh produce, meats and fish.

CSA programs provide food producers with the capital they need before growing season begins, and in return customers get fresh, local food directly from the farmer or fisherman.

Farmers and fishermen come together every year at this time so customers can meet them and ask questions. These free events, called “Meet Your Farmers and Fishermen: A Celebration of Community Supported Agriculture and Fisheries,” will be held this weekend at locations all over the state.

Many of the events, sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, include tastings, live music, film screenings and sales of food and other products.

Portland’s CSA fair will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Woodford Congregational Church, 202 Woodford St.

Other events will be held in the following towns:

Augusta: Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital St., 1 to 5 p.m. Friday

Bangor: Hammond Street Congregational Church, 28 High St., 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday

Belfast: Belfast Boathouse, 34 Commercial St., 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday

Hallowell: St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 20 Union St., 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday

Newcastle: Lincoln Academy, 81 Academy Hill, 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday (part of the third annual FARMS fundraising dinner)

Norway: Fare Share Commons, 443 Main St., 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Rockland: First Universalist Church, 345 Broadway, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday

Topsham: Midcoast Winter Farmers’ Market, Topsham Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall (entrances from Route 24 and Route 196 bypass), 1 to 6 p.m. Friday

Waterville: Barrels Market, 74 Main St., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 2

If none of these locations is convenient, go to mofga.net to find CSAs near you.

For more information, contact Melissa White Pillsbury at 568-4142 or [email protected]


Cooking for Crowds focuses on food-safety training

The University of Maine Cooperative Extension will be holding another Cooking for Crowds food-safety training workshop from 1 to 5 p.m. March 26 at the University of Maine Regional Learning Center, 75 Clearwater Drive, Suite 104.

The cost is $15 per person. Scholarships are available. For more information, or to request a disability accommodation, call 781-6099 or, in Maine, (800) 287-1471.

Details on future workshops are available at: umaine.edu/food-health/food-safety/cooking-for-crowds.


Maine Beer, 50 Local join to host four-course dinner

Maine Beer Company is teaming up with 50 Local, a restaurant at 50 Main St., again this year for a four-course beer dinner.

The March 6 dinner will start at 6 p.m. and cost $60 per person. Gratuity is included.

The menu will include a burrata cheese plate with hazelnut vinaigrette and figs; pork belly with farm egg, polenta and root-vegetable gratin; gnocchi with braised pork sugo, ricotta and roasted tomatoes; and chocolate stout cake with malted milk crunch, dulce le leche and vanilla gelato.

For more information or reservations, call 985-0850 or go to localkennebunk.com.


Red Mango now serving smoothies at Maine Mall

Red Mango, the national frozen yogurt and smoothie chain, has opened a location inside the Maine Mall, 364 Maine Mall Road. The store will hold an all-day grand opening celebration from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. March 15 featuring discounts and giveaways.

This is the first Red Mango in Maine. The Dallas-based corporation has more than 200 stores across the United States. The Maine store will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.


Unity College expands hunger-relief program

Unity College will begin a new program in March raising free-range chickens as part of an ongoing hunger-relief effort.

Sponsored by a grant from the Future Farmers of America, the program will provide meat from 100 birds to the Volunteer Regional Food Pantry in Unity and the Belfast Soup Kitchen.

The chicken project is an extension of the college’s “Veggies for All” program. Each year, gardens on campus produce thousands of pounds of vegetables for area food pantries.


Maine Grain Conference to be hosted by Extension

The annual Maine Grain Conference will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Friday at the Spectacular Events Center, 395 Griffin Road.

The focus of the conference, which is sponsored by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, will be commercial production for small grain markets.

Speakers will include Mark Bernard, a Prince Edward Island farmer who will talk about the conversion of his family’s conventional potato farm to organic feed grains; agronomist Elisabeth Vachon of Les Moulins de Soulanges flour mill in Quebec, who will speak on producing food-quality grains; agronomist Eric Gallandt, who will discuss managing problem weeds in organic small grain crops; Ellen Mallory, a University of Maine Extension professor and sustainable-agriculture specialist who will give an overview of local markets and information resources for small-grain producers; and John Chartier of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and Organic Valley, who will discuss organic certification.

For more information, call Ellen Mallory at 581-2942, or email her at [email protected]

The conference website is umaine.edu/agriculture/2013-maine-grain-workshop.