Fryeburg Fair is Subjected to Food & Petrol! Part 2
Posted Saturday, October 19, 2019
Fall in Maine. Maybe the best season? The coast is (mostly) clear, seasonal venues are closing, 60+ degree days and cool evenings perfect for a cotton sweater and leather jackets. Wether on foot, motorbikes or in convertibles it is special. Windows up, heat blasting, hats, scarves, gloves, killer sunsets and crystal clear starry & moonlit skies.
The run to Fryeberg provided dramatic views lakes and foliage, a superb cruise through rural Maine via Winthrop, Buckfield, Norway and Sweden. The 05 Dodge Magnum wagon is the hydrocarbon burner of choice as alas, the Alfa Romeo developed an allergy. Never the less, the hemi roared along wonderful twisties, over hill and dale past the Boofy Quimby Volunteer fire Co, in Turner and on to F burg!
Here I am at the FAIR. The largest and last of the Maine Fair season; quite the line up. FryeburgFair.org. Woodsman competitions, chainsaw wood carving, ox pulls (7000 lbs for 300+-feet!!!!), vegetable judging, The Grand Parade, all the usual rides, the Puke o Tron!
However, I see some new sort of stuff filtering in in regards to food and farmers. As we all love the usual fair food, fried dough, sausage & pepper subs, there in front of me are youngish folks doing actually healthy AND tasty food, not the angioplasty specials. What have we here? Mex street tacos? Yep, whole turkey legs and street corn. I have been roasting corn since I was a kid and more recently in the 90’s to today at my beloved Cafe Miranda. So here we are in rural Maine with all sorts of cool, non traditional fair food! The tacos, delish, pulled turkey. Pickled veg, onion, cilantro, lime on the side..perfect to watch the trotters (harness racing) in the beer tent. BTW 8 bucks for 3 good tacos AND a beer tent?
Yep, civilization with local brews and US classics. Quite the value anywhere and especially at a fair. Grilled cheese truck? Yep, with pesto and names like “The Tree Hugger and The Southern Hipster. Good Coffee? Espresso? Oh yeah and tasty desserts, TOAST at the Bogs Bakery Truck. How about what I will nickname “ Eye-talian Poutine” which is Chicken Parm fries from Mamma Baldachies food truck. Tortellini with meat sauce? Goombahs at the Fair!!! What else? BB-Q EVERYWHERE.
Now I know where old heating oil tanks go when they die…Wood fired Pizza, Fried Veggies basket stand? Well, we are at a fair. All this locally sourced foods is “new” mostly everywhere. Not here in Maine. You all know folks that have gardened, frozen, canned, pickled and put up the bounty wether from their own garden! Beth’s in Union the roadside stand with “honor box” cash register for generations. I my self moved here from NewJersey, The Garden State. No laugh please. Southern Jersey is Mason Dixon line south and the produce I was buying in the 80’s was FTT without the elitism. The Tomatoes rival san Marzanos and the corn, quite possibly the best.
That is what we are seeing here too. Hip younger new and multigenerational farmers are seeing that we all have the same passion. Good food made here with integrity. Amen.
Well K, where are the HOT DOGS? I would be remiss to not mention some sorta standard fair fare, like the Chili Dogs. We have observed the hipster invasion and now I turn to the staples of Maine fairs. These ubiquitous stalls are built and used for the week of the local fair. I tried the Roman Catholic Dog (ducky back ground) nice, competent. Next up was the F burg Lions. When a stand offers bowls of chili and “Chowdah” on the menu you gotta think the Chili Dog has got to be the goods. It was! Choice of regular or a red snapper dog, steamed roll, chunky chili with visible peppers and onion in a bowl with a fork! Holy Simone’s! These folks rocked it and knew it!
You fender & fusilli folks may wonder was “all this in one day?” Yep. I call it “Sport Eating” a bohemian life I lead and appreciate your interest in humoring these missives.
As the sun is setting , I motor off with a quite full belly and new perceptions on how far food has come in my 40 years in the restaurant biz (30 here Maine.) It is truly remarkable. As my late Hero, Ann Marr said when Evelyn and I were opening CM “Good stuff just eliminates crap” Here’s to less crap, more quality and cheaper 93 octane.
Good day all, see you at Monmouth next June. Chef Kerry
←Read Part 1