Having fun at the 2018 Foothills Food Festival.

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 12 Noon–6 PM, rain or shine. The Festival is organized by Community Food Matters, a local community food council which 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. 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.

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, Thunderhill Farm and Wandering Root Farm from Waterford, Shady Grove Mushrooms, Jumper Hill Farm, High View Farm and Old School Creamery in Harrison, Bragg Maple Products, A Wrinkle In Thyme Farm and Mighty Maine Greens from Sumner, the Maine Soap Company and Stearns Hill Farm in West Paris, Back to Roots Farm in Woodstock. Also at the market, Regina’s Spices from Portland. 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. Worth the Wait BBQ returns with their new trailer featuring smoked meats, beans and cornbread, while Riverside Lodge in Paris returns with their fresh artisan pizza. Inside Scoop will be serving up their delicious, locally made 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 Isuken Cooperative from Lewiston with Somali Bantu sambusas and iced chai tea. Street Eats will be serving eclectic street dishes inspired by cuisines from all over the world. Finally, Gone Loco! Cafe in Rumford will be dishing Mexican food and grilled pizza. Offering samplings of goodies in front of the Fare Share Co-op will be Nezinscot Farm in Turner, Pure Botanicals, Happy Hive Farm, and Aqua ViTea (VT) (Bluebernie kombucha blueberries are sourced in Maine). They will all do sampling and talk about their products. Fare Share also offer a 10% off Food Fest Discount to all Co-op Members who have one or more local items in their basket.

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 Maine Farmland Trust, Western Foothills Land Trust, Maine Farmers and Gardeners Association, the Cooperative Development Institute, Gardeners Growing Healthy Communities, the Oxford County Cooperative Extension, Sustaining All Life and Maine Green Power.

Rounding out the educational component of the Festival will be numerous talks, discussions and workshops. In the Center for an Ecology Based Economy (C.E.B.E.) space on Maine Street Graham Mallory of Pastures of Plenty Farm in Jackson, Maine will be talking about recovering old farmland through silvopasturing. Lee Dassler of Western Foothills Land Trust will give a presentation on the History of Roberts Farm in Norway. Chris Franklin of Maine Farmland Trust will discuss Farmland Preservation in Oxford County. Dean Richmond of Pleasant River Farm in Bethel will talk about his commercial food waste composting operation. Katherine Bessey and Omar Hassan of the Cooperative Development Institute will talk on “Cooperative Food Systems and Farming”.

A sourdough bread workshop, a crowd-pleaser from 2017, will be offered again by Tim Gosnell of Standard Baking Company in Portland. Festival partner, Alan Day Community Garden will be hosting several workshops as well. Scott Vlaun of C.E.B.E. will kick things off with a talk about raising chickens and give a your of the Garden’s Food Forest. Jesse Stevens of Sy’s Trees in Sweden will discuss “Food Plants You Never Thought of Growing”. Kate McCarthy of Cooperative Extension in Cumberland County will provide a workshop on food preservation.

Rebecca Long will give a presentation on attracting pollinators. Athena Bradly will end the day with a discussion on community composting. There will also be a presentation by the Community Gardens Youth Leaders and several tours to the Community Garden starting from the Festival Main Stage. Chuck Patten of Shady Grove Mushroom will be demonstrating Mushroom log inoculation at their tent in the Farmers Market. He will then auction off two sets of five two-foot shiitake logs with oyster mushroom bags to benefit the Festival. The Family Activities tent will have multiple kid-friendly activities going on throughout the Festival. Scattered about the Festival grounds will be Fascinating Food Facts 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 demonstration.
The Beer Garden will feature the host, Norway Brewing Company, Oxbow Brewing, Bear Bones Beer, Sebago Brewing Company, Side By Each Brewing, Steam Mill Brewing, Urban Farm Fermentory/Gruit, Barreled Souls Brewing Company, and Saco River Brewing. $25 will get you a wrist band to access the Beer Garden throughout the Festival.

Introducing the slate of entertainment at the Festival will be Amanda Huotari of Celebration Barn in South Paris 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 Latch, Earth Funk, the LaClaires and El Malo. Again this year the Farm to Festival 5k run and relay at Roberts Farm Preserve will take place before the Festival. This event is sponsored by the Western Foothills Land Trust and will begin at 9 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 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.” Other sponsors include Norway Brewing Company, Oxbow Brewing Company and WJ Wheeler Insurance in South Paris. Also sponsoring are Cafe Nomad, Beech Hill Farm and Bison Ranch, Main Farmland Trust and the Cooperative Development Institute. The coordinators of the Foothills Food Festival would also like to give a shout out to Key Bank for the generous use of their space.

Arrive early and get your limited-edition Festival tee shirts and tank tops, and first pick at the farmers’ market. The Festival will end earlier than in previous years to give people a chance to enjoy all the wonderful area restaurants.

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