When Tony Montoya first heard about Portland’s Harvest on the Harbor while visiting Seattle on the opposite coast, he knew he had to check it out.

Three years later, Montoya, who lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, was among the throngs gathering under two tents Sunday at Portland Yacht Services on the Fore River for Market on the Harbor, the grand finale of the six-day foodie festival.

“This has been a bucket-list item. It’s been incredible – lobster, oysters and the ocean,” said Montoya.

The festival, in its 11th year, drew about 2,000 people, about half from Maine and the rest from 35 states and two foreign countries.

The event featured dozens of food purveyors, many of them from Maine, handing out free samples while the crowds noshed on whoopie pies, smoked lobster, pizza and other foods washed down with wine, coffee and tea. The Portland Press Herald was one of the sponsors.

“Delicious,” said Mary Beth Shapiro of Texas, nibbling on Gourmet Maine Lobster Crackers.

Shapiro liked them so much she bought two boxes at $10 each to take back to her home in Dallas, after spending the summer and part of the fall at Higgins Beach in Scarborough.

Mark and Yvonne Mummé of Portland were making what has become nearly an annual visit to the festival.

“We come almost every year. We like to try the new food and drink,” said Yvonne Mummé.

Vendors said the festival helps shine a spotlight on their products.

Carl Dittrich gave out samples of his Shuckie cookies, baked at his Atlantic Cookie Co. in Scarborough. Like fortune cookies, the scallop-shaped confections come with cute little sayings inside, such as “Some folks are wise and some are otherwise” and “If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.”

“People seem to like them,” said Dittrich, who was at the festival for the first time.

Lobsterman Robert Young of Vinalhaven served cucumber rounds and Ritz crackers topped with his fresh Maine smoked lobster.

Young said he started smoking his catch about 10 years ago after his wife gave him a smoker one Christmas, and he started Vinalhaven Smoked Lobster as a side business.

His display was strategically set up next to Patricia Havener’s Gourmet Maine Lobster Crackers. Havener, who started the cracker business three years ago in Friendship with her lobsterman husband, Greg Havener, said the crackers taste especially good when paired with Young’s smoked lobster.

Unlike oyster crackers, which are oyster-free, Hav- ener’s lobster crackers include Maine’s signature crustacean in every bite. She said selling them is a bit of a challenge.

“Since no one else makes the product, it is hard to market,” she said.

Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: bquimby

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