Ever since I moved up to the (literally) greener pastures of the northeast (from Texas), I have longed to visit Maine. Everything I hear sounds positively magical: rocky beaches, farmer’s markets, and the ever-present salty breeze. Shelby’s adventures have transformed my little wish into a raging desire, and now I know where I’ll be eating first! -Amy
While not a born-and-bred, true-blue Mainer, the state holds a very special place in my heart. From spending my summers in a cabin along the shores of a western Maine lake, to my college years on a quintessential New England campus, I consider the Pine Tree state to be my second home. In recent years, I have had the chance to explore more of seaside Maine, making my way north along the nooks and crannies of the rocky coastline. Over the past few summers, our travels have focused on the mid-coast towns of Rockland, Rockport and Camden (and most recently Lincolnville and Belfast), and we have quickly fallen in love with this stretch of coast.
It is a region full of history and growth all at once. There is excitement in the air as new restaurants show up on the scene, art galleries and museums bursting with impressive art, and as creative people continue to make the area even more unique and alluring. It is a place we can’t help but return to again and again.
It was on one of those trips that I first caught wind of what a young woman named Annemarie Ahearn was doing in Lincolnville, a small town just north of bustling Camden. At a sheep farm along the coast, she was growing gardens full of fruit and vegetables, teaching unique cooking classes and hosting monthly feasts; gathering farmers, brewers, artisans and food lovers around the dinner table. As much as I tried, my schedule did not allow a visit for a class or to attend one of the full moon dinners, but I vowe to myself that one day I would get there–one way or another.
This summer, Annemarie has made things much easier for all of us. She has taken her success at the farm and brought it to Rockport Harbor, in the form of a sunlit café and market. She has created the kind of place that invites you to come right in, take a seat, and enjoy the remarkable food that she and her team are making each day. We popped in for a late breakfast on our way out of town. Tempted by sweet treats, incredible looking granola and a beautiful blueberry buckle, I finally decided on a towering slice of frittata, made with feta and local swiss chard. Eaten outside on the café’s deck overlooking the picture-perfect working harbor, I knew this was a place I needed to return to often.
After breakfast, I wandered around the pretty market space, quickly falling in love with the shop’s shiny copper pots, beautiful Maine wool blankets, and great selection of cookbooks. Annemarie encouraged me to stick along a bit longer, so that I could be there for the delivery of the local produce that would soon be for sale at the café. Regrettably, I had to hit the road – but next time I will be sure to make time for one of Salt Water Farm’s feasts, or at the very least, I’ll be there for supper, featuring fresh, local food, eaten family style and intended to celebrate the gifts of the season.
As I reluctantly left the café to head back to Boston, I ran smack into the farmer delivering a bucket of gorgeous black trumpet mushrooms. When I remarked that I had tasted some the night before on a superlative pizza at Seabright in Camden, he proudly informed me that those were also his mushrooms, telling me “they’re a month early and better than they’ve ever been.” I wish I could have stayed to see what Annemarie and her team was going to do with those beauties!
For more information about Salt Water Farm’s classes, feasts, or the market and café, visit their website. My recommendation? Head up to mid-coast Maine as soon as you can! For more on where to eat and play in this region, check out my ever-growing list on Lady Gouda.
All photos courtesy of Shelby Larsson and Salt Water Farm via wheredoyougoto.us.
Eat Boutique discovers the best small batch foods by boutique food makers. We share recipes, maker stories and city guides to eating boutique. We host tasting events and markets for food makers, cookbook authors and food fans. We craft seasonal, regional gift and tasting boxes and sell individual items that you can order in the Eat Boutique Shop. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and Pinterest.