Tuesday was a day that revolved around food and town. First, I rode my bicycle, Blue Beauty, to a Winthrop Food Pantry meeting where we discussed the ongoing problem of rising food prices. Simply put, cheap food is harder to get, and this, of course, is affecting all food pantries, not just the one in Winthrop. However, the Winthrop Food Party is lucky to have an energetic executive director, an equally energetic president, a board that is willing to work with them, and a supportive town. Despite the rising cost of food, the Winthrop Food Pantry will continue to provide good food to those in need.
After the meeting, I met my friend Claire for lunch at the Flaky Tart, a new little café that has opened in town. How I am beginning to love that place, and I am not the only one. Every time I go there, the tables are full, and there is a brisk business for takeout. Claire and I sat on the high stools at a table by the window, where we could see the comings and goings in downtown Winthrop, and I am happy to report that there were indeed people on the street.
For years, Winthrop, like many other towns, has struggled with a downtown that has seemed pretty lifeless. There were a few bright spots—Becky’s Second Time Around, a very nice consignment shop, and Apple Valley Books. The area phone company was also located downtown. I am happy to say that these three establishments are still there.
But lately, things seem to be picking up in downtown Winthrop. A few years ago, a branch of MaineGeneral Medical Center set up shop in an abandoned factory, and this has brought people back into town. Recently, a store called Potato took one of the empty storefronts and has since expanded to the adjacent space. Potato sells Maine crafts, and there is such a nice variety that it is just the place to go for a special gift for a special person. A little while after Potato went in, Pete’s Roast Beef came to town, and although the decor at Pete’s might be described as utilitarian, the place is very clean, the staff is friendly, and the roast beef sandwiches are incredible.
Now there is the Flaky Tart, a place so warm and pretty that it makes you want to linger over your soup or your quiche or your tea or your coffee. Claire and I have decided to meet there once a week, and perhaps other friends will join us.
“My mother taught me how important it is to support your community,” Claire said. “And when I give gifts or eat out, I always start in Winthrop.”
While we were eating, Rosa, one of the owners of the Flaky Tart, came over to show us a golden beet she had just cut in half. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she asked. “It’s from my garden.”
Indeed it was. I had never tasted a golden beet, and I wondered how it compared with traditional ones.
Rosa replied, “They are a little milder, a little sweeter. If you roast some of these, then who needs candy?”
Someday, I hope to try roasting golden beets.
After lunch, Claire and I went to Potato, where we both bought gifts for special people in our lives—our daughters.
I am planning to do as much holiday shopping as possible in Winthrop. In fact, when my daughter Dee, who lives in New York, comes home for Thanksgiving, I am hoping to persuade her to spend Black Friday shopping in Winthrop and to have lunch at the Flaky Tart.
Black Friday in Winthrop. It has a certain ring, doesn’t it?