Said to derive from the Indian, succotash is a widely known corn and beans mixture by no means unique to Maine. The important thing here is that true Maine succotash always uses what Mainers call shell beans, and not the limas liked
elsewhere. Limas are slimas. In addition, Mainers prefer the cream style corn.

Gould, John. MAINE LINGO: Boiled Owls, Billdads, & Wazzats. Camden, Maine: Down East Magazine, 1975
Animal Rights Maine is hosting a companion animal food drive for Portland-area families in need.

WHEN: Saturday August 14, 2010, 11 A.M. - 3 P.M. – Rain or Shine.

WHERE: Pet Quarters, 486 Payne Road, Scarborough, ME 04074

WHAT: Cat & Dog Food Drive. Animal Rights Maine (ARM) activists will staff a food drive table at the Pet Quarters in Scarborough to collect donations of pet food for local families in need. Donations from this food drive will be given to the pet food pantry run by Camp Bow Wow and the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. The donations will be redistributed, free of charge, to local families in need.

STORY: Animal Rights Maine (ARM) is hosting a companion animal food drive on Saturday August 14th, 2010. People are encouraged to shop at Pet Quarters in Scarborough on Saturday August 14 between 11 A.M. and 3 P.M. to contribute to ARM’s efforts. Shoppers will be asked to buy additional cat and/or dog food with their purchase, to donate to the local pet food pantry, run by Camp Bow Wow and the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland.

Local animal shelters are seeing record numbers of animal intakes, with the leading cause of abandonment being the economy. Companion animal food pantries all over the state of Maine are running out of food to distribute, in the face of increasing demands for help.

“Providing struggling families with free cat and dog food will decrease the amount of animals abandoned at local shelters or neglected by underfeeding at home, and will help support families in need, many of whom may be deciding between buying cat food or paying their electric bill,” says ARM’s founding member, Melissa Gates. “ARM seeks to support families in maintaining their lifetime commitments to furry family members, by providing this temporary food relief.”

Families in need of cat and/or dog food can call Camp Bow Wow to arrange a pick-up of free food. There are no questions asked and no papers to be filled out: 207-541-9247. Camp Bow Wow is located at 49 Blueberry Road in Portland.

Questions…? Please contact Melissa Gates at Animal Rights Maine: or 207.409.5322. Thank you!
Sometimes you just NEED some comfort food. What do you crave when the topic comes up? Mac and cheese, stew, or maybe ice cream? Around here the answer is lasagna. It doesn't get much better than something bubbly out of the oven, and when a casserole is the mission, Missus Gray takes the call.

This truly is a labor of love. When she mentioned that she was making it I immediately asked who was coming over. It's a hearty dish for a family dinner or maybe you just need enough to have some for leftovers as we did. This made for a few good lunches after the fact. Starting with all fresh ingredients really makes the difference and the time you spend preparing this lovely dish will be greatly appreciated by those who are so lucky to get some.

The more ingredients you can get sourced locally the better this dish will be. Again we've used balsamic from LeRoux Kitchen, and vegetables from Alewive's Brook Farm and Seasonal Corner.


1 medium onion, diced
1 cup carrot, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz. can petite diced tomato
2 tbsp. tomato paste
vegetable stock
1 cup fresh basil, rough chop
1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp. agave nectar
1/2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, carrot, and garlic in olive oil on medium to medium high for 5 minutes taking care not to burn garlic. Add tomato paste and stir, coating the veg. Continue cooking 7-10 minutes or until veggies are all tender and the mixture takes on a nice orange color.

Add tomatoes and reserve can. Fill can half with vegetable stock and half with water. Add liquid to vegetable mixture followed by basil, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce, allowing sauce to simmer somewhat briskly for 35-40 minutes. Add agave and balsamic vinegar and simmer for another 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

Lemon Basil "Ricotta"

1 package extra firm tofu, pressed
2 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
8-10 fresh basil leaves, rough chop
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil

Crumble tofu by hand into a mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Now get your hands a little dirty. Mash it thoroughly. Incorporate all ingredients together until texture resembles ricotta. Now let mixture set for about a half hour in the refrigerator or until ready for assembly.

1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced lengthwise, about 1/4" thick
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat eggplant with olive oil and season to taste. Place on shallow baking pan and cook for 25 minutes, turning over halfway.

5 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced
2 oz. olive oil

Saute mushrooms over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until tender and all excess liquid is evaporated.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Using a lightly oiled 9X9 baking pan layer as such:

  • 1/2 cup sauce
  • ready to bake lasagna noodles
  • eggplant
  • mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sauce
  • 1/2 of the ricotta mixture
  • ready to bake lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 cup sauce
  • ready to bake lasagna noodles
  • eggplant
  • mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup sauce
  • 1/2 of the ricotta mixture
  • ready to bake lasagna noodles

Top with sauce and sprinkle with vegan grated "cheese" if you've got it. We used this one. Drizzle olive oil. Loosely cover pan with foil. Cook for 35 minutes then remove foil. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until top is golden and bubbling.

Support Local Farmers & Neighbors
Animal Rights Maine Launches 1st Monthly Food Drive at Saturday’s Deering Oaks Farmers Market

WHEN: Saturday August 7, 2010, 7 A.M. - 12 P.M. – Rain or Shine.

WHERE: Deering Oaks Park, Portland, Maine (Park Avenue and State Street).

WHAT: Fresh Produce Food Drive. Animal Rights Maine (ARM) activists will staff a monthly food drive table at the Deering Oaks Farmers Market in Portland to collect donations of fresh fruits and vegetables. August’s donations will be given to Preble Street, where over 6,000 free meals are served to neighbors in need each week.

Animal Rights Maine (ARM) is launching the first of its monthly Farmers’ Market food drives on Saturday August 7th, 2010. The food drive will offer shoppers the opportunity to purchase fresh, local produce to donate to neighbors in need of hunger relief.

“There are hunger relief agencies that come in during the week day markets to pick up food farmers are unable to sell,” says Melissa Gates, founding member of Animal Rights Maine. Gates said that the food drive approach will continue this service so food is not wasted, but will also offer local farmers the opportunity to maximize their profits by providing a forum for shoppers to purchase and then donate fresh produce. “It’s a win-win situation. The farmers will benefit, people will be able to participate in fostering local food systems and aiding in hunger relief initiatives, and our neighbors in need of food will receive the most fresh, local, healthy produce available,” added Gates.

“Animal rights is about more than advocating for animals; it is about promoting a philosophy of life that is based upon compassion for all,” said Gates. “The promotion of local, sustainable, plant-based food systems and a vegan diet are pivotal aspects of this healthy, all encompassing, compassionate philosophy.”

Farmers’ Market shoppers are encouraged to look for the “Fresh Produce Food Drive” sign at the August 7th market to participate in the food drive. All fresh produce collected will be donated, free of charge, to Preble Street Resource Center, where 6,000 meals are served in three kitchens to our neighbors in need each week.

Questions…? Please contact Melissa Gates at Animal Rights Maine: or 207.409.5322. Thank you!

Scarborough Market Haul 7.11.10

So it's time for us to admit that as nice as the Saco Farmers' Market is, there are others in Southern Maine. It's probably out of convenience being that we live in Saco, but we've largely ignored the other markets in the area. We were out of town Saturday and so had to find another venue to get our produce fix this week. This worked out for the best since we were finally able to visit the farmers' market in Scarborough.

We've bought from Alewive's Brook Farm before in Saco, and knew that we would also find them when we visited the market in Scarborough, but we weren't at all prepared for the massive abundance of great stuff they would have. Their booth here is about triple in size to their display in Saco. This could probably be explained by their much closer proximity, being that their home base is in Cape Elizabeth. We were really jazzed to find some rutabaga and kale there, which we're planning on serving up tonight over grilled polenta cakes. Needless to say we'll keep supporting them in both locations, but finding their larger display in Scarborough was a revelation.
New to us was Root One. Very little info can be found about them online, but we know for sure they had some of the finest looking root vegetables available there today. We've kinda been beeten into submission lately so we opted to just pick up some cilantro. We are planning on hitting them up again though in the next couple of weeks. Especially since on our visit we noticed scrawled on the sign board that they will soon be selling edamame. Look forward to more on that.

We were also excited to find some nice looking bok choy at the booth of Fresh Start Farms. The concept is mostly what grabbed our attention though. The operation is part of Cultivating Community, a MOFGA certified organization based in Portland that assists refugees and immigrants displaced by the conflict in Somalia. Farmers back home, the displaced are bringing their skills here to Maine and are, as stated on their website, dedicated to "strengthening communities by growing food, preparing youth leaders and new farmers, and promoting social and environmental justice". This is a worthwhile local project to get behind. Learn more about their community by watching this video or by following on Twitter.

Single Somali-Bantu Mothers Farm in Maine (Extended Version) from Amy Brown on Vimeo.

Today's haul:

  • kohlrabi, Fresh Start Farms
  • bok choy, Fresh Start Farms
  • cilantro, Root One
  • rutabaga, Alewive's Brook Farm
  • scallions, Alewive's Brook Farm
  • kale, Alewive's Brook Farm
  • tomatoes, Alewive's Brook Farm
  • green leaf lettuce, Alewive's Brook Farm

Vegan Product Roundup 1

There are tons of specialty foods producers in Maine offering vegan products. When we started So.ME.Vegans we decided one of our primary areas of focus would be to find unique products made in Maine and expose them to the larger vegan community. This is to be the first in a series of posts focusing on such products. We stopped by Lois' Natural Marketplace in Scarborough and picked out three items we thought we'd share with you. Of course, you should be supporting your local vegan food producers wherever you are.

Check out the sidebar. You'll see Falafel Toasties by Papou's Kitchen, apparently a local legend. We say apparently because when we started the blog we got almost immediate feedback saying we needed to try the superstar of local vegan specialty offerings. Honestly we hadn't heard of them yet, despite the product originally being conceived of in 1986. We were truly missing out. This has got to be some of the most finely crafted falafel we've tried. Djgray1200 thought the seasoning was just right. A number of falafels we've tried have been bland, but then again in frozen food you always run the risk of getting something that's obnoxiously salty. This product walks that line masterfully. Missus Gray says they're cake like and not too crumbly or dry, something our other reviewer also picked up on. In addition, she appreciated the versatility of the patty, noting it could easily go either in a wrap or on a burger roll. The only glitch we found was in their cooking instructions which boil down to 'set your toaster to dark and pop in the Toasties'. We found it took a couple of rounds in the toaster to get the center of the patties to even thaw and that oven preparation worked out better for us. Only a minor inconvenience. We still think they're absolutely deserving of the accolades they've received from their fan-base.

Next up was one of the most unique little crackers either of us had tried. Maine Sea Biscuits by The Savory Baker in Windham have a wonderful spice blend consisting of paprika, cayenne, fenugreek, coriander, cumin, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and turmeric. It sounds like a lot right? Not at all. It's all done in perfect balance. The mild heat is a perfect counter to the sweetness of the blueberry wine in the biscuit, and it creates a flavor that reminds us of a gingersnap or molasses cookie. As if the ginger snap reference weren't enough, Missus Gray says the shape of the cookies remind her of Christmas as well. They're shaped like evergreens. Try them with soup of a fine vegan cheese like Dr. Cow.

We tried two bars from Mom's Organic Munchies of Freeport; the On-The-Go Goji-Pistachio and Choco-Fit Mint. Mom's bars are organic, gluten free, refined sugar free, and raw. This is real food in it's purest form. This is pretty calorie dense stuff since the bars are made with a lot of nut butters and seeds. We think these would be ideal for fueling for a day out hiking or for post run recovery. Both djgray1200 and Missus Gray picked the Goji-Pistachio as their preferred of the two bars. He said he appreciated the use of whole sunflower and pumpkin seeds for texture and also that he could pinpoint the unique flavor the dates offered. She also mentioned the pleasant texture and likened it to homemade fudge but didn't get much of the goji berry flavor.

Market Haul 7.3.10

The vibe is getting electric at the Saturday Saco Farmers' Market. More people are showing up every week. There's also a marked diversity in types of produce being offered. Is seems something new to play with is presenting itself on every visit. This week's offerings included new potatoes, zucchini, basil, garlic scapes, kale, carrots, leeks, Swiss chard, and peas. It was a little daunting trying to figure out what to select from the multitude of choices, but we managed. Now we finally get to try those kale chips.

We were elated to find out that the gorgeous pies offered by Higher Ground Enterprises of North Berwick are cruelty-free. We picked up the Maine Rhubarb Pie and were pleased to see the ingredient list was completely void of animal products. Rhubarb, sugar, flour, vegetable shortening, tapioca, and pie spices. Wonderful! They offer other products at the market as well but be advised that Grammy's Gram-ola does contain dry milk.

Today's haul:
  • raspberries, Alewive's Brook Farm
  • beets, Alewive's Brook Farm
  • carrots, Alewive's Brook Farm
  • basil, Snell Family Farm
  • kale, Seasonal Corner
  • snap peas, Seasonal Corner
  • rhubarb pie, Higher Ground Enterprises