2018 is the year of the dog in the Chinese zodiac. While we don’t follow the Chinese calendar, every year we declare it a year of something. The criteria are simple: it is whatever strikes us on the farm as being particularly abundant, beautiful, or noteworthy. This year we have decided that it is the year of the swallow. In our 4 decades in Mercer we have never seen so many barn swallows and tree swallows on our farm. Yesterday we counted over 50 around our Beech Hill home alone! While we can’t account for this population boom, we do love to see the swallows’ graceful flight and how they skim over the top of our pond catching insects, and yes, getting a drink.
We seldom talk about the wonderful wines that are available to us here in Maine. We are fortunate to have a number of distributors in the State who offer over 10,000 different wines. Last week one of our distributors provided a tasting of some spectacular Sonoma County wines from the Duckhorn portfolio. Part of the joy of owning a restaurant is enjoying fine wines and offering them to our customers at a reasonable price. This year it seems like Rose’ wines are in the news everywhere. Rose’ is often considered a French wine from Provence, but in fact Rose’ is made in many countries. Rose’ wines are made from a variety of grapes and the color comes from brief contact with the grape skins. Typically, Rose’ wines are light and fruity and are refreshing. It makes a perfect choice for a warm summer evening. The next time you are at 122 Corson, ask for a free tasting of our French Rose’.
While we are full for August 11th and have limited availability on August 18th, we do have tables available for this Saturday evening, the 4th and also August 25th. We hope you will be able to join us in the last few weeks of summer.
Mary and Bob
Those muggy, humid days of mid-summer are upon us bringing moist air that the winter squash, corn and tomatoes thrive upon. Summer squash and zucchini are picked daily and if missed, they turn into baseball bats within 24 hrs. The winter wheat is ripening into a beautiful gold and contrasts brilliantly against the late planted lush green oats. The oats will be turned under for a green mulch and the wheat will be harvested for our year’s supply of wheat berries. The decision is still out on what to plant this fall for an over-wintering crop. We’ll keep you posted, but winter rye is a favorite.
We’ve been experiencing brilliant sunsets at 122 Corson over the past few weeks as the twilights last long and create amazing mountain silhouettes against the red/gold skies. The conversion of the barn to house is showing progress and after 8 months of scaffolding the cedar shingling is just days from completion. We’re looking forward to consolidating to live at this one location and hoping there is a buyer who would like to join our neighborhood!
The weeds also favor the damp, hot weather and shortly we’ll venture out to pull a few. This is the time of plenty and our chef, Ed Lamarre is turning the garden bounty into delicious menus. We have tables available this coming weekend, July 28th which also happens to be my baby sister’s 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Carmel! So wish we could be in Western Australia to share the celebration but that mighty ocean gets in the way.
If you are wishing to create a summer memory, come out and join us. Also, if you want to experience one of our cooking classes, we have one spot open for this coming Sunday’s class, ‘High English Tea’; learn the special art of creating those light biscuits you admire in bakeries under the guidance of Mary Ann Reynolds. You’ll find the menus and class info on the website at www.122corson.net. Happy summer days!
Mary and Bob
122 Corson Rd. Mercer, Maine | 207-587-2019 | 122corson.com
As many of you know I was born and grew up in Eastport. The 4th of July, or Independence Day, has special meaning for that town and this year marks a major milestone in history of the State of Maine. Many of you may know that Eastport was captured by the British in July 11th 1814 as part of the actions of the war of 1812. Some 800 British soldiers were left in Eastport and fortifications were built around town including Fort Sullivan (some evidence still exists of the fort and the powder house). What is less well known is that one of the ships that sailed into Passamaquoddy Bay was the HMS Terror. The Terror took part in the battle at Fort McHenry in Maryland in September which inspired Francis Scott Key to write the “Star Spangled Banner”. You might recall that Maine was part of Massachusetts at the time, but Massachusetts was reluctant to come to the assistance of the “Mainers”. The occupation of Eastport ended on June 30th of 1818. The lack of support from Massachusetts was largely the impetus of Maine becoming a State in 1820. One enduring piece of evidence of the British occupation was the elms lining Washington Street. I clearly remember these elms which formed a canopy over the street before they succumbed to Dutch Elm disease in the mid-1960’s. At 150 years old these trees were enormous with bases 36” 48” in diameter. The Independence Day celebration in Eastport has always been robust and patriotic for as long as I can remember. It is well worth a trip to down east to celebrate out nation’s independence.
If you’re not going to Eastport this 4th, you might want to consider a meal at 122 Corson. The tropical weather will have subsided and the weatherman has predicted some cooler and clearer weather. We have had some spectacular sunsets these past few Saturday’s and might expect another one this week. The menu includes a crusted Ahi tuna appetizer, fresh salad greens, a choice of N.Y. sirloin beef roast or local haddock with lobster sauce, and of course, dessert will be a fresh strawberry-rhubarb tart. We hope to see you Saturday or some Saturday in the near future. We hope you celebrate your independence today; we will for sure.
-- Bob Burr
122 CORSON...AN ON FARM DINING EXPERIENCE
After a successful sourdough bread baking cooking class last Sunday, we’re all fired up and re-enthused about baking with our home-grown wheat. The flavor is unsurpassed when the berries are milled minutes before dough preparation. Our fall-planted heritage wheat is growing extremely well and it looks like we will have a good harvest in August to refill our larder for the winter. Last week we planted a cover crop of oats over a seeding of pasture grasses. That crop benefited from the recent rain and has now germinated. Fingers crossed that the turkeys don’t find it before it gets well established. More about our cooking class here
New additions to Blue Ribbon Farm are two retired goats from the Jean and Peter Koons’ farm, Kennebec Cheesery. We wanted a natural way to control the growth on our stone walls and the best way we knew was to welcome goats to the farm. This is a first for us; we’ve been sheep people for over 40 years, but these 2 old girls are making goat believers of us. They are sweet natured, know the ropes of being led in and out of the barn, and are eating machines. Calamity and Anzac are now part of our eclectic family.
The lambs are growing like weeds, so cute, fat and wooly and don’t they love to play. It’s good the males aren’t so cute when it’s time for market because it would be very difficult to send them to the butcher. The pastures are holding up to the grazing needs and the mothers are keeping their weight on and producing plenty of milk. The sheep and goats are barn partners with pens adjacent but grazing separately. Everyone is happy!
If you have company or just wish to have an evening to relax and enjoy a rural farm view, we have tables available for all upcoming Saturday nights at 122 Corson. Give us a call at (207)587-2019 or make reservations online at 122corson.com where you can see the entire menu. Come and see where much of your meal is grown and be pampered by our professional staff. We’d enjoy sharing an evening with you!
Mary and Bob
122 CORSON RD. MERCER, MAINE | 207.587.2019
An early walk between farms...
had the sounds of spring filling the air. The warbler, perhaps a black throated green warbler, that I consider my bird, was fluting to its mate oblivious to competing songs. An unfamiliar sound stopped my stride as I scanned the surrounds at eye level. Listening and watching for a minute or two and realizing the sound was coming from above, looking up, there were the fresh, new unfurled leaves of a quaking aspen shaking to a breeze and shimmering in the first light. Six months of snow make the senses of sound, smell and vision renew to the sound, smell and vision of spring.
We are well into spring now and all the deciduous trees have leafed out including the lazy ash (last to leaf and first to drop!) and the lawns have been mowed twice. Every spring we say it’s our favorite season but we say that with autumn too. What an inspiring State in which to live! It is also a State where one has to get a lot done in a short window; one season preparing for the next.
Over at the 122 Corson Road farm...
the heritage winter wheat over-wintered well and it looks like we’ll have a really good crop of wheat for harvest this summer. We use our wheat for breads and crackers at the restaurant. Sourdough breads are a favorite and in response to many who wish to learn the secrets of successful bread baking, we have invited Dusty (Harold) Dowse to teach a class on sourdough fermentations on June 10th (Sunday) at 2 p.m., ($80). Dusty is a retired science professor from the University of Maine, Orono, whose life passion has been baking fermented grains in brick ovens. He is one of the foundation organizers in the now famous Skowhegan Kneading Conference. On June 10th, we will have a class limited to 8 and have the undivided time and expertise of Dusty’s knowledge on the science behind the process and a hands-on afternoon of baking. At the end of the class we will celebrate together with a shared light meal and a beverage. To register for this class, click here or call the restaurant at (207) 587-2019 and leave a message.
The restaurant is also in full swing on Saturday nights. You are welcome to enjoy watching the lambs before dinner, as their games are a constant source of entertainment. There are tables open for this coming weekend, June 2nd and Eddie has an amazing menu featured: Maine Cod Fish Cakes; Spinach & Beet Salad; Beef Wellington or Maine Baked Scallops; and Chocolate Lava Cake.
Reservations can be made on-line at 122corson.com or call (207) 587-2019.
We look forward to sharing our Saturday night with you and catching up on what’s happening in your life.
Mary & Bob
122 CORSON RD. MERCER, MAINE | 201.587.2019 | 122CORSON.COM
The ewes are looking heavy in lamb and we hope to see the first of the lambs in early May.
We purposely bred the ewes to lamb in late spring to give the ewes the benefit of fresh new grass for milk production and for both mother and baby to thrive outdoors in the warm air and sun. We hope to report in May that we have a healthy crop of newborns scampering around the farm.
April, so far, has been cold and damp, but the snow has receded from the fields with only vestiges of winter's snow hugging the edges of the fields and patches of white in the woods. The deer have been out in force with herds numbering up to 64 head. A regular herd appearing evening and morning numbering around 25 to 40. It seems the deer wintered well!
Thank you to folks who dined at 122 Corson during our 'theme' nights during the winter and now we are only weeks away from the season opening, May 5th. The greenhouses are producing a bounty of fresh produce. The early growing capacity of the greenhouses is such a luxury. Providing fresh vegetables to be shared at our tables is a continuing mission and passion for us.
We look forward to sharing a dining experience with you and sharing the beauty of our Blue Ribbon Farm.
122 CORSON RD. MERCER, MAINE | 207.587.2019
‘A Night in Munich’. German food is perfect for winter weather. There’s a hardiness to Sauerbraten Short Ribs with German potatoes and Fresh Halibut Fricassees. For those not familiar with beef short ribs, it is a cut of beef that consists of a short portion of rib bone with a generous portion of succulent beef. Both entrees pair well with quality Rieslings and the evening’s venue will pair well with a cold winter’s night.
One of the wines we will be featuring is a Gunderloch of the Riesling variety. This winery was founded in 1890 by banker Carl Gunderloch. The winery is situated on a 250 million year old site of red slate soil and a unique microclimate. This Riesling has enough integrity to hold its own with beef and pairs well with seafood.
With the days being a bit longer, there is chance that you will catch a glimpse of a spectacular sunset!
Two weeks in Australia in January with Mary’s family, friends, and touring, helped to shorten the winter and gave us a much needed thaw after the extreme cold experienced during the first few weeks of that month. The heat in Australia had abated the day we arrived which was appreciated. They had record highs of 117 degrees a few days before we arrived and the Australian Open (tennis) was well underway during that crazy heat. Our two weeks were filled with a long anticipated family reunion which was the highlight of the trip. Seven siblings, spouses, children and grandchildren made for a rowdy and very happy gathering. We grew up on the Pacific coast so there were many days surfing in the warm waters of the Pacific and when we say warm, we mean 82 degrees! A stark contrast to the Atlantic. But we can only be away from home for so long and as usual, it was good to be home and to see our dog Nell (well cared for by good friends), who was very happy to see us home.
That break re-energized us as we prepare events and menus for 122 Corson. Also, the weather has been unusually mild for the entire month of February. Maple trees are being tapped, deer are dispersing from their wintering grounds, and we’ve lost an incredible amount of snow which included that dangerous ice buildup. Although we are on winter hiatus, we are offering two nights a month to celebrate special events at the restaurant. Next week the event is ‘A Night in Munich’. German food is perfect for winter weather. There’s a hardiness to Sauerbraten with German potatoes, and paired with quality Rieslings, that makes for a warmth in the soul that pairs well with the cold.
Our new website: www.122corson.net highlights the upcoming events and menus, and it’s now possible to make reservations online. You can also meet our staff on the new site. We have an amazing staff that makes a dining experience on our farm warm and welcoming.
This year we are making 122 Corson, situated on our Blue Ribbon Farm, available for Rehearsal Dinners and Weddings. We have a couple of energetic and experienced Wedding Planners who will be managing those events.
Cooking classes will be available with more regularity as garden produce ripens. These classes will involve an on-farm experience where participants will harvest the bounty prior to the kitchen experience. One of our constant delights is picking that evening’s vegetables just prior to cooking. With the valley and mountain backdrop, the gardens provide a memorable experience.
May 5th will begin our weekly Saturday nights and it looks like our spring-summer season is shaping up well. We are eager to see you and to share conversations. If you have family and friends visiting this summer and wish to create a memorable experience, we’d like to make our dining table and farm part of that experience.
Mary & Bob
Wedding Anniversary Night
50th Anniversary for Barbara & Michael Barrett
45th Anniversary for Bob & Mary Burr
Celebrate ‘Spring’ Night
Life needs it's celebrations and how better to celebrate life-time
romances than to share a meal with close friends and family.
It is also a time when we welcome Spring back into our corner of
Long-time patrons of 122 Corson are Barbara and Michael Barrett,
and we are honored that they are sharing their momentous 50th
Wedding Anniversary with us. March 23rd must be a special day
since owners, Bob and Mary will be celebrating their 45th anniversary
on the same date!
For those who would like to celebrate with us, come and share the
dining experience by welcoming in Spring.
Bob & Mary
We have been farming since 1976 and growing our own food has been the focus of all our farming ventures. We have seen many evolutions since the early years, from raising a nationally recognized flock of sheep, running a small dairy, growing vegetables in high-tunnel greenhouses, expanding the vegetable production to several acres, building a commercial fresh pasta business to our present day venture at 122 Corson. The constant within the evolution is growing and producing what we eat.