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American Futures

American Futures: Welcome to Eastport, Maine

Kai Ryssdal Oct 24, 2013
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Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal and Jim Fallows of The Atlantic take a look at how the city and residents of Eastport, Maine, are changing the economy — and how the economis changing them. 

First stop on our tour: Raye’s Mustard factory. The company claims it is the only remaining stone-ground mustard plant in the United States.

“A lot of people who come to see the mill think they’ve come into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory,” Kevin Raye, whose family owns the mill. “Lots of things going around and around and up and down. It was designed and engineered and built by my great-great uncle. In 1903, he designed and built this new mill.”

A mustard mill might seem like an odd choice for Eastport, Maine, but in many ways it’s one of the few remaining aspects of what used to be a thriving sardine industry. “When [great-great uncle] Jay Wesley Raye was a young man, Eastport was the sardine capital of America,” Raye says. “There was as many as 27 sardine canneries on this little island, and mustard was a favorite medium in which to pack sardines, because it enhanced the flavor of the fish and it also has perservative qualities.”

“However, the sardine industry is gone,” Raye says, “so we have outlived all of our initial customers.”

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