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Food Booths Prove Popular

ALL things rich and gooey - like fudge and cotton candy - are taboo at this fair. White sugar, fructose, and corn syrup have been banished, and white flour, that all-American staple, dethroned.Instead, honey, maple sugar, and whole-wheat flour reign supreme. Thirsty? Try a black cherry "all-natural" soda, sweetened with honey, or a "fruit smoothie," a slushy concoction of mashed raspberries, crushed ice, and honey. Kids seem to go for the whole-wheat pizza and organic hamburgers, while adults wait in long lines for lamb shish kebabs, soyburger tacos, and organic baked beans. As crowds have grown from 10,000 people in 1976 to 60,000 this year, so has the number of food vendors (see photo above). A few of the agricultural participants are concerned that the food is overwhelming the educational activities. "The central purpose gets lost," says organic orchardist Denis Culley. Food has always been an important element, "and it's why a lot of people come," answers Susan Pierce, director of the fair. The food booths have expanded "cautiously," she says. "I don't see where the growth of the food is really hurting the fair," says organic farmer Anthony Burke. "If you went to any other fair in Maine, you'd still find this is a pretty cool fair."

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