Archive for July 20th, 2015

Maine Factoids with Zest

I love freebies as much as the next person, so I was happy to pick up a gratis copy of Zest Magazine, written for and by Maine foodies and hipsters, at our little local country market/convenience store.  (It’s available at Hannafords supermarket, Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble and local Maine book stores.)  While I didn’t care much for the style of writing, which tried a little too hard to sound au courant and cool but in fact was yet another example of dumbed-down conversational English that has no place in old-school journalism (okay, they’re not old school, but this reader most definitely is), the articles were truly diverse and interesting and Maine-centric, and the photography is gorgeous.

I learned:

  • the difference between dinner and supper
  • how to maximize one’s maple syrup tasting experience (it’s similar to wine glass-swirling)
  • that squirrels use their teeth to gouge out holes in young maple trees, and then drink the sap when it flows
  • that Maine’s daily per capita water consumption is the lowest in the nation (hooray for us)
  • that the wild blueberry crop uses the lion’s share of water needed by agriculture in Maine
  • the largest consumers of water in Maine aren’t people, they are paper mills
  • that most States in the US are losing farms, but Maine has the highest % of new farms in the past 5 years.
  • that the Maine friars who run an artisan brewery called Friars’ Brewhouse refer to themselves as “two schmucks on the side of a mountain in Bucksport with this home brew.”
  • how to make a New York pizza, which is apparently one thing you cannot get in Maine
  • that in the years between the American Revolution and the War of 1812, Maine was a major producer of sea salt
  • how to make gravalax with an easy recipe
  • what Governor LePage eats thanks to his in-house chef
  • how to read a Maine wine label (the $.15 deposit ticket tells you the name of the distributor, which gives hint to whether they are smaller and specialize in quality, adventurous wines)
  • How, when and what to plant in a Maine garden

Check it out and enjoy.

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Kosher Trader Joe’s

Here is a panoramic shot I took at the Portland, Maine Trader Joe’s store.  Notice that every hipster shopper there just looks so darn happy!

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Trader Joe’s in Portland Maine

Just for fun, at the behest of my daughter, I recently joined a national Facebook group called “Kosher Trader Joe’s.” Anyone from the group who has tried a product from there that is kosher will post online, letting members know not only what kosher products they can find in the store, but how they taste.  In only a few weeks, the group already has 2000 members.

The closest Trader Joe’s to my house in rural Maine is in Portland (1.5 hour drive) and Portsmouth New Hampshire (2 hours drive).  Whenever I have an errand in Portland (which fortunately is not often), or need to pick up someone from the airport who has come to visit us, or if we go to the synagogues in Portland or Old Orchard Beach for a mid-week event, I always make sure to stock up at Trader Joe’s.

There aren’t a whole lot of people who keep strictly kosher in Maine, and certain items can be hard to locate, so with its extensive inventory of kosher foods, TJ’s is a true blessing.  The Portland branch is actually one of TJ’s biggest and busiest in the East, and it is really well stocked.  The problem with the Kosher Trader Joe’s Facebook group is that once a New Yorker waxes poetic about a TJ’s product, the entire herd of New York Jews reading the post stampedes down to the Brooklyn store, wiping products off the shelf in one fell swoop, and stock cannot keep up with the demand.  I’ll take Portland any day of the week by comparison!

For a guide to all kosher products available at Trader Joe’s (availability varies depending on region), click here.

For a guide to all the different kosher certifications on Trader Joe’s products, click here.