December 1, 2010

Natural Foodie: Winter markets
are hot, hot, HOT

Cold weather is here, but there's been no chilling effect on what's become a flourishing and festive indoor scene, to the delight of farmers and their loyal keep-it-local fan base.

By Avery Yale Kamila akamila@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

As folk music filled the cavernous room in the former textile mill on Saturday, a steady stream of shoppers stocked up on everything from parsnips and beets to mussels and goat cheese. Now entering its third season, the Brunswick Winter Market held in Fort Andross has proven that demand for local food doesn't abate in the colder months.

click image to enlarge

Jan Goranson of Goranson Farm in Dresden waits on customers last weekend at the bustling Brunswick Winter Market at Fort Andross.

Photos by Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Fresh produce from Fishbowl Farm in Bowdoinham at the Brunswick Winter Market.

Additional Photos Below

WHERE TO FIND WINTER FARMERS MARKETS

BATH FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon

WHEN: First and third Saturday through April

WHERE: Bath United Church of Christ, 150 Congress St.

MORE INFO: www.bathfarmersmarket.com

BELFAST WINTER MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHEN: Every Friday through Dec. 17

WHERE: Aubuchon Hardware, 231 Northport Ave. (Route 1)

MORE INFO: www.belfastfarmersmarket.org and on Facebook: Belfast Farmers' Market

BRIDGTON FARMERS' MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHEN: Dec. 11

WHERE: Bridgton Community Center, 15 Depot St.

MORE INFO: bridgtonfarmersmarket.com and on Facebook: Bridgton Maine Farmers' Market

BRUNSWICK WINTER MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

WHEN: Every Saturday through April

WHERE: Fort Andross, 14 Maine St.

MORE INFO: brunswickwintermarket.webs.com

SPECIAL EVENTS: Yule Market, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 23

DOWNTOWN WATERVILLE FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 2 to 4 p.m.

WHEN: Every third Thursday through April

WHERE: Concourse parking lot along Appleton and Main streets

MORE INFO: www.watervillefarmersmarket.org

EUROPEAN FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon

WHEN: Every Saturday year-round except Dec. 25 and Jan. 1

WHERE: Sunnyside Greenhouse, 117 Buck St., Bangor

MORE INFO: 947-8464

FALMOUTH WINTER MARKET

TIME: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHEN: Every Wednesday through February

WHERE: Allen, Sterling and Lothrop, 191 Route 1

MORE INFO: www.cumberlandfarmersmarket.org

SPECIAL EVENTS: Jingle Bell Market, 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 11; Festival of the Last Minute, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 22

FARMINGTON FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon

WHEN: Every Saturday until the beginning of May

WHERE: Farmington Grange Hall, Bridge St.

MORE INFO: Richardin52@hotmail.com or 491-6166

FREEPORT YULE MARKET

TIME: 2 to 5 p.m.

WHEN: Dec. 19

WHERE: L.L. Bean, under the tent at Discovery Park

MORE INFO: www.cumberlandfarmersmarket.org

GARDINER WINTER MARKET

TIME: 2 to 6 p.m.

WHEN: First and third Wednesday through

April 20

WHERE: Christ Episcopal Church, 2 Dresden Ave.

MORE INFO: www.gardinerfarmersmarket.org

LEWISTON WINTER FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 5 to 7:30 p.m.

WHEN: Second Thursday of each month through April

WHERE: St. Mary's Nutrition Center, 208 Bates St.

MORE INFO: 513-3848 or greatfallsmarket@gmail.com

MIDCOAST WINTER FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon

WHEN: Every Saturday through April 30

WHERE: Topsham Grange Hall, 47 Pleasant St.

MORE INFO: 729-1872 and on Facebook: Midcoast Winter Farmer's Market

NORWAY WINTER MARKET

TIME: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHEN: Every Saturday until Dec. 18

WHERE: Norway Grange, 15 Whitman St.

MORE INFO: kiddshillbillyfarm@yahoo.com

ORONO FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon

WHEN: Second and fourth Saturday through April

WHERE: Pine Street Parking lot, downtown

MORE INFO: www.oronofarmersmarket.org

PORTLAND WINTER FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHEN: Pending city approval, Jan. 8 through April

WHERE: Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St.

MORE INFO: www.portlandmainewintermarket.com and on Facebook: Portland Maine Winter Market & Portland Maine Farmers' Market

SKOWHEGAN FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHEN: First and third Saturday through April

WHERE: Somerset Gristmill, corner of Court and High streets

MORE INFO: www.skowheganfarmersmarket.com

STATE OF MAINE CHEESE CO. FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon

WHEN: Every Saturday year-round

WHERE: State of Maine Cheese Co., 461 Commercial St. (Route 1), Rockport

MORE INFO: www.cheese-me.com

WASHINGTON GRANGE FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHEN: Every Saturday through mid-December and the third Saturday from January through March

WHERE: Evening Star Grange, 31 Old Union Road, Washington

MORE INFO: 845-2140

WESTERN MAINE FARMERS MARKET

WHEN: Order year-round online by Wednesday and pick up in Farmington or Wilton, or receive free delivery between Strong and downtown Farmington

WHERE: Pick up at Farmington Grange Hall,

4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Pick up in Wilton 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays (check website for location)

MORE INFO: www.westernmainemarket.com

WEST CUMBERLAND WINTER MARKET

TIME: 9 a.m. to noon

WHEN: Every Saturday through February, except Dec. 18, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1

WHERE: Skillins Greenhouses, 201 Gray Road (Route 100), Cumberland

MORE INFO: www.cumberlandfarmersmarket.org

SPECIAL EVENTS: Yule Market, 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 17

WINTER GATEWAY FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHEN: Dec. 11 and 18,

Jan. 15 an 29, Feb. 5 and 19, and March 5 and 19

WHERE: Fosters Downeast Clambake, 1 Axholme Road, York

MORE INFO: 363-4422 or www.gatewayfarmersmarket.com

WOODLAWN FARMERS MARKET

TIME: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

WHEN: Every Sunday year-round

WHERE: Woodland Museum, Sleigh Barn, Route 172, Ellsworth

MORE INFO: www.woodlawnmuseum.com


Information compiled with support from the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Times are subject to change. Please check with individual markets.

Tina Phillips of Brunswick is a regular shopper at the town's two summer farmers markets, and has been coming to this weekly winter market since it opened.

"These are our farmers," Phillips said. "We follow them. We want to support the farmers so they can survive."

Her friend Lorraine Berte, also of Brunswick, agreed. "It's got a festive feel," she said. "It's not just like going grocery shopping."

Even Amy Doughty and her daughter, Kaitlyn, who were enjoying their first visit to the market on Saturday, had nothing but praise for the experience.

"We can't stop buying stuff," Kaitlyn confided and pointed to their shopping bag, which bulged with fresh basil, eggs, scratch-made pretzels and spices.

"It's a great atmosphere and everyone's so friendly," Amy said. "We'll definitely be back."

Karen Marston of Bowdoin Baking Co., a vendor at the Brunswick Winter Market and one of its coordinators, said the success of this market and the others like it cropping up across the state speak to the strong consumer desire to buy directly from farmers and other local food producers year round.

And at a time of year when people are looking for entertaining excuses to get out of the house, the market offers more than a way to stock the pantry.

"We have people come and stay for two hours because they can meet their friends and have coffee," Marston said.

With a waiting list of vendors who would like to join, the market is a pioneer of Maine's growing indoor winter market movement, which this year includes 22 markets in communities across Maine. Open each Saturday from November through April, the Brunswick Winter Market boasts 45 vendors and an average of 1,000 shoppers each week.

By design, it is not exclusively a farmers market, which means vendors sell wooden bowls, aprons, forged metal hooks and prepared foods alongside the traditional farm-fresh offerings.

"It keeps the money in the neighborhood," Marston said. "We all come together on Saturday morning and we're the face of who's producing their food."

In Portland, where the farmers market has been in continuous operation since 1768, the winter market has struggled to conform with the city's ordinances and regulations, which are much more strict than the state law governing farmers markets.

Last year, a group of farmers not affiliated with the Portland Farmers Market organized an indoor winter market in a privately-owned building on Free Street following the Brunswick model. However, the market experienced delays as the vendors scrambled to comply with the city's inspections and fees.

This year, the market hopes to move to the Irish Heritage Center, which offers 45 off-street parking spaces. The market would be open every Saturday beginning in January, offering only products produced by farmers. For the farmers to make this move, the city must approve a zoning change for the building that would allow retail operations at the site.

Last week, the city's Planning Board approved the zoning change, which will go to the City Council for final approval on Monday.

"As long as the (Monday) meeting goes well, we'll be in the Irish Heritage Center starting Jan. 8," said Lauren Pignatello of Swallowtail Farm, who is one of the coordinators of the Portland Winter Market and a vendor at the Brunswick Winter Market. "We'll have lots of winter greens, root vegetables, cheese, yogurt, kefir, hard salami, pork, beef, chicken, lamb, rabbit, tempeh, bread, eggs, apples and flower bulbs."

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Musicians Jeff Raymond of Pownal, on the fiddle; Dick Durgin of Brunswick, on the upright bass; and Craig Hensley of Bowdoinham, on the guitar, entertain during the Brunswick Winter Market last Saturday.

click image to enlarge

Phil Gray of New Meadows Mussels in Harpswell arranges his display.

click image to enlarge

Winter squash from Goranson Farm in Dresden.



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