Disclosure: As part of the Cabot Fit Team, Cabot Creamery covered my travel expenses for the 2015 Beach to Beacon 10K. I was not compensated to write this post.
Needless to say, it was a thrill and honor to be invited back to the 2015 CabotFit team this year – along with Anne, Brianne, Diane, Julie, Kelly, Kita and Whitney – to participate in the coveted Beach to Beacon 10K held in Cape Elizabeth outside of Portland, ME.
Of course, I was stoked for the beautiful trip to Maine but also to get another opportunity to promote Cabot’s message of wellness through nutrition, exercise and good eating WHILE getting to meet some Maine dairy farmers who are a part of the Cabot Cooperative family.
My dairy roots go way back. My dad is from a dairy farming family outside of Erie, PA and for 9 years I worked as a communications specialist for Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association. What I loved most about that job was working for my local dairy farmers – some of the most dedicated, hard-working people you’ll ever meet.
And Maine farmers did not disappoint.
Trip Highlights (here’s my actual race highlights):
1) Visit to Pineland Farms
If you are ever in the Portland area, it is well worth the 30 minute drive to New Gloucester to visit Pineland Farms. It’s a 5,000 acre farm, business campus and recreational center open to the public. You can get up close and personal with the cows, see how cheese is made, hike, ride horses, eat/shop at The Market – and more.
The view is beautiful and the farm is one of the cleanest I’ve ever seen. We got to visit with the cows. These ladies only get milked about 20 minutes a day and the rest of the time, they get to chill in the barn or go out to pasture when it’s cooler outside.
We also meet Hemi, who is a 95-point World Classified Holstein (she’s basically an international cow rock star!)
Love this Instagram pic of Hemi taken by Jenni Tilton-Flood – another Maine dairy farmer who accompanied us on our tour and was full of interesting and fun dairy facts.
We also visited the dairy pens where I took a shine to Red Glare, a sweet 2 month old calf.
Miss Red Glare loved having her neck scratched – just like a cat!
Pineland Farms also boasts a small creamery where they make Cheddar, baby Swiss, Feta and Monterey Jack. We learned about their cheese making process and all the safety tests that milk goes through before it is accepted for human consumption – whether it’s for our glass or to make cheese.
2) Staying near the beach
Morning walk with Cabot Fit team at low tide.
Blue Moon at Higgins Beach.
3) Maine eats!
We got to spend some time in downtown Portland as well and let me tell you, it did not disappoint when it came eats and drinks. It seems like every other store front was a cool restaurant, bakery, ice cream shop or brewery – my kind of town!
Delish pizzas with a view at Flatbread Company.
Lobster cookies at Standard Baking Co.
A scoop of Graceland (banana and peanut butter) at Beals Ice Cream.
Lobster roll #1 of the trip at Higgins Beach Inn.
The afternoon before the race, we got to participate in a Cabot cheese and beer pairing at the Cabot Farmers Annex. There are only three of these Cabot stores in New England and so it’s a must visit if you are ever in Portland.
The Annex features pretty much every Cabot product – like Old School (a 5 year aged Cheddar you can only buy there or online – SO good) as well as local Maine specialty foods, brews and crafts. Having a small suitcase was what kept me in check from buying out the store.
The store manager, Susan, also brought out samples of Cabot cottage cheese mixed with maple syrup that one of the Cabot farmers produces from the maple trees on their farm, which was delicious – another simple but oh so good taste.
If you don’t know about this guy, well, neither did I until I met my husband, history major and Civil War buff. JLC is probably his favorite historical figure (I’ll let you read his creds on Wikipedia vs. listing them all here) but to quote the hubby, “The guy is a total stud.”
So, knowing I couldn’t bring back a case of Chamberlain beer, I bought a t-shirt instead, which Jim put on as soon as I got home (extra thanks to Regan, Anne & Julie for huffing it across town with me to the Shipyard gift shop to make this purchase.)
History lesson over. Time for a Cabot-inspired recipe!
So, I had to get in the kitchen with some Cabot cheese once I got back. These snacking squares are riff of my Baked Oatmeal Squares with Cherries recipe that we often eat for breakfast or snacks.
I figured I do an apple and cheddar version (after all fall is coming, even though I’m denial) with some Cabot Extra Sharp.
Result? A yummy on-the-go breakfast or sit-down-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-nosh snack. Bonus: they freeze well, too.
Have you ever been to Maine? What were your trip highlights? And I always have to ask, do you have a favorite Cabot cheese?