Raye’s Holds National Mustard Day Celebration

By Kaileigh Deacon

Kevin Raye mans the grill at the National Mustard day celebration sharing mustard facts and history on the company as well as delicious foods and mustards. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon).

Saturday was National Mustard Day and Raye’s Mustard in Eastport held their first National Mustard Day Celebration. There was a grill for hot dogs and sausages (with mustard of course), and there were several games for the kids. 

National Mustard Day was started in 1991 by the National Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin to pay tribute to the “King of Condiments” and is held the first Saturday of August. 

Raye’s usually just holds a sale on mustard in honor of National Mustard Day but according to Karen Raye, one of the owners, “This year we wanted to step it up a notch.” And that they certainly did the line for the cookout nearly wrapped around the front of the building and stayed steady all day.  All the food was free but there were two jars set up to collect donations for the Shead High School Boosters and the Nursing Home. People from all over attended the mustard festival from as close as right in Eastport to as far away as Kentucky. One lady from Cumberland said, “We just ended up here by chance we didn’t have any idea this was going on.”

But there was more than just food and games, while cooking, Kevin Raye provided little known mustard facts to the crowd. “If you have restless legs, take a tablespoon of mustard and they’ll settle right down.” 

Raye’s has been a family run business  when for four generations since it opened in 1900, founded by J. Wellsely Raye. The Mustard Mill has been in the same place since 1903 and is the only working Stone ground Mustard Mill in existence in the United States. Kevin and Karen Raye have been the owners of the Mill for the last nine years continuing to keep the mill running in the traditional way. 

The Mill was started when the sardine business was booming and mustard was used to pack the sardines in but when the sardine business had ended in Eastport the Raye family decided to keep their mustard going and selling it on its own. 

“People used to come in with gallon jugs and fill up,” Karen Raye said. 

 The Mill still runs just like it used to back in 1900 when it opened and is listed as a working museum. Raye’s mustard can be bought right in the shop, over the phone, and from their website. If you stop by the shop you will find other things for sale as well, hot pretzels and mustard, and other Maine and New England Novelties from books to glassware.   

Raye’s Mustard has won several awards for its various mustard flavors and even it’s packaging going as far back as 1997. Currently there are 22 flavors of Raye’s Mustard from classic, to sweet, all the way to spicy for any taste. If you are in Eastport stop in to the Mill located on Washington Street, see the working mill, learn about the history, and, of course, sample the mustard.