Dispatches from the Past: Maine’s cupboards are far from bare, although a bit more room in the pantry leaves space for experimentation….‏

(Editor’s Note:

This originally went out on February 27, 2014.


The Big Dig 2014 continues…

1. Green beans, frozen 15#
2. Sonnental Bacon & Ground Pork return
3.  Watermelon chunks for smoothies
4 . Popcorn from Green Thumb and also from Green Ledges Farm
5. Olivia’s Garden Lettuce Heads

6. Butternut Squash
7. Nelson Family Farm roasts & steaks
8.  Garlic is back in stock
9 . Chantenay carrots from Woodprairie Farm
10. Storage Onions available

Good Morning!

This week’s list is lessons in food strategy. Eating year round in Maine involves a bit of effort, and luckily our growers, by strategy or circumstance, manage to pull interesting food from the pantry just when we’d started to despair of variety. We think of an out-of-stock item as a disappointment, but every so often I’m grateful for shortages, for what they illustrate…

Here in Maine, in particular, we are fortunate to have our own salt supply from Maine Sea Salt. Each year, as awareness grows, demand threatens to outstrip supply. Each year Sharon and Steve produce a little more to meet the demand. This year their stockpile was reduced by the end of January, they shipped the last few big orders and closed shop for the month of February for a much needed break. Sea salt, as you may know, is solar-evaporated. Sharon & Steve pump seawater into greenhouses and with the help of the returning sun, have pillars of salt that dry over time, are ground, smoked, flavored, and packed.

For most modern cooks, running out of salt is simply inconceivable. For pioneers and homesteaders throughout time and across the world, salt has been key to food preservation and even survival. As we finish out the winter this month, supplies of many of our favorite Maine foods run low. Salt, and its seasonality, remind me that even with all of our efforts to create a seamless supply chain, even the most simple of foods are at their essence, products of nature, subject to the weather and the tides.

An unsalted meal humbles, reminds us of our true place in the food chain, neither at the top, or the bottom. In all our efforts we ultimately play second fiddle to the sea and the sun, the seasons, supplies.

That being said, there is plenty to chose from on the list this week…and we are not totally out of salt in all shapes, forms, and flavors.



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