The Maine Windjammer Association
May 2015
 / VOLUME 14  / ISSUE 5  
Truly Fresh Galley Fare

credit: Meg Maiden
Hot soup anyone? Amber Nuite, cook aboard Schooner Lewis R. French, serves up a perfectly seasoned chowder that hits the spot on a breezy day in early June.

It’s a widely accepted truism that sailing increases the appetite – something about the fresh salt air just makes a person hungry! And that’s why Maine’s windjammer captains make sure that they find the cream of the crop when it comes to the people they entrust with running their galleys. Over and over again, windjammer guest testimonials underline the simple fact that delicious meals are an integral part of Maine’s windjamming experience. To protect that tradition, captains take great care when choosing ingredients.

credit: Greg Gettens
When asked what Andy Jackson enjoys most about his job cooking aboard American Eagle, he says, “Cooking with wood. It smells good, it focuses the attention, it provides a primal hearth, especially welcome at the start and finish of the season. The ice box is right behind the beautiful Shipmate stove, so I like to tell the passengers that for them, 'Fire and Ice' is a Robert Frost poem they read in high school, but for me, it’s my workplace.”

According to American Eagle Captain John Foss, his cook Andy Jackson “spends his shore time sourcing local produce and hitting farmers markets whenever we anchor during our cruises. He gets guests involved in the creative process and there are times when someone on for a trip becomes a guest baker. As a professional, he handles special need diets with good humor and makes every challenge look easy.”

To ensure the freshest ingredients, all the cooks try to source their fruit, meat, cheese, seafood and veggies locally whenever possible. For example, anyone can tell you that genuine Maine-made maple syrup is a delectable treat—for the Heritage, re-stocking their supply of maple syrup is a yearly tradition. Says Captain Linda Lee, “Every spring we purchase 10-12 gallons of Sparky’s Moody Mountain Maple Syrup made by David Smith close by in Hope, Maine. We found him during Maine Maple Sunday a couple years ago when we visited him at his sugaring shack. We learned making maple syrup is trickier than one might think, with the temperature and timing being crucial to the quality of the product.”

The Maine windjammer chefs have always risen to the challenge of providing scrumptious food from the tiny galleys where authentic woodstoves churn out moist cakes, delicious roasts, stews and lasagnas. Lunches are served underway and normally feature freshly baked breads, soups and crisp salads. This year, as a treat in the afternoon, the Heritage will be offering a “chocolate course” featuring locally made chocolates. This is something Captains Doug and Linda have enjoyed all winter and want to share these mouth-watering confections being created right here in Maine with their guests.

credit: Patti Cummings
Anna Miller has spent many seasons cooking aboard Schooner Stephen Taber. She says, “We get our meat from a local butcher, and of course the lobster is all from these waters too – you can't get it any fresher!”

Local farms supply much of the produce for the windjammers. A veteran chef aboard the Stephen Taber, Anna Miller says, “We are getting most of our veggies from Hopes Edge Farm this year. The farmer gives me a list at the start of each trip of what she is harvesting that day and I use anything and everything I can get my hands on.”

For guests who aren’t familiar with the coast, seeing the lobster boats can be a special treat. Captains Doug and Linda write, “Our guests can watch the lobstermen come right in to our own docks here at the North End Shipyard to sell their catch to the lobster buyer, buy bait, and fuel up before heading out again. We buy our lobster right off our own dock, fresh from the boats!”

The best chefs know that the best meals are made using the highest quality, freshest ingredients. The award-winning chefs of the Maine Windjammer Association do everything they can to ensure that the reputation for creating delicious meals spreads far and wide.

For more information about the Maine Windjammer Association, click here.

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