New title launches for Maine foodies

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Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine, a new quarterly publication, will soon hit newsstands and mailboxes, targeting aficionados of Maine's culinary culture.

The magazine will focus on local Maine foods, farmers, fishermen and chefs.

The first issue will begin distribution the week of June 18, with an initial drop of 15,000.

"It's one of these epiphany things, an a-ha moment, when I realized at one point that Maine was so rich in culinary talent, and the food that is raised and produced here is so uniquely Maine," said Merrill Williams, publisher and editor of Maine Food & Lifestyle, Rockland, ME.

"There's a certain cachet to that, and I just knew that there are tons of stories, a great deep well of resources that we could tap into," she said. "We've gotten a lot of input from chefs and producers who are so pleased and so grateful that they have a voice."

Ms. Williams' previous publication, Edible Coastal Maine, focused only on the food culture of coastal Maine towns. Maine Food & Lifestyle will expand its coverage to all of Maine. Ms. Williams says the mission of the new magazine - reporting on foods and recipes that are specific to Maine - remains the same.

Ms. Williams cites the current organic- and locally-grown food trend as one inspiration for the magazine. She also believes that Mainers as a group are particularly interested in eating locally, for both community and health reasons.

Maine Food & Lifestyle is being distributed through retail stores in Maine and the rest of New England. The magazine also has subscribers from all over the United States.

Although she sees food as a hot topic nationwide, Ms. Williams reports no plans to expand the magazine's focus beyond local Maine.

"I have a sign above my desk that says 'Connect the local food dots,' and we're about connecting people to local resources," Ms. Williams said. "That could be a local chef learning about a producer that he didn't know about before, the fishermen supplying restaurants, the consumer eating at that restaurant or the consumer learning there's a grower nearby they weren't aware of.

"We know we're onto something, and I think that mining that groundswell and telling the stories - all the stories - is going to be our job, and we look forward to telling those stories to as many people as we can," she said.

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