To the Farmers’ Market for Potatoes, Carrots, and Mocha Chaga

Last weekend, Maine escaped the wild storm that hit much of the Eastern Seaboard. The storm dropped freezing rain on North Carolina, where Shannon and Mike now live, and headed north to dump over a foot of snow in places such as New York City, where Dee lives. Then it went out to sea, leaving us unscathed.

Therefore, on Saturday, we went to Longfellow’s Greenhouses for the winter farmers’ market they host from January 9 to February 27, from 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is held in their “mall”, a long strip, covered like a green house, that connects the retail store to the actual greenhouses.

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The mall

Our own Farmer Kev was there, and we stocked up on potatoes and carrots, two essential winter vegetables. (In the fall, I had already stocked up on his winter squash.)

Farmer Kev and Clif
Farmer Kev and Clif

We chatted with Farmer Kev for a bit, and we learned he has his very own farm now in West Gardiner. Quite an accomplishment for a young man who isn’t even thirty and who doesn’t come from a farming family, from whom he will inherit land.

When we were done talking to Farmer Kev, we wandered up and down the mall, looking at the various products. So many good things  to sample and see, but we were especially taken with Zen Bear, which sells honey and honey tea. We talked with Frank Ferrel, formerly of Maine Public Broadcasting fame and currently one of the owners of Zen Bear. (He and his wife Lisa run the business.) He told us that the honey comes from Amish farmers in Aroostook County in Maine.

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Frank Ferrel ready to make some honey tea

We sampled some of the teas—“a gently infused herb, spice, honey and tea mixture…” All were delicious, but the one I liked the best was the Mocha Chaga, made from cacao, honey, Maine sea salt, chaga, and lucuma.  According to Zen Bear’s website, chaga “is a medicinal mushroom that grows on decaying birch trees.” According to Wikipedia, lucuma “is a subtropical fruit native to the Andean valleys of Chile, Ecuador, and Peru.”

Quite the exotic drink for central Maine in January, but the cherry on the sundae, so to speak, was when Ferrel told us about how chaga was extremely high in antioxidants. (He had some tested at the University of Maine.)

Chaga
Chaga

All right, so Mocha Chaga is exotic—for a Mainer—and high in antioxidants.  But how does it taste? I am happy to report that it has the delicious taste of hot cocoa, albeit one that has unusual ingredients and is high in antioxidants. I bought a jar of Mocha Chaga and had a cup this morning for elevenses. It was very good indeed.

Potatoes and carrots, honey tea made from chaga and lucuma. You never know what you’ll find at a farmers’ market.

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12 thoughts on “To the Farmers’ Market for Potatoes, Carrots, and Mocha Chaga”

  1. How delightful that Mocha Chaga sounds. I love indoor winter markets. There are some really inspiring young farmers making everything from cheese to jams, salad dressings and sauces, to grass fed beef. Good stuff!

    1. The Mocha Chaga is delicious. I will be having some for elevenses. Yes, hooray for young farmers. Maine is blessed to have an abundance of them.

  2. I’m a big chaga fan. We were able to harvest huge chunks from a birch that we had to take down in our back yard in Alaska. I didn’t know what to do with all of it when we left Alaska, so ended up giving it away. Now I’m kicking myself. We have a lot of birches around us now, but I haven’t found any Chaga in the wild yet in Maine. I know it’s here somewhere!

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