The Common Ground Fair was canceled again this year, leaving vendors who prepared all year for the fair with lots of products to sell but no customers. Many of them will be gathering at Mindful Folk Farm, 290 Morse Road in New Gloucester, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday for the Harvest Moon Craft Festival.

While crafters who make botanicals and goat’s milk products will attend, the festival doesn’t include Common Ground food vendors. Food will be available, though, from Mr. Tuna (sushi hand rolls), Niyat Catering (Ethiopian food), Empanada Club, and Snöbirds Shave Ice.

More than 30 Maine crafters will attend the festival, which was organized by Hannah Welling on her family’s farm.

The all-outdoors event also features activities for kids, live music and visits with farm animals. Masks will be required, regardless of vaccination status. Organizers are asking for a $5 donation at the gate to cover expenses. Rain date is Sept. 26.

Writers Karl Schatz and Margaret Hathaway look over page drafts for the first volume of the Maine Bicentennial Cookbook at their home, Ten Apple Farm. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Call for (more) recipes

If you’ve got a great family recipe to share – especially if you’re from rural Maine – consider sending it to the organizers of the Maine Community Cookbook, who are searching for more recipes to fill their second volume, scheduled to be released next spring.

The deadline for submitting recipes for the “Maine Community Cookbook, Volume 2: 200 More Recipes Celebrating Home Cooking in the Pine Tree State” has been extended by two weeks, through Oct. 15. The goal is to collect at least 50 recipes in 25 days, especially recipes from more rural parts of Maine. Even better if they have a catchy name, like some of those submitted so far: “Grampa Gene’s Onion Pie,” for example, or “Steuben Side-Walk Society Oyster Stew.”

To submit a recipe, go to maine200cookbook.com or mail recipes to Maine Community Cookbook c/o Rabelais Books, 2 Main St., Suite 18-214, Biddeford, Maine 04005.

As with the first cookbook, $2 from each book sold will go to groups fighting hunger in Maine. The first volume raised more than $15,000.

Free coffee for a cause

Aroma Joe’s plans to give away free 16-ounce cups of coffee – hot or iced – on Sept. 29, which is National Coffee Day.

The Portland-based company – which now has 78 locations in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Florida – will donate $1 to The Dempsey Center for every cup of coffee it gives away. If you can’t make it to one of their locations that day, go online and purchase their house blend coffee ($8.50 for a 12-ounce bag), and $2 will be donated to The Dempsey Center.

Helping cancer patients – that’s a good excuse for grabbing some Wednesday morning coffee.

Order ye lobster while ye may

Eat your fill of lobster during Maine Lobster Week. Marie Sonmez Photography/Shutterstock.com

You still have four days to celebrate Maine Lobster Week, which ends Saturday. Nearly 50 Maine restaurants are highlighting lobster on their menus, whether it’s a multi-course meal, a special dish, or a simple lobster roll.

Nonesuch River Brewing in Scarborough, for example, is serving not only lobster rolls and lobster mac-and-cheese, but also lobster succotash – lobster with local corn, cherry tomatoes, green beans, a wine cream sauce and cornbread. Island Lobster Company on Peaks Island is offering lobster poutine featuring lobster meat and cheese curds atop a bed of fries and – here’s the best part – drizzled with lobster bisque.

For more menus, go to mainelobsterweek.com.

And for those who still won’t get their fill of lobster this week: Luke’s Lobster plans to give one lucky person free lobster for a year. Go to lukeslobster.com to enter.

Fire closes restaurant indefinitely

Fire and smoke damage from a possible electrical fire at the Fishermen’s Net on Forest Avenue in Portland last week has indefinitely closed Thai Esaan, the restaurant next door, “until we can properly assess our situation and see what our possibilities are for reopening,” the owners announced on social media.

No one was injured in the fire. Although the fire seemed to be located near an electrical panel, investigators have not yet made a conclusive determination about its origin and cause, said Christopher Goodall, Portland’s assistant fire chief.

Both businesses are located at 849 Forest Ave.

Fishermen’s Net is closed as well. The owners said they haven’t decided whether they will reopen on Forest Avenue or move to a new location, but for now they are accepting orders for shipping only. Call (207) 999-2424.

Swinging new place

Portland has a lot of sports bars filled mostly with football, baseball and basketball fans. Now the city may be getting a venue that caters to golfers.

The Portland City Council 0n Monday approved a restaurant/lounge license for Joseph Atwood of Falmouth and Peter Atwood of Scarborough, who plan to open X-Golf Portland, a bar and restaurant at 101 York St. The venue will have a golf-related retail space, as well as six virtual golf simulators.

In his license application, Joseph Atwood said his goal is to “provide an upscale, family friendly, sports bar/restaurant for the people of Greater Portland to come and enjoy a meal, watch a televised sporting event, or play a round of virtual golf.” The target opening date is Feb. 1.

A sample menu includes a wide variety of pub-style food, from chicken wings to steak tips and fries.

New spot for oyster eaters and seafood shoppers

SoPo Seafood’s retail market and raw bar at 171 Ocean St. in South Portland opened last Wednesday. Photo by Josh Edgecombe

Hours for the much-anticipated market are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. The raw bar, where you can savor oysters and beer, is open the same hours.

The market opened last Wednesday. Yesterday, the first sushi-grade Maine uni of the season arrived. (Neither here nor there, but Justin Timberlake is a fan: “I love uni. If I’m going to die of anything, it’s going to be gluttony.”)

SoPo Seafood originally planned to sell local seafood to restaurants, but then the pandemic hit. With restaurants closed, the business pivoted to a local seafood delivery service. The market and raw bar are the next step in the owners’ new business model.

Ela Market and Grill closed

Ela Market & Grill, at 125 Bucknam Road in Falmouth, has permanently closed.

The market, which opened in February 2020, offered mostly to-go food, including sandwiches, salads and pizza, many of which had a Greek flair. Ela had a tough start, considering the owners did extensive renovations to the building and opened just a month before the pandemic reached Maine.

The 2,541 square-foot building is now listed for sale on the Coldwell Banker website for $1.1 million. In addition to the market space and all of its equipment, fixtures and furniture (and 10 parking spaces), the property includes a two-bedroom apartment.

Author and fermentation revivalist Sandor Katz will pay a virtual visit to Portland in October. Photo courtesy of Chelsea Green Publishing

Fun with fermentation

Sandor Katz is a rock star of the fermentation world. His books are considered must-haves among fans of fermented foods. (Michael Pollan called him “the Johnny Appleseed of Fermentation.”) Onggi, a fermentation shop that opened last spring at 93 Washington Ave. in Portland, is hosting a free Zoom session with Katz in which he will answer questions and talk about his latest book, “Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques, and Traditions from Around the World” (Chelsea Green, $35), due out on Oct. 28.

The session is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 6. RSVP on Eventbrite.com  or through the shop’s website at onggi.com.

Books (including 10 signed copies) are available for pre-order, as well.

News from the Frontier

Frontier, a Brunswick arts and cultural venue in the old Fort Andross mill overlooking the Androscoggin River, has still not reopened its full-service restaurant, which closed during the pandemic. It is searching for a culinary partner to take over food service operations until the owners can come up with a long-term business plan.

Frontier’s film, music, art and community programming will resume in October, and its coffee bar will be open.

Meanwhile, Frontier plans to team up with Nomad Pizza for a two-night event Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 to raise money for the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program. The event, from 6 to 9 p.m. both nights, includes live music. The $20 ticket price gets you wood-fired pizza and salad; beer, wine and cocktails will be available for purchase. To reserve a spot, go to Evenbrite.com or explorefrontier.com.

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test will be required. Masks are required when not eating or drinking.

 


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