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Updated: June 9, 2023

Money for mussels, meat & more: 20 Maine businesses to share $185K in 'Tastemakers' grants

Kate Shaffer at Ragged Coast Chocolates in Westbrook Jim Neuger Twenty Maine companies, including Westbrook's Ragged Coast Chocolates, will share $185,000 in CEI 'Tastemakers' grants. Shown here is Kate Shaffer in Ragged Coast's production facility.

From mussels to chocolate, 20 Maine food harvesters and producers will share $185,000 in Tastemakers' grants from Coastal Enterprises Inc., the Brunswick-based organization said Thursday. 

Now in its third year, the initiative is a partnership between CEI and FocusMaine, a statewide economic development organization, to support the growth of Maine’s food economy.

This year's recipients include Westbrook-based Ragged Coast Chocolates, which recently branched out into baking mixes, and Herbal Revolution, a Union medical-plant business featured in a recent Mainebiz cover story about female farmers. 

Other 2023 grant recipients are:

  • A Small Good in Rockport
  • Bangs Island Mussels in Portland
  • Berry Fruit Farm in Livermore Falls
  • Blackstone Point Oysters in Newcastle
  • Diggables Inc. in Yarmouth
  • Dogpatch Farm LLC in Washington
  • Ferda Farms LLC in Brunswick
  • Fish Creek Oysters in Stonington
  • Hemlock Ridge Meat Processing in New Sharon
  • Love Point Oysters in South Freeport
  • Maine Dayboat Scallops Inc. in Bath
  • Maine Homestead Inc. in Lyman
  • North Haven Oyster Co. in North Haven
  • Pemaquid Mussel Farms in Bucksport
  • Spark Bagel in Monroe
  •  Sunnyfield Baking Co. in Cumberland
  •  The Good Crust LLC in Canaan
  • Winterberry Farm in Belgrade.

“The cohort of companies in this year’s Tastemakers Initiative exemplify the variety and richness of Maine’s food businesses," said Bradley Russell, director of CEI's sustainable agriculture and food systems program. "Each of these small businesses are contributing to a more sustainable and resilient food system and we are thrilled to be a small part of their progress."

Each recipient will receive up to $10,000 to support goals to include strategic growth, facility design and expansion of local supply chains with Maine producers. Individual award amounts were not disclosed.

In addition to the financial support, grant recipients have access to CEI business advisors and workforce development services, according to a spokeswoman for the organization.

Selected grant recipients are established food and beverage companies with plans to boost their production capacity via  “shovel-ready” projects that directly support Maine agriculture, aquaculture, or fisheries as part of their supply chain. 

“FocusMaine applauds all the Tastemaker Initiative applicants for their dedication to their businesses and their desire to grow," said Andrea Cianchette Maker, co-chair of FocusMaine. "The strong statewide interest in this Initiative is indicative of a vibrant and growing Maine food economy, which is good for the individual businesses, their communities and the state of Maine."

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