START WITH CORN: Sweet, fresh, and bright.
It’s August and I shamefully admit I have only managed to make it to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market in Monument Square once this summer. If you’re finding it hard to fit the trip to that weekly cornucopia (or the one on Saturdays in Deering Oaks Park) into your schedule, try combining the farmstand-shopping effort with a scenic drive.
|Storey's Family Greenhouse | 610 Bridgton Rd, Westbrook | 207.797.2677|
Hawkes Farm Stand | A quarter-mile south of the Route 302 rotary, Windham
Many traveling the “Mountain Division Highway,” also known as Route 302, have discovered Storey’s Greenhouse out in Pride’s Corner, en route to Sebago in the summer, or looking for Christmas trees and greens later in the year.
Storey’s has fresh-caught Maine lobsters for sale, along with steamers, for prices that are surprisingly affordable. Their produce offerings can be summed up as short but sweet. The corn, at 40 cents an ear or a dozen for $4.50, looks healthy and has serious promise. The pickling cukes look fresh and feel firm, and at three for a dollar, it’s easy to do the money math. The heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous, and for the first time in a long time, look to be something not only edible, but memorable.
A few miles farther out Route 302, Hawkes Farm Stand offers a wide selection of local and other domestic produce. Some petite jalapenos lie waiting in a small basket labeled “Hot peppers 25 cents each.” In a corner sit pints and quarts of local blueberries, grown outside Limington, along with a few remaining pints of blackberries. The blueberries are slightly cheaper, so they’ll fit Adjacent to the berries on the counter are flats of “conventional” fruits grown elsewhere in the country: lemons, limes, and soft ripe peaches. A lemon and a red onion complete the visit to Hawkes.
First things first: the lobster. Start a pot boiling with about an inch of water, and turn on the oven to 375. While waiting for the boil, peel two of the small cukes and cut them lengthwise into quarters. Cut the seeds out with a knife and discard them, along with the peel. Chop them into a large dice. By now, the water should be ready for the lobster. Place it headfirst into the boiling water, and cover, boiling for 10 minutes. While the lobster is cooking, shuck the ears of corn and place them on a cookie sheet with some oil, salt, and pepper. The chiles can go on the same baking pan with the corn, which should be roasted until the kernels are slightly browned. Keep an eye on this and turn them as needed. When they are uniformly brown, remove the kernels from the ears with a knife. The skin of the jalapeno will blister and brown as well, making it easy to remove. Dice about half the onion, and save the other half for another time. Cut the tomato into thick slices and place on a plate with a little kosher salt to help the flavors open up a bit.