There’s a lot we love about Maine.

Down-to-earth people. An abundance of friendly wildlife, most of which won’t try to eat you. Water enough to kayak on/swim in/drink from, sometimes all at once.

And, now, Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.

For sure, Pineland’s been around for years, and although the 200-acre campus and 5,000-acre farms are a wonderland to behold, it’s the market that’s gotten our shopping hearts all a flutter. Think display after display of farm-fresh veggies, Pineland meats and cheeses, artisanal condiments.

Also, pine cone angels. Knobs of stone. Cow-inspired baseball caps.

Because if you need a Maine gift, a Holstein hat would do it.

We could have happily wandered through the market and the attached deli for hours, eating our way through the morning and fulfilling our Christmas list 155 days early. It’s. That. Good.

The other thing we love about Maine: Knobs of stone is not innuendo.

* Pineland Farms dried mushrooms, 1 oz., $4.99 to $5.99

Jars of dried portobello, shiitake or oyster mushrooms. For sprinkling in your homemade soup, pasta sauce or ice cream. Hey, it’s a thing. We don’t judge.

* Pineland Farms cheddar cheese curd, 8 oz., $4.99

Bite-size cheese that’s probably a better snack than the potato chips Shopping Siren has in her desk drawer. Or the giant cookie she couldn’t resist buying from the Pineland deli. Snack on.

* “The Wicked Good Book: A Guide to Maine Living” by Stephen Gleasner, $24.95

Anything that begins: “Chapter 1: Moose Defense 101” is aces in our book. We didn’t stand there and read it, clearly opening ourselves up for attack.

* Stonewall Kitchen chocolate molten lava cake mix, $9.99

Because s’mores are, like, so last year.

* MooVM baseball cap, youth or adult, $19.99

Black and white (like a cow) hat with the Pineland Farms logo in red. According to the MooVM website, proceeds from hat sales help support the Keep Farms Local Fund and the Must Be the Milk campaign. Very moooving.

* Sunflower Hill Kids soap, 4-ounce bars, $5.99

Clear, unscented soap bars with tiny toys embedded in the center. Choices include a pirate or princess figurine, sparkly bracelet, high bounce ball or green dinosaur. Perfect hand-washing bribes. Or encouragement. However you want to say it.

* Galaxie Salsa, 16 oz., $7.99

Made in Maine with … wait for it … zucchinis! Flavors range from classic to super hot “One Tire Fire” with habanero and scorpion peppers. We aren’t sure we’re up for scorpion peppers just now, but we’d be happy to try anything equivalent to lady bug peppers.

* Go Real wooden utensils, various prices

Try the wooden measuring spoons with sweet little engraved birds ($13.99) or the honey-bee engraved wooden spatula ($6.99). So cute that you’ll be looking for excuses to cook.

* Spices! Lots of ’em! by the Society of Shakers, $5.99

Adorable little tins with pickling spices, thyme, sage, cilantro. The classics. They’re grown and picked just down the road. That’s about as local as “locally grown” gets.

* Lake Champlain Chocolates, 3 oz., $3.49 (or go organic for $3.99)

Vermont-made and delicious-sounding: Dark chocolate, rum caramel, dark chocolate with almonds. Phew. Is it hungry in here or is it just us?

* Popzup reusable microwave popcorn containers and kernels, 2 lb., $14.99

The outside box that the 12 bags of kernels come packaged in is the same box that you’ll stick in the microwave 12 times over to pop it. It has fewer additives than traditional microwave popcorn and a smaller carbon footprint (which we know is on your mind when you’re getting ready to watch “House of Cards”). And it’s made in New Hampshire, which is pretty sweet.

* Zen Bear honey tea, 8 ounces, $9.99

Made in Bath, this honey mixture is infused with herbs, spices and tea — just drop a spoonful in a mug of hot water, stir and drink. As tea aficionados, we are intrigued. And also thirsty.

* Rock Candy Hardware beach stone knobs, $10

Drawer knobs and pulls made out of smooth stones. They’re decidedly chic-rustic rather than corny-rustic, which is hard to pull off when you’re talking about using rocks to open your kitchen cabinets.

Best find: Pine cone angel, $7.99

Palm-sized angels crafted out of Maine nature, including a pine cone body, milkweed pod wings and an acorn hat. Hang them on a string and it’ll look like a charming woodland creature is floating through the living room. We don’t know who wouldn’t want that.

Think twice: About bypassing Pineland’s market

It’s too good not to go.

Bag Lady and Shopping Siren’s true identities are protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who fancied themselves herding dogs until they met an actual cow) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].


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