Morning Dew

In our neighbourhood, we have an abundance of amazing organic farmers.

Trying to support them all is a worthwhile endeavour, and one that we attempt very lightly on Friday mornings at the Damarsicotta Farmers Market. Generally we try and grow much of our own produce, but this year, like a few before it, have been so loaded with our busyness that that simply wasn’t possible.  Enter in- the CSA.

Community Supported Agriculture is an incredible means of enjoying the summer’s bounty while helping the farmer. With a CSA, you pay up front for a season of goods (there are many around that supply milk, cheese, vegetables, meat, winter vegetables, sea food, etc, etc…) and throughout that season you pick up weekly amounts of the harvest.  It’s an amazing method, and worth the upfront if you can manage it. AND if it happens you can’t, many farmers now have been a part of a grant that allows them to take EBT cards for a half the cost while the other half is paid by the state. For many the ideal of a CSA is unreachable, and this makes it possible. See here for more information.

Bringing local home is what it is all about.

This season our family has a CSA through Morning Dew Farm of Newcastle. I’ve known Brady Hatch for years…(about 15…wow…) and met her husband Brendan about 7 years ago when we moved back from Portland. They were just starting up back then, and have since made quite a name and business for themselves in our small midcoast area. Their clientele includes specialty food stores (like Treats), local restaurants (like the Newcastle Publik House, the cafe at The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Savory Maine), Rising Tide and Good Tern co-ops  as well as  just general everyday folk like you and me who happen upon their lovely goods. (Their salad provencal mix is AMAZING…whilst pregnant with my youngest I bought it by the pound and ate it for breakfast…it was the best cure for morning sickness that I found.)

This past Thursday my wee one and I arrived early to the farm and wandered while we waited. Such a lovely farm. (And, as always, it feels so good to see our food growing and know where it comes from!)

(This will be my last post until September, as we are busily trying to put some hard work in on our new house. I am passing the command over to Erin… See you in September in time for the Common Ground Fair! Happy summer all!  xo, ida)

The Alewives Return

No, not married women who drink ale. Fish. Specifically, this fish.

The  alosa psueodoharengus. Read more about the alewife here.

We are lucky enough to live close to Damariscotta Mills, which is technically located in Newcastle. Every year the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder plays host to thousands of migrating alewives. It’s the oldest alewife fishery in the state of Maine! Watching the alewives return is an amazing sight. The water literally goes black with the fish and the gulls and other birds of prey have a grand time with an easy catch. So, we caught a break in the rain and decided to go welcome them back as they make their journey upstream to Damariscotta Lake.

I really wish I had caught a picture of the bald eagle we saw swooping down to pick up a fish. It was majestic. In a purple-mountained sort of way. Nature at her most impressive.

This makes an awesome field trip for any child fascinated by nature (wait, so any child!), but my one year old was also thrilled by the circling seagulls. We incorporated a study of the alewife into our lessons this week, so Emmaline recited fish facts while watching the action.

Memorial Day weekend will be a perfect time to go visit, as it’s the annual Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival. Their website promises a great time: “Join the fun as local cooks create special food–a pig roast on Saturday, homemade donuts and a chicken barbecue on Sunday, and lobster and crab rolls on Monday. There will be live music, activities for kids, demonstrations…probably even some smoked alewives to try.”

We attended last year and can attest that it IS a great time. There was a fantastic fish-centric puppet show and delicious food. Our favorite fabric store, not-so-coincidentally-named Alewives, also located in Damariscotta Mills, always joins in the festivities. According to their website, “Here at the shop, we’ll be painting faces, showing the Alewife documentary, selling ice-creams and sodas, and helping to raise money for the Fish Ladder Restoration Fund. A wonderful time is had by all on this very special weekend, and we can’t think of a better time to visit the shop!” I couldn’t have put it better myself! Any excuse to pick up some new fabric….

So, get yourself over to the fish ladder and mark the festival on your calendars!

(Erin)

One Morning Walk

Today it feels as though spring is upon us in Maine. Perfect time to grab our rubber boots, put the baby in the backpack and head out on a discovery walk. Spring on the Midcoast holds the joys of early snowdrops poking through clumps of melting snow and stiff ocean breezes perfect for kite flying and chasing your wayward sheets that have escaped from the line.

We drove into Damariscotta and decided to walk between the “twin towns” of Damariscotta and Newcastle, across the bridge that spans the Damariscotta River and separates the towns, and then down Glidden St. in Newcastle and down a path along the river. This is a perfect walk for mamas with a variety of ages among their children. You can easily sling a baby or use a stroller (jogging, probably), and it’s not too much of a hike for the younger set. Older children will enjoy discovering the beauty of the Damariscotta River, especially walking over the bridge!, plus there are various stone walls to climb on, big, beautiful trees to find sticks and acorns around, and today there were lots of muddy puddles to fall splash in.

We started at the public parking lot down by the water in Damariscotta. As we parked, we noticed the tide was very high (the Damariscotta River is tidal) and the morning sun blinded us as it bounced off the river. My almost-5-year-old reminded me of one of our favorite books, Time of Wonder, by singing, “Oh, with the blue water sparkling all around, all around, with the blue water sparkling all around.”

From there, we crossed the bridge into Newcastle and continued up Glidden Street to the end.

By the end of the walk we were muddy, windswept, happy. Fun sidenote: this walk will take you right by S. Fernald’s Country Store. If you are in need of a cup of coffee, a hot sandwich, or a cold milkshake, this makes an excellent pitstop for whiny mamas and children. (Erin)