Food culture in Maine has grown progressively over the years. Its bountiful harvest from the land and the sea provides fresh, locally sourced food for restaurants and markets in the state, and is also shipped throughout the region and the entire country. Northern Maine’s Aroostook County has long been renowned for its potato harvest as much as the Gulf of Maine has for its lobster harvest. Yet Maine’s harvest has diversified and, one could say, blossomed.
At Camden Harbour Inn’s award-winning restaurant, Natalie’s, we draw on a network of locally sourced foods, celebrating the very best of Maine’s harvest from its land and sea, as well as its rivers, fields, and forests. As one of the best restaurants in Camden, Maine, we offer delicious farm-to-table cuisine, along with a philosophy of sustainable growth. We believe supporting local fisheries and agriculture is not only beneficial for our business but the economy. It makes for great good, good neighbors, builds community, long-lasting relationships, and a better environment for all to live in.
Here is a sampling of Natalie’s farm-to-table network that we utilize and/or share our philosophy:
Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville
Mid-coast, just a few miles inland, nestled in a valley between Levenseller and Cameron Mountains, is Cellardoor Winery. A combination of fertile soil and a moderate ocean climate, combined with Maine’s fertile soil, has proven a unique terroir and very favorable to growing grapes. The winery has over 5000 vines on 30 miles of trellis over 5 1/2 acres of land. Cellardoor is off the beaten path, but worth the trip. Its complimentary tasting room is in a beautifully renovated 200-year-old barn overlooking the vineyard across the valley. Cellardoor wines are bottled onsite in a state-of-the-art winemaking facility, and sold in their tasting rooms, distributed in wine shops, and served in restaurants throughout Maine.
Primo Farm in Rockland
Primo Farm started with a garden, a few hens and a couple of pigs and has evolved into the ultimate farm-to-table experience. Primo Farm sources its own restaurant and area ones as well. The sustainable farm is situated on a nearly 4-acre site. It produces various foods utilizing farming techniques designed to protect the environment and help foster the development of healthy living for the community. Livestock is raised on pasture land, where they free range and consume a natural diet. No chemicals and pesticides are used on the produce and flowers. From the gardens and barn to the kitchen is a continuous seasonal cycle that produces honey, fruits, veggies, eggs, edible flowers, micro-greens, fresh chicken and house-cured and smoked meats.
Glidden Point Oyster Farm in Edgecomb
Maine oysters are prized by chefs and gourmets around the country. Established in 1987 along the banks of the Damariscotta River, Glidden Point Oyster Farm produces premium oysters for markets far and near. The location is ideal for oyster aquaculture. Mile-long piles of oyster shells along the riverbanks of the Damariscotta River tell that people have been shucking oysters there for more than 2,000 years. The same cold, nutrient-rich water that made Maine the kingpin of the lobster industry also produces the perfect oyster. Damariscotta’s water is some of the cleanest in the Northeast and gives the oysters their distinctively briny taste. Because Maine oysters take two to four years to grow to maturity, compared with a year or two in warmer waters, they also develop firmer meat, a deep cup and a thick shell that makes for easier shucking. Glidden Point Oysters sells to wholesalers, chefs, and locals for over 30 years.
Crooked Face Creamy in Norridgewock
Artisan cheese made by hand, from farm fresh whole milk, Crooked Face Creamery produces award-winning cheeses for farmers’ markets, specialty shops, bakeries, and farm-to-table restaurants across Maine. All cheeses are made with high quality local whole Jersey milk, with no preservatives, and limited ingredients, and often specially cold-smoked, for the creamiest, richest flavor and texture. Crooked Face Creamery and Up North Cheese brands are handcrafted by fromagère Amy Rowbottom in the barn of the family dairy farm in which she was raised. From pastas and salads to sandwiches and spreads, this artisan cheese is perfect with every dish.
North Spore Mushrooms in Westbrook, Maine
North Spore’s humble beginning started with foraging for mushrooms in the coastal woods of down east Maine. Building on that success, mushroom cultivation was the next logical step. North Spore is the brainchild of three college friends with an admiration for all things related to the mycological world. What began as a love for mushroom foraging has developed into an obsession with all things fungi. That passion has evolved to cultivation rooms of oyster mushrooms, shiitakes, lion’s mane, chestnut mushroom, king trumpets, and pioppinos, or tincturing medicinal polypores found in the Maine woods. North Spore produces 100% of the spawn used at its facility for commercial and enthusiast mushroom growers and medicinal mushroom products and drinks.
Saltwater Farm Salt in Lincolnville
For instruction, Salt Water Farm offers traditional cooking methods honored by chefs who emphasize the importance of preparing food using freshly harvested, seasonal ingredients. Salt Water Farm advocates for community farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen, and making products available in their cafe and market. Salt Water Farm offers cooking classes, as well as week-long workshops. All classes are hands-on and take advantage of our seaside vegetable and herb garden. We emphasize resourcefulness in the kitchen and teach how to cook instinctually, with less of a dependency on recipes, and a readiness to use the day’s harvest. Our classes range from handmade pasta to pies from scratch, to bread baking, to pickles and preserves, to braising on the bone. Our workshops are an intensive program that covers what we deem the essential and fundamental skills in any kitchen. All of our classes end in a communal feast around our farmhouse table.