Stories from the Land
Food Writer Kathy Gunst Celebrates Local Food in MtA2C Region
Tomatoes, leeks, shallots, scallions, raspberries, pickling cucumbers. These are just some of the treats Gunst has growing right now. Anything she doesn’t grow herself, she seeks out at farmers markets near her South Berwick home.
“There is nothing like the taste of a warm tomato fresh off the vine or a fresh picked berry,” says Gunst, author of 15 cookbooks and resident chef on NPR’s Here & Now. “I am a big proponent of that in my own life, in trying to get people to understand if you want flavor and you want to eat simply, you have to buy good, fresh food that has not been shipped across the country.”
Gunst’s writing and radio appearances on eating local food may reach audiences nationwide, but her passion for fresh food circles back to supporting farms right here in Maine and in the MtA2C region.
“I am such a huge supporter of any effort to keep Maine looking like Maine,” says Gunst. “The beauty of living here is that open land and the farms and the access to the food that people grow here that is so good.”
When she’s not working in her garden, Gunst also hikes and walks her dog in a number of preserves in the MtA2C region. She remembers with particular joy the first time she explored York Land Trust’s Highland Farm and Smelt Brook Preserves.
“We were walking along the path by the river and I had that kind of moment of ‘wow, I live here and this is so special and this is 15 minutes from my house,’” Gunst recalls. She describes that feeling of waking up in your own neighborhood being full of gratitude to live in such close proximity to so much open space.
Between efforts like MtA2C’s to protect land for farming and recreation, and the growing interest in farming in Maine, Gunst feels optimistic for the future of local food across the state.
“The fact that there is still farmland and there is a whole new generation that is really interested in farming,” Gunst says. “That gives me such hope.”
To learn more about efforts to protect farmland in the MtA2C region, visit Great Works Regional Land Trust’s website.
Childhood Friends Work and Play at Brave Boat Headwaters
Ian Browne and Ian Goering have been playing in Brave Boat Harbor since they were 14 years old, often venturing off with canoes and surfboards in tow. As adults, they continue to venture to their favorite childhood haunt—for pleasure and for work.
The friends serendipitously both got hired by Tributary Brewing Co. in 2015, where they work on the brew crew. Last winter, they were tasked with collecting 31 gallons of saltwater to produce a German-style beer called a Gose. They knew just the spot to collect the water from.
“Oh man, it was cold,” says Goering, laughing. “We had originally planned on taking the canoe and paddling out, and woke up wicked early to go down there. But Ian and I had assessed that morning that we weren’t going to get in a canoe because it was way too windy and way too cold.”
Kittery Land Trust’s new Brave Boat Headwaters Preserve protects 150 acres of waterfront property lining the harbor. That preservation helps limit runoff and pollution into the harbor.
“Beer and local water sources have always been connected,” says Goering. “The kind of water you have has always dictated the kinds of beers you can make, so being able to use a protected water source like that is really exciting, to be able to carry on that tradition.”
But Ian and Ian discovered the magic of the harbor long before taking up brewing. As teenagers, they would often surf a small wave in the harbor.
“There is a little wave that breaks at the mouth of Brave Boat Harbor,” says Browne. “It’s this picture perfect wave, the kind of wave you would draw in your notebook in fifth grade. It’s beautiful, I have surfed it a bunch of times.”
Browne and Goering are both grateful that the area has been preserved.
“The trails I’ve been hiking since I was 14, I can still go hiking on and they haven’t changed that much,” says Goering. “If they have changed, they have changed for the better.”
“Brave Boat Harbor is probably one of my favorite places in the world,” he says. “It’s a really special place.”