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More in Community
It’s time for the farmers’ markets!
We have had a long winter and it seems an even longer spring and everyone is excited for the beginning of the farmers’ market season. Our area is very fortunate to have two winter farmers’ markets, one in Norway and one in Bridgton, but it has been much too long since we have seen some of the farmers, bakers and artists that make up our local summer markets. Over the last several years there has been a real movement to “buy local” especially when it comes to our food.
This movement has led to the opening of new farmers’ markets all over our area. How exciting to be able to visit numerous markets during the week and over the weekend and always find fresh produce, meats, eggs, cheese and baked goods along with a wonderful array of flowers, plants, wood and fiber products and photography.
When heading out on the weekend you have two Saturday morning options. Either of these Saturday morning markets is a great option if you travel out of the area most of the week for work.
Fox School Farmers’ Market meets at the old Mildred Fox School in South Paris from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is one of only a handful of “growers only markets” in our State. Every vendor at this market grows and/or produces all of the products they sell. The market has a great variety of small local farmers providing fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, meats, perennials, cut flowers, goat milk soaps, baked goods (including fresh donuts) and similar products. This market also is lucky enough to have “Benched” with their wonderful creations from reclaimed wood.
Your other option for Saturday morning is the Bridgton Farmers’ Market which meets in the parking lot behind Reny’s in Bridgton from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This long running market features wonderful local growers providing a number of fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, goat cheese, artisan breads and similar products.
They also have fresh coffee and fiber products to round out this vibrant market. It is always a pleasure to shop at such a well established market with knowledgeable vendors and time tested products.
During the week your market options are wonderfully vast. Starting with Wednesday at the Lovell Farmers’ Market located on busy Route 5 at the Wicked Good Store. It runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and you will find a great group of farmers offering meats, vegetables, maple products, goat cheeses, and baked goods. This market was formed in 2009 and is a young, growing market.
Thursday afternoons bring you the Norway Farmers’ Market from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Norway Market is held behind the Fare Share Market on Main Street in Norway and is a long running, well established market. The vendors are wide ranging and bring together the best of the small and large farmers in the area.
There are lots of wonderful vegetables and fruits, perennials and cut flowers, and wood and fiber products. They also have some very popular local bakers offering artisan breads, heat and eat meals, pies and other delights. Throw in the fresh fish truck and this market is a must visit on any given Thursday afternoon.
On Friday you can head to the Harrison Farmers’ Market in the afternoon from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Town Office parking lot. This market offers terrific choices in vegetables and fruits, baked goods, meats, jams and sauces, fresh butter and maple products. This market has grown each year and has become well established in the area as the place to be on Friday afternoon.
Your other option for Friday is the Poland Farmers’ Market from 2 pm to 6 p.m. They will be located back at their original location on Route 26 at the Poland Crossing Shopping Center. The market opens a bit later in the season on June 24.
The farmers offer vegetables and fruits, wonderful baked goods, perennials, meats, fresh herbs and soaps, along with a mix-in of craft products. This market has a wonderful group of dedicated vendors working to make their market grow and benefit their community. They struggled through the construction on Route 26 last year and are really looking forward to the 2011 season.
Plans are in the works for several new markets, one in Stoneham and perhaps a weekday market in Bridgton. Look for details of these markets later this spring as the farmers’ market movement marches on.
Several of these markets opened Mother’s Day weekend and the others will open over the next several weeks. They all are wonderful places to meet old friends, listen to the entertaining music, and chat with the farmers who produce your food.
It is wonderful for our small area to have such a large selection of markets and products available to us. It is easy to pick up everything you need for a meal or for the week at any one of these markets. The variety of fresh, local meats available is exciting and the freshness of the vegetables cannot be matched.
Most of the farmers pick their produce the day of the market or the evening before – it doesn’t get any fresher than that! So visit your local farmer’s market and support this wonderful buy local movement.
For more information on Maine farmers’ markets visit the State of Maine’s website at getrealmaine.com. They have a searchable data base to locate not only farmers’ markets but many of the individual vendors and farm stands throughout the State.