Celebrate the culture of agriculture & share skills (Growing! Cooking! Eating!)

MAINE COURSE: This week HOMEGROWN talked to new member Frank, a dad and chef with a covetable pantry living near the coast of Maine. We grilled Frank on his approach to food, and what he told us made our week—and made us hungry. Get the scoop below, then check out Frank’s website, Three Lily Farm, for more on his family’s off-the-grid lifestyle and cooking.

What is Meet Your Neighbors? We can spend a fair amount of time tending our online gardens, but it’s easy to forget there’s a real person behind every quiche recipe, chicken inquiry, and hoophouse design here on HOMEGROWN. Well, nuts to that! MYN gives us a chance to meet over the back fence and shake hands.

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Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on December 12, 2013 at 9:53am

Good morning, Frank! And brrr, right? You’re chatting with us this morning from central Maine, where we hear you’re a chef, farmer, father, and husband living off the grid and growing out your beard. We’ll get to the important stuff shortly, but first things first: How’s the beard coming along?

Comment by Frank Giglio on December 12, 2013 at 9:57am

It is quite an invigorating morning here, about 7F outside right now! The beard is coming in nicely, although it seems, every time I get it to a desirable length, I get a catering job and feel the need to trim it up. 

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on December 12, 2013 at 10:00am

Ah! Professionalism 1, beard 0. We'll keep rooting for a beard comeback! Speaking of your catering, we’ve been drooling over your photos of scallops and short ribs and a delicious-looking pear tart, and that’s not even counting what's in your pantry. Can you tell us a little more about your work as a chef and how good food fits into that?

Comment by Frank Giglio on December 12, 2013 at 10:16am

I've worked in various kitchens for nearly 20 years now, but because of the toxic lifestyle that seems to come with the trade, I stopped working in restaurants in 2003. With travel, I learned a lot about using fresh, locally sourced ingredients and letting the fresh foods do the talking. Maine is a great place to eat high quality food, so in a way, my job is easy here. Learning to utilize foraged foods in my cooking has opened up many possibilities for me.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on December 12, 2013 at 10:18am

Can you tell us a bit more about how your travels inspired you—maybe one place that especially stands out for its ingredients? And were you originally from Maine? If not, what brought you there?

Comment by Frank Giglio on December 12, 2013 at 10:26am

I was born and raised in southern Connecticut, just outside of New Haven. After culinary school, I traveled all over the country and abroad. Moved almost every 6 months for a few years until feeling a pull to b back in New England. My wife was raised in Maine and after a year living in northern New Hampshire, we decided to move closer to her family and get back to the ocean.  I worked in a fly-in only fishing lodge in Alaska for a summer. We ate salmon, halibut, duck, and lots of wild game every week. Really great ingredients to play with for sure! Herbs from the garden along with some quality veggies made cooking a lot of fun up there. Portland, Oregon was another stand out for me. I really love pacific northwest cuisine! 

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on December 12, 2013 at 10:30am

OK. We asked for it. But now we're hungry. Is 9:30 a.m. too early for us to go visit the fishmonger down the street? So, as you mention in your profile—and as we can see here, in one of the loveliest photos we’ve come across in a long time—you’re a father, too. Does the priority on using locally sourced ingredients and letting them shine hold true in your kitchen at home? We’re guessing the answer might be yes, given the apple picking in the picture, but maybe you can tell us a bit more about how?

Comment by Frank Giglio on December 12, 2013 at 10:42am

The earlier the better in my opinion! The way we eat at home is pretty close to the way I serve friends, family, and clients. Well, maybe a bit different, as I usually cook everything in cast iron pans at home. Like I mentioned before, It is very easy to eat a locally based diet here in Maine, and without really making a big effort to do so. A freshly picked vegetable doesn't need a whole lot to taste great. When the ingredients are fresh and grown in mineral rich soil, all the flavor is there, so you just want to unleash that, not hide it. Strawberries shipped from another country in January will never taste as good as the ones picked from my garden in May. Eating seasonally also allows your body to connect deeper with the natural rhythms of the earth. Light, refreshing and hydrating foods in the summer, grounding and warming foods in the winter, its all about the natural flow.

Comment by HOMEGROWN.org on December 12, 2013 at 10:43am

Wow! So well said: UNLEASH THE LOCAL! Last question and then we’ll let you get on with your day: What’s for dinner in your house tonight? And thanks again for chatting with HOMEGROWN, Frank. We’re thrilled you’re here and are crossing our fingers for more recipes. Stay warm!  

Comment by Frank Giglio on December 12, 2013 at 10:46am

It's been fun, thanks for sharing the love! Yesterday, I slaughtered one of our lambs so roasted leg of lamb is on the menu for tonight along with some slow cooked winter squash. 


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