We are continuing our series where we introduce the new Maine Foodscapes Board of Directors. Our Board is highly involved in every aspect of Maine Foodscapes. Board members are critical for executing the various aspects of our organization. Our Board consists of enthusiastic gardeners dedicated to building community around growing food, and we'd love for you to get to know them. If you attend an event, participate in a Garden Project build, or volunteer, you're likely to meet one or many members of our Board, but we're going to dedicate some space to digging deeper with each of them here on our new blog!
For Part 5 of this series, you'll be hearing from Board President Katie Yates!
Katie! Tell everyone a little about yourself.
I am originally from upstate New York and moved to Maine in 2018. My professional background fits primarily in the conservation/resource management fields; I previously worked for the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the National Park Service, and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife and earned my Master of Science from Slippery Rock University in 2022. I am currently a Community Relations Manager for Central Maine Power.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I have two rescue dogs, eight egg-laying chickens, and 12 raised beds that keep me very busy. I love growing my own food, learning how to cook and preserve my garden's bounty, and sharing these skills (and the cornucopia) with others. I enjoy hiking, practicing plant and insect identification, learning about food systems and habitats, and painting with watercolors.
Why did you want to join the Foodscapes Board of Directors?
After attending the first Foodscapes Gala and meeting the team, I was immediately impressed by their palatable energy, their impressive mission, and their dedication to the details! I am a firm believer that being outdoors and close to your food source are not only critical for good mental health, but they are the cornerstones of sustainability. I had an inkling I wanted to be involved, but at the time, I didn't realize I would soon become their Board President. Our founder, Ali, is such a hardworking inspiration. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her vivacity is admirable. Watching this team thrive and achieve great things has been an honor!
What makes you most excited for the upcoming grow season?
What remains of the growing season are the final chapters of my tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, the ripening of my butternut squash and the slow-to-start heirloom watermelon, my bolting herbs, and some kale. I'm ready now to start the process of canning, freezing, cooking, and drying all these cherished friends.
How did you get first introduced to Maine Foodscapes?
Maine Foodscapes contacted Central Maine Power's charitable giving committee last year, seeking a donation.
What do you enjoy most about gardening?
I love to cherish the slow moments spent in my garden--quietly observing the plants develop, learning more about the insects (the good, the bad, and the ugly who invade, pester, and assist), and listening to the birds that live on the periphery, learning their calls by heart. I love that not all my food comes wrapped in plastic. I love that the food I grow is close to my heart, from little seeds to seedlings to the produce I prepare. I love that the soil is nurtured by compost I make by feeding last year's garden scraps to worms I raise. I love that all of it has a job and that it keeps me busy, focused, patient, and persistent. I love to hear my chickens cluck while I toss them an offering from the garden. I love the pop of the mason jar when I unseal the lid of sauce made from last year's tomatoes. I love that gardening makes me feel closer to nature and the rhythms that sustain us.
What kind of impact are you hoping to make on the organization and/or your community this year?
I hope my infinitesimal support brings new gardeners the joys of gardening and the security of knowing the skills required to grow and preserve their own food and then share these gifts with their friends, neighbors, and families.
By Scott Mazer
I wrote this recipe when I was doing the keto diet, for an entire month, and wanted to enjoy one of my favorite Japanese dishes. A lot of Keto recipes I found used cream cheese or mozzarella as a binder and I wanted to try something different. So I adapted this recipe to be both gluten free and low carb. It can easily be changed to be vegan as well.
While remaking this recipe in mid summer I wanted to incorporate some seasonal vegetable and had some garlic scapes and a whole napa cabbage in the fridge. So was born the garlic scape Okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki in Japanese roughly translates to "grilled as you like it" meaning this recipe can have many different ingredients and variations.
There are some ingredients that will likely have to be purchased at your local Asian grocer or online. These can also be left out and it will still be delicious. If you don't like fish flavor you can substitute chicken or vegetable stock for the dashi and definitely leave out the katsuobushi. I realized after deciding to write this recipe out that it is the second savory pancake recipe I have published. Okonomiyaki is a different beast. With colorful toppings and lots of different sauce options this can be a meal all on it's own and a lovely one at that.
Most of the recipes I've seen just call for plain old green cabbage. This can certainly be used, but for me it's not Okonomiyaki if it's not napa cabbage. I have no cultural or historical basis for this, I simply love napa cabbage and think it's texture works best for this dish.
If you want to make this recipe truly Keto, use sugar free BBQ sauce (G Hughes is pretty darn good) instead of the Okonomiyaki sauce. I have included the Okonomiyaki sauce because most people are not doing a Ketogenic diet. You might also be able to find it pre-made while your picking up your other ingredients at the Asian grocery store.
1 cup blanched almond flour
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¾ cup flax meal
¾ cup dashi (I used a dashi packet from the Asian grocery store)
4 large eggs
¼ cup pickled ginger (preferably red)
1 head napa cabbage
1 bunch garlic scapes
Cooking oil (avocado, sunflower, grapeseed, vegetable ect.)
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
1 ½ Tbsp sugar
¼ cup ketchup
3 ½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
katsuobushi (fish flakes)
aonori, Nori or any dried seaweed really
pickled red ginger
2 silicone spatulas
13. Transfer to a plate, brush with okonomiyaki sauce. Add other toppings as desired, a zigzag of kewpie mayo and sriracha always looks nice. Some katsuobushi and nori adds that authentic Japanese flavor. A little scallion for some fresh greenies. Use whatever you like, the dish is called "as you like it" after al! You can think of this as a delicious little canvas for your culinary art.