Category archives for: Berries,Chowdah and Moxie

College Starts Sustainable Agriculture Farm On The Site Of A Sustainable Organic Dairy Farm That Went Out Of Business

Inigo Montoya. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it meansFAIRFIELD — A layer of crunchy snow covers the 120-acre former dairy farm in a corner of Kennebec Valley Community College’s Harold Alfond Campus on a gray afternoon in mid-December. It’s the last day of the fall semester and there’s hardly anyone around, but signs of all the work that has been put into the farm are everywhere. There are laying hens, Katahdin sheep and pigs in a newly refurbished barn and two large high tunnels, which are like greenhouses, teeming with spinach, swiss chard, lettuce and other vegetables. Not far away, construction workers are putting the final touches on a brand new building, the Center for Farm-to-Table Innovation, which is scheduled to open in January. The end of the semester and the first harvest of the farm’s produce — which totaled more than 6,800 pounds this fall — mark an important milestone for KVCC and it’s fledgling sustainable agriculture program. It’s been just more than one year since the school launched the program, along with a culinary arts program, making it the only community college in the state to offer a degree in sustainable agriculture and give students the chance to run a working farm. “I think this time of year is the real test of what we’ve been able to do,” said Richard Hopper, KVCC president, as he made his way through the snow to one of the high tunnels. “When you come out here in the snow and ice, and open up one of these white buildings and see all the vegetables, it’s phenomenal.” (read more at the Kennebec Journal)

McDonald’s Tries To Woo Customers Back By Instructing Workers To Throw The Food Out The Hole In The Wall Underhand From Now On

mcdonalds workersInside this nondescript warehouse some 30 minutes from McDonald’s suburban Chicago headquarters, uniformed crew members cook burgers, sling fries and hand food to customers. But here, cashiers accept fake money. Workers and customers wear tracking chips to record their movements. And customers mimic going through the drive-thru in plastic chairs, not cars. Welcome to the Innovation Center, where the world’s largest fast-food operator studies, dissects and tweaks current routines as well as proposed ideas that could quicken the operations at some 34,000 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. The center is far enough from McDonald’s headquarters that it can run on its own, yet close enough for interaction when needed, said Laurie Gilbert, a 22-year McDonald’s veteran who is vice president of restaurant innovation. “There was a very intentional decision made not to have it be right there, so we could create a bit of a different culture, have a safe place to experiment and learn,” Gilbert said. “Make no mistake, it’s McDonald’s through and through, you can feel it. And yet, with our own flavor.”Opened in 2001, the Innovation Center brings together a variety of players, from engineers, researchers and designers to visiting vendors and franchisees, as they work to improve the burger giant’s service. (read more at the Portland Press Herald)

Local Hipster Pretty Sure English Majors Invented Agriculture About Twenty Years Ago

common ground fairUNITY, Maine — From low-impact forestry to Scottish Highland cattle to contra dancing, the 38th annual Common Ground Country Fair is a celebration of Maine’s rural and agricultural traditions. Tens of thousands are expected to gather this weekend on 50 lush acres in Unity for the three-day fair that captures the essence of Maine and the bounty of the harvest season. “We strive for community and education while highlighting agriculture,” April Boucher, fair director, said. Run by Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, the fair unites leaders in agriculture like Ben Falk, author of “The Resilient Farm and Homestead,” with locals like Lisa Fernandes, who runs The Resilience Hub, a permaculture center in Portland. Both are speaking about permaculture, this year’s theme, which focuses on designing ecological landscape systems that work in harmony with nature to restore balance. As more and more people embrace the do-it-yourself lifestyle across Maine and the country, these age-old practices of homesteading and low-energy use are being re-examined for modern times. (read more at Bangor Daily News)

New Happy Meal Mascot Expected To Keep Kids Looking Fit And Trim By Keeping Them Up All Night Trembling In Fear

Mcdonalds happy meal mascotCHICAGO — A new McDonald’s Corp. character named Happy is inspiring a different emotion among Twitter users: fear. The box-shaped creature — with Gumby-like arms, eyes that pop out of the top of his head and a gaping mouth filled with large teeth — was intended to promote healthier Happy Meals for kids. So far, though, it has mainly drawn alarm and ridicule on social media. Since debuting on Twitter in an official McDonald’s post Monday, Happy has elicited responses such as “I think I’m going to have nightmares,” “What the f— is that creature?” and “THAT! is scary!” A video featuring Happy was posted to the McDonald’s Facebook page, drawing additional scorn: “Epic fail,” “I regret watching this” and “This makes me crave Burger King.” McDonald’s hopes the character gets a friendlier reaction from children. The mascot “is about bringing more fun and excitement to kids’ meals, including eating wholesome food choices like low-fat yogurt,” Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDonald’s said in a statement. Happy will encourage kids to eat more fruits and vegetables and to bypass soda in favor of milk, juice or water, the company said. (read more at Bangor Daily News)

Windham Guidance Counselor To Sell Whey-Based Frozen Yogurt In Raymond. No Word On What His Guidance Counselor Was Smoking

Mainers looking Maine-y at the Rumford Meteor, Maine news from the seat of Oxford CountyRAYMOND – A Windham couple is hoping that Cherries on Top, their new frozen yogurt and ice cream shop on Route 302 in Raymond, will offer an alternative amid the busy Lakes Region ice cream market. On April 19, Trisha and Farausi Cherry will open the store at 1252 Roosevelt Trail in downtown Raymond. According to Trisha Cherry, Cherries on Top will serve several flavors of Only 8, a whey-based frozen yogurt that does not contain milk, cream or artificial sweeteners. Cherries will also serve Annabelle’s Natural ice cream. “Cherries on Top will offer natural, soft-serve frozen yogurt, and all-natural hard ice cream, and our customer service and our prices will help us stand out in the Raymond area,” Cherry said. “I think there’s a demand for a healthy frozen yogurt option that’s not really there, and I think people are really looking for options for products that don’t have a lot of chemicals in them or a lot of preservatives.” “It’s not cream or milk, so it’s more gentle, for people who have lactose sensitivity,” Cherry added. “It allows people who haven’t traditionally been able to have ice cream products to eat frozen yogurt and enjoy it, within their dietary restrictions.”Farausi is a guidance counselor at Windham High School, and Trisha is pursuing a master’s degree in school counseling at the University of Southern Maine. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Trisha Cherry worked at The Dairy Joy ice cream shops in Auburn and Lewiston. She said that the space at 1252 Roosevelt Trail, which used to be an ice cream shop, and most recently, a hair salon, reminded her of The Dairy Joy. (read more at Lakes Region Weekly)

Norway Non-Profit Attempting To Plant A Crowd-Sourced, Sustainable, Ecology-Based, Locavore, Co-Op, Solar-Powered, Land-Trusted, Farm-Preserved Money Tree

Windmills in Maine. Maine news from The Rumford MeteorNORWAY — A local nonprofit dedicated to sustainability awareness is employing a popular crowd-sourcing funding campaign to raise money to boost education in the area. The Center for an Ecology-Based Economy is looking to raise $20,000 by May 25 through Indiegogo for four projects that organizer Scott Vlaun says will promote the use of local, sustainable food systems and lifestyles in the region. “We’d like to think it will make a better, stronger community and a better place to be,” Vlaun said. Projects include renovating the commercial kitchen at the Fare Share Co-op and connecting it to the adjacent CEBE space for food-related events and cooking demonstrations; creating a community bike lending program by placing bike racks throughout Norway and South Paris; collaborating with the Western Foothills Land Trust to build a traditional sugar house for the SAD 17 education program at Robert’s Farm Preserve; and the creation of a solar power station at the Alan Day Community Garden to power an irrigation system and barn lighting. The funding will primarily help CEBE offset the cost workshops associated with running the programs, Vlaun said. (read more at the Lewiston Sun Journal)

Putting A Sweater On A Dunkin’ Donuts Is Apparently Not A Viable Business Plan In Skowhegan

Coffee shop. Maine news from The Rumford MeteorSKOWHEGAN — The sign came down Monday, the doors were locked, the lights turned off and the Tim Hortons coffee shop and restaurant on Madison Avenue was closed. The closing of the Canada-based eatery is a single restaurant closing and not an indication of Hortons’ performance in Maine or any of the company’s other U.S. markets, company spokeswoman Brynn Burton said Tuesday. “Restaurant openings and closings are part of the way we manage our business,” Burton said. “There’s really no particular reason for the closure of this restaurant.” Another Tim Hortons, which also was a franchise of Cold Stone Creamery, closed in Portland the weekend of Nov. 16, leaving 27 company shops remaining in Maine, including two in South Portland, one in Waterville and others in Augusta, the Lewiston-Auburn area, Newport and Bangor. (read more at Kennebec Journal)

Keynote Speaker At Common Ground Fair Says Women Are Often Out Standing In The Field. Maybe They Should Weed Or Water Or Something Instead

Common Ground FairUNITY — The keynote address at today’s Common Ground Country Fair was about the role of women in agriculture, but it was dedicated to the family of a man remembered as a visionary in organic farming. “He was a man who was really important in my life as a farmer, said Deb Soule, today’s keynote speaker. “Russell Libby had such appreciation for young farmers and I miss him dearly, as I believe many of us do.” Soule is the founder and owner of Avena Botanicals, a West Rockport-based nationally recognized company that makes organic beauty and health products. She launched the company at the fair in 1985, when it was still held in Windsor, she told the hundreds gathered on the fair common to hear her speak. She spoke of the many successes and challenges faced by women throughout history and those yet to come, both in Maine and the larger world.  She also remembered Libby, who died in December at age 56, was involved in the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, which puts on the fair, for 30 years, first on the executive board, then as executive director. It was the second day of the fair, which closes Sunday. As Soue spoke, fairgoers listened as they enjoyed both unusual and traditional fair food such as squash burgers and vegetable tempura, Maine baked beans and pie in a cone. Soule, 46, said she was inspired by female farmers, gardeners, artists and beekeepers locally and globally. “As a woman born and raised here in Maine, I am grateful to live in a state where organic farming and gardening is supported,” said Soule, who began her address by thanking the MOFGA staff, over half of whom are women, she said. (read more at Kennebec Journal)

Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

Maine cheesemakersROCKPORT, Maine — Thirty years ago, Mainers shopping for cheese at their local grocery stores would have found few choices — and of those, plastic-wrapped processed cheese slices had a large market share. Some speciality stores might have carried imported cheeses from Europe, but there were very few examples of locally made options for sale, Taylor Mudge of Camden recalled last week. Seeing an opportunity, Mudge decided to introduce a new product to the state: Maine-made hard cheese, which no one else was making. That idea grew into the State of Maine Cheese Co., which is hosting an event on Saturday to mark its 30th anniversary. “There really wasn’t any commercial-style cheese production” in Maine in the early 1980s, said Mudge, who is no longer involved in the company. “The whole foodie thing wasn’t really well developed up here at all. People didn’t think much about quality cheeses, or where they came from.” The times — and the cheeses — indeed have changed. Maine now is home to 71 licensed cheese makers, up from just eight in the mid-1990s, and it has become one of the few bright spots in the state’s troubled dairy industry. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)

Explosion Of Maine Beer Festivals Allows Plain Drunks To Pretend They’re Guy Fieri

Maine beer festivalsThere are eight beer festivals scheduled to take place in Maine this year, including two in Bangor and four in Portland. For beer fans and tourism officials that’s worth a cheer. A few years ago there were only three. Starting this weekend through early November, these festivals, in which ale is sampled and the characteristics of hops and barley contemplated, pump up the state’s burgeoning brewing industry, which now has 35 craft breweries, and attracts hundreds of beer tourists with money to spare. As craft beer explodes across the country and Maine’s brewers continue to make a name for themselves among beer enthusiasts, cities such as Bangor are starting to capitalize on the wave. Zeth Lundy, co-owner of Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor and an organizer of the Bangor Brew Fest in early August, is leading the charge in Queen City. Lundy and his wife opened Central Street Farmhouse, which sells home-brewing equipment, in 2010. Around the same time Geaghan Brothers Brewing and Nocturnem Draft Haus opened. “Before those things happened, you had to go to Portland for a good beer bar or homebrew store,” Lundy said. (read more at Lewiston Sun Journal)

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