SKOWHEGAN, Maine. (WABI) A small family-run business in the heart of downtown Skowhegan takes pride in preparing gourmet meals for their customers using local ingredients.
But rather than dine in the building that's been in this family for generations, their meals are meant to be enjoyed at home.
"Monday in a typical week, we come in and prep. On Tuesday, we cook. Wednesday, we package, and Thursday, we go to market."
Mark and Kelly LaCasse launched The Maine Meal in 2011, utilizing space in Mark's grandmother's former restaurant building on Madison Avenue in downtown Skowhegan.
Together since 1998, both Mark and Kelly grew up in Central Maine and wanted to infuse their passions for the hospitality and restaurant industries into a local business they could settle into.
"We have two little kids so this is more our speed at the moment," said Kelly.
Mark's love for the culinary arts and Kelly's interest in the New England regional food system seemed to make the perfect fit for preparing gourmet meals that people could enjoy in the comforts of their own home.
"It's a full product line from meat and seafood and chicken, to soups, chowders, chilis. We also do popsicles. We do fresh pasta and ravioli," said Kelly.
Using local ingredients from the farms and coastal waters of Maine, those seeking fresh and healthy meals can order a variety of frozen or boil in bag menu items that can be prepared in individual or family sizes.
"We vacuum seal it, freeze it and then the consumer takes it right out of the freezer and it goes right into the pot of boiling water so they have a locally-sourced gourmet meal in 20 minutes or less," said Kelly.
As sales continue to rise year after year, Mark and Kelly are hoping to expand within the building as well as build their product line and customer base by selling products online and at farmers markets.
"Skowhegan, Belfast and Waterville farmers markets. We're also available in some local stores," said Mark.
They'll have their meals for sale at the Maine Harvest Festival on November 11th and 12th in Bangor, and also hope to launch in-state shipping on their online store set to open soon.
"It's exciting! It's fun and different too every week. Once every couple of weeks, we try to do a new item on the menu as well to keep it interesting for our customers."