SKOWHEGAN  — The town of Skowhegan will put its farm-to-table hat on Saturday with the first-ever AgriCulture food tour and downtown festival.

Visitors will experience local foods on a tour that will include making pasta, pairing hand-crafted cheeses, touring The Somerset Grist Mill, grinding heritage corn, making butter on a farm, and sampling craft beer.

The tour will be followed by a downtown festival featuring local food samples, demonstrations, pairings and live music.

Mary Haley

“AgriCulture is an agritourism event designed to deepen the connection between consumers and growers and producers, strengthen the local food economy and supply chain and ultimately showcase all the agricultural assets that Skowhegan and central Maine has to offer,” said Mary Haley, project coordinator for Main Street Skowhegan and the Wesserunsett Arts Council.

Haley and Main Street Director Kristina Cannon said Saturday’s events will be offered in two parts — the farm and food tour and the downtown festival. Tickets for the full tour and festival cost $75, or $15 for just the festival, which comes with a complementary drink. The festival ticket gets patrons a goody bag with local products — seed packets from Johnny’s Seeds, classes from the new Meridian’s restaurant on Main Street in Fairfield, with a soft opening this weekend, and cooler bags to keep all the stuff in.

The first part is a food-and-brew tour in which participants will visit six locations in Skowhegan.

“Tour guests will be able to have some sort of experience there. They’ll either be able to make something, learn something and be tasting and eating the whole time,” Haley said.

Kristina Cannon

Visitors will tour the Maine Grains facility in the grist mill, sample cheese combinations and drinks at Crooked Face Creamery, observe handmade pasta at the Maine Meal on Water Street, where a sample-size meal will be cooked for visitors. The tour then will take visitors by bus to the Heritage Grain Plot next to Maine Wood Heat on Madison Avenue, where grains will be hand-milled, with demonstrations on how to preserve heritage seeds.

The tour then goes to the Tessier Farm on Malbons Mills Road for a true farm experience. The last stop will be a brew tour with samples at Oak Pond Brewery.

The tour is to be followed by the downtown festival from noon to 4 p.m., which will include the local farmers’ market, cheese and bread vendors, jam makers, honey and maple syrup producers, all of whom will offer free samples to those on the tour with the idea that they will be able to buy the products later.

There will be more than 20 vendors, Cannon said, with live music by Married With Chitlins and a beer tent with local brews.

“How this all kind of came about is that the Skowhegan Strategic Plan for Community Transformation has a whole strategy related to agritourism and supporting our local food hub,” Cannon said. “There’s a whole strategy about supporting the local food hub and promoting it.”

Cannon said Main Street Skowhegan wanted to expand the Cheese, Brews and Bread event with the Main Grain alliance and Wesseunsett Arts Council to make it a full-day event — an experience tour.

The Arts Council received a $4,000 grant, with a matching local share, for advertising and promotion outside of the area to attract “foodies” from Down East and coastal Maine.

 


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