With Independence Day right around the corner, families are stocking up for the biggest barbecue weekend of the year. As one of my favorite holidays, this long weekend is usually filled with popsicle-faced kids running through sprinklers, guys congregating around the barbie with their beers and mothers putting finished potato salads in the refrigerator. After a great day of catching up with family, swimming in the lake and getting carried away by Maine's mosquitoes, families join others around the country to settle on blankets laid out on fresh-cut grass and watch a fireworks finale that celebrates our nation's founding.
For this Independence Day, in particular, motivated families and our governors will be celebrating more than Jefferson's Declaration; Kitchen Gardeners International
is determined to promote "local food independence" by encouraging our governors to eat a sustainable meal within a 100-mile radius. Although a seemingly daunting task in an industrial supermarket-driven food system, if you look beyond the Super Wal-Mart or Hannafords there are a number of local natural food stores that strive to whet the localvore appetite.
Eat Maine Foods
is a great place to start looking for farmers markets, CSAs, community gardens, natural food stores, seafood markets, specialty food stores and even restaurants serving local. For your kabob veggies or fruit salad, I would stop in at the Portland Farmer’s Market in Deering Oaks Park that runs from 7am to noon every Saturday morning. Over 20 represented farms offer a diverse array of local fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, cider, syrup, jams and jellies. Stop off at the Public Market House where Big Sky Bread Co.
sells their freshly-baked delicious breads. MOFGA
also hosts a webpage listing local food retailers and natural food stores by county.
Aside from the main meal, no holiday weekend is complete without satisfying my gigantic sweet tooth. My recommendation to dull those sweet cravings while being environmentally-conscious is to indulge in a large brownie sundae at Maple's Organic Desserts
. This organic ice cream shop in downtown Portland prides itself in its relationship with local organic farmers and using only locally-sourced natural ingredients in its products. Knowing the creamy vanilla scoop of ice cream melting beside a gooey organic fudge brownie has a small environmental footprint, makes the experience even more enjoyable. Maple's local ice cream can be bought by the pint at Whole Foods Market
in Portland as well.
With a little investigation and minute weekly routine change, any Maine resident can host a sustainable meal not only for Independence Day, but for every other day of the year.