clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maine’s First Organic Dairy Farm Wins a James Beard America’s Classics Award

Nezinscot Farm has been a family-run operation in Turner, Maine, for over a century

People enjoy a “performative dinner” at Nezinscot Farm in Turner hosted by students from Bates College as a part of their Food Culture & Performance class. 
A student-led dinner at Nezinscot Farm in 2014.
Derek Davis/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Maine’s Nezinscot Farm — a family-run farm, cafe, bakery, fromagerie, and charcuterie business that is also known as the state’s first-ever organic dairy farm — snagged a James Beard America’s Classics Award this week, signifying the farm’s landmark status as a community cornerstone in Maine.

The award honors local restaurants across the nation that have “timeless appeal and are beloved regionally for quality food that reflects the character of its community,” according to the James Beard Foundation. Located in Turner, Maine, Nezinscott Farm is currently run by Gloria and Gregg Varney and has been in the Varney family for over 100 years. When Gloria and Gregg took over the operation in 1987, they added a community cafe and coffee shop, and then kept building on that success with a bakery, cheese shop, and charcuterie.

Per the foundation:

“The Café has something beautiful and exciting on every shelf—cases of homemade cheeses and meats, bagels, freshly baked pies, and perfect breads rolling out the kitchen, topped with farm eggs and homemade sausage and cheeses. The energy behind it all feels directed at building community, with delicious homemade everything (even the teas, even the crackers) serving as the vital instrument of creating and sustaining that gathering. The Varneys feed the community in many ways, significantly providing a warm space to gather around food on a farm in the middle of Maine.”

Five other restaurants snagged James Beard America’s Classics Awards, including a 60-year-old Mexican restaurant in Austin.

This is just the beginning of the James Beard Foundation’s award season this year. The much-anticipated annual restaurant and chef semifinalist list was announced in late January, and the finalists in those categories will be announced on March 29. The season culminates with an awards show in Chicago on June 5, in which the Classics winners will be honored and the nationwide restaurant and chef winners will be announced.

Disclosure: Some Vox Media staff members are part of the voting body for the James Beard Foundation Awards.