Our mission is to inspire and empower people who are building local grain economies. We create connections and share grain traditions and innovations from earth to table.

We, too, are inspired by our business members who are offering innovative products and leading in our communities.  

This is the first in a series of notes highlighting our business members as we approach the holidays. Please check out their wonderful array of products, just right for holiday giving.

Business Member Spotlight

Challenger Breadware is proud to support the Maine Grain Alliance and its efforts to inspire and empower people who are building local grain economies.

From Challenger Breadware:

We’re continually adding farmers and millers all over the world to our Where to Buy Grains & Flours page on our website. We want to inspire bakers everywhere to bake better and more nutritious bread.

Our flagship product is our Challenger Bread Pan. After years of frustrations with all the baking hacks that bread bakers have used to try and duplicate the superior baking abilities of a professional deck oven, Jim Challenger set out to design the first cast iron pan that was conceived and created by bread bakers for bread bakers. Its functionality and handle placement make dough easy to load and score. The pan’s thick, black cast iron delivers the powerful radiant heat that bread needs as it bakes. The cast iron absorbs and retains heat which helps your dough’s oven spring and bloom. Capturing and retaining steam is the secret to producing full-volume loaves with crackling crusts, deep, rich colors, and open scores: the lid’s tight seal ensures this precious steam doesn’t escape. Proudly crafted in the USA, the pan is made to last for generations. When it’s not baking bread, the base makes an ideal skillet for roasting chicken, making grilled cheese, or whipping up a quick bacon and eggs breakfast. The cover can also be turned over and used as a 4-quart Dutch oven for braises and stews.
Our goal is to support both new and experienced bread bakers in their quest to bake the perfect loaf. We are continuing to expand our product line with all the products needed by a home baker including sourdough Starter Jars, bench knives, dough covers, bannetons, and so much more. Our long-term goal is to give back to the wonderful worldwide community of bread bakers. We will be continually adding learning resources and videos to help bakers learn to bake bread or to take their bread baking to an all-new level. We’ve started with a Bread Baker’s Glossary and an Ingredients page with many more resources in the planning phases. You can follow along with founder Jim Challenger as he bakes daily on Instagram or follow the exploits of Challenger Breadware on Instagram too.

A Note from MGA about Maine Grains:

Maine Grains serves bakers, brewers, chefs and families freshly-milled, organic and heritage grains sourced from the Northeast. 

By re-localizing grain production and milling Maine Grains support the health and livelihood of farmers and communities. A traditional stone milling process ensures nutrient-packed products that are full of flavor and perfect for natural fermentation baking and cooking. Maine Grains is creating jobs, improving land use, and providing healthy food for all while serving as a successful model for thriving local economies. 
For a wide array of flour and other baking items, please visit Maine Grains once again is a finalist in the 2021 Good Foods Award.  Last year, Maine Grains was named a winner for their Organic Pearled Farro and Organic Corn Polenta. This year, Pearled Black Barley grown in Maine and Marfax Crop Rotation Dry Beans received recognition. Try them!  And to keep your baking inspiration alive, wear their new t-shirt!

From The Bankery:

When we discovered a beautiful, charming circa 1864 bank for sale in the heart of historic downtown Skowhegan, we saw an opportunity to realize a dream of creating our own bakery. With the partnership of years of experience and enthusiastic entrepreneurial spirit, we knew that with the support of our families we could build something unique and special for our town.


We – Michael Hunt, a Skowhegan-area studio artist with many years of expertise in custom cake decorating at one of Maine’s oldest bakeries; and Matt DuBois, a Millinocket native from a long line of business pioneers, fresh out of culinary school with classical training in pastry arts – opened our from-scratch bakery and custom cake shop, The Bankery, in the fall of 2008. Thanks to our families’ combined experience in hospitality, restaurateuring, and building construction, we transformed our old bank into a lively and inviting space while preserving its original character.


After two years of growth and success, we were presented with another opportunity; the then 25-year-old flower shop directly adjoining our bakery went on the market, and we decided to take another bold entrepreneurial leap and purchase it. In the fall of 2010, Skowhegan Fleuriste & Formalwear became The Bankery’s sister company, and with some more sweat equity and family-powered renovations, we became a one-stop-shop for events and gatherings of all occasions. The following year, with the expansion of our business, we were joined by our third partner, Mike DuBois (Matt’s twin brother). Though Mike had taken a position as a graduate math instructor at UMaine while pursuing his Master’s degree in mathematics, his strong family connection and bond with his brother made his decision to alter career paths an easy one. Since then, the three of us – with the unending dedication and support of our employees, families and community – have grown our businesses into a local hub of artisanship. Well into our second decade in business, our mission and focus remain constant: creating high-quality, from-scratch products; providing attentive and personalized customer service; contributing to the vibrant and welcoming atmosphere of our downtown; supporting the development of new opportunities for our area’s businesses and residents; and giving back to our community.


We feel strongly about playing a role in ensuring the vitality of our community. We have volunteered our time over the past decade as board members of Main Street Skowhegan, Maine Grain Alliance, Skowhegan economic development Corporation, Maine Community Foundation and Western Mountains Fund, Skowhegan Performing Arts and the Maine State Florists and Growers Association. We donate products and services annually to community functions and initiatives like Somerset Snowfest, Maple Festival, River Fest and the Run of River project, Dinner in the Park, Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival, Small Business Saturday, and Holiday Stroll. We believe in the work of the Maine Grain Alliance and their mission to inspire and empower people who are building local grain economies. Their work is helping to improve the supply of locally grown heritage grains, to provide educational opportunities, and to grant financial assistance to small grain businesses… all things good for the Bankery, for Skowhegan, and for Maine.


Our families and our employees also give of their time, talents and creativity; we believe that our connectedness gives us the opportunity to enrich the lives of others in some way while helping to make our beautiful, riverfront town a destination for all.


You make link to our new e-commerce site for easy shopping or continue to order by calling 207-474-6256.   


A Note from MGA about Maine Made:

Discover the beauty of Maine in all its inspiring detail. A combination of pure material and fine detail has long characterized Maine craftsmanship. A tradition of excellence passed down for generations, “Maine Made” is recognized worldwide as a term for quality and integrity.

The Maine Made Program builds recognition for Maine products, their producers, and Maine industries. Maine’s unique products represent some of the finest craftsmanship available today by people who are resourceful, dependable, and inventive. Hundreds of Maine companies offer a wealth of items created from wood, granite, field and farm. These products bring a sampling of Maine’s rich resources right to your door.

The challenges of this year, have inspired Maine makers and producers to connect with consumers in creative ways. Maine Made has partnered with O’Maine Studios to create Live From Maine, a way to help viewers meet makers, see products, and make purchases from the safety and comfort of their homes.

Live From Maine

Episode 2

Thursday, December 3rd

7:00 pm

From the comfort of your home you’ll journey around the state, meet the makers, visit their studios, and enjoy shopping over 100 products at Live from Maine’s online store. During the live streaming you can ask questions about products and to the people who make them. We’ll share recipes that include featured food products that you can make and try at home. The best part? During these 4 episodes it’s FREE shipping on all products shown!
Watch for more live episodes with new maker interviews, recipes and more:
December 7th

December 10th

Want a reminder so you don’t forget? When you visit the website, you can sign up for a friendly reminder for each episode.

From The Uproot Pie Co:

Jess Shepard is the woman behind The Uproot Pie Company, towing our beloved mobile, wood-fired oven everywhere from the sparkly coast to the mossy woods of Maine.


Simple, beautiful ingredients grown by dedicated farmers create exceptional pizzas in idyllic settings that we’re proud to share. We’re bakers at heart, and we know that the foundation of a memorable pizza is its crust. We’re so proud to use Maine Grains whole-wheat and cornmeal in our beloved baked goods.

Our mobile oven is stored for winter, but we’re excited to offer the Uproot Pizza Kit, which includes Maine Grains sourdough, sauce and cheese for two large pizzas. Have some fun stretching the dough at home, and adding your favorite toppings.

We can’t ship the kits, but you can pick up weekly in Rockland, Maine. To order, find us at