Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Eating Local on a Maine Vacation

Today I am gearing up for a short trip to Maine, where I will bask (sunscreen-covered) in the sun and bike down the coast. But, what does a vacation look like for a locavore? Or perhaps more accurately, a locavore wannabe?

To begin my search I Googled "locavore vacation maine". I thought I would go with something specific, you know, attempt to find the exact website I was looking for on try #1. The results? Not bad.

First, I came across the blog Diary of a Locavore, which has its own category on Maine (here). The site provides information and food for though on eating local in Cape Cod and the Islands, including recipes (many adapted from the Joy of Cooking) and amazing food photography. The author even hosts the Local Food Report on NPR (90.1/91.1/94.3 FM) a couple days a week for the Cape and Islands affiliate WCAI.

Through the Diary of a Locavore I was directed to a local bread producer in Maine: Borealis Breads, which is sold throughout the state. They recently opened a bistro and bakery at 183 Ocean Avenue in Portland which showcases local grains, meats, and produce. Perhaps a stop there on Friday is in order.

Another look at the Google search directed me to the Counting Sheep blog. Her post entitled "The 420 mile Locavore or MA to ME in 24 hours" was exactly what I was looking for. While not particularly healthy here are a few of the places mentioned:
  • Bob's Clam Hut in Kittery, ME - a bag of fried clams for $26 (not sure if this fits the 'affordable aspect of the TastyKate locavore challenge)
  • Wicked Whoopie Pies - I assume I can find these at a local market or corner store...
  • Ballard Meats and Seafood in Manchester, ME - a little far north for our trip, but good to know about.
  • Rocky Ridge Orchard in Bowdoin, ME - a great looking place for a pie, fresh milk, or homemade whoopie pies but a little out of our path for this trip.
Next, I was directed to the website American Towns which highlighted our destination: Old Orchard Beach. It included a restaurant directory and a list of local restaurants (as opposed to regional/franchised...I think) with "must buy" suggestions for each.

Here I found out that I can go to Bob's Clam Hut just across the NH border and get a lobster roll for a mere $11.00 or clam chowder for $4.00. It's looking much more tempting now... In Kennebunkport I could stop in at the Clam Shack and get a lobster roll for $18.00 (ouch!) or fried clam dinner for $19.00 or visit Mabel's Lobster Claw and delight in fresh chowder for $5.00 or eat an entire Shore Dinner for $17.00. Mabel's has peanut butter ice cream pie...I might skip dinner for that. Do you think the peanut butter is local, too?

So besides the whoopie pies and the lobster what will I do to eat local on our Maine vacation? I will ask questions! The key to finding local eateries and entertainment will be to ask good questions and direct them to the right people. That other tourist will have NO idea what I'm talking about, however, the B&B owners probably will. It's great to go on vacation and know that you are going to contribute to the local economy.

How can we get our economy back in shape? Buy local!

I welcome any and all suggestions on where to buy, eat, and enjoy healthy, local coastal Maine cuisine.

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