Salt Water Farm sets a place for PopTech

Thoughts of Maine are often accompanied by thoughts of fresh, delicious food. From locally-harvested seafood to sweet summer blueberries and of course a certain bi-clawed crustacean, Maine has carved a delicious niche in the foodie hall of fame.

What better way to welcome PopTech attendees to Maine than by inviting them to participate in a cooking class run by Salt Water Farm's chef/owner Annemarie Ahearn and farm director Ladleah Dunn? Just north of Camden at Salt Water Farm, they're all about local: growing their own herbs, keeping chickens and ducks, baking their own bread. It's all part of their mission of teaching others, hands-on, how to transform local, seasonal ingredients into healthy, sustainable food.

Bread & cheese making session at Salt Water FarmDuring Wednesday's afternoon session, a baker's dozen attendees heard how Ahearn hoped to bring back the "lost culinary skills of our grandparents"; skills like pickling, smoking and butchering. Participants broke into smaller groups to knead bread, separate cheese and mix marmalade. Director (and Maine native) Dunn explained that the purpose of the session was to view creating food as a metaphor: how small, everyday changes like making your own bread or growing your own vegetables can have a much larger impact.

Ahearn, who moved to Maine from New York and opened Salt Water Farms two years ago, says she fell in love with Maine "through its food and the people who produce it." She generously shared a recipe for marmalade that PopTech attendees made for themselves - a sweet start to the conference indeed.


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 bulbs fennel, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 yellow onion, cleaned, trimed and thinly sliced
Juice of one lemon
3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons sherry
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon

In a large saute pan, heat butter and add fennel and onion. Cook over medium low heat until fennel begins to soften, about ten minutes. Add lemon juice, sherry vinegar, sherry and salt and pepper to taste. Continue to cook for about 20 minutes. Add sugar and lemon zest and cook for an additional five to ten minutes until you reach the desired marmalade consistency.

Photo by @mriggen

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