Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars
Rockland report: on my lobster-gluttony weekend in Maine, about which more soon, we walked up and down the main drag of Rockland, as we always do while working up an appetite for limitless lobster. The blue-collar town I knew when we first started our family summer visits, in 1968, evolved during the most recent economic boom into an unrecognizably twee resort town, reminiscent of Rockland but less aggressively preppy and more interestingly bohemian, as befits a town the lived on fishing and then became a refuge for artists—the Farnsworth Museum is something of a shrine to the Wyeth family (the Olson House, in Cushing, where Andrew Wyeth painted Cristina's World, is now part of the Farnsworth). My current favorite feature of the Rockland streetscape is a huge flashing sign that Robert Indiana, who lives and works on Vinalhaven, an island artist's colony a short, 15-mile ferry ride away, made for the 1964 World's Fair. It hadn't been seen for 44 years until the Farnsworth mounted it atop its own building, last year; amazingly enough, the museum shop doesn't have a postcard of what should be a food-world icon.
At the far end of town we found a surprising addition to the shops where, as our hostess, Erika Pilver, tartly remarked, "You can't find anything you need": Fiore Artisan Olive Oils and Vinegars, a store that sells only olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and related condiments and spreads. It seemed much more suited to Camden than Rockland—and even more suited to Bar Harbor, where in fact the shop originated, as the husband of the husband-and-wife team that started this shop this year, Pat and Nancy O'Brien, explained.