Wild in Woolwich
Merrymeeting Fields Preserve, Oyster Creek Mushrooms, and Slam Poetry are just a few ways to enjoy Maine this month.
Looking for a new hike this spring? Head to the Merrymeeting Fields Preserve, part of the Lower Kennebec Regional Land Trust, in Woolwich. Pick up a map at the trailhead on Chopps Point Road or go to www.lkrlt.org for a downloadable brochure. This 125-acre preserve was donated by the former landowners, who are buried on the site. Besides the graves, you can also explore old farming materials, excavated foundations, and all kinds of other historic artifacts. "You feel like you are far and beyond . . . It's one of those good Maine explorations," explains Alicia Heyburn, the outreach coordinator for the land trust. The preserve has woods trails for hiking as well as a large open field perfect for running and playing, picnicking, and spotting wildflowers. If you walk down to the Merrymeeting Bay waterfront, you can look across to the Abagadasette wetlands, where an abundant supply of wild rice feeds the migratory waterfowl.
Chicken of the Where?
When you think of Maine edibles, images of blueberries and fiddleheads might come to mind, not necessarily chanterelles and porcinis. But Candice Heydon, owner of the Damariscotta-based Oyster Creek Mushroom Company (61 Standpipe Rd., Damariscotta, 207-563-1076, www.oyster creekmushroom.com), begs to differ. Oyster Creek's Maine Wild Mix, a combination of porcini, oyster, chanterelle, black trumpet, Hen, Chicken of the Wood, and morel mushrooms (available fresh or dried), is just one of the dozen products available at its Web site and at specialty food stores across the state. Oyster Creek offers an assortment of locally harvested varieties, including dried or fresh mushrooms, mushroom powder, or mushroom oils. Mix and match, or buy a gift box with a little bit of each. And if you are really ambitious, purchase their Shiitake Growing Kit and inoculate some mushrooms in fresh-cut oak logs in your own backyard!
Portland's Poetry Smackdown
If Jack Kerouac were still around, dragging his beat self from town to town, he might have ended up in a place like the North Star Caf` (225 Congress St., Portland, 207-699-2994), for an evening of slam poetry. Among rhyming artists - hip-hop and old school "literary" - the act of verbally performing the written word is a popular caf` activity, even a competitive "sport" of sorts, across the nation. Port Veritas, an offshoot organization of the former Acoustic Coffee Spoken Words Series, arranges the weekly readings every Tuesday. The events include guest readers accompanied by jazz piano, poet-versus-poet competitions, special guest artists, and an open mic session for poets, comedians, storytellers, and musicians. Check www.portveritas.com for the most up-to-date performance schedule and get ready to watch some of the state's slam masters at work.