There’s nothing more refreshing than a crunchy sour dill pickle at a summer cookout, and Maine Homestead Farm produces some of the best around. Owner Krista Gagne started making them in 2011 after her grandparents dropped off a paper bag full of cucumbers. That day, she made a batch of Bread and Butter Pickles, a crinkle cut cuke, tangy and satisfyingly sweet but not cloying. Family and friends loved them, and she soon had to quit her day job to keep up with demand.
Harbor Sweets has been making their specialty chocolates in Salem for 40 years. It’s always worth stopping by for a factory tour (complete with samples). While there are conveyor belts and moderate automation, most of the work in preparing these goodies is done by hand by a large team. For decades, they’ve made a handful of pieces, to perfection.
What’s more satisfying than a bowl of soup? Answering this comfort-food call is Dover-based The Soup Guy, which produces allnatural, gluten-free, mostly vegan soup and chili for local farmers’ markets and retail shops and cafes. The Soup Guy, or Chef-Owner Curtis Gould, packs his healthful creations with flavor. The popular beanand- veggie loaded Olé Molé Chili is spiked with organic Guatemalan cacao and darkroast Italian espresso, while the Smoked Mushroom and Corn Chowdah is thick with locally grown oyster mushrooms.
A smiling cherry atop a smiling cupcake on a wooden swing beckons on the sign above Random Acts of Sweetness bakery on State Street, and when you enter you can’t help smiling yourself. You’re greeted by cantaloupe walls complemented by exposed brick, a polished wood floor, and a display case filled with gorgeous cupcakes, all with whimsical names. Owners Tiana Conlon and Jessica Antequera, both wearing colorful vintage-style aprons, welcome customers enthusiastically.
I know chocolate is the go-to flavor for most sweet lovers, but for me it’s always been caramel. That rich blend of butter and melted sugar simmered with cream is my dessert perfection. And with Tahana Confections, Amanda Telford has created a sublime line of caramels that are irresistible.