Last week, my husband, Clif, and I went to the 72nd Maine Agricultural Trade Show at the Civic Center in Augusta. On a cold January day, it lifts the spirits to walk around and look at all things agricultural. Maine, a rural state, is blessed with a vibrant food culture, which in turn supports farms and farmers. This trend is heartening, a very bright spot in a state where poverty and inequality are high. After all, what could be more essential to life and health than good food produced by Maine farmers?
There were many exhibits to look at—over 150—but there were two that especially attracted my attention. The first was Fedco’s display of heirloom apples. I had heard of only one—Northern Spy. The rest were unknown to me. What a wonderful diversity of shapes and colors.
The big, red apple—Wolf River—in the lower right-hand corner really stood out, but apparently size doesn’t matter when it comes to apples. The man at the booth told me that these apples aren’t very flavorful and that they were mainly used for pies. “Put in enough sugar and spices, and any apple tastes good, ” he said. (Unfortunately, I did not get the man’s name.) Wolf River’s claim to fame is that you get a lot of apple after peeling it. Here is a closer look:
Fedco also had T-shirts, and I promptly bought one. I will wear it not only when I am occupying my own yard but also when I am biking.
Now, I am someone who loves it when food samples are available at a booth. After all, how do you know if something is going to be tasty until, well, you taste it? You don’t. And food that looks enticing in its package might not be as delectable when you actually eat it at home. Oh, yes, this has happened to me more than a few times. Thus, I nearly click my heals with joy when a vendor has samples, and when those samples are cooked pork, I feel as though I have hit pay dirt. (I’m not sure if it’s because of my Franco-American roots, but pork is my favorite meat.)
Luce’s Meats had a full array of sausage samples, including Breakfast, Maple Breakfast, Sweet, Hot, and Chorizo. Clif, of course, liked the Hot Sausage while I liked the Chorizo. However, we both agreed on the Maple Breakfast, and we went home with a frozen pound, which we plan to use at the end of the month when we have friends over for brunch.
Finally, I have a thing for green John Deere tractors. I don’t know why. In general, I am not at all drawn to machines, but there is something about those green John Deeres that is irresistible to me. At the Ag Show, there was a huge, green John Deere tractor, and I just had to take a picture of it.
Oh, how lovely and green it was. Just the tonic for winter, when spring seems so far away.