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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: September 16, 2014

12 fall food and drink events in Maine to put on your calendar now

Written by: Susan Axelrod

Farm dinners, cheese, barbecue, wine, and beer, beer, beer.  There’s never a shortage of food and drink events in Maine, but the fall calendar seems to be especially full of them. We’ve rounded up a hearty smorgasbord of food festivals, dinners, and more tasty happenings around the state.

Farm manager Sarah Wiederkehr packs and labels cheese at Winter Hill Farm.

Farm manager Sarah Wiederkehr packs and labels cheese at Winter Hill Farm.

Sept. 28: Rosemont Dinner at Winter Hill Farm

Winter Hill Farm, Freeport | 3 p.m. | $85 |
For this second-annual “Place Settings” farm dinner, Rosemont Market chef Brad Messier will work with farmers Steve Burger and Sarah Widerkehr to put the farms’ organic produce, dairy products and meats to good use in a seasonal menu, paired with wines. Before the al fresco dinner, guests get a tour of the farm and the cheese and yogurt-making facilities. From Rosemont’s website: “This is why you live here. Winter Hill Farm is the kind of place, and the kind of people, that make Maine so special.”

Oct. 2: Greater Portland Signature Chefs Auction

DiMillo’s on the Water, 25 Long Wharf, Portland | 5:30 p.m. | $50 |
At this annual fundraiser for the March of Dimes, guests can sample dishes from several Maine restaurants including DiMillo’s, Ri Ra, Brunswick Hotel & Tavern, Vinland, and The Frog & Turtle. This year’s event honors Dr Michael Pinette, medical director of MaineHealth’s Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine.

The dining room at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Photo: Barbara Freeman, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

The dining room at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Photo: Barbara Freeman, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

Oct. 7: Kitchen Garden Dinner Series with Justin Smith

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay | 6 p.m. | $90 non-members; $75 members |
The chef of Fuel in Lewiston presents a 5-course fall dinner, featuring his French-inspired cuisine. The menu (subject to change) includes: asparagus terrine with pickled asparagus and goat cheese quenelle; ahi tuna with watermelon, balsamic and sesame tuile; local pork belly with vanilla-infused Granny Smith apples, crispy blood sausage and mustard sauce; and joconde cake with blueberry-lavender mousse and honey Bavarian cream. Guests are welcome to arrive at 5:15 (admission is not charged after 5 p.m. to registered dinner guests) and stroll through the gardens before dinner.

Oct. 11: Swine and Stein

Downtown Gardiner | 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. |
It’s the place where pork products and craft beer are celebrated the way they should be: Together. The 4th annual Swine & Stein promises farm-to-table pork (get your pig on bread, plate, or stick) and other local offerings, Maine craft beers, and a lineup of local live music from Maine bands. And if pork isn’t your pleasure, there will even be a local harvest supper that serving vegetarian samples.

Oct. 12: Open Creamery Day

Various locations | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. |
Visit many of Maine’s cheese makers in their creameries, meet the animals, and learn the stories behind Maine’s more than 150 artisan cheeses. Participants include Balfour Farm in Pittsfield, Seal Cove Farm in Lamoine and Silvery Moon Creamery in Westbrook. Admission is free, but you are going to want to buy some of that wonderful cheese.

Photo: Maine Huts & Trails

Oct. 12: Maine Huts & Trails Fall BBQ

Poplar Hut, Kingfield | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. |
The 2.4 mile hike in will work up your appetite for this year’s menu, which includes squash soup, corn bread, pulled pork, baked beans, apple cider and more. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase. There will be outdoor activities for kids and of course, beautiful fall foliage. Cost: Free for members; $15 for non-members; $7 for children.

Oct. 12: Harvest Dinner at Dandelion Spring Farm

Brick Hill Road, Newcastle | Gate opens at 1 p.m; dinner starts at 3 p.m. | $125 |
The third-annual dinner on the farm, held in a hoop house, features a five-course meal by Portland’s Fore St. restaurant. Guests who arrive at 1 p.m. can take a tour of Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, where the handmade pottery will be for sale. Guests also get a pottery dessert plate to take home. Proceeds from the dinner will help Watershed and Dandelion Spring Farm rebuild the road they share.

Oct. 22: Harvest Dinner on the Stage

Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland | 7 – 9:30 p.m. | $150 |
This first-ever gala event is a prelude to Harvest on the Harbor, the annual celebration of Maine’s celebrated food and drink scene, which runs through Oct. 25. Seven noteworthy local chefs will each prepare a course of a locally-sourced meal, paired with beer, wine and spirits. Sommelier Erica Archer from Wine Wise will be the emcee and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Good Shepherd Food Bank Summer Food Service Program.

T-shirt with the design for Rising Tide’s anniversary beer, Corvus, designed by Ladyfish & Rye. Photo courtesy of Rising Tide Brewery

T-shirt with the design for Rising Tide’s anniversary beer, Corvus, designed by Ladyfish & Rye. Photo courtesy of Rising Tide Brewery

Oct. 26: Rising Tide’s Fourth Anniversary Party

Rising Tide Brewery, 101 Fox St., Portland | noon – 5 p.m. | $45 |
The brewery is celebrating with a “harvest fest,” featuring meat raised by local farms on diets supplemented by the brewery’s spent grain. A heritage pig from Max Ury Farm and poultry from RC Game Farm will be used on a menu created by chefs Brad Messier of Rosemont Market Productions and Matt Brown of the Good Shepherd Food Truck. Brianna Warner of Maine Pie Line is providing pies and Rising Tide’s small-batch anniversary beer, Corvus will be available on draft and for sale in bottles. In addition, the party will include a pickle competition, judged by “Celebrity Pickle Panel” Joe Ricchio, Jackie Ward, Kate McCarty, and Adam Callaghan. The ticket price includes food, two drink vouchers and a souvenir glass. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Good Shepherd Food Bank in support of their mission to fight hunger in Maine.

Nov 5: #BillMurrayBeerWeekME

Novare Res Bier Cafe and other beer bars around Portland TBD |
Organizers of Portland Beer Week (Nov. 1 – 7) are hoping they can entice actor Bill Murray to come to Portland by brewing beers in his honor and offering them on tap. Whether or not the star of “Ghostbusters” and “The Life Aquatic” shows up, attendees can enjoy Vigo’s Pink Ooze, Jaguar Shark and Lost in Fermenation — among the beers Maine brewers have already pledged to make.

Nov. 12 Alton Brown Live! The Edible Inevitable Tour

Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland | 7:30 p.m. | $46-$76 |
The host of “Cutthroat Kitchen” and “Iron Chef,” cookbook author and renowned food world personality is taking his brand of quirky humor and culinary science on the road. His show is a blend of stand up comedy, food experimentation, talk show antics, multimedia lecture, and, for the first time … live music. Audience interaction is strictly enforced.

The Barn at Flanagan's Farm. Photo: Flanagan’s Table

The Barn at Flanagan’s Farm. Photo: Flanagan’s Table

Nov. 23: Flanagan’s Table with Chris Gould

The Barn at Flanagan Farm, Buxton | 6 p.m. | $110 |
The acclaimed chef of Central Provisions in Portland — named one of Bon Appetit Magazine’s “1o Best New Restaurants in America 2014” — is next on the star-studded roster of chefs cooking for this monthly dinner series. Set inside a beautiful barn the five-course dinners feature local produce, cheese, meats, and pantry staples alongside wine and Maine beer. A percentage of proceeds benefits the Maine Farmland Trust. Reservations open Oct. 8 at noon.

More fall events

Fall is here. And it’s ready for you. And you’re going to get out there and love every minute of it. Because this is Maine. Do stuff.

25+ can’t-miss fall events in Maine

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