Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine


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Buy Local: Maine Farmers’ Markets

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.

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Here’s to happy, healthy eating!

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Making Memories on Memorial Day

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend brings with it a rush of nostalgia for me – memories filled with Memorial Days spent in Maine, participating in parades or watching from the sidewalk, grilling hot dogs (the red ones, of course) and hamburgers with family, celebrating togetherness and honoring the memory of the servicemen and women who gave their lives for our country.

As we all know, summer starts slowly in Maine. Memorial Day weekend is often the real turning point to summer weather, making it a welcome milestone for Mainers. In preparation for this holiday, I’ve put together a brief listing of events around the state, as well as some opportunities to give back and support those who have served our country:

City of Portland Memorial Day Parade – May 27th at 10am, begins in Longfellow Square
(most, if not all, towns in Maine will have local Memorial Day parades – so keep a look out for news about yours.  I have fond memories of the Memorial Day parade in Gorham)

10th Annual Downeast Birding Festival (you may recall this from my post a week or so ago) – May 24th – 27th, Cobscook Bay area, Maine

Plant Sale at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (NOW is the time to visit this lovely place) – May 25th – 26th, 9am – 4pm (members only on Saturday morning), Boothbay, Maine.  Admission is also FREE for Maine residents (with valid ID), 9am – 5pm this weekend for Maine Days.  How many more reasons do you need?

Barberry... one of my favorite shrubs!

Barberry… one of my favorite shrubs!

Guided Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Presque Isle – Saturday, May 25th, the tour begins at 10am and includes more than 30 historic sites and individuals (approximately 2 miles walking distance).

Embrace history with a tour of museums in Old York, Maine – Monday, May 27th, for just a dollar per building, from 9am – 5pm.

The Wounded Warrior Project is an excellent program committed to providing services to our returning servicemen and women. Their mission is to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”

The Maine Military & Community Network strives to raise awareness about the challenges faced by military service members and their families, help to connect them to resources and support, and help them integrate in their communities.

Happy Memorial Day (in advance) – I hope you are able to spend it enjoying the company of family and friends!