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Pot Luck Rescheduled

Whew, I’m glad we postponed last night’s potluck. It was a mess here where we live, and likely a mess wherever you were in Southern Maine last night.

We’ve rescheduled for next Tuesday, January 25th, 6-8pm. It will be held at the previously scheduled location, the old Roma restaurant building (769 Congress), which is becoming the Portland Food Lab. Bring a dish to share, and whatever you’d like to drink. We have plates, glasses, flatware. etc., and the facility to warm something up, if necessary.

We’ll talk a bit about what’s happening with the Portland Food Lab, and take a look at the facility. And we can also discuss the Young Food Writer’s Competition, and Slow Food Writer’s Night.

See you there.


Congresswoman Chellie Pingree on School Nutrition

This Tuesday at 9 am I’ll be hosting a forum on children’s nutrition in schools. I’ll be joined by Kevin Concannon, United States Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumers (and a Mainer, I might add). I’m taking questions and comments from the public — that’s you! I’ll also be live-streaming the event on my website, and I’m hoping you’ll tune in to watch.

To watch the live stream, go to at 9 am on Tuesday, June 1st.

The Child Nutrition Re-authorization Act — which is responsible for school lunches and many other important programs — will be coming up for a vote in Congress this year. This program started in 1966 and has played a vital role in helping to make sure all children are fed and healthy.

The forum will be held at Bonny Eagle Middle School, from 9:00 – 10:30 am, and will include leaders in Maine’s education and nutrition efforts — from teachers and daycare providers to state agencies and advocates. The panel will be testifying to Under Secretary Concannon about what they would like to see in the next version of this program. This is a wonderful opportunity to highlight Maine’s effective children’s nutrition programs and identify the changes to the federal program that would benefit Maine.

I would love to hear from you. If you have a comment or question you’d like to add to the testimony to Under Secretary Concannon, please email it to me at! I will be selecting a handful of questions and will present them to him at the forum and the rest will be answered individually. Be sure to include your full name, address and best contact number in case we have questions for you, and please send your question by noon on Monday, May 31st.

I also hope you’ll tune in to watch the forum online. It will be live from 9:00 to 10:30 am on my website, or you can replay it later at your convenience.



Congresswoman Chellie Pingree
1st Congressional District, Maine


Open Creamery Day! Sunday, October 13th

Open Creamery Day is scheduled for this Sunday, October 11, 11 – 3, at cheesemakers all around the state, sponsored by the Maine Cheese Guild.

As the hardwood foliage bursts in a blaze of colors on Columbus Day weekend, here is an opportunity to take in the spectacular sights and to taste some award winning cheese at the same time. Visit the creameries, meet the animals, and learn the stories behind Maine’s more than 150 artisan cheeses. Along the way you can also visit a farmers’ market, stop at an orchard, explore one of Maine’s premier breweries or winemakers, and drop in on one of the many artisan breadmakers our state has to offer. You’ll love the views, but you’ll remember the taste!

Check the Maine Cheese Guild’s website,, for a full listing of all participating creameries, as well as maps to each of them.


Russell French’s photos, Island Sheep, at Rabelais

Please join Rabelais this Friday, December 5th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM when will be hosting a reception for Russell French to celebrate his show of photographs, Island Sheep.  If you don’t know him already, Russell is a founding member of Slow Food Portland and a local photographer who focuses on food.  Each Spring, sheep head via boat to remote Maine islands to spend the summer feasting on salt grasses and seaweed.  If you dine at Fore Street in the month of December chances are you’ve seen island-raised lamb on the menu.  Russell spent a couple of days with farmer Lee Straw and chef Sam Hayward, among others, corralling the sheep for their trip back to the mainland.  A few of these images appeared recently in Ed Behr’s magazine The Art of Eating, where they accompanied a text by Sam Hayward. These beautiful black and white images will be on display at Rabelais from the reception on Friday through the New Year.


A Powerful Vision of Food & Farming Outlined

If you have not seen it already, I can’t recommend enough Michael Pollan’s “Farmer in Chief“, an open letter to the next President which appeared in yesterday’s New York Times Magazine. Pollan outlines the connections between current problems with our food and farm systems and the much more visible (at least right now) issues of energy, security and health. He rebuts some common arguments against sustainable, organic agriculture (e.g. “it can’t provide enough food to feed the world”), and offers a plan for radically revising the way we produce, consume and think about food. For those of us who follow these things, many of these ideas are familiar and often already a part of our lives, but Pollan manages to boil it all down to a concise and powerful manifesto. So please read it and pass it on.


Terra Madre Fundraiser, April 22nd

Come savor the tastes of Puglia with us!

Slow Food Portland, Aurora Provisions, Caiola’s Restaurant, Rabelais Books and Vias Ltd. invite you to join Nancy Harmon Jenkins, Maine’s expert on all things Italian, and Paolo Cantele of Cantele Vineyards in Salento, Italy, for an extraordinary culinary experience in two parts.

At 4:30 Aurora Provisions and Rabelais Books will host an informal wine tasting and book signing with Nancy and Paolo.  This will take place at Aurora Provisions and is free and open to the public.  64 Pine street,  871 9060.

At 6:30 we host our Terra Madre dinner at Caiola’s to raise funds to send two Maine delegates to Slow Food’s world wide food conference in October.  Terra Madre is a biennial gathering of food producers from around the globe, sponsored by Slow Food in Turin, Italy.  This is your opportunity to help us raise awareness of Maine’s heritage foodways and expand our representation on the world stage. 

Nancy Harmon Jenkins and Paolo Cantele will share this meal with us and lead us through the delicious culinary experience of Southern Italian food and wine.   Chef Abby Harmon will interpret the flavors of Puglia paired with the wines of Cantele for a memorable meal.

The price is $125 all inclusive, which after food/wine costs goes entirely towards airfare for Slow Food Portland’s two delegates.  Please join us to both indulge in some great food and wine and support a good cause.  Seating is limited to 35 so please call Caiola’s at 207 772 1110 soon to secure a place at this table.


Terra Madre applications

In October Slow Food International will host Terra Madre, the 3rd biennial gathering of world food producers, academics and chefs. Slow Food Portland is pleased this year to offer sponsorship to cover the airfare to Turin, Italy for 2 Maine delegates.


Many thanks to Caiola’s Restaurant, Rabelais Books, Aurora Provisions, and Vias Wines, and to Nancy Harmon Jenkins and Paolo Cantele, for their generosity in hosting a fundraiser to cover these costs. More details will follow, but please save the date: April 22, 6:30 pm at Caiola’s in Portland. 


Slow Food International handles all logistics for feeding and lodging the 5000+ Terra Madre delegates (and pays airfare for those coming from third world countries). In 2006 Slow Food Portland sponsored a delegation from MOFGA (Russell Libby and John Bunker), and two chefs, Sam Hayward and Lee Skawinski. But because we didn’t have a convivium selection process in place and the nominations happened quickly, each paid their own airfare.


If you are interested in applying, or would like to nominate someone, please email us at this address: Participants must either represent a food community or work as a chef or in a related academic field. Maine has to date defined and sent delegates from 3 communities: Aroostook County Grain Growers, Maine Organic Potato Farmers, and MOFGA. This time around we can either nominate someone from one of these groups, or identify others that should have representation. Please let us know very briefly who you are and what you represent, and we’ll follow up to discuss selection criteria. We’ll ask that our 2 representatives share their experiences in some way with the convivium when they return, probably through helping to organize an event or talk.


More information about Terra Madre is available at this website:


We can sponsor 1 chef and up to three participants from any one food community, but there are no limits to the numbers of food communities that can apply. So if you aren’t selected as one of our 2 delegates receiving airfare, we can still sponsor your application (you would be responsible for purchasing plane tickets, but if accepted your housing and meals will be covered either way by Slow Food International).


Looking forward to hearing from you!