Page 56 - WCM 2019 Winter
P. 56

 Courtesy Towanda’s
 Courtesy GrandyOats
   Barbara Bloomgren has found joy in expressing her creativity through food as the owner and head chef at Towanda’s.
ing equipment rentals for all of these activities. The trails are clearly important to the community, as volunteers have put in countless hours across every season to make Bethel Village Trails a success. “These are community ideas, and I’m just helping to fulfill them,” Gabe says, making it a point to not take credit for success stories like these.
More recently, he’s been at the core of an effort to es- tablish a community forest in Bethel—a massive 987- acre wooded parcel managed to benefit the communi- ty by providing recreational opportunities, protection of wildlife habitat, and economic benefits from timber harvests. This effort also enjoys wide support from the community, with 80 people showing up for the first planning meeting. Mahoosuc Pathways is working to raise the $2.2 million needed to acquire the land, and is well on track to meet a March 2019 deadline, with $1.7 million already raised. The U.S. Forest Service re- cently ranked the project number one in the country as part of their Community Forest Grant program, providing $600,000 to help purchase the land. It’s easy to imagine that one day soon, a new generation of young people will be enjoying time among the trees in the Bethel Community Forest, fostering the same appreciation for the outdoors that bloomed within Perkins as a child wandering through the woods.
Aaron Anker and Nat Peirce call themselves “real granolas,” and lead GrandyOats with a commitment to sustainability that is embodied by their solar-powered bakery.
Towanda’s Specialty Foods & Deli
When you step into Towanda’s Specialty Foods and Deli in Bridgton, you enter a world of hospitality and lovingly crafted food. “Ninty-nine percent of what we make is from scratch,” says chef and owner Barbara Bloomgren. From the house-roasted meats featured in their sand- wiches, to their popular shepherd’s pie and chicken pot pie, everything receives the kind of careful attention that results in fantastic flavor and quality. After tasting one of Barbara’s special dishes you may be surprised to learn that she hasn’t been a chef her entire life.
About ten years ago, Bloomgren decided to reinvent herself and went back to school. Although she was planning to prepare for a career in healthcare, she found herself in the culinary arts building at a col- lege open house, and had an epiphany while there. “I recognized that there was space for creativity there, and that I had often been in jobs where I couldn’t be creative.” She landed squarely in this new passion, even studying abroad through school. She traveled to Austria to learn pastry-making, and did a semester- long exchange on Prince Edward Island where she learned new tricks. After graduating, she worked as a chef at a couple of Maine resorts, but ultimately decided to become her own boss.
Taking its name from the “war cry” of Kathy Bates’ character in the movie Fried Green Tomatoes, Towan-
Arts, Entertainment, Adventure and More in Western Maine

   54   55   56   57   58