4th of July, WA Bean, Red hot dogs!!

Hi Ho Everyone! Welcome to a special mini Fourth of July issue of Local Lore! Read on for 4th of July food fun facts, a local, vendor profile, and a tribute to red hot dogs.

July 4 Fun Facts

  • 150 million hot dogs are eaten during the July 4 holiday; Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs per year!
  • 74 million Americans will attend a barbecue on the 4th. In order of highest preference, we’ll grill burgers, steak, hot dogs and chicken.
  • Watermelon is the #1 dessert and baked beans are the #1 side dish.
  • Over 68 million cases of beer are sold during the holiday; this accounts for 5% of annual beer sales nationwide!

Vendor Spotlight: W.A. Bean & Sons
4 Million of those 150 million hot dogs were made right here in Maine by one of Native Maine’s top vendors, W.A.Bean! Over 150 years old and spanning 5 generations, WA Bean provides our customers great sausage, smoked poultry, natural casing hot dogs, and delicious honey-glazed hams (a winter holiday favorite!).

In 1860, Albert Bean came to Bangor and set up shop as a butcher on Ohio Street. In a few years  his one-man operation grew into a slaughterhouse and a major meat wholesaler, on its way to 150 years of family-owned success. 1918 was a special year: after decades of making sausages, the company began making hot dogs, which would become a signature product still popular today. By 1919, the company was officially "W. A. Bean and Sons," as sons, grandsons and granddaughters worked in and grew the business. Spiral-sliced glazed hams, red-hot hot dogs and chicken sausages were introduced to entice customers.  Most recently, WA Bean introduced Haggis to their product roster; made from sheep’s pluck and heavily spiced, it’s a Scottish staple, but nobody else is doing it in Maine. The company also produces tripe, once very popular but now truly a niche market for W. A. Bean.

downloadMore on those red hot dogs:

  • Once produced by W.A.Bean, C.H.Rice Company, and Jordan’s Meats, Schonland Brothers and other local sausage producers, W.A. Bean is now the sole producer in Maine.
  • Schonland Brothers is considered the originator of the Red Natural Casing Hot Dog here in Maine. They did this to differentiate their product from the competition.
  • Interestly, W.A.Bean produces their own recipe red hot dog and they now co-produce a red snapper hot dog using the Rice’s family recipe still owned by that family!
  • What is a red hot dog? They're natural casing beef and pork franks, dyed with a healthy dose of FD&C Red #40. Great boiled or grilled, they have a serious snap and look great with just a streak of bright yellow mustard.
  • And though we consider red hot dogs one of our Native foods here, believe it or not, the red hot dog phenomenon is not confined to Maine.
  • In northern New York state, Glazier Packing Company makes bright red beef and pork dogs that end up slathered in Michigan sauce (a vinegary, tomato based meat sauce).
  • Red frankfurters can also be found scattered across the South—from Georgia's famous Nu-Way to Virginia and Mississippi. Then in Hawaii you've got Redondo's Winners used for everything from breakfast to nori-wrapped hot dog musubi, and even red hot dogs in the Philippines, where they cook them up with spaghetti.

So you see, you can travel the world eating red hot dogs!!! Bon Voyage and Bon Appetit!!!

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July everybody!!!

Strawberries, A Crisp Recipe, Fruit Flies!

HERE WE GO!  The Maine growing season has begun!  We started with foraged fiddleheads and ramps then progressed into local strawberriesasparagus!  Now, we are getting into the sweet stuff with the start of pur much celebrated local strawberries!!!!  These little gems are highly prized for their sweetness and their beautiful dark, crimson color. We received our first batch of these little beauties from White Oak Farm in Warren, Maine. The local strawberry season is short lasting about 3 to 4 weeks from mid-June to mid-July.  So get them while they are here! And don’t forget, when you’re considering local strawberries for your establishment that the weight of the local berries is 11# per flat vs 8# flat for our California berries. The Maine berries are denser and have a higher sugar content which leads to a more delicious berry!

COOK THIS!!  Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler with Butter Cookie Dough Topping
Lifted directly from The Best Recipe published by Cooks Illustrated.

This is an easy, delicious recipe to use with almost any fruit, but its best with strawberries and rhubarb. The sugar in the topping provides enough sweetener so that you don’t have to use much in the fruit.  Also, the topping can be made ahead; be careful though, it's really tasty and may not last long!

½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 large egg yolk (one whole egg if doubling recipe)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups fresh local strawberries
1 cup rhubarb
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute with electric mixer. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Stem and rinse strawberries. Halve large berries.
  • Cut rhubarb into ⅓ inch chunks. Mix together with strawberries.
  • Add cornstarch, sugar and vanilla to fruit. Gently mix together.
  • Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8 inch square baking pan or 9 inch rough deep dish pie plate.
  • Evenly drop cookie dough topping by heaping tablespoons evenly over fruit; don’t forget the edges!
  • Bake until golden brown about 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold--doesn’t matter, it's delicious!

KITCHEN HACK with Fun Facts  What comes with all this delicious summer fruit?  You guessed it, fruit flies!! Here are some fruit fly fun facts and two quick and easy fruit fly fixes!

  • The fruit fly is a species of the common housefly known as Drosophila melanogaster (try saying that three times fast!) They get their name because of their strong attraction to ripening or rotting fruit, which serves as a food source as well as a place to lay their eggs (yuck!)
  • Adult fruit flies typically reach 3-4 mm in length and live 40 to 50 days.
  • What makes fruit flies so difficult to control is that one female fruit fly can lay as many as 500 eggs in her short lifespan
  • Humans and fruits flies are genetically similar.  A whopping 75 percent of the genes that cause diseases in humans are also found in the fruit fly.
  • Fruit flies self-medicate with alcohol too. The reward circuitry of fruit flies' brains, as in humans, gets a pleasurable boost from drinking alcohol. A study done at the University of California, San Francisco found that the male fruit flies who had been rejected by females drank four times as much alcohol as the mated flies!

Fruit Fly Fixes  Okay, now that I’ve fascinated and disgusted you with fruit fly fun facts, I bet you want to know how to get rid of these pests.  Read on below for 2 simple, effective remedies using apple cider vinegar.

  • Pour a little into a glass, or just remove the cap from a bottle. (It doesn't have to be full — nearly empty will also work). Cover the opening in plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Then, poke a hole for the fruit flies to enter. They can't resist the scent of vinegar, and they won't be able to exit once they're inside.
  • If you find your fruit flies are impervious to the plastic wrap, try adding three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar, and leave it uncovered. The soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar so the flies will sink and drown.


Summer Begins, Meet a Native Mainer, A Golden Harvest!

Coming right up…SUMMER!!!  Though summer doesn't officially start until June 21, we all know that it unofficially begins on Memorial Day!  More customers, busier service times, congested roads!! Don't despair, Native Maine has you covered!   We're open for Memorial Day!  And July 4! And Labor Day for your convenience!  You can count on us to be there when you're open!

customer serviceDon't forget, you can order 24 hours a day online at nativeme.com; to sign up for online ordering call our customer service department or talk to your sales rep. Prefer the phone? You can leave a voicemail anytime by calling 207-856-1100. Want to speak to a real person? Call the same number to speak to one of our knowledgeable, live customer service representatives from 6am to 10pm Monday through Saturday.   And speaking of customer service, here's a group shot of our daytime customer service team!  From left to right: Brittany Butler, Bill Cook (Customer Service Manager), Jordan Sears, and Taryn Libby!

Also, summer brings us a bounty of local food options!  Already, we've had local fiddleheads, ramps, and asparagus.  Soon, those amazing June strawberries will be here and then we're off with our summertime bounty.  Check out our local prduct list at www.nativeme.com for your latest availability!

A GOLDEN HARVEST for Native Maine!
In April, Native Maine Produce and Specialty Foods acquired the wholesale operations of Golden Harvest, Inc. Located in Kittery, Golden Harvest sells the freshest produce, dairy, and specialty grocery items.  By providing outstanding customer service along with the quality fresh produce, Golden Harvest built a loyal customer following. 

Jim and Carla Spencer, owners of Golden Harvest decided to sell their wholesale division to Native Maine to allow them to focus on managing and growing their thriving retail business in Kittery Maine. “Our wholesale business has grown substantially over the years, and we now deliver to hundreds of accounts all over the seacoast. Our wholesale division has taken on a life of its own and will benefit from the full-time attention and even deeper product selection Native Maine can provide,” stated the Spencers.  

Native Maine is thrilled to welcome all of Golden Harvest employees and customers into the Native Maine fold!  

Meet Your Native Mainer: Caryn Collins  In the last edition of Local Lore, we talked to Dave Cignoli formerly of daytime customer service (he's know a Native Maine area representative).  This time, we venturing into the world of nighttime customer service.  Currently, nighttime customer service is headed up by Mishka Cardin-Gonzalez (Mishka is Native Maine's first bilingual customer service rep!) and by Caryn Collins, the nighttime supervisor.  See below for more on Caryn and remember Native Maine customer service is open until 10pm for your convenience


What is your job title?  Night time customer service supervisor

How long have you worked at Native Maine?
Oh my gosh, I’ve been back I think about 4 maybe 5  years...before that, I think I’ve been with Native Maine for, oh, before that it was 6 or 7 years. It’s been a long time.  I should probably ask Walter! (HR person)

How would you describe your job? HECTIC! At least, it can be during the busy time.  It’s interesting too, at the same time. In a nutshell, I answer phones and enter orders, but its a lot more than that.  Before, it was mostly data entry. Customers would leave message and I would enter order. Now that customer service is open until 10pm, I take a lot of “live” orders, answer questions.  We still have customers who prefer to leave an order on voicemail; and that’s okay!

Do you ever get odd phone calls?  Oh yes! We get a lot of calls for other departments even though we’re here in the nighttime.  Then, of course, we also get a lot of calls for Edible Arrangements. Huh, why? Their national 800 number is close to Native Maine’s #; so we get people calling up and asking: “Are you the fruit people?”  Of course, we say: “yes, we sell fruit...things get more confusing from there!”

What did you do before this job?  I was a produce buyer at Supervalu which is a large grocery store chain.  I started out as a buyer's assistant, did some merchandising, went up the chain and became a buyer.  I was buying dry goods, not fresh--a little bit less stressful.  So before I came to Native, I had a lot of produce experience.  And of course, I was (and still am) a dj!

How did you get into it?  DJing was my first career, I never really left. Radio was my passion and I did that for 20 years; now I DJ at parties and weddings and stuff.  And, of course, the Native Maine Food Shows!! These days, I DJ more to supplement my income and have fun!  Well, I call you the voice of Native Maine because you’re the voice on our voice mail!  That's right! I do announcements, I'm the MC at our tradeshows, I like doing them!

If you could switch jobs with someone at Native Maine, who would it be?  Hmmm. I guess Ross (Native's CEO); I’d go straight to the top!  Kidding! No, I actually like working nights. I've had some hearing loss over the years and Native Maine has been able to accomodate that. I"m really grateful that Native Maine for that.

If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?  I can't think of anything off the top of my head; I think Native Maine is a good company and treats people fairly.

What do you like most about your job?  The fact that I can do it with my hearing loss!  I actually really like customer service; I really do enjoy the people and interacting with them.  Its nice that I can still do. I need to have my hearing aid really turned up!......

What’s one thing that nobody here knows about you?  I’m a crazy cat lady; I have 7 cats!!  Also, I love to sell on ebay!

Thanks, Caryn!  Happy start of summer, Everyone!  See you next time!

Local You Know

At Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods we're working hard to connect our customers with the freshest, quality produce & specialty products available. We believe in supporting New England's vibrant and diverse food system by providing locally grown & processed food items alongside some of the world’s best specialty foods sourced from around the globe.

As one of New England’s leading produce wholesale distributors with 3000+ quality items in stock, our 2000+ New England customers have access to local, regional & hard to find specialty foods delivered frequently at very competitive prices. We are your neighbors; we are the Local You Know.

Join Our Emailing List!