Fun For Foodies in Catalonia, Spain.

 Foodielogo

I am writing this post from Catalonia, Spain where we are winding down an amazing first week in our newest destination.  The weather has been 7 glorious days of sunny mid- 60’s to low 70’s.  After a long Maine winter it’s wonderful to see lush green fields in the valleys of the Pyrenees and to choose from an overwhelming assortment of fruits and vegetables that are oozing with flavor.

 

Boqueria 1

Chef Michael Salmon and I have been taking a foodie travel break from our home at the Hartstone Inn, Camden Maine and hosting Foodie Adventure tours in Tuscany and the Loire Valley for several years. We look forward to the trips as a chance to cook and play in a new environment, to soak in the inspiration for new ideas from the markets, the local producers and the scenic villages along the way.

We start this tour in Barcelona. First stop The Boqueria Market,

If you’re looking for anything related to food, this is the place to be! 

I love the colors, the aroma’s, the passion the vendors feel for their products

and the excitement on the visitors faces.

Take time to enjoy a fresh fruit drink and some tapas at Pinotoxo. 

BoqueriaMarket

The chocolate vendors are close to the exit – a perfect last stop on the way to your next adventure.

BoqueriaMarkert2 

Stay tuned for updates as the tour continues and to see the creations coming from the evening cooking classes. 

Additional information and tour availability for our Foodie Adventures www.chefmichaelsalmon.com

email questions: camden.hartstone@gmail.com or follow our adventures on Facebook.

Pepper Hill Farm

On a personal note, we would like to introduce the newest additions to our family.  Meet Blökk and Pilatus our Icelandic Horses.  Riding has always been my dream and Michael always needs a project to keep him busy… so he has built an Equestrian Center in South Thomaston, Pepper Hill Farm.  We are excited to introduce riding lessons late fall and by spring offer scenic trail rides for our guests.  Follow us here on Facebook and stay tuned for additional details as the project progresses.

Pepper Hill Farm

Hartstone Inn Hosts Fundraising Dinner for Rockport Garden Club

Hartstone Inn Garden Club

The Hartstone Inn hosted a fundraising dinner for the Rockport Garden Club last week, raising a total of $577.   The money will go to  the clubs effort  to aid in the outdoor beautification of the town of Rockport and in the clubs scholarship program.  These programs provide grants to college students majoring in horticulture studies.

A press release from the Rockport Garden Club stated, “It was such a lovely evening with delectable food that was enjoyed according to a release from Rockport Garden Club.by all. This was truly a very generous offering from a beautiful local Inn”.

Photo: Mary Jo Brink of the Hartstone Inn, presents Susan Freeman of the Rockport Garden Club with a check for $577.

Our Family Has Grown

Our family has grown!  Michael and I are the proud parents of Monet & VanGogh.  Our two little Himalayan babies were born in late September and are making us laugh every day. (As you can see they are already using the computer and watching Oprah!)  For those of you who are allergic to anything furry, don’t worry.  They reside in our home just behind the Inn.  Merry Christmas!!

Hart Stones by Mary Jo

Written by Meghan Small.

We all know Michael can be found in the garage restoring his 1962 Daimler when he is not in the kitchen.  Many do not know however that when not tending to the various needs of the inn or to her hundred’s of orchids, Mary Jo can be found tucked away in her 3rd floor bead room creating jewelry in our gift shop.  Hart Stones by Mary Jo, her collection of mostly beaded jewelry began around three years ago.   After what was becoming a somewhat dull house sitting experience in Florida, Michael decided Mary Jo needed a hobby to pass the time.  He brought her to a bead store nearby and from there it has grown from a hobby to a talent!  Her collection of beads has become quite extensive overtime including an array of Venetian glass beads purchased on a trip to Italy two years ago.   

Mary Jo’s jewelry was highlighted at our Baubles and Bubbles event this past November.  The collaborative event was held here at the Inn in and in addition to her jewelry featured pearl and vintage jewelry collections from two of her friends.  There was Champagne, an array of Michael’s delicious hor d’oeuvres and lots of pre-Christmas jewelry purchases!  The turnout was great and everyone had so much fun that we have pledged to make it an annual event!  

Hart Stones by Mary Jo is our best selling item in the gift shop with people who purchase a new piece to add to their collection every time they visit!   

Endless Summer Dahlias

sweet_dreams_dahlia

Mary Jo and I just picked up our new dahlia bulbs from Phil Clark at Endless Summer Flower Farm which is located right here in the coastal community of Camden, Maine (Zone5), two and a half miles inland from the Hartstone Inn and Hideaway (village center). The flower farm specializes in dahlias and they currently grow over 225 varieties of these breathtaking flowers, with names like: Santa Claus, Spartacus, Seduction, Flashy Lady and I’m a Hotty. All of the tubers listed in their on-line catalog produce excellent cut flowers.  Mary Jo displays them throughout the Inn all summer-long.

They are open by chance or by appointment and we highly recommend a visit when the Dahlias are in blossom, August 1st through till the first frost. For their online catalog, dahlia planting tips or directions visit the Endless Summer Flower Farm Website.

Mary Jo's Orchid Corner – Paphiopedilum

Phalaenopsis (phals), Paphiopedilum (paphs) and Oncidiums (onc) are varieties that Mary Jo finds most easy to grow in the home. These hybrids are usually considered “beginner orchids,” largely because they will re-bloom under the conditions that most windowsill growers can offer. They require less light, about the same as for African violets, and will adapt to the humidity levels that are present in most homes.

Paphiopedilums (paff-ee-oh-PED-ih-lum, also known as lady’s slipper) are the old world relatives of the lady’s slipper that grow here in the wild of the Maine woods. Paphs only require “fairly bright light” and normal home room temperatures to prosper.

A great resource for Orchid information is the “American Orchid Society (AOS)”and their website is: aos.org. For detailed information on Paphiopedilium orchids (light, fertilizer, water, temperature, humidity) click on the following link: Paphiopedilium Orchids.

Orchids can be grown on a tray of pebbles with water, which prevents the pots from sitting directly in the water while providing needed humidity. Orchids like to be kept warm during the day and a little cooler at night. It’s true that watering orchids does seem to give those unfamiliar with growing orchids the most trouble. Mary Jo waters her orchids once a week. During the summer, they get watered every five days. Basically, the hotter the temperature, the more water they need, and the colder it is, the opposite holds true. It’s all simply a matter of practice.
As your interests grow and you want to acquire more specialized orchids, Mary Jo highly recommends buying from these three fabulous growers: Carmelaorchids.net, Kalapanatropicals.com and Carterandholmes.com.

Happy 10th Anniversary!

On May 13, 1998 Mary Jo and I signed the papers and became the proud owners of the Hartstone Inn. Today we are looking back over the past decade, which was filled with so many very special guests and friends, and we would like to send a sincere thank you for making our life as innkeepers so rewarding. When I hear that the average inn owner lasts only 5 years in the inn keeping business it makes me proud to be looking forward to my second decade. Thank you once again and we look forward to seeing you back in Camden.

Mary Jo and Her Orchids make the Local Newspaper

There’s something about orchids: A Camden innkeeper in her greenhouse
Mary Jo and her orchids were featured in a local newspaper “Village Soup” this week. The article was written by Lynda Clancy (a VillageSoup/Knox County Times Reporter) as she toured Mary Jo’s greenhouse and caught her in action. Photo by Lynda Clancy.

To learn more about orchids, click on the “orchid” label below and read other blog entries on the subject and follow links to various orchid websites including the American Orchid Society.

Mary Jo's Orchid Corner – Oncidium

Mary Jo has been growing orchids for over 14 years, and in this column, she will share some of her wisdom and experiences.

Phalaenopsis (phals), Paphiopedilum (paphs) and Oncidiums (onc) are varieties that Mary Jo finds most easy to grow in the home. These hybrids are usually considered “beginner orchids,” largely because they will re-bloom under the conditions that most windowsill growers can offer. They require less light, about the same as for African violets, and will adapt to the humidity levels that are present in most homes.

Orchids can be grown on a tray of pebbles with water, which prevents the pots from sitting directly in the water while providing needed humidity. Orchids like to be kept warm during the day and a little cooler at night. It’s true that watering orchids does seem to give those unfamiliar with growing orchids the most trouble. Mary Jo waters her orchids once a week. During the summer, they get watered every five days. Basically, the hotter the temperature, the more water they need, and the colder it is, the opposite holds true. It’s all simply a matter of practice.

As your interests grow and you want to acquire more specialized orchids, Mary Jo highly recommends buying from these three fabulous growers: Carmelaorchids.net, Kalapanatropicals.com and Carterandholmes.com.

A great resource for Orchid information is the “American Orchid Society (AOS)”and their website is: orchidweb.org.

For detailed information on Oncidiums (light, fertilizer, water, temperature, humidity) click on the following link to see a PDF file known as a culture sheet. This page will supply you with all of the basic requirements for growing Oncidiums: http://www.orchidweb.org/aos/orchids/documents/cultureintermedoncidium.pdf