Our mission is to provide a high-quality experience and product to our patrons, prepared and served in a comfortable, rustic manner that exudes the Maine experience; as well as provide charitable funding to various programs both on and off the Brunswick Landing campus.
In the Fall of 2015, Seeds of Independence joined forces with a couple of forward-thinking social entrepreneurs to repurpose an unoccupied, state-of-the-art restaurant space on Brunswick Landing.
The result of this collaboration was the New Beet Market – a business purpose-built for growing the local food economy, enhancing educational opportunities for students and children, and sending the majority of all profits back to the non-profit.
In 2017, under new ownership, New Beet Market became Oaks & Maple Cafe.
In addition to providing a much needed community gathering spot for food and drink, we offer hands-on learning experiences and employ young people involved with Seeds of Independence and other local non-profits.
By providing these unique opportunities, we are working to enable and inspire these young Mainers to become productive members of our society, and carry a lifelong appreciation for the importance of strong communities and good food.
We deliver 5% of our gross profit to organizations that work with at-risk youth.
David Barter, Executive Chef/Owner
When I was 11 years old my mom stood me in front of the stove and taught me to cook; something recommended to her by the therapists working to help parent me. I was not easy. You see, I did this thing that at the time was called ‘sun downing’. Today, most would label this ADHD.
My father worked blue collar at Bath Iron Works, and my mother worked to get dinner on the table by 5, but was continually distracted by that effort. I would torture and torment my siblings, taking her away from meal prep. The idea worked, for the most part but high school presented a new set of challenges.
Fast forward to high school 1982. It was Freshman year and I had a driver’s license at 15 - the only one in the school. 9th grade was held at the Bath Junior High School then and I was “cool”. Bad decision after bad decision led me to an OUI event where a kind officer, Brett Strout of the Brunswick PD, knew my parents, knew they would handle this and left it up to them instead of the system.
As I progressed through high school I continued to struggle. I was smart, everyone said I was, just not motivated, that is until I met Jim Coffin, Morse High Wrestling Coach. Looking back, I realize that without his guidance and structure, I more than likely would never have graduated.
I have good parents, they were involved but I was on a different path and they could not get to me. We did not have the services that Seeds of Independence provides now, the structure and growth, the “rub rails” as I call them. I am lucky that Coach Coffin's mentorship provided that for me. Though I graduated, bottom 1/8th of my class, I have since gone on to a very success career in IT as a global evangelist for IT.
Mistakes have been made along the way, but I always fall back on the lessons Coach taught us on and off the mat. Relevant or not to this plan, he asked me to read Lord Jim – Joseph Conrad. It struck a cord and with that cord a passage from the book I will never forget, as it verbalized what I was feeling – “It is seldom we meet men, whose souls steeled in the impenetrable armor of resolution, are willing to fight a losing battle to the last.”
The epitome, in my opinion, of my struggle – was between reason and will power. It has guided me every single day of my life since. Through my time at Hyde School, married to my wife, acting as dorm parents to 25 at risk girls, even though we had never raised kids. Two kids of my own, running the local Cub Scout and Boy Scout program for 10 years, to wrestling coach to business man to mentor to my employees. It all comes back to that one passage and that group of people who, like me, must have felt the way Lord Jim did… as written by Joseph Conrad.
When Erika Weidner pitched this idea to me, it struck that same cord as that passage did and I knew in that minute that I had been preparing my whole 51 years to step up and do something good. I just didn’t know it was with food as the theme. But I think my mother did, 40 years ago.
I look at this unique opportunity to fulfil a dream of owning a restaurant (I actually wanted a bar in the Caribbean, but Hurricane Irma fixed that for a while) and help at risk youth, I am in...
I am still filled with conflict; the war waged between reason and will power. But to own a restaurant that has a social mission, that takes me back to a time that I can so vividly remember and offers a chance to give back. Hopefully just one of our interns goes on to have a successful life, whatever definition of success they design, then I can say that we have held up our tag line… “good food and good conscience”.
Oaks & Maple Café
(formerly New Beet Market)
25 Burbank Ave
Brunswick, Maine 04011
Hours of Operation
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
10:00 am - 9:00 pm
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