New England, Farm-to-Sea-to-Table and Journalism Award

Les Dames Hosts: Nancy Matheson Burns, Dole & Bailey food hub; Liz Mullholland, Valley View Farm; Amanda Parks, New England Fishmongers; Mollie Sanders, Golden Harvest vegetable hub; Abigail Carroll, Nonesuch Oyster Farm; Christine Burns Rudalevige, Food Writer; Lisa Webster, Northstar Sheep Farm; and Kari Underly, Master Butcher.

Join this group of amazing Dames on a whirlwind tour through the New England Food System from farm and sea to table and page. This week-long award will connect the winner with farmers and fishermen, food hub managers and artisan processors, chefs and home cooks, and writers and photographers who record how the pieces fit together to create the area's unique food landscape centered between Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Maine.

The winner should be a woman who is passionate about the art and appreciation of food, and how it connects with agriculture, fisheries and the environment. The winner will start with Dame Nancy Matheson-Burns, owner of Dole & Bailey, the longest running regional food hub in New England. They'll begin in Boston's historical Faneuil Hall for a historical view of food hubs in the Northeast. They will then go to Dole & Bailey's headquarters outside Boston for an afternoon program learning how the hub sources meats, seafood, produce, cheeses, and dairy and specialty products as well as delivers added value for farmers, chefs, home cooks, cooperative markets and retailers. Nancy will host the winner for dinner and the night at her small farm north of Boston.

The next two days will focus on how a food professional develops farming and fishing connections. The winner will go to Valley View Farm, owned by Dame Liz Mullholland, for a morning of cheese-making at the historic farm with its state-of-the art cheese cave. To get an understanding of the lengths some fishermen must go to catch sustainable seafood, the winner will end her day in Elliot, Maine, visiting fish piers, meeting fisherman and participating in an overnight fishing expedition with Dame Amanda Parks, founder of the New England Fishmongers.

Then, Dame Molly Sanders Martin will collect the winner from the docks, providing her a place for a shower and a nap, and then host her at Golden Harvest, one of the largest produce distributors in the area to talk about the delicate balance of supply and demand in a regional market.

Dame Christine Burns Rudalevige will meet the winner in Kittery, Maine and drive north towards Portland. The two will stop at Rabelais culinary book store in Biddeford to meet Don Lindgren, one of the world's foremost experts on American culinary texts who will explain how to use them to research local food systems. The winner will then experience an afternoon tour of Dame Abigail Carroll's Nonesuch Oyster Farm to learn about the growing role of sustainable aquaculture in the region. Later, the winner will dine in Brunswick at Christine's home along with Dames Pat Brown and Ali Waks-Adams, both of whom moved to Maine from New York and can discuss how to find local food stories that have a more global reach.

The winner will spend the last two days with Dame Lisa Webster at her family's Northstar Sheep Farm in Windham 30 miles away. The winner will learn about the farm's history, its processes, business model and connections with local abattoirs and chefs. The winner will dine at a local restaurant with Lisa and spend the night at the farm. The final morning on the farm will consist of hands-on, whole animal breakdown training with Dame Kari Underly.

Christine will collect the winner for an afternoon tour of the regional food hotspots throughout the city of Portland and dine with a group of Maine food writers. There is a bus that runs hourly from Portland to Logan Airport. The winner can hop on any one to head back home or stay an additional night at Christine's and take the morning bus from Brunswick to Logan Airport.

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