Maurer Meals to feature 11 restaurants Oct. 17 & 18

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Your dining-out dollar can have a huge impact on Oct. 17 and 18. The Fourth Annual Maurer Meals will feature 11 western Maine restaurants from Harrison to Farmington, that will offer a menu of alternative specials using fresh and locally-grown foods, focusing on organic and all natural foods. For two nights, these individually-owned businesses raise money for the Justin A. Maurer Memorial Scholarship Fund while supporting local agriculture.

The scholarship is for a third or fourth-year University of Maine at Farmington student in the Community Health Program. Justin A. Maurer, a high honors graduate of that program, died in a motorcycle accident shortly after graduating.

“He had become such a supporter of the small farm in Maine, and the whole approach of producing food without poisoning the earth and preparing and eating it without poisoning the body,” said Justin’s father, Gary Maurer of Leeds. “We thought that this might be a good way to carry on his beliefs and honor his legacy.”

Each year more restaurants, diners and farms participate and the meals are worth the night out! Justin was studying organic and biodynamic growing methods. He felt it was important to make healthy food choices as available to people as the popular and unhealthy choices. Building on Justin’s vision, his father Gary has developed a regional collaboration of restaurateurs and community organizations to encourage local businesses to offer healthy menu choices prepared from locally grown foods, to heighten awareness of health through personal food choice, and to bring vitality to local agriculture.

Maurer is hoping that sustainable relationships will be built between local restaurants and local farms, driven by diners’ increasing demand for a locally grown menu.

Most restaurants report a different atmosphere the nights of Maurer Meals; much more conversation with people lingering over delicious desserts. The chefs enjoy the opportunity to try new dishes while the diners try some different tastes. It’s fun for all while supporting the local economy.

This year UMF’s ARAMARK Dining Services will be featuring local and Maine foods at lunch on Saturday, Oct. 18 in conjunction with Maurer Meals.

“The expertise of the chef/owners in preparing menus of culinary excellence plus the support of organizations such as the Healthy Community Coalition of Franklin County, the Western Mountains Alliance, Healthy Oxford Hills, Healthy Androscoggin, River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition, and the University of Maine at Farmington has made this a very successful project,” said Maurer. Verso Paper, Androscoggin Mill has provided help with printing. “I have met the first three recipients of the scholarship and have found them to be outstanding young people, for whom the money is very significant,” he added.

Dot and Allen Danforth, owners of the Homestead Bakery in Farmington which will continue to participate in Maurer’s Meals on Oct. 17 and 18, congratulate Alissa Thebarge, the 2007 winner of the Justin A. Maurer Memorial Scholarship.

Participating restaurants:
The Homestead Bakery in Farmington: 778-6162
The Granary in Farmington: 779-0170
Source 365 in Farmington: 778-6249
The Carriage House Café in Livermore: 897-5880
LaFleur’s in Jay: 897-2117
The Sedgley Place in Greene: 946-5990
Café Nomad in Norway: 739-2249
The Olde Mill Tavern in Harrison: 583-9077
The Lake House Inn in Waterford: 583-4182
Café di Cocoa in Bethel: 824-5282
Willy Beans in Lewiston: 777-1111

You can sample the Maine harvest, while supporting both the Justin A. Maurer Memorial Scholarship fund and the Maurer Meals project. For reservations call a participating restaurant; for information about the scholarship contact Pat Carpenter of UMF at 778-7091; and for information about the project contact Gary Maurer at 524-2060. Or you can go to the Web site: 

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