Customer Kudos and Squash Facts

Chef David Turin works with studentsCustomers' in the News:

On November 8, Native Maine was proud to sponsor SMCC’s A Light on the Point celebration.  Featuring renowned chefs from Central Provisions, David’s, Evo, Lolita, Piccolo, Sur Lie and UNION partnering with SMCC students and faculty, the lucky guests enjoyed an unparalleled evening of food and drink. This annual event celebrates the many partners who help Southern Maine Community College students earn college degrees, join the workforce, and become community leaders. This year the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Casco Bay Association was honored for its long-time support of the SMCC culinary students.  A Light on the Point raised more than $50,000 in support of SMCC students and Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management programs.  

On November 9, Dimillo’s on the Waterfront hosted a benefit dinner designed to help end child hunger in Maine. Chef Melissa Bouchard presented an inspired, six course bourbon & beer-themed dinner to support Full Plates, Full Potential, a non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger.  Native Maine was privileged to purchase a table to support this great cause.

Holiday Spectaculars Coming up:

Native Maine is excited to sponsor the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden’s annual winter spectacular, Gardens Aglow!  Located in Boothbay Harbor,  the Botanical Garden hosts the largest light show in Maine from November 17-December 31.  Hundreds of thousands of lights are strung through their upper gardens in a stunning display.  In addition to dramatic lighting, visitors can enjoy special food and beverage options in the Kitchen Garden Café and holiday shopping in the Gardens Gift Shop. Grab a friend, enjoy appetizers or a cocktail, and then experience an enchanting evening of festive lights and displays.

Native Maine is also proud to sponsor Nonantum Resort’s 8th Annual Fire & Ice event coming up on December 8 & 9. With blazing bonfires, ice bars and sculptures, local food, and live music, Fire & Ice is the perfect ending to Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude! Event proceeds benefit the Education Foundation of the Kennebunks as well as the Arundel and Kennebunkport Emergency Medical Services. Check it out at://

Vegetable Lore

As you know, Thanksgiving is this week; I figured we should celebrate a vegetable native to the Americas and currently in season: SQUASH!  Wait, don’t stop reading!  Winter squash has an interesting place in our history.  Most of the world’s winter squashes are native to the Americas; there is evidence of its cultivation going back to at least 8,000 B.C in Central Mexico, Peru, and the Eastern United States!  Squash, along with dried beans and corn, is a member of the “Three Sisters”; the term Native American farmers gave to the classic form of mixed cropping where plants grow together in a supportive, symbiotic relationship.

The word squash comes from the Narragansett indian word“askutasquash”, which translates to “eaten raw or uncooked.” If you don’t like squash, you are not alone. Narragansett Indians served the hungry pilgrims a chowder of seafood and squash; the finicky Pilgrims didn’t eat it. Instead, after the Indians left, the Pilgrims fed the chowder to their pigs! The pilgrims changed their minds about squash once the long, cold winter set in and they faced starvation; squash soon became a staple of their diet.

More squash facts:

  • Virtually, the entire squash plant is edible. The leaves, tendrils, shoots, stems, flowers, seeds, and fruit can be eaten.
  • In 2011, the U.S. ranked 4th in the world in squash production, growing 743.8 million pounds of squash for fair market valued at 283 million dollars.
  • The U.S. is actually the world's largest importer of squash; we imported more than 270,000 metric tons of squash in 2011 (95% of this from Mexico).
  • The world’s largest hubbard squash was grown in,Ontario, Canada; weighing in at 674.3kg, or 1,486.6lbs; this giant smashed the previous record by over 100kg.
  • Winter squash is delicious! If you’ve only experienced it as a watery, bland puree, a whole world of roasted, sauteed, shredded, and “squoddled” squash awaits; try the recipe below!

Cook This!
Caramelized Acorn Squash

  • 2 beautiful Native Maine  acorn squash, halved and seeds and interior pulp removed.
  • 2 tablespoons Marconi olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Native Maine Brand Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Coarse Maine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper or any ground or flake hot pepper in your pantry. (My favorite is Aleppo pepper)

Put Place oven rack on lowest setting; preheat to 400 degrees.
Place sheet pan in oven to heat.
Wash squash; no need to peel!  Cut squash into half and remove seeds. Cut halves into 1” wedges and place in large bowl.
Toss squash with olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and hot.  Make sure each slice is well coated.
Remove hot sheet pan from oven. Carefully place squash slices on pan in a single layer.  Don’t crowd the slices.
Roast 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven and turn each squash slice over; at the same time move the exterior slices in the interior of the pan and vice versa to ensure even browning and caramelization.
Cook for 10 minutes more or until squash slices are cooked through. Eat the squash, peel and all. Yum!

Everyone at Native Maine wishes you and yours
a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy the squash!


A Food Festival, an Award, and Meet the Fox!

Welcome back, friends!

Harvest display 2017Portland’s annual food and drink festival, Harvest on the Harbor, celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary last week! The 5 day festival was broken into 6 unique and delicious events highlighting diverse and vibrant parts of the Maine food scene.  Foodies travelling from hither and yon took part in sold out events like Sustainable Suppers, Harvest Happy Hour, and Market on the Harbor.  In addition to the fine food and drink, each ticket sold benefited Full Plates, Full Potential, a non-profit dedicated to ending childhood hunger in Maine; check out their website at  Many of Native Maine’s customers’ donated their time, energy, and culinary skill to support this great cause; kudos to all of you!!  As an event sponsor of the festival, Native Maine provided lots of delicious ingredients for many of Maine’s best known chefs.  Our fabulous in-house produce decorating team designed and built festive fall harvest displays overflowing with locally harvested vegetables, pumpkins, squashes, and gourds at the entrances to the venues.  Hats off to our artistic team: Jeff Kennedy, Lucas Butler, Jeremy Doxsee, Sasha Philbrick, and Troy Andrews!

In other Maine food news last week  the “Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association” recognized one of our longtime vendors, Ricker Hill Orchards, as “Producer of the Year” at their annual “Food Means Business” summit in Freeport.  Founded in Turner in 1803, Ricker Hill is truly a family business with 3 generations of the family running the farm.  Ricker Hill supplies us with apples, cranberries, blueberries and their outstanding cider.  3 years ago they launched a line of hard ciders and opened a tasting room at their farm--well worth a trip to Turner!

In the first of our "Get to Know Your Native Mainer" series, I interview longtime Native Maine employee, Ken Fox

What is your job title?  Well, I still don’t know that ...But Bob says Margin Manager or Margin Analyst and/or Bid Analyst.  Food Analyst...and more if you want.

pasted image 0Wow, that’s a lot of title!  And you make fun of my title!  Bob, in case anyone is curious, is our Chief Operations Officer.

How long have you worked at Native Maine? Too long ….17 years total

You’ve had a good run at Native Maine! How would you describe your job to a child?  Don’t do it away…okay, actually, I take mathematical problems  and solve them to help the company succeed , so that we can stay in business ... this is only a small role within the company... so when you go to a restaurant, they have the best food for you and your it is very important to do your very best in math....because someday you can do the same.  I kind of used this with my boys when they were real young!

Wow, I never realized you were so fixated on math! What did you do before this job?
Fedex for 20 years ...anything before that I would have to terminate you !!

Okay, we’ll stay away from that stuff, Kenny.  What three words would you use to describe your role?
Accomplishment …...Analyst…...Evaluates…Manages….and Investigates !!

Now, that’s 5 words!  Do you realize that? If you could switch jobs with someone at Native Maine, who would it be?
Dave...he is never here...Or Leslie I could be an Ambassador….actually no one ..I actually like what I do

You are fixated on my job title as Local Food Ambassador....If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?
The people here are actually great it would not be that ...

You are such a company man.  What do you like most about your job?
The availability to use my mind everyday ...taking numbers and evaluating them to make the company a success...and the personal satisfaction when it actually works

What’s one thing that nobody here knows about you?
Probably a lot of things, I tend to keep most of my life private….one thing would be that I am a Three Stooges fan...and a fan club member Nyuk , Nyuk , Nyuk.

Like so many other Native Mainers!  Which explains a lot about our work atmosphere.  What’s one thing you want to ask me? Why do I have to be here? no, wait ..What are you cooking for lunch ...

Oh, I’ll bring something in for you in the next week or so.  Thanks, Kenny!

Have a safe and happy halloween everybody!  See you next time!

Welcome to Local Lore! Native Maine's New Blog

runser leslie

Hi Friends of Native Maine Produce!

Welcome to Local Lore, Native Maine’s new blog dedicated to all things local and more; I'm Leslie Runser (that's me over there on the left), one of the Native Maine chefs! I’ve worked for Native Maine for over 6 years in sales and customer service but mostly as the local and specialty foods buyer. In the weeks to come, I’ll highlight the great variety of Maine and New England Foods available and coming into season, complete with delicious recipes. We’ll celebrate our customer’s milestones and the hot, new dishes appearing on area menus. You’ll read profiles of some of our colorful employees and learn more about the inner workings of Native Maine. I’ll feature the special events that Native Maine supports in your community. Curious about what else we stock besides produce? I'll introduce you to the wide and interesting variety of foods that week stock. In addition, you’ll get updates on new additions to our product list.

Curious? Interested? Ready to learn more about Native Maine and our great products? Let’s get started!

As you no doubt know, we’re in the midst of apple season here in Maine. Native Maine proudly sells Mcintosh, Cortland, and Honeycrisp local apples from Apple Acres Farm in Hiram and Ricker Hill Orchard in Turner. Not familiar with Honeycrisps? This apple variety was released commercially in the 1990s; crunchy, sweet, juicy—their individual cells are 2x as big as other apples and hold 2x the amount of sweet juice! A limited supply of trees has meant less Honeycrisp apples available; those that are out there command a higher price than Macs and Cortlands. However, as more trees are planted, more apples are grown and the price is coming down.

Some Apple Fun Facts

  • In 2016, Native Maine sold well over a half million pounds of apples!
  • Innovative technology used by our apple farmers means that the local Mac you eat in March will be as crisp and delicious as the Mac you eat in October!
  • Apples ripen six to 10 times faster at room temperature than if they are refrigerated.
  • Apples are a member of the rose family.It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.

Cook this...Crispy Apple Chips

Apple chips are a crunchy, delicious addition to seasonal salads or a cheese plate, add texture to desserts like apple crisp, and are yummy eaten plain as a snack!  They can be seasoned sweet or savory depending on how you’ll use them.  Cinnamon and sugar is my go to!

6 Local Native Maine Apples: Mac, Cortland, Honeycrisp
If desired, seasoning of choice: sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, curry powder, or any other powder spice that strikes your fancy!

  • Preheat oven to 225 degrees
  • Halve and core apples
  • Slice thinly, preferable with a mandolin or ceramic slicer
  • Arrange apples slices on a sheet pans,
  • Bake until apple slices are dried and edges curl up, more or less one hour.
  • Transfer to a wire rack until cooled
  • Don’t worry, the slices will crisp as they cool.

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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