The Low Down on Whoopies and a Zucchini Fritter!

WhoopieProduct Spotlight
Woo-Wee, summer in Maine is made for whoopie pies! These sweet grab and go treats are the perfect ending to a family bbq or a lobster bake. Native Maine stocks Ananias’s traditionally made Whoopies. Traditionally made you say? Yes, these are made with the original vegetable shortening and marshmallow crème filling, no fancy French buttercream here! Available in classic chocolate (the best!) and also pumpkin, blueberry, peanut butter, mint, and raspberry flavors; call Native Maine’s customer service department for more info!

And just to continue the Whoopie pie theme, here’s some Whoopie fun facts!
Even though you and I know that Whoopie pies originated in Maine, there are people from away who believe differently. Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Virginia all claim to be the birthplace of the whoopie pie. Virginia, really?!?   So where did they come from?

  • Some food historians credit the Amish with making the first whoopie pies with leftover cake batter and tucking them into lunch pails (causing farmers and children to exclaim “Whoopie!” with delight upon their discovery). Okay, this is a nice story but I have trouble imagining a subdued and somber Amish farmer in his fields exclaiming “Whoopie!” about anything in his lunch pail……
  • It’s a documented fact that Labadie’s Bakery in Lewiston began making and selling whoopie pies in 1925 (and still does today!). So, there you have that! Maine wins!
  • Whoopie pies have different names in other places: alternatively called a black moon, gob black-and-white, bob, or "BFO" for Big Fat Oreo.
  • The world's largest whoopie pie was created in South Portland, Maine, on March 26, 2011, weighing in at 1,062 pounds. Pieces of the giant whoopie pie were sold and the money was used to send Maine-made whoopie pies to soldiers serving overseas. The previous record holder, from Pennsylvania, weighed a mere 200 pounds.
  • The town of Dover-Foxcroft, hosts the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival. This widely attended annual June event has a road race, car show, dinner dance, and meet and greets with Sweetie Pie, the official mascot!
  • In 2011, the Maine State Legislature considered naming the whoopie pie the official state dessert. The proposal received bipartisan support; sadly, it failed. Wild Maine blueberry pie was voted the official state dessert.
  • Wait, don’t despair! The Maine Legislature eventually declared the whoopie pie our official state treat!

COOK THIS! No, I’m not giving you a recipe for whoopie pies; the Ananias’s are so good! What's in season locally, inexpensive, easy to work with, and plentiful?  Zucchini! What do with the scores of the little green monsters multiplying like crazed bunnies in your garden? Sure, zucchini is great sautéed, roasted, and baked in a gratin but have you considered a fritter? These fritters are a great side dish, a super vegetarian option, and a great breakfast option with an over easy egg on top of it!

Zucchini Fritters

Fritter

1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), grated
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus more for seasoning
1 large egg
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch4 tablespoons scallions, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup vegetable oil or as much as needed

 PREPARATION

  • Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 10 minutes or longer, then wring zucchini dry in a clean kitchen towel. This step is super important: keep wringing, wringing, wringing. Think of all the people in your life that frustrate you! And wring! Think of that guy you cut you off this morning and Wring! Think of that lady who went through the 10 items or less checkout with 37 different cans of cat food. Wring, wring, wring! Then ask your significant other to wring. Okay, now you can move on.
  • Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently mix in egg, flour, chives, and cornstarch; season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, drop 1/4-cupfuls zucchini mixture into skillet, flattening slightly; cook until golden and crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Watch your heat level here, too much and you’ll burn the outside before the inside is warm. Too little, and you’ll have soggy, oily pucks of wet zucchini.
  • Transfer fritters to a paper towel–lined plate; season with salt. Serve with some parmesan cheese, minced herbs, flake salt and plain yogurt. Yum!

DO AHEAD: Fritters can be made 30 minutes ahead. Keep warm in a 200° oven.

4th of July, WA Bean, Red hot dogs!!

Hi Ho Everyone! Welcome to a special mini Fourth of July issue of Local Lore! Read on for 4th of July food fun facts, a local, vendor profile, and a tribute to red hot dogs.

July 4 Fun Facts

  • 150 million hot dogs are eaten during the July 4 holiday; Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs per year!
  • 74 million Americans will attend a barbecue on the 4th. In order of highest preference, we’ll grill burgers, steak, hot dogs and chicken.
  • Watermelon is the #1 dessert and baked beans are the #1 side dish.
  • Over 68 million cases of beer are sold during the holiday; this accounts for 5% of annual beer sales nationwide!

Vendor Spotlight: W.A. Bean & Sons
4 Million of those 150 million hot dogs were made right here in Maine by one of Native Maine’s top vendors, W.A.Bean! Over 150 years old and spanning 5 generations, WA Bean provides our customers great sausage, smoked poultry, natural casing hot dogs, and delicious honey-glazed hams (a winter holiday favorite!).

In 1860, Albert Bean came to Bangor and set up shop as a butcher on Ohio Street. In a few years  his one-man operation grew into a slaughterhouse and a major meat wholesaler, on its way to 150 years of family-owned success. 1918 was a special year: after decades of making sausages, the company began making hot dogs, which would become a signature product still popular today. By 1919, the company was officially "W. A. Bean and Sons," as sons, grandsons and granddaughters worked in and grew the business. Spiral-sliced glazed hams, red-hot hot dogs and chicken sausages were introduced to entice customers.  Most recently, WA Bean introduced Haggis to their product roster; made from sheep’s pluck and heavily spiced, it’s a Scottish staple, but nobody else is doing it in Maine. The company also produces tripe, once very popular but now truly a niche market for W. A. Bean.

downloadMore on those red hot dogs:

  • Once produced by W.A.Bean, C.H.Rice Company, and Jordan’s Meats, Schonland Brothers and other local sausage producers, W.A. Bean is now the sole producer in Maine.
  • Schonland Brothers is considered the originator of the Red Natural Casing Hot Dog here in Maine. They did this to differentiate their product from the competition.
  • Interestly, W.A.Bean produces their own recipe red hot dog and they now co-produce a red snapper hot dog using the Rice’s family recipe still owned by that family!
  • What is a red hot dog? They're natural casing beef and pork franks, dyed with a healthy dose of FD&C Red #40. Great boiled or grilled, they have a serious snap and look great with just a streak of bright yellow mustard.
  • And though we consider red hot dogs one of our Native foods here, believe it or not, the red hot dog phenomenon is not confined to Maine.
  • In northern New York state, Glazier Packing Company makes bright red beef and pork dogs that end up slathered in Michigan sauce (a vinegary, tomato based meat sauce).
  • Red frankfurters can also be found scattered across the South—from Georgia's famous Nu-Way to Virginia and Mississippi. Then in Hawaii you've got Redondo's Winners used for everything from breakfast to nori-wrapped hot dog musubi, and even red hot dogs in the Philippines, where they cook them up with spaghetti.

So you see, you can travel the world eating red hot dogs!!! Bon Voyage and Bon Appetit!!!

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July everybody!!!

Strawberries, A Crisp Recipe, Fruit Flies!

HERE WE GO!  The Maine growing season has begun!  We started with foraged fiddleheads and ramps then progressed into local strawberriesasparagus!  Now, we are getting into the sweet stuff with the start of pur much celebrated local strawberries!!!!  These little gems are highly prized for their sweetness and their beautiful dark, crimson color. We received our first batch of these little beauties from White Oak Farm in Warren, Maine. The local strawberry season is short lasting about 3 to 4 weeks from mid-June to mid-July.  So get them while they are here! And don’t forget, when you’re considering local strawberries for your establishment that the weight of the local berries is 11# per flat vs 8# flat for our California berries. The Maine berries are denser and have a higher sugar content which leads to a more delicious berry!


COOK THIS!!  Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler with Butter Cookie Dough Topping
Lifted directly from The Best Recipe published by Cooks Illustrated.

This is an easy, delicious recipe to use with almost any fruit, but its best with strawberries and rhubarb. The sugar in the topping provides enough sweetener so that you don’t have to use much in the fruit.  Also, the topping can be made ahead; be careful though, it's really tasty and may not last long!

Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 large egg yolk (one whole egg if doubling recipe)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling
3 cups fresh local strawberries
1 cup rhubarb
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute with electric mixer. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Stem and rinse strawberries. Halve large berries.
  • Cut rhubarb into ⅓ inch chunks. Mix together with strawberries.
  • Add cornstarch, sugar and vanilla to fruit. Gently mix together.
  • Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8 inch square baking pan or 9 inch rough deep dish pie plate.
  • Evenly drop cookie dough topping by heaping tablespoons evenly over fruit; don’t forget the edges!
  • Bake until golden brown about 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold--doesn’t matter, it's delicious!

KITCHEN HACK with Fun Facts  What comes with all this delicious summer fruit?  You guessed it, fruit flies!! Here are some fruit fly fun facts and two quick and easy fruit fly fixes!

  • The fruit fly is a species of the common housefly known as Drosophila melanogaster (try saying that three times fast!) They get their name because of their strong attraction to ripening or rotting fruit, which serves as a food source as well as a place to lay their eggs (yuck!)
  • Adult fruit flies typically reach 3-4 mm in length and live 40 to 50 days.
  • What makes fruit flies so difficult to control is that one female fruit fly can lay as many as 500 eggs in her short lifespan
  • Humans and fruits flies are genetically similar.  A whopping 75 percent of the genes that cause diseases in humans are also found in the fruit fly.
  • Fruit flies self-medicate with alcohol too. The reward circuitry of fruit flies' brains, as in humans, gets a pleasurable boost from drinking alcohol. A study done at the University of California, San Francisco found that the male fruit flies who had been rejected by females drank four times as much alcohol as the mated flies!

Fruit Fly Fixes  Okay, now that I’ve fascinated and disgusted you with fruit fly fun facts, I bet you want to know how to get rid of these pests.  Read on below for 2 simple, effective remedies using apple cider vinegar.

  • Pour a little into a glass, or just remove the cap from a bottle. (It doesn't have to be full — nearly empty will also work). Cover the opening in plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Then, poke a hole for the fruit flies to enter. They can't resist the scent of vinegar, and they won't be able to exit once they're inside.
  • If you find your fruit flies are impervious to the plastic wrap, try adding three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar, and leave it uncovered. The soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar so the flies will sink and drown.

 

Local You Know

At Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods we're working hard to connect our customers with the freshest, quality produce & specialty products available. We believe in supporting New England's vibrant and diverse food system by providing locally grown & processed food items alongside some of the world’s best specialty foods sourced from around the globe.

As one of New England’s leading produce wholesale distributors with 3000+ quality items in stock, our 2000+ New England customers have access to local, regional & hard to find specialty foods delivered frequently at very competitive prices. We are your neighbors; we are the Local You Know.

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