Two of the vegan baked goods offered by Portland’s Norimoto Bakery in January. Photo by Avery Yale Kamila

Maine’s vegan and vegetarian businesses continue to be a hive of activity, as more entrepreneurs enter the space and existing ones expand their product lines.

For instance, the products produced by Midcoast Vegan, a startup producer of artisan vegan cheeses and meats, are now being distributed to grocery stores in Maine and New Hampshire. The menu at the Alto Terrace Bar + Kitchen in the new Cambria Hotel in Portland offers vegan options for every course. And all the Rosemont Market stores now carry a selection of vegan baked goods from online vegan bakery Baristas + Bites, based in Portland.

As a play on Dry January, James Beard-nominated Norimoto Bakery in Deering Center announced a number of its baked goods were going “dry” from animal-based butter. Its vegan plain and chocolate croissants sold out quickly. January is over, but Norimoto has kept a few vegan items on the menu. The following month, The Block Saloon in Thomaston took reservations for a four-course, all-vegan dinner paired with vegan cocktails.

Vegan company Healing Home Foods in Oxford is testing new products – mocha biscotti bites and seeds & such crackers – and selling limited batches on its website. And in May, Frinklepod Farm in Arundel is launching a Plant-Curious Cooking School, with a weekend-long cooking class intensive May 19-21.

Winter is still with us, but the energy in Maine’s plant-based sector is red hot. This is the latest vegan news from Maine.

Plant-based sauces for easy meals


With retail demand growing for the fruit- and vegetable-forward vegan sauces from Planted Foods in Kittery, chef and owner Catrina Muolo is ramping up production, continuing to offer a weekly meal club, and planning for a series of farm-to-table vegan dinners at Frinklepod Farm in Arundel this summer.

Planted Foods of Kittery makes plant-based sauces and is planning for a series of vegan farm dinners this summer. Photo courtesy of Planted Foods

“My sauces are designed so you can buy a $1 box of pasta and cook it up and pour the sauce in and you have a meal,” Muolo said, who launched the product line in 2021. She bases the sauces on what is available and in season, as well as seasonal holidays, producing a cannoli dip and a red kidney bean Nutella-like dip for Valentine’s Day.

Savory sauce varieties range from beet alfredo to roasted red pepper cream sauce, while her dips include queso, Buffalo chickpea dip and BBQ pulled oyster mushroom dip.

Menus and other details are still in the works for the Frinklepod Farm dinners, but chances are they will resemble the weekly meal club Planted offers for pickup at its commercial kitchen at 165 State Road in Kittery. Once home, club members simply heat up these multi-course meals. Entrees have included cauliflower steaks with local potatoes, parsnip puree and mushroom gravy; and coconut matter tofu with rice.

Find the sauces at the Frinklepod farm store, Lovebirds Donuts in Kittery and Maine Market in Elliot. Tributary Brewing and Toast, both in Kittery, and Roots in Dover, New Hampshire, feature Planted sauces on their menus.

Surplus into spreads 


A former restaurant owner and a former butcher have teamed up to launch a business that transforms surplus Maine vegetables into vegan dips. Called Harvest Maine, the company works with 10 farms from Cape Elizabeth to Unity to source odd-shaped, blemished and excess vegetables at harvest time and turn them into spreads available year round.

Co-owner Matt Chappell, who previously owned Gather in Yarmouth, and his partner Ben Slayton, who used to own the Farmers’ Gate butcher in Wales, process and then freeze the vegetables at the Midcoast Hunger Prevention shared kitchen in Brunswick. The frozen vegetables can then be thawed throughout the year to create fresh spreads.

Harvest Maine is making three vegan spreads from surplus farm produce. Photo by Winky Lewis

“We’re working with farmers to use their whole harvest and create a market for vegetables that might get left in the field or composted,” Chappell said. “Sometimes it’s first quality, and sometimes it’s seconds. For instance, first quality peppers are really about shape. Beets are about size. Broccoli gets leggy and is no good for the market but is perfect for us.”

Size and shape don’t matter when making dip, so Harvest Maine is happy to buy huge beets and funny-looking peppers and broccoli. Find the dips in local markets and health food stores. A dozen local breweries offer the spreads on their tasting room menus.

Beer into soap

Noticing the similarities between beer brewing and skin care ingredients, Elaine Kinney of South Portland married the two to create the all-vegan soap business White Pine Bath & Brew. The company, based in Kinney’s home, adds new soap varieties with the seasons while maintaining a consistent stock of best-selling varieties such as lemongrass, shea & IPA; coffee brew bar; sea salt & clay; and Maine woodsman. Traditionally, soaps were made with animal-based ingredients, such as tallow, milk or honey, hence the need for vegan soaps. Most commercial soaps today, though, are made from synthetic oils, not tallow.


White Pine Bath & Brew uses vegan beers to make its vegan soaps. Photo by Ashley Smith

“I’ve had customers come up to me and tell me that their grandmother swears by rinsing her hair in beer,” Kinney said. “Beer brings added benefits to skin due to the brewer’s yeast and hops that it contains. The amino acids in hops can soothe irritated skin. The brewer’s yeast is loaded with riboflavin, pantothenic acid, biotin and a number of other essential B vitamins. Beer also contributes to a more luxurious lather.”

White Pine sources vegan beers from local breweries. The company also makes vegan beard oil and beard balm. White Pine Bath & Brew’s products can be found at WeeMaine in Portland’s Old Port, at makers’ markets and brewery pop-ups, and online at

Sorbets with a Maine connection

This month, a part-time Mainer who co-founded the frozen handheld treat company SorBabes in 2012 plans to launch a new flavor – cocoa, cookies and cream – and a new brand – FudgyPops. The Los Angeles-based SorBabes was founded by Nicole Cardone and Deborah Gorman. Gorman’s husband’s family has summered on Little Cranberry Island for decades, and Gorman and her family lived there during the pandemic.

The latest indulgent sorbet bar from SorBabes is cocoa, cookies and cream. Photo courtesy of SorBabes

The FudgyPops feature chocolate sorbet, and the SorBabes pops feature fruit sorbet wrapped in a hard candy shell. Other SorBabes flavors include mango coconut crunch, wild berry crisp, vanilla caramel crunch and strawberry crisp. The company ships its frozen products nationwide and takes orders at

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