Franklin Countys First News

Fiddlehead Festival returns this Saturday

A big turnout at last year's Annual Maine Fiddlehead Festival

There has been a big turnout at the Maine Fiddlehead Festival in previous years. This year, the event will be held on May 7 at the University of Maine at Farmington.

fiddlehead-fest-poster16pFARMINGTON - Organizers of the 5th Annual Maine Fiddlehead Festival & Local Food Day are gearing up for an all-day event to be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, at the Emery Community Arts Center Plaza. Admission is free.

Although named for the immature frond, the festival encompasses local food of all kinds, from local agriculture to foraging to home gardening. It will include plenty of fiddlehead information, fiddlehead walks, and cooking demonstrations, as well as fiddlehead products for sale by vendors. The event also features live acoustic music, a local farmer's  market, antique tractors and demonstrations of homesteading skills such as weaving and goat raising.

Outdoor "Tent Talks" will touch upon topics such as canning, raising goats, rocket stoves and creating your own herbal salves. Musical acts include The Merry Plinksters, Franklin County Fiddlers and many others. Schedules for both the Tent Talks and the musical acts can be seen below.

The Maine Fiddlehead Festival was conceived by Professor Grace Eason of the University of Maine at Farmington's Science and Environmental Education, as a way to grow awareness of local foods and sustainability. The festival was first organized in 2012 by a coalition of University of Maine at Farmington faculty, community members and local businesses to draw attention to food resources from local farms and forests.

The event is being organized by UMF’s Sustainable Campus Coalition, which promotes environmental sustainability on campus and in the community, with additional help from community members. This year's supporters include the UMF Partnership for Civic Advancement, Franklin Savings Bank, Bangor Savings Bank, University Credit Union, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Love Grown Caregiver Services of Maine, the Homestead Kitchen Bar and Bakery, Lillian Lake, Community Visionary, MyMarketingDesigns and the Healthy Community Coalition.

The Emery Community Arts Center Plaza is located on Academy Street, which will be closed to vehicle traffic for the duration of the event.

More information about the festival can be seen at the website www.mainefiddleheadfestival.org. The Emery Community Arts Center plaza is on Academy Street in Farmington. For more information contact Luke Kellett at 778-7096.

Schedule for Fiddlehead Festival Tent Talks
10:15 – Stress-Free Pressure Canning and Other Secrets of Food Thrift
"Stocking up" is a skill that every household once knew well. It is a wonderful comfort to know that healthy, clean foods are filling your pantry shelves and ready for a quick meal. Pressure canning is an easy, safe, reliable way to put up many foods including meats, fruits, juices, vegetables, beans and broths. Pressure canners will be displayed and demonstrated, and samples of canned foods will be provided from the pantry shelves at Fields Edge Farm in Leeds. Kimberly Trider-Grant and her husband own a sheep farm in Leeds, Maine, and maintain a “simple, resourceful” lifestyle.

11:00 – Making Your Own Herbal Healing Salve from Herbs Grown or Gathered
Scrapes, burns cuts, rashes? – Nature has answers! Learn the secrets of creating your own general-purpose herbal healing salve with herbs you can grow and/or herbs you can gather locally! Julia DiStefano will explain and demonstrate this useful craft. Julia is an herbalist and long-time owner/operator of The Chickadees Nest, a Farmington herb business and store specializing in herbal products.

11:45 – Edible Insects: A Fun and Tasty Superfood!
Be a pioneer of the next big food trend! One hundred years ago, Maine introduced lobster as a food source. Initially scorned and fed to prisoners, today it is a gourmet delicacy. Now Maine is pioneering edible insects! The future of this trend holds much more significance than lobster– for, in addition to being tasty, extremely healthy, and fun, edible insects may be key to the future of food sustainability. Bill Broadbent, author and director of Bugs For Dinner educational website, will discuss insect recipes, farming methods, and local insects for survival. Some popular insect-based treats will be displayed.

12:30 – Raising Goats with Gretchen
Goats are great! They help clear land, produce milk for cheese and yogurt, create soil-building compost, brings lots of joy (think darling bouncing babies), and, if you are not a vegetarian, provide excellent tasty meat. Farmer and English professor Gretchen Legler and her partner Ruth started raising dairy goats ten years ago with NO prior experience. In this tent talk she will share what they have learned along the way, covering housing and fencing, feeding, hoof care, milking, making cheese and yogurt veterinary care, kidding, and more

1:15 – Fiddlehead Talk, Fiddlehead I.D. Walk
Learn about the lore and science of ostrich fern fiddleheads, including safe handling and cooking guidelines. We’ll then walk to a nearby spot (less than1/4 mile away) to talk about identification and sustainable harvest. Total session time will last about 1.5 hour. Prepare to walk on muddy ground! Dave Fuller is an agriculture and non-timber forest products professional with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. He has done applied research on the effects of harvesting fiddleheads.

1:45 – Rocket Stoves and Cooking Dandelion Fritters on One!
Rocket Stoves are super-efficient cooking/camping stoves that can be built entirely of recycled junk! Dandelion fritters are healthy, easy to make, and taste like sunshine. What do you get when you cross dandelion fritter batter with a rocket stove? You get a great workshop that finds abundance in “wild-gathered” gifts. Chris Knapp, co-founder of Koviashuvik Local living School, has cooked summer meals for a family of four exclusively on a rocket stove for 8 years and is a wild foods teacher and enthusiast.

Schedule for live acoustic music
Lindsay and Lauren (10:05-10:30 am)
Erica Haywood (10:30-11 am)
The Merry Plinksters (11:15 – 11:45am)
Franklin County Fiddlers (12 – 12:45 pm)
Turner Templeton(1 – 1:45 pm)
JonBoy (2 – 2:45 pm)
Barefoot Truth Belly Dancers (during breaks)

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