My Freedom Fridays will be ending soon with the arrival of Summer Camp at Create a Cook. Classes all day 5 days a week. 34 new faces will parade through the door every week through September. Add to that corporate events and date night weekends and a few other things we have up our sleeve and it looks to be a very busy summer.Mom and SD are driving to Canada next weekend for a family reunion with SD's family so I took a last chance drive up to visit Mom before the insanity begins. Mom took the day off working from home and we hopped in her Jeep and headed out 17 to the coast, mid coast Maine, Rockland area to be precise. We had a few missions from some research I did and @mainelife told me not to miss Beth's Farm Market so a plan was hatched.
Mom had been seeing ads for Moose Crossing garden center in Woldoboro so we mosied over there first using the good old iphone as GPS. We passed the infamous Moody's diner crowded with lunchtime patrons and tooled a bit further up rte 1 to Moose Crossing. I'm sorry to the locals who adore it but no garden center in Maine that I have seen will ever beat Longfellow's in Manchester. We had the obligatory walk around the greenhouses and picked up some herbs and a few black eyed susan vine to replace the bunny snacks. Mom picked up a sweet autumn clematis to replace the one she lost two winters ago and replete with our purchases we re-configured the GPS to get us to Beth's Farm Market.
Beth's is decidedly off the beaten track but the occasional hand painted sign stuck to a pole or a tree with BETH'S and an arrow kept us on track which is good because AT&T has zero signal in that hood. We turned a corner in the road and admired the fields being worked and on the left was a flower filled adorable barn. Inside? Holy mother of yumminess! They had some of the most perfect freshly picked still damp peas which I immediately stuffed in a bag, my finger is still tinted green from all the shucking but those were the sweetest happiest popping bursts of pea flavor I've had since Grandma's garden. It's so important o have peas as close to when they were picked as possible. They had their own greenhouse grown cucumbers, yes, 1 please. Then I stood and read the sign above the tomatoes. They grew them locally in their greenhouses. I thought oh yea sure, another greenhouse grown tomato how good can it be? I picked up a choice one and sniffed it. Damn, it actually smelled like a tomato. Mom wandered over and expressed her doubts about hothouse tomatoes, but we decided based on the smell to pick up 3 anyway. Let me not keep you in suspense. That tomato was so DAMN good Mom and I stood over the sink with the kosher salt and ate it all while occasionally moaning and exclaiming how we could not believe we were eating something that tasted like a REAL TOMATO in early June in cool and cloudy Maine. We picked up a jar of their house made spicy dill pickles and pickled hot peppers for my stepdad's Bloody Mary's. I picked up bread and butter pickled fiddleheads (I KNOW!) and something labeled grape juice. Grapes are put up in a syrup at their peak and left to steep. The liquid is a gorgeous reddish purple and the little grapes are floating around inside just WAITING to go on a spear for a grape martini later.
Then I noticed those shore greens. I've never heard of them before so I grabbed one of them, rather like a blade of grass and bit in. Instantly you get a nice salty bite with a green background. Delicious. I asked what you would do with them and the girl said some people cook them like fiddleheads and others just cut them up and add them to a salad. A really unique sensation. I didn't buy any here but later at the fish market we found in Rockland I had to grab a bag. The last grab were some punnets of fresh dug red potatoes.
We left Beth's and headed to Rockland proper to track down a fish market to finish our now formed dinner of garden peas, fresh dug potatoes with garden chives and a salad with those heavenly tomatoes. A quick iphone google and we found Jess's fish market right on South Main Street in Rockland. Small, clean and well stocked with beer, wine, and fish, they even pack to ship. They had smoked Alewife, soft shell crabs, local oysters, house smoked Finnan Haddie and loads of other tempting items. We picked up some swordfish for dinner at Moms request and then I bought the most gorgeous halibut steak I have seen in ages to take home for husband on Saturday night and a Finnan Haddie for chowder later. They graciously packed it all in a styrofoam box for us with some ice because not only had I not brought my camera (all photos are iphone) but I also forgot to pack a cooler and ice packs. I'm obviously out of practice. Jess's market is highly recommended I wish I had a local market like this in Newton.
On our drive home I chewed on goose grass and drank a local ginger beer and we lamented the fact that we didn't live closer to Beth's Farm market because that place could be seriously addictive, but an hour and a half drive for produce probably isn't going to happen all that often. We wound our way home and feasted on a dinner that all came from the borders of our favourite state. Maine. The way life should be.