Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Winter Markets In The News!

This is the Falmouth Winter Market that I participate in on Wednesdays from 10-2. You can see that we are inside a clear plastic greenhouse. It is pretty toasty on a sunny day. Today was drizzling and the sun was not out, that made for a little colder day.

This is Kay Fowlers booth (above) she sells veggies, eggs, milk, meats and more. Oh hey! That's me, on the left side of the picture, I am wearing a teal blue cardigan sweater and looking down at my table. I think I was straightening some stuff out. Some children had been by and were smelling all the soaps.
This is Cordelia, she has a booth to my left. She is a farmer and owns New Elm Farm. She sells veggies during the summer, but will be spinning and knitting her OWN fleece this winter. She spins at market, and it is quite an attraction. Many people stop to talk with her about it.

This is a typical "hoop" style greenhouse that farmers will use to grow greens and more during the cold winter months.

Winter Farmers Markets in Maine, the new "in" thing....(but we already knew that, right)?

There are 6 Winter Markets in Maine this year, and yours truly is participating in 3 of them.

Here is an article in the Portland Press Herald all about the winter growing season and the expansion of Winter's a bit from the article.....

"The vegetable-growing season used to end with the first hard frost in Maine.

Not anymore.

An increasing number of farmers are pushing the growing season into the winter to take advantage of the surging demand for locally grown food. As a result, more farmers are operating greenhouses, branching out into cool-weather crops and creating new markets for their produce".

The Pioneer Woman

My new BFF has a cookbook out. Okay, so she doesn't know that I even exist up here on the coast of Maine. She is after all living on a cattle ranch in Oklahoma with 4 kids and a horse riding husband. But I really like her and I bet we would be fast friends. We couldn't be more different! My husband rides sailboats not horses, I am not a redhead but a brunette (with high lights) and she has a cookbook, I do not! But we have much in common too. I just adore this woman known to many as The Pioneer Woman a.k.a. Ree Drumond.

Visit her blog and you will see why thousands of woman all across the USA are in love with her with, her cooking, her style. She has captured the hearts of us all with her humor and sense of reality. It's a unique blog, started merely as a way to keep her family up to date with the children's lives, pictures and maybe a post or two about life on the ranch. It now has evolved into 5 tabs which you can click on to visit a peek inside her life. Confessions, Cooking, Photography, Home & Garden and Homeschooling (yes, she home schools her 4 kids!) The Pioneer

I just received her cookbook via Amazon (click on the left side bar of my blog to check it out on Amazon) due to the sad fact that she is on a fabulous book tour and I can't be there. She will not be coming to Maine, but is keeping herself busy touring and signing books, in the south. You can follow her book tour adventures by clicking on "confessions" on her blog.

Take a minute or two to check her out, I know you won't be disappointed. And tell her Shannon in Maine said hello!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Buy Homemade The Holiday Season

Starting your Holiday shopping? Consider purchasing local and handmade this year. By supporting your local businesses, your are keeping your hard earned dollar within the community you live. In turn, those business owners generally keep their profits and spending in the community as well.

For example, I purchase my raw materials from a local distributor (actually only 20 miles from me). The sales man that takes my order (and credit card) for Olive Oil and Coconut Oils, for example, actually shops at the Farmers Market and buys my soap. Last week, his wife came by the market and bought 5 bars of soap. What a circle we have created! I help pay his salary and he helps support my business.

You can take The Homemade Pledge this Holiday season and support your local farmers, bakers, artist, craftsmen:

"The ascendancy of chain store culture and global manufacturing has left people all dressing, furnishing, and decorating alike. The connection between producer and consumer has been lost. Buying handmade helps them reconnect. We created the pledge as a call to action for consumers to be conscious of how they spend their money this holiday season. We want people, whenever possible, to support independent creators and shop outside the big boxes".

Creative Economy Studio Show

Third Annual Creative Economy Studio Show & Sale

(Follow this link for an article about the show in Maine Arts & Culture Online Magazine)

Friday November 27th, 4-8

Saturday November 28th, 10-6

Sunday November 29th, 10-6

Support Your Local Creative Economy

Shop for unique Maine made gifts

Explores a wide variety of work by local artists and craftspeople

Enjoy refreshments and gather with friends

Studio On The Hill

21 Pleasant Hill Road
Freeport, ME

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Let The Holiday Craft Fairs Begin!

You can find my soaps at many many shopping venues this Thanksgiving weekend, here is one of them:


20 local artisans offering a variety of beautifully made unique gifts.

Hand spun local exotic fiber and knit wear

Shimmering silver and beaded jewelry

Handwoven kitchen linens

Naturally made, 100% vegetable soap

Charming children and baby wear

Splint baskets

Hand sewn aprons and pillowcases

Painted glassware

Holiday candle centerpieces

Much more and lots of surprises!!

Saturday November 28th


9 Main St.
South Freeport, ME

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Roasted Brussle Sprouts

I try to buy something new each week at at least one of the 3 the Farmers Market where I sell my soaps. I try to support each vendor throughout the season and expand my (already very broad) culinary horizons.

This week I purchased fresh cheese curds with a sweet BBQ flavor, 4 pieces of fudge (2 peanut butter, 2 chocolate) made with Goat Milk and Brussels Sprouts still on their stalk!

What a fun looking veggie, like mini cabbage. My husband loves cabbage, he eats it raw like lettuce on sandwiches, likes it in his New England boiled dinner and loves all types of slaw. I wasn't sure after our 9 years of marriage if I knew whether or not he liked Brussels sprouts. But we were going to try something new anyway. Luck was on my side, he asked right away if those were Brussels sprout, and if they were, he loves them!

I found a roasted Brussels sprout recipe on and roasted these right up to go with our Sunday night dinner.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts ~ Thanks to Ina Gartin via The Food

1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately.

Olive Oil Answer...

A few post back (here) I asked if you might guess how many gallons of Olive Oil I would use in my soap making this year. While there are no answers directly on the blog post, I received a few emails and a response via my Face Book fan page.

I will use just about 30 gallons of Olive Oil this year in my soap production! Thanks for all your interest!

Christmas In Maine

I've been making soap like mad! Lots to do to get ready for the Holiday gift giving season and people LOVE to give soap. 3 Farmers Markets a week, Craft Shows, special requests from friends and co-workers (you know who you are!) and online orders keep me making soap daily. Along with my standard favorites (Lavender, Blueberry Cream, Sea Shore Scrub, Wild Sea Rose ~ to name just a few), I am working hard to squeeze in some seasonal favorites and some new fragrance blends.

I named this soap Christmas In Maine because that is exactly what it smells like to me. Last year I made only 2 batches of this (which is 56 bars of soap) and sold it all at one craft fair alone!

This fragrance is a super blend of sugar and blue spruce. It is clean, crisp and refreshing but not quite the traditional 'pine' scent. The blue spruce adds an outdoors element. There is some fruity fragrance in there as well. Reminds me of a Christmas Barn type of store, maybe a rustic gift shop in an old wood barn that carries all sorts of holiday decorations, potpourri, fresh green Christmas wreaths, dried oranges studded with cloves and has hot cider to drink while you shop... all these fragrances wrapped up in a beautiful bar of wonderful creamy soap.

This is a limited edition soap....get it while you can!

"Hop To It"

Just stirred up a fresh batch of "Hop To It" my beer soap made with Gritty's Scottish Ale.

I made a batch of this over the summer as a way to lure the men over to look at the soap. It worked! I sold many bars to men and many more to moms, girlfriends, sisters and friends that wanted to give the man in their life a bar of this cool beer soap.

I have had several requests for the beer soap in just the past week alone, as everyone is starting to shop for the Holidays. It will be ready in about 4 weeks, hang in there folks!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brunswick Winter Market Pictures

Here are some photos from the Brunswick Winter Market. I apologize for the yellow-ish quality. Note fluorescent lighting on the ceiling. I also started taking pictures with the flash, but was drawing too much attention to myself and a few vendors were ducking and hiding. I turned off the flash and this is what I got.

I wasn't able to attend the market last week, which was opening day, as I was double booked and had a craft fair scheduled. So this was my first week. I had a good day and some of my regulars found me here. I imagine it will take about 4 weeks for all those new customers to see me among the 49 other vendors, and get used to seeing a soap maker at the market. This group of vendors sell during the summer at Crystal Springs Market and it is a whole new group of loyal Crystal Spring customers that need to see/smell/hear all abut my soaps.
A few booths down, these gals were selling handmade cheeses. They also had a cheese they called "frying cheese" and they fried it up in a little pan for customers to try. It smelled great! Imagine, creamy, fresh cheese and NOW it is fried! That couldn't have many calories, could it?!
This is peeking through the booth directly behind me. A flute player, a fiddler and a guitar. They played great foot stomping Celtic type music. They play for tips and what is cute about the market, is sometimes musician like this end up with not just dollar bills, but bags of fresh lettuce, carrots, a jar of jam, bar of donations from vendors too.

Beautiful wood bowls and other little items, made from reclaimed wood.

Across the way a bit, these beautiful sweaters created with the colorful hand dyed yarns. Behind that woman on the left, in the blue, is baskets of beautiful colored yarns. And check out their display for the knit sweaters... they are hanging in the back right of the photo with dowels through the sleeves to show the maximum sweater.

Looking down the aisle from my table. This is a big old mill on the river here in Brunswick. A lot of the spaces have been converted into large rooms like this. Large windows overlook the river, there are original wood floors and lots of charm.

Around the corner, fresh seasonal produce.
Love that the tables are covered in burlap. So earthy!
Directly across from me....local roasted coffee beans sold by the pound and they will even grind the beans for you, if you wish. They also sell cups of coffee, little cookies and few other baked goods. It smells fantastic!

Maybe I will see YOU there??

Brunswick Winter Market
Saturday 9-12:30
Ft. Andross Maine St. Brunwsick

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How Many Gallons Of Olive Oil?

How many gallons of Olive Oil do you think I will have used this year in my soaps?

Olive Oil is one of the primary ingredient in my soap and helps make your skins soo nice and soft.

Rich Olive Oil soaps contain many of the moisture and nutrients your skin desires. Stress, your diet, environment, pollutants, medications and exposure to ultra-violet rays all take a toll on the health of your skin. Olive oil helps replaces the moisture and elasticity lost. Olive Oil is naturally rich in vitamin E and other powerful antioxidants. These have fantastic healing and preserving properties, helping to restore and retain hair and skin's health, youthfulness and beauty. Dry skin and many dermatological conditions, from dandruff to psoriasis and eczema, all may respond extremely favorably to soap containing high concentrations of olive oil.

So, what is your guess for how many gallons of Olive Oils I will have used this year? Keep in mind that I have 2 full months of Winter Farmers Market and Holiday Craft Fairs coming up. These are my busiest months. Any guesses? I'll get back to you in a few days with the answer....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cranberry Squares

Well the Cranberry-Fig soap that I mixed up the other day got me in the mood for my mom's awesome Cranberry Squares. I baked some up for our annual Farmers Market meeting, and brought some to share with the girls at the bakery where I work as well. Since I can't offer you a taste of the most delicious, tart, easy to make Cranberry Squares EVER, here is the recipe so you can make them yourself. Only 6 ingredients and one bowl, come on, give it a try. It's easy-peasy!

Laura's Super Easy Cranberry Squares

1 1/2 C. Flour

1 1/2 C. Sugar

9 T. Melted Butter (butter is essential for flavor, do not substitute)

2 Eggs, beaten

2 C. Whole Cranberries

1 C. Chopped Walnuts

Grease & Flour a 13x9" pan, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix flour and sugar. Add in melted butter and beaten eggs, mix well. Mixture will be stiff. Add in cranberries and nuts. Stir to combine.

Bake @ 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, until the top is lightly browned. Cool and cut into squares.

Enjoy the flavors of November.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The James Place Inn

Delivering some fresh guest size soaps to The James Place Inn B&B in Freeport Peppermint Oatmeal, their signature scent.

Looking for a great place to stay while visiting Freeport? The James Place Inn B&B

Falmouth Winter Market Starts Tomorrow!

Falmouth Winter Farmers Market starts tomorrow, November 4th!
(I may be late, as my "day job" is keeping me a bit busy as we head into the Holidays)

Come on by and pick up your SOAP, winter veggies, baked goods, fine crafts, yarns, breads,
eggs, milk in glass bottles, maple syrup, honey, and much, much more.

In the greenhouse @ Allen, Sterling & Lothrop
Rt. 1

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cranberry-Fig Soap

And along came just snuck right up on me! In honor of the 11th month in our calendar year, I just stirred up a batch of Cranberry Fig soap~! Soooo yummy smelling I would describe it as nice pairing between the tart bite of Cranberries and a sweet Fig. This Cranberry-Fig soap is swirled with a beautiful cranberry color. Perfect for the upcoming holidays, this is a limited edition soap, get it while you can.