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Shop Talk: Rising Tide Community Market in Damariscotta, Maine

You might think it would be difficult for 4,000 people to run a store together, but with a 40th anniversary coming up, that’s clearly not the case for the owners of Rising Tide Community Market. The co-op, located in scenic Damariscotta, Maine, began as a food-buying club on nearby Round Top Farm. While it’s since expanded, the members’ mission to provide high-quality, locally sourced products continues. “We give our members the opportunity to get local products and services needed on a daily basis, while strengthening and supporting the community around us. It’s a win-win,” says specialty foods manager Cheryl Seiders.

From fine wines to organic foods, Rising Tide is a one-stop shop for locavores and cheese lovers. A quarter of the 75 to 100 cheeses stocked by Seiders and her assistant, Debi Dupre, hail from Maine. In 2016, customers ate their way through three thousand pounds of local cheese alone. “I’m right out there, helping customers and developing a personal relationship with members,” Seiders says. “They give me the freedom to explore any and all types of cheese—and that’s pretty special.”

culture: Which of your cheeses is your current favorite and what do you like to pair it with?

Cheryl Seiders: Jasper Hill Farm Moses Sleeper. It’s creamy and has oniony undertones and a little funk to it. I like to pair it with salty prosciutto and hot pepper jam.

culture: What is the cheese scene like in Maine? Is there a local cheesemaker you’re particularly excited about?

CS: There’s a Maine Cheese Guild with 87 licensed cheesemakers as of 2017. Debra Hahn of Hahn’s End specializes in fantastic raw cow’s milk cheeses. My favorite is her Eleanor Buttercup—it’s smooth with a nice sharpness.

culture: What is your favorite wine and cheese pairing?

CS: A sweet and salty combo: jammy Malbec and sharp cheddar. In front of a fireplace, you can’t beat it!

323 Main St.
Damariscotta, ME
Daily 8 a.m.–8 p.m.

Polina Chesnakova

Polina Chesnkova is a Seattle-based food writer, cooking class instructor, and the author of Hot Cheese: Over 50 Gooey, Oozy, Melty Recipes.

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