The Cumberland and Falmouth farmers markets are open for business. Photo by Brooke Parkin

More local farmers markets have opened. The Cumberland and Falmouth Farmers markets have more than 20 vendors between them this year, according to Brooke Parkin, marketing coordinator for the two markets.

The Falmouth market is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 22 Hat Trick Drive, and will run through Oct. 30. The Cumberland market is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 290 Tuttle Road, and will run through Oct. 26.

 

Don’t be sheepish about attending this contest

Just one chef will represent Maine in this year’s annual Boston Lamb Jam – Chris Gould, chef and co-owner of Portland restaurants Central Provisions and Tipo.

The Lamb Jam, sponsored by the American Lamb Board, is a national cook-off in which top chefs compete using lamb raised on family farms and ranches. Boston, the fourth stop in this series of regional contests, will hold its event from 2-6 p.m. on June 23 at the Innovation and Design Building, 21 Drydock Ave. in the city’s Seaport district. Sixteen New England chefs will compete in the four categories: Asian, Latin, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern. Winners will be named in each category, and the dish that wins “Best in Show” moves on to the finale later this year to compete against winners from other parts of the country.

In years past, Maine has been well represented. In 2015, chef Niko Regas, formerly of Emilitsa (he recently opened White Fox Taverna, his own restaurant in Farmington ) won the Mediterranean category. In 2016, chef Thomas Pisha-Duffly, representing The Honey Paw, won Best in Show in Boston with his Smoked Lamb Khao Soi. He went on to win at the finals in New York City. Honey Paw won the Boston regionals again the following year, this time under chef Lars Taylor. Taylor won again in 2018.

Tickets to this year’s contest are $75 and are available online. VIP tickets cost $125.

 

“What is a weekend?”

If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, here’s a good way to spend an afternoon pretending you’re a well-off, well-mannered Brit: The seventh annual Tate House Tea in the Garden is scheduled for 1-4 p.m. June 9 at the Tate House Museum, 1267 Westbrook St., Portland.

The garden overlooks the Stroudwater River. Sit there and sip tea with your friends while you gossip about the neighbors and practice your sharp-tongued, passive-aggressive party conversation, à la Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham. (“All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite.”)

Both hot and iced teas from Nellie’s Teas in South Portland will be served, along with sweet and savory appetizers, and strawberry shortcake. The Tate House, an 18th-century Georgian colonial, will be open for tours. The event costs $15 for museum members and $18 for non-members. Reservations are requested; call 774-6177, or email [email protected] Tickets also are available online, through an Eventbrite link at tatehouse.org.

 

It only feels like fall …

It’s not even June yet, but if you’re already thinking about Harvest on the Harbor, this year’s events were just announced and tickets are on sale.

The festival will be held from Oct. 17-20, with all events held at Thompson’s Point in Portland. In addition to the perennial favorite, the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition ($95), the 2019 agenda includes a $135 Chef + Farmer Harvest Dinner; Straight Up! With the Maine Distillers Guild ($65); a Bloody Mary Brunch ($55); an Oysterfest with Maine Oyster Co. ($65 and $95); a Market Brunch ($65) that includes access to the annual Market on the Harbor ($25 and $35). For more information, or to buy tickets, go to harvestontheharbor.com.

 

Charlie Trotter redux

Chris Long, executive chef at Natalie’s, is hosting a fundraising dinner for the Trotter Project June 4 at his restaurant, located in the Camden Harbour Hotel. He and Matthias Merges, chef and proprietor of Folkart Restaurant Management, will prepare a five-course dinner for $138 per person.

Merges worked with famed Chicago restaurateur Charlie Trotter at his eponymous restaurant for more than 14 years, running the kitchen and coordinating projects from cookbooks to television shows. Long also worked at Charlie Trotter’s, which closed in 2012. (Trotter died in 2013; he was just 54.) The Trotter Project, according to its website, offers scholarships to people pursuing careers in the culinary industry, as well as paid internships, mentorship opportunities, skills sessions and community service opportunities.

If all you want to do after eating five courses is fall into bed, the Camden Harbour Inn is offering overnight packages that include dinner, starting at $320 person. For reservations, call 236-7008.

 

Eat for a cause

Two weeks ago in this space, I told you about a fundraiser for pets: Food trucks visiting the Congdon’s After Dark food truck park at 1090 Post Road in Wells donated a portion of their opening day proceeds to the Animal Welfare Society. The event was a howling success – they raised $14,000 in one day!

They’ve decided to keep the giving going. On Sunday, from 4-9 p.m., participating food trucks will be donating 25 to 50 percent of their profits to My Pal Spencer, a group that raises money for the nonprofit Cure Sanfilippo Foundation. The foundation funds research into Sanfilippo Syndrome (also known as Children’s Alzheimer’s),  a rare and fatal genetic disease that affects a local family. The disease gradually diminishes brain function, and most children who have it die before they reach their teens. There is no treatment or cure.

Wells native and Massachusetts resident Nathan Smith and his wife, Alli, whose 4-year-old son Spencer has the disease, hope to put their child into an experimental clinical trial, and are trying to raise $500,000 for the research.

Congdon’s says it will hold “Tithing Tuesdays” every week through the summer, according to Adam Leech, who organizes the events. Tithing Tuesdays will be smaller scale, with trucks donating 10 percent of their proceeds.


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