Our Favorite Local Ingredients

Houlton Farms Dairy butter
If butter is an afterthought to you, clearly you haven't tried Houlton Farms Dairy butter. It is loaded with butterfat and the flavor is sublime. For the uninitiated, it's a bit saltier than traditional butter and a bit more colorful — Houlton Farms Dairy adds a natural dye because the yellower product was better received in the market. Do not let this deter you, because you'll be missing out. It's wonderful for baked goods, such as scones, but our favorite way to serve it is melted with a freshly steamed Maine lobster. Available throughout Aroostook County, at McLaughlin's Seafood in Bangor and, apparently, the IGA in Eastport.

Maine-ly Poultry
Anyone who says "tastes like chicken" when referring to some nondescript meat product has never tried Maine-ly Poultry. Here, the chickens actually have flavor (delicious) and texture (moist and succulent). At their farm in Warren John and Sheila Barnstein raise free-range turkeys (Thanksgiving only), chicken and eggs free from hormones and antibiotics, and they're better than any poultry we've had, anywhere.

Wolfe's Neck Farm
There's nothing quite like a really great hamburger, and for that, we turn to Wolfe's Neck Farm in Freeport/New Gloucester. We usually buy it frozen at our local gourmet shop. But how psyched were we to discover that all of Hannaford's Nature's Place beef hails from Wolfe's Neck, too? Very. And unlike the meats we buy at the farmers market, the gorgeous steaks at Hannaford weren't frozen. They were fresh, organic and hormone-free, just the way we like 'em.

Appleton Creamery
With all due respect to all of the other cheesemakers in Maine, this is so easy: Appleton Creamery. Caitlin, Brad and Fiona Hunter have been doing this long enough that they know exactly what they're doing. The cheeses from Appleton Creamery are refined, sophisticated and, frankly, delicious. They started with goat cheese and have since expanded their repertoire to include elegant cheeses crafted from cow and goat milk. If you ever spot a chunk of their Penobscot Fog cheese, buy it immediately.

We're wild about lamb, especially ground lamb, and whenever we find it, we stock up on it. We've tried many locally raised options, and Meadowsweet's is our clear favorite. Paula and Sumner Roberts of Swanville produce ground lamb that has an optimal fat content — most of it burns off on the grill, but enough is left over to leave the meat moist and tender. Plus, it doesn't have the gamy flavor that so many lamb products do. The chops are also sublime. You can find Meadowsweet (and, usually, Paula) at the Orono and Belfast farmers markets.

Cornerstone Farm
Run by Hanne and Dan Tierney, a young couple committed to sustainable farming, this small operation offers pasture-raised pork and beef, free-range eggs and home-roasted coffee. The Tierneys couldn't be nicer, and we're hog wild about their pork products. Their pigs are fed a mixture of Maine corn and barley, as well as soybeans. In addition, the Tierneys plant barley, field peas and purple-top turnips for their pigs to forage. As a result, Cornerstone's pork chops and sausages (we're partial to sweet Italian) are lean, with a distinct pork flavor. The meat is flash-frozen at the butcher, so it tastes super-fresh at home.


Post a Comment