As mentioned at the tail end of my most recent post, over the last several years, I’ve become increasingly interested in where the food I buy comes from. There are multiple and varying reasons for this, although the most influential one for me is the health factor, followed closely by supporting the local economy and small business farmers, who have struggled in recent decades. Although I think it’s positive to buy locally sourced food because it travels a shorter distance, that opinion is related to the quality of the produce and the long term viability of sourcing food that way, and not to other potential implications.
Living in Macon, Georgia, I typically go to the downtown farmers’ market, called the Mulberry Street Market, held every Wednesday afternoon / evening. I enjoy living in a state with such respect for its agricultural heritage, although its farmers face the same struggle as other states – competition with massive distributors that drive down prices and increase competition for store awareness and shelf space.
Maine also has a strong agricultural heritage and awareness of local farms is on the rise. Below, I’ve highlighted a few farmers’ markets and other considerations for buying food locally. The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets website is a great resource for shoppers and farmers alike. From this site, I learned that Maine has more than 130 farmers’ markets and 25 of these are year-round (click here to see the winter’s farmers’ markets).
If you live in the greater Portland area, check out the Portland Farmers’ Market at one of its alternating locations. The great thing about this market, given the cold winter climate, is that it is year round. In mid-November, they move to an indoor location. From April – November, they are in Deering Oaks Park on Saturdays (7am – 1pm) and Monument Square on Wednesdays (7am – 1pm).
Just outside Portland, you can visit the Greater Gorham Farmers’ Market, held on Saturdays from 8:30am – 12:30pm between May and October. The market is located on Route 114 between Baxter Memorial Library (where I spent a lot of time as a young adult) and the Gorham Times.
If you’re based in Bangor, the Bangor Farmers’ Market has a lot to offer, running on Sundays from 11am – 2pm during the summer months.
The Cumberland and Falmouth Markets sound pretty intriguing. In addition to your anticipated farmers’ market booths of fruits, veggies, and meats, they also offer arts and crafts. The Cumberland Market is on Saturdays from 9am – 12pm at the Town Hall on Tuttle Road, while the Falmouth Market is Wednesdays from noon -4pm at Legion Field on Depot Road.
Going further north, you can find the Houlton Community Market (open Memorial Day – October on Saturdays from 9am – 1pm) and the Presque Isle Farmers’ Market, also running May – October on Saturdays from 9am – 1pm.
There are many, many markets I didn’t mention here. Please do check out the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets site for more information if you live in another area.
Lastly, just the other day, I began following Casco Bay Organics on Twitter (@CascoBayOrganic). Finding this organization seemed serendipitous as this post was already slowly forming in my mind, and in its way, it is even better (easier) than a farmers’ market. You sign up for a small, medium, or large box, which will be delivered to you on Thursdays filled with local, organic produce. Sounds like a great service! Their website offers much more specific information and insight about the farms they source from.
Here’s to happy, healthy eating!