This week’s post will be the first of a three part series on “Renewing the Maine Countryside”.
This summer in Maine has really been quite outstanding. We could use a little more rain to make the flowers and vegetable gardens feel better, but otherwise, what a delightful time is to be had with plentiful choices of activities. One of those is visiting farmer’s markets. Some places in Maine offer indoor farmer’s markets through the winter season, but let’s face it, this isn’t Paris. Farmer’s markets in Maine are largely a summer affair.
As I sip on my first cup of the day, I ponder my latest trip to this area’s Saturday Farmer’s Market. There are many, many things I love about schlepping off with my market bags; thoughts of fresh vegetables, meats and other various sundries spinning in my head. Farmers hold a special place in my heart. Rain or shine, Saturdays, 9-Noon, you can pretty much count on your favorite vendor to be all set up and waiting for you. I have my favorites, as does most everyone, but I have a keen eye to spot a newcomer or an old standby with a new offering. This particular Saturday, I’m loving the thought of Ashley Montgomery cooking up samples of local offerings; filling the air with tantalizing aromas. At this time of year, I may even snag some seasonal opportunities like strawberries; peas or raspberries.
My greatest love when visiting the farmer’s market is not about the food or other sundries. Nope! My greatest love is the opportunity to chat with everyone. Wait! Is that a pie? Coffee! Okay, I admit it, love of food ties for first place with love of chatting.
The Saturday market is cozily set up in the Courthouse parking lot which allows for easy access to vendors and plenty of room to pause for conversation with an old friend or someone new. Today held the unexpected pleasure of visitors from Paris! I don’t speak French and they didn’t speak English well, but food is a universal language. I came to understand they were rather disappointed in the offerings. Paris markets have virtually unlimited offerings of all things food, all year long. Bright, colorful displays beckon the buyer with a seemingly unlimited number of temptations. Across the pond here in Farmington, Maine, we are smaller-scale producers with very few months of a plethora of fresh vegetables and fruits to offer. Meats and amazing breads abound yearlong; offerings of flowers, yarns, woodworking, and value added products; but if you are looking for the fresh vegetables and fruits, your needs will be best met August through October.
Farmer’s markets are renewing the Maine countryside. I invite you to check out mainefarmersmarkets.org to scope out opportunities to support our farmer’s markets. Make it a scavenger hunt, looking for a familiar food or reaching out to try a new one. Stop and chat to strengthen that bond between growers and buyers. Collect the makings of an entire meal or simply a treat or two. You’re sure to find something to tempt your tummy, while growing your local economy through agriculture and fostering a bond with your farmer and fisher. All of that from your farmer’s market!