On our resumes, we just may have to list “festivalgoer” on the space reserved for non-paying occupations. After all, we’ve peeled crustaceans at the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival in Louisiana and sampled pimento cheese biscuits at Knoxville’s International Biscuit Festival with party stops in between. And even it it’s trite to say: we truly have never met a festival we didn’t like.
Peninsula Harvest Festival in Blue Hill, Maine, just gave us another glimpse of life (and tastes) of Down East while mingling with Mainers and getting a feel for why folks take pride in locally sourced foods. Blue Hill Heritage Trust sponsored this third-year event held at Mainescape Nursery & Garden Shop in Blue Hill.
Located near the entrance, hand dyed yarn by String Theory added a tactile interest to the festival. Socks, shawls, and caps knitted with blends of merino wool and cashmere begged to be touched, but not bought: display only.
It was the yarn itself — dyed by hand — that was for sale and made people dream of spending cold winters by the fire, needles and soft threads in hand.
Another crafty Mainer from Blue Hill Spoonworks knew what to do to get us to part with our money. His invitation to touch and hold the few pieces he had left of birds-eye maple had us opening our wallets. Now, we’ll be cooking, stirring, and tasting Maine long after vacation ends.
Since food’s a big draw for us, we were in luck. No shortages here. But it wasn’t always something familiar.
New to Us:
Goat’s Milk Fudge
Maine Maple Syrup (OK, we’ve heard of Vermont maple syrup, but this is the first from Maine we’ve seen.)
Mini Whoopie Cupcakes — a version of Whoopie Cakes, but smaller — and maybe cuter.
Local oysters on the halfshell — You don’t see these passed out at festivals in Tennessee, but in Maine, you do!
A Maine take on familiar goods:
Colorful, imported rugs
And pumpkins by the cartload
But the prize for most unusual items on a table (for us, at least) had to be Pickled Quail Eggs and Rabbit Handpies from Sweet Life Flower Farm in Sedgwick. Of course, as Southerners do, we struck up a conversation with the lady at the table who told us, “Yes, I boil the quail eggs, peel them, and pickle them all myself.” She’s definitely dedicated.
The day ended as sweetly as it began with a mini-concert by a talented 16-year-old whose mother stood beside us, toe-tapping and beaming with pride.
And then there was this guy who might have been a plumber in a former life.
All good, if you ask us. And just another reason to be a festivalgoer in Maine.
For more information: Blue Hill Peninsula Chamber of Commerce