It’s getting warmer, we’re steadily marching toward the summer solstice, and that means the screams for ice cream are getting louder. Ice cream lovers, you’re in luck: A new ice cream scoop window is scheduled to open Saturday on Portland’s West End, serving both dairy and vegan ice cream.

The Blu-Rhu on Oatmeal ice cream sandwich from MaineFlavor, which is opening an ice cream window on the West End this weekend.

The window at 46 Pine St., next to Bonobo, will sell homemade ice cream and ice cream sandwiches made by MaineFlavor at its facility in Freeport. MaineFlavor, known for its Intense Sauce line, is owned by Susan Purcell, Marc Flore and Andrew Applegate. The trio makes all of the ice cream and cookies themselves. The window will open at noon on Saturdays and Sundays for the first month; at the end of June, the window will be open every day until at least mid-October. Prices are expected to be $5-6 for an ice cream sammie or a 4-ounce cup of ice cream.

The vegan ice cream is made from nut milks. Vegan ice cream sandwich options include Blueberry Rhubarb ice cream made from almond milk, sandwiched between two cinnamon oat cookies (known as the Blu-Rhu on Oatmeal), and Tart Cherry ice cream made from almond milk, sandwiched between two double dark chocolate cookies. Dairy offerings include Sweet Cream ice cream sandwiched between two orange cookies, and Merengada (lemon with cinnamon) between two spice cookies.

All of the cookies are vegan and gluten-free.

Yarmouth Farmers Market opens for business

Like petals on a spring flower, farmers markets are opening one-by-one across southern Maine. The latest is the Yarmouth Farmers Market, which is scheduled to open June 6 at 317 Main St. with a record 18 vendors.

The market operates on Thursdays from 3 to 6 p.m., and will run until Oct. 17.

Opening day will feature a free performance by Grammy-nominated mandolin player Matt Flinner. The first 25 shoppers at the market that day will get a free tote bag.

The market is also partnering with the town and local Chamber of Commerce to host Third Thursdays through the summer, on June 20, July 18 and Aug. 15. From 3 to 7 p.m. on those days, the market will feature performances, an open mic, food trucks and a cash bar run by Liquid Riot Bottling Co.

Parking is available on Main Street, in the parking lot of the Sacred Heart Church, and behind 317 Main in the Masonic Lodge parking lot.

Fishing for local seafood in Maine markets

Maine ranks first among New England states in the availability of local seafood, according to a citizen science project that measured how easy it is for shoppers to walk into local markets and buy dogfish, whiting, skate, butterfish and other abundant, but less popular, seafood species.

The project, sponsored by the nonprofit group Eating with the Ecosystem, ranked Maine second in New England in the diversity of local seafood that’s for sale in seafood markets, farmers markets, grocery stores and fishing piers.

Sixteen people conducted the Maine portion of the study, making 453 visits to 67 Maine markets, in search of 52 local species.

The study found that seafood counters in New England are heavily dominated by five species: lobster, sea scallops, soft shell clams, cod and haddock. Half of the species the citizen scientists searched for were found less than 10 percent of the time, yet they are among the most abundant species living off the New England shore.

Portland baker travels to New York to support women’s reproductive rights

Briana Holt, the baker at Tandem in Portland, traveled to New York City last weekend to participate in an annual “protest bake sale” to raise money for Planned Parenthood New York.

Now in its third year, the bake sale – which this year brought together star bakers from all over the country – is the brainchild of pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz of Café Altro Paradiso and Flora Bar. In 2017 the sale, held at Altro Paradiso, raised $8,000. Last year the total shot up to $28,000.

And this year? Pickowicz invited more bakers from across the country and held the event at an outdoor plaza next to the restaurant. Holt says they raised $85,000 in just 2 1/2 hours.

“It’s a really, really cool event,” Holt said, “and it’s pretty amazing how much money got raised in a short amount of time.”

Holt credits the event’s success to the current popularity of baking and pastry, combined with the number of big names in the industry who are all gathered in one place. It was, she said, “amazing to get to work with people who are heroes and an inspiration to me. I got to meet a lot of people I wouldn’t have gotten to meet otherwise.”

What did she bake for the event? Cornmeal pound cake, financiers with rhubarb, and peanut butter and benne seed cookies.

Holt said she wanted to participate because “it feels like something has to be done” as more and more states have challenged women’s reproductive rights.

“It’s been harder and harder as the years go by to see all these things that seem like fundamental rights for women just get stripped away,” she said.

 

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