Wednesday, April 23, 2014
The group that organizes the indoor Brunswick Winter Market in the Fort Andross Mill plans to bring a similar venture to Portland next month.
Beginning Feb. 13, the Portland Winter Market will set up shop in a vacant storefront at 85 Free St., across from the Cumberland County Civic Center. Vendors will sell vegetables, bread, cheese, yogurt, milk, beef, pork and fish.
The market will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday until the middle of April, when the Portland Farmers Market will return for the summer.
The space on Free Street is owned by a Portland attorney, Harold Pachios, and managed by Waterfront Maine. The management firm owns the Fort Andross Mill, and through that connection, Waterfront Maine's partner Anthony Gatti offered the space on Free Street to the farmers.
''It promotes good will and brings the community together, and we support that,'' Gatti said.
Although some of the vendors will be the same, the winter market is not affiliated with the Portland Farmers Market. As a result, it won't be bound by city restrictions that prevent vendors such as bread bakers and fishermen from selling at the summer markets in Monument Square and Deering Oaks, said Larry Bruns, who coordinates the Portland Farmers Market.
''It's going to be a very different market from what Portland's used to,'' said Dean Zoulamis, who runs the Mother Oven Bakery in Bowdoinham and is part of the group that's organizing the Free Street market. ''This will be a much more diverse market.''
Zoulamis is coordinating the logistics with Lauren Pignatello of Swallow Tail Farm in Whitefield and Barack Olins of Zu Bakery in Freeport. All three will set up tables at the winter market in Portland.
Four farms now provide every-other-week subscription market service in the winter to Portland residents. The subscription markets are set up at Monument Square and Deering Oaks, so farmers and customers stand out in the elements.
Three of the vendors -- Freedom Farm, Thirty Acre Farm and Olivia's Garden -- plan to drop their subscription service and replace it with tables at the indoor Saturday market. Sumner Valley Farm, the fourth vendor, is still considering the move. ''There's a good possibility that we'll be doing it,'' said Sumner Valley farmer Daniel Perron.
Other confirmed vendors are Lalibelia Farm, which sells tempeh, and Port Clyde Fresh Catch, which sells fresh and frozen fish and shrimp.
Organizers are contacting other farmers, and hope to have as many as 30 vendors.
''It seems Portland has been waiting for something like this,'' said Jane Frost of Thirty Acre Farm in Whitefield. ''A lot of people can't believe that there isn't a winter market already in Portland, because there are so many foodies.''
Bruns said that when the vendors gather for their annual winter meeting next month, they will talk about finding a permanent spot for an indoor winter market.
''We don't know if this space will be available next year,'' said Bruns, who runs Hanson Field Flower Farm.
Gatti said Waterfront Maine will look for other space for the farmers if it finds a long-term tenant for the spot on Free Street.
He said one alternative would be for the farmers to set up in the indoor mall between CVS and Andrea's Bridal. The mall, which is accessed from Congress Street, connects to the Free Street space.
The winter market in Brunswick started last year, and quickly grew from 13 vendors to the current roster of 45.
Zoulamis said the Brunswick market attracts about 1,500 people each Saturday, and, ''It's our vision that the Portland market is going to be even bigger.''
Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at: