One of the special parts of buying locally is being able to visit all of the farms that supply us year round with well-thought and well-crafted ingredients. Thankfully, the farm purveyors come to us in the summer time when I haven’t a second to do anything but receive all of their good work at the boat. Yesterday, however, I had the special chance to visit East Forty Farm.
The farm is owned by Neal Foley and Allison Lakin who recently married and have only been on the property for a couple of years. Individually, they’ve been honing their crafts for years with Neal providing nose to tail farming and cookery of all sort of animals from duck to beef and in our case, pork. Allison is an award-winning cheese maker and supplies the Riggin with gorgeous cheese from her creamery, Lakin’s Gorges Cheese. In addition to everything else, they now offer classes and farm to table dinners to draw fans of their good work to their spot in Waldoboro, Maine.
Neal and I actually met years ago when, on his former farm, he taught comprehensive butchering classes with Kate Hill of Camont in Gascony, France. Kate lives in France and comes over at least once a year to collaborate with Neal on traditional French cooking. My love of cassoulet didn’t begin with these two, but it certainly was fostered and encouraged.
For the first time, I got to see where our cheese is made and even the cows that supply some of the milk for said cheese. And while I didn’t get to meet our actual pig (except in the form of cuts from the freezer), I did get to see where they wander and root in the wooded lots on the farm. This is the next group to come up the ranks and with a couple more to follow. In addition, the cows, milked daily were lazing in the sun when I arrived and as I approached, they roused themselves to greet me.
As I drove home through the Maine countryside on curving two-lane roads, I was surrounded by the last vestiges of fall – the colors of the leaves dimming to amber interspersed with clusters of green spruce and the splash of white bark from the birch trees. The sun dappled the fields and farmhouses as I passed and I found myself grateful to live here and to be a part of a local economy that fosters a healthy, wholesome way of life.
Fantastic articles about the J. & E. Riggin just keep coming. I don’t know what else to say about this write-up in Edible Maine, except I love the story, I love the photos, I love everything about this article. You can read “Three Squares at Sea” out online or order a copy from the Edible Maine website.
For those of you who don’t live in Maine or New England, this month’s issue might be a harder to come by, but if you can get your hands on a copy, do it! Amy Traverso, accomplished writer, has given the Riggin wonderful kudos and Mark Flemming, photographer extraordinaire, adds a lovely balance to her words.
Recipes included in the article are Pecan Sticky Buns, Cornish Game Hens with Smoked Shrimp and Brandy Stuffing, Zucchini Gratin, and Lime Pie Jars. You can also find these recipes in At Home. At Sea – The Red Book, 2nd Edition.
Well, the last of the crew left yesterday and that puts another season in the books for us.
The wood is stacked, the boat wrapped, the systems winterized, and small boats in the barn. From the galley, the dry goods are all stored in the barn, the jams re-canned, and the leftovers from the boat turned into soups. I am now remembering how to cook for only 3 people again. All of which mean we are readying for winter and it’s time for us to say ‘farewell’ to the crew.
Erin and Chives piled into his car, packed full with their life’s gear, on a fall road trip which will meander through New England and eventually end in California in December. None of us wanted to say ‘goodbye’ even though we are all onto fall and winter adventures about which we are excited. Instead we said, “See ya tomorrow”. The only difference is that we hugged and held on for a second.