Black Bear Buying Club's Food Tasting

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Say that five times fast!

Walking through the doors, we were greeted by the pleasant smell of mom’s made-from-scratch chicken stew and tables arranged in a buffet-style square. It all looked absolutely perfect. Bright red cranberries, piercing green Granny Smith apples topped with cream cheese and nuts, gluten-free deserts, and an assortment of teas, juices, and cider. The best part? All organic, all GMO-free, and all local.

I made a bee-line for the cranberries. They looked as if they were picked this morning and had been sitting on ice since. I added a spoonful of these to plain, greek-style yogurt and prepared myself mentally for what I was about to experience. I have never had fresh cranberries. Something about them needing a bunch of water? Something Texas doesn’t have much of! They were perfect and complimented the yogurt exceptionally.

As we made our way around the tables, I discovered what may be the best apple cider I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. In fact, my partner for this event and I had 3 cups each! I thought the young lady filling the cups may eventually ask us to leave her booth. So good! There was a ginormous (it’s a word, look it up!) bowl of kettle-cooked popcorn that I could hear calling my name. I meandered over to it and added a scoop to my empty plate. It had a perfect blend of yeast, cheese, and a tiny amount of salt coating it. Delicious.

I’ve noticed something about the carrots up here in Northern Maine. They are divine. They are bright, hurt-your-eyes orange. They are thick and hearty. When you’re peeling them, they drip the same bright orange juices. In Texas, the carrots we get in the local grocer are almost always from Mexico, small and thin, dry and tasteless. From what I’ve read, the early frost, the bountiful rain, and the slow growing times allow the carrots to mature like mother nature intended and become sweet. If you have never had a carrot from the St. John Valley, you are simply missing out.

Also featured, Bouchard Family ployes (which I need to send home to my family in Texas), many different gourmet cheeses to try with gluten-free lentil crackers, and a few dips- sour cream, garlic hummus, etc. There was lamb on gluten-free tortillas, which I didn’t get around to trying and I am very disappointed by this. Gluten-free brownies were being snatched off the table by run-by children who loved them. Blueberry tea cakes, chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies, and organic soy milk to wash it all down.

The co op most-mentioned at the event was Crown O’Maine. Crown O’Maine, has been serving Maine organic, locally-grown food since 1995. They are located in North Vassalboro, but distribute products from over 80 different farms in Maine, throughout Maine. Fort Kent has a group of local individuals and even farms within the co op, who want to get a buyers group together, and possibly have a local store with rotating inventory as different items come into season naturally, GMO-free.

Would you buy locally-grown, organic, non-GMO foods from a nearby store, if made available? Being from Texas, I am quite used to having these items available, but not as fresh or tasty. I would absolutely love having this as an option to the local grocer with their blue berries from New Jersey. I still don’t understand why the store has blue berries from New Jersey and not Maine. Everyone raves about Maine’s blue berries down South! Maybe next year…

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BritneyLayne
BritneyLayne
Britney Patterson Photographer