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  • Heiwa Organic Tofu opens In Rockport, Maine


    By Ramona du Houx

    Heiwa Tofu is celebrating its new food production facility at 201 West Street, Rockport, Maine with a grand opening party on Friday, October 7, 2016 between 2:00 and 8: 00 pm. There will be a tour of Heiwa’s new tofu making operation, festivities and games. Locally made refreshments will be provided.

    Owners Jeff Wolovitz and Maho Hisakawa purchased the building in April, renovated the space to optimize production of their small batch, handcrafted, organic tofu and began operations in late June.  

    “This investment in our own production facility is a milestone for Heiwa,” said Wolovitz. “We have much more control over our business and greater opportunity for growth.”  

    Heiwa recently hired two more employees to help with production and keep pace with growing demand.

    Heiwa’s sales have doubled in the last 18 months.

    According to Wolovitz, consumers who are interested in nutritious, protein-rich alternatives to meat seem to be discovering the versatility of tofu.

     “Our customers can’t seem to get enough of our tofu and some even admit they never liked tofu until they tried Heiwa," said Wolovitz, who also suggested that it’s a combination of the creamy texture, delicious taste and freshness that make Heiwa a favorite of tofu connoisseurs.

    An added bonus for many customers is that Heiwa uses mostly Maine grown organic, non-GMO soybeans to produce their tofu, buying all soybeans available from both local farms and dedicated soybean growers. 

    Wolovitz and Hisakawa view a locally grown, plant based diet as a way to a more peaceful planet.

     “Heiwa - pronounced Hey wah - means peace in Japanese and we have come to think of Heiwa Tofu as Peace on a Plate.” said Hisakawa.

    Jeff and Maho launched Heiwa eight years ago in a converted garage space behind the Knox Mill in Camden, Maine. While the couple and their two young daughters, Ami and Ina, continue to sell the family’s prized tofu directly to customers at the local farmer’s market.(photo below)

    Heiwa is available today in 200 restaurants, natural food stores, colleges and universities throughout Maine, parts of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and a little bit beyond.

     

  • Non-profit Waterville Creates! awarded $1.5 million Alfond grant

    Photos and article by Ramona du Houx 

    Waterville Creates! has been awarded $1.5 million in grants from the Harold Alfond Foundation that will “help establish Waterville Creates! and support work of Waterville Creates! partners,” increasing arts and culture programming in the city.

    “Waterville Creates! has brought together Waterville’s major arts organizations,” said Greg Powell, chairman of the Harold Alfond Foundation. “This funding confirms our commitment to supporting the Waterville Creates! mission to lead the marketing and programming efforts on behalf of the Waterville’s arts and cultural institutions.”

    “It will help ensure ongoing efforts to increase the collaborative programming of Waterville Creates! partners — the Colby Museum of Art, Maine Film Center, Waterville Main Street, Waterville Opera House, Waterville Public Library and Common Street Arts,” said the chairman of the Waterville Creates! board, Larry Sterrs. “This effort has already increased recognition of the importance of these organizations to the vitality of central Maine and helped to continue the Waterville renaissance in benefit to its citizens locally and regionally.”

    Waterville Creates! works to enhance the arts and cultural institutions in the city.

  • Maine leads the pottery way as the art becomes collectable

    Handmade pottery has become desirable to collect across America. Maine has been leading the way with small pottery workshops and dedicated potters for years.

    Portland, Maine has one of the oldest pottery stores in the Old Port. The Maine Potters Market has been supplying artisan’s wares since 1978 and gallery host potters from across the state.

    The pop up gallery in Hallowell, Maine for the holidays is showing a variety of central Maine potters that have been hard at work pursuing their passions for years.

    Any potter knows that the actual sensation of being connected to the earth with your hands as one brings an object to life is special.

    Now, people are realizing handmade products have that something special that can’t be found in mass-produced items. And pottery has become the trend. As a New York Times article stated:

    Handcrafted small-batch ceramics are everywhere these days. You see them in trendsetting boutiques like the Primary Essentials in Brooklyn and Still House in Manhattan, artfully arranged in window displays and on shelves like totems of good taste.

    They can be spotted in the stylized pages of Kinfolk, Apartamento and other cult magazines, often paired with organically shaped cutting boards and sun-dappled potted succulents. Vogue even devoted two pages in this year’s September issue to a new wave of independent ceramists.

    And among certain creative-minded millennials, ceramics have replaced jewelry and furniture made from salvaged lumber as the craft du jour, with access to choice kilns as a status symbol to be flaunted on Pinterest and Instagram.

    “There is beauty in imperfection and having items that are really handmade,” said the fashion designer Steven Alan, who populates his boutiques with textural American and Japanese ceramics in neutral hues.

    The irony is the Holiday gift shop in Hallowell can only afford to continue until the end of the month. A previous shop in the town that specialized in artisan pottery and other unique wares closed last year.

    If they people of the area understood how popular handmade crafts have and are becoming, maybe there could be a way for the pop up gallery to continue.

    Maine potters were leading the way, long ago. The arts need community and state support.