Foothills Food Festival this Saturday!

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    NORWAY — More than a thousand people are expected to attend the third annual Foothills Food Festival this Saturday in downtown Norway’s Longley Square from Noon to 8 p.m., rain or shine.

    The Festival is organized by Community Food Matters, a local community food council based at the Center for an Ecology-Based Economy (CEBE) on Main Street in Norway. Community Food Matters works to promote and support a vibrant local food economy in the Western Foothills of Maine.

    The Foothills Food Festival celebrates local farmers, food vendors and brewers, and their contribution to local community health and economic development, while addressing the challenges associated with the global food system.

    As always, this year’s Festival will feature a regional farmers’ market, food tasting at Fare Share Co-op, a variety of food vendors, beer tasting with local brewers, education tables, hands-on workshops and presentations, creative activities for the whole family, and lots of live music in two locations.

    Farmers from throughout the region will be offering fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, cheeses, canned goods, maple syrup, perennial food plants, and fiber.

    This year’s market, again located on Deering Street, features Pietree Orchard and Sy’s Trees from Sweden, Beech Hill Farm & Bison Ranch and Thunderhill Farm from Waterford, Midridge Farm in Casco, Shady Grove Mushrooms in Harrison, Beacon Blessings in Oxford, Pen-Y-Bryn Lavender Farm in Hebron, Deep Roots Farm in Buckfield, Bragg Maple Products, A Wrinkle In Thyme Farm and Mighty Maine Greens from Sumner, the Maine Soap Company in West Paris and Back to Roots Farm in Woodstock.

    A “Grocery Check” will be provided again so Festival goers can shop early and keep their goods cold while they enjoy the rest of the Festival.

    Many of the area’s favorite food vendors will be back this year providing delicious fare featuring local ingredients and transforming Deering Street into a bustling “food court” for the day.

    Fiddlestick Farm from Hanover will be serving up homemade ravioli and flatbreads. Pinky D’s Poutine Truck is back with his world famous poutine, and DiCocoa’s in Bethel with the finest vegetarian Greek specialties and pastries.

    Worth the Wait BBQ returns with the MOAS (mother of all smokers) featuring smoked meats, beans and cornbread, while Riverside Lodge in Paris returns with their fresh artisan pizza.

    Smedberg’s in Oxford will once again serve up their One Cow Ice Cream and will be complemented by Maine Morning Roasters from Denmark with locally roasted, fair trade coffee.

    New vendors this year will include the Inside Scoop in South Paris with locally-made ice cream, and the new Isuken Cooperative from Lewiston with Somali Bantu sambusas and iced chai tea.

    Offering samplings of goodies in front of the Fare Share Co-op will be A Wee Bit Farm from Orland, Happy Hive Farm from Hartford, Maine Meadworks from Portland, Freshiez from Casco, MarthaBar from Brunswick, and The Friendly Ewe from Sumner.

    Tabling in the square and on the sidewalk down to Fare Share will be various organizations supporting the local food system. These will include the Alan Day Community Garden, Maine Farmland Trust, Western Foothills Land Trust, the Roberts Farm School Garden, the Cooperative Development Institute, Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities, the Oxford County Cooperative Extension, the Environmental Health Strategy Center, Maine AgrAbility, the Lakes Association of Norway, and Maine Green Power.

    Rounding out the educational component of the Festival will be numerous talks, discussions and workshops.

    Jesse Stevens of Sy’s Trees in Sweden will kick things off with “Three Fruits You Never Thought of Growing”. Stevens will also join Scott Vlaun of CEBE for a presentation and discussion about the Promise of Permaculture.

    A sourdough bread workshop, a crowd pleaser from 2017, will be offered again by Tim Gosnell of Standard Baking Company in Portland, and a farmland preservation discussion with Chris Franklin of Maine Farmland Trust and Lee Dassler of Western Foothills Land Trust will be followed by a talk on “Cooperative Food Systems and Farming” by Jonah Fertig-Burd of the Cooperative Development Institute.

    Chris Easton of Baker Hill Bees & Gardens will finish off the workshop series with Beekeeping Basics.

    The Alan Day Community Garden will be hosting two Composting Workshops where all the food waste from the festival will be recycled into productive garden soil.

    Garden tours will be available following the workshops. Ongoing educational activities will include the Cooperative Extension’s “Eat Well” demonstrations and the Maine SNAP-Ed Bicycle Blender Smoothies, and a Food Festival Mural Project in the Family Activities Tent.

    Mushroom log inoculation at the Shady Grove Mushroom tent and Jacinda Martinez’ “Fashion in the Raw” design demonstration will both be in the Farmers’ Market.

    Scattered about the Festival grounds will be Fascinating Food Facts. A Food Fact Treasure Hunt with prizes to encourage Festival goers to explore and broaden their understanding of the food system.

    Food waste is one of the critical issues of our time, both the waste of materials all along the food chain and the waste from consuming food.

    Festival food vendors will be provided with compostable dishes and utensils that will be collected at Zero-Waste Stations, along with any food waste that will be processed in the Alan Day Community Garden composting demonstrations.

    The Beer Garden will feature the host, Norway Brewing Company, Bear Bones Beer, Sebago Brewing Company, Allagash Brewing Company, Baxter Brewing Company, Gneiss Brewing Company, Urban Farm Fermentory/Gruit, Bray’s Brewing Company, Barreled Souls Brewing Company, and Saco River Brewing.

    Introducing a full slate of entertainment at the Festival, Amanda Huotari of Celebration Barn in South Paris will be the Master of Ceremonies, bringing humor and theatre to the stage. Talented local musicians will once again be on hand to entertain from start to finish.

    On the Main Stage will be Bold Riley, Latch, Stream Reggae, Earth Funk, and the Cobblestones. The ever-popular “Community Jam” is back again this year and street musicians will liven up the food sampling area in front of the Fare Share Co-op.

    A special addition to this year’s festival line-up is the Farm to Festival 5k run and relay at Roberts Farm Preserve. This event is sponsored by the Western Foothills Land Trust and will begin at 9:30 a.m. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. What better way to build an appetite for a food festival?

    The Foothills Food Festival is supported by many sponsors and volunteers this year, including major funding by Paris AutoBarn, Pietree Orchard, and WJ Wheeler Insurance in South Paris, as well as Norway Savings Bank, who “is proud to support the Foothills Food Festival,” said Patricia Weigel, president and CEO of Norway Savings Bank.

    “We believe healthy, local, sustainable food sourcing is a key component to a vibrant community. The Festival provides a fun way for local residents and visitors to get educated on these important concepts.”

    Arrive early and get your limited-edition Festival tee shirts and tank tops, and first pick at the farmers’ market. Stay late for the party!