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Building a hub for food

By JEFF INGLIS  |  January 9, 2013

That person, found after a couple weeks of searching, was Tanya Rosenberg, a bartender and commercial painter whom Cayer had known for more than a decade. Last July she had started a company that would become Pure Pops, making organic, all-natural popsicles in two-dozen crazy flavors like Apple Cranberry Crisp, Avocado Lime, and Pumpkin Pie.

She has been based near her home at Sugarloaf and selling them in sports/outdoors businesses from Scarborough to the Forks (and, obviously, Carrabassett Valley). But with a new contract bringing her pops onto the Bowdoin College campus later this month, and a mobile vending license from the city of Portland, she's moving the operation to town.

By the end of November, with yet another plumbing reconfiguration, "things really started to kick into gear," as Cayer puts it.

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A WORK IN PROGRESS Epoxying the floors.

'LOTS OF SWEAT EQUITY'

After dealing with "old dead pipes that led nowhere," the rough plumbing was laid in the floors. The plumbing was done by pros, but the less-skilled labor (concrete work and epoxying) were handled by Cayer and other volunteers. Rosenberg brought her spray-painting equipment in so that she, Cayer, and others could repaint the ceiling of the space, which has great all-day light and lots of windows.

Between Christmas and New Year's, wood was dropped off and framing began, finishing in the first week of this year. As a volunteer work party began Saturday morning, Momentum executive director Dennis Strout was on his knees spreading cement across a pockmarked section of floor near the entrance to Bomb Diggity's space.

Other folks scraped old paint off a huge brick wall and primed it, before lugging in most of the baking equipment Bomb Diggity has purchased for use in the new space. Workers included Jonah Fertig and Abby Huckel from Local Sprouts, who are keeping ties between the two community-minded organizations strong, while looking forward to expanding the Local Sprouts catering business with the space being vacated by the bakery.

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Getting the wood delivered.

Next will come some more electrical work, sheetrocking of new walls, and finishing the epoxying of the floor. "Every day something more is happening," Cayer says eagerly, his eyes lighting up with excitement that this idea is ultimately coming to fruition.

The bakery is certainly the anchor tenant, and sees great opportunity to grow in this new space, says Lindsay deCsipkes, Momentum's program administrator. Beyond supplying several small local markets with baked goods, Bomb Diggity also provides Hannaford and Whole Foods Market with English muffins. Capitalizing on more square-footage, the company plans to expand its wholesale accounts, and will also work toward having a separate, certified gluten-free kitchen.

While commercial baking will occupy the mornings (starting early, as bakers do) the larger area will also be more conducive to afternoon workshops for Momentum clients learning culinary skills, deCsipkes says.

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Nailing things up.

WORKING TOGETHER

"We're psyched about what can happen here," she says, talking not just about the business and learning potential but also community collaboration. Bomb Diggity will still retail its baked goods at Local Sprouts, and keep its art program there, where "our participants feel so at home," says deCsipkes.

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  Topics: Food Features , Forest City, Eli Cayer
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