The first time I tasted Maine farm eggs I was completely taken by surprise. They had an earthiness unknown to me before, a depth of flavor that seemed comprised of everything on the farm because it was: I could see the chickens snacking in the garden beds to prove it. Over forkfuls of fluffy egg clouds mingled with chewy mushrooms and sharp, melted cheese, I realized that eggs could be so much more delicious than the tiny, bright white varieties I’d known in my Midwest childhood. Since this transcendent experience I’ve cracked a countless number of farmers’ market eggs into frying pans, but I still find those big orange globes a little unbelievable, and I’m happy to go far out of my way for them.
My favorite place for fresh eggs is a saltwater farm called North Creek on the Phippsburg peninsula in midcoast Maine. Suzy Verrier keeps the cafe open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., “400 hundred days a year” (so says the sign), but I recommend visiting on a Sunday for eggs scrambled by Suzy herself, “with a fork,” she tells me, “in one direction only, to keep the viscosity right.” Served soft, she tops them with freshly clipped chives, and when she runs out of eggs from her own chickens, she gives her neighbors a call.
Home gardener and forager friends will often bring over whatever they have too much of, swap for sandwiches to bring to nearby Popham beach. “We all make out like bandits,” Verrier says of bartering. A couple of winters ago, she brought cookies straight from the oven to a boatload of fishermen in exchange for buckets of shrimp. “We were lightly steaming them, popping them in our mouths for days,” she says. Verrier eventually made a fish stock with the leftovers. In addition to eggs in any form (I had a North Creek roasted pepper quiche once that was heavenly), I suggest ordering whatever soup is on the menu. I recently tried her version of the conch chowder she grew eating in the Keys, made with local surf clams dug up around the bend, tenderized with tamarind and warm with spices. But then you can count on just about everything at North Creek to be extra fresh, extra special. “I used to say years ago that we shouldn’t let food out of the state,” Verrier says. “It’s too good. Too pure.”
North Creek Farm
4 Sebasco Rd.
Phippsburg, ME 04562
Sophie Nelson is a contributing writer for Maine and Maine Home+Design magazines and a fiction student in the Stonecoast MFA program.