The Winter Farmers’ Market in Portland had become a victim of its own success.

So popular was the offseason market – with its surprising abundance of cheeses, breads, greens, herbs, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, apples and other products – that its organizers were continually returning to City Hall for permission to relocate to a more accommodating venue.

Recently, the Portland City Council amended an ordinance to allow the Saturday indoor market, operated by the Portland Farmers’ Market Association, to change locations whenever necessary without going back to the city each time for approval. The only requirement is that the market organizers choose sites that are zoned for light industrial or retail use.

The winter market opened Dec. 5 in its third location in five years, a 3,600-square-foot space at 84 Cove St. in East Bayside. Participating farmers said they love the new venue and plan to remain there for the foreseeable future.

The winter market was launched in 2011 and operated for its first two years inside the Irish Heritage Center on State Street, but because of parking constraints it was moved to the Urban Farm Fermentory in East Bayside in 2013.

Farmers’ Market Association Treasurer Jaime Berhanu, of Lalibela Farm in Bowdoinham, said the group realized that it needed a larger space to accommodate its growing cadre of farmers. In addition, a reconfiguration of the fermentory during the past year reduced the available space.

“We wouldn’t have been able to fit everybody that we had last year,” she said.

In the fall, the association contacted Portland officials once again regarding another move, this time to the vacant Cove Street building. Because the ordinance, known as Chapter 21, tightly confined the market’s hours and days of operation and possible locations, an amendment to the ordinance has been required every time it has moved.

But last Monday, the council approved an amendment that broadened the market’s potential locations to include properties in both the light industrial zone of East Bayside and any other zones in which retail establishments are permitted.

City officials said the change will minimize the need for future amendments as the market’s needs continue to evolve. It also allows the farmers market more flexibility in terms of its hours and days of operation. The winter market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays through April 23.

Farmers’ Market Association Chairwoman Hanne Tierney said the ordinance change was a sensible thing to do for both the farmers and city officials.

“For each specific thing, we’d have to go to them for a change,” she said. “That’s a lot of visits, and maybe not the best use of their time.”

On Saturday morning, the market had a steady flow of customers but was less busy than it had been the previous three weekends, said Winter Farmers’ Market Program Manager Clara Moore, adding that some customers and vendors were likely busy celebrating the holidays with their families.

Overall the season has been off to a strong start in its new location, Moore said.

Meg Mitchell, co-owner of South Paw Farm in Freedom, represents one of 22 farms participating in the winter market. Mitchell said there are distinct advantages to the Cove Street location, including its openness, ease of loading and unloading goods, and the fact that farmers can leave their booths intact, rather than having to tear them down each time and set them up again the next Saturday.

“I’m loving this new space,” she said. “This space is the most ergonomic for us.”

For the past four years, the association has committed to doubling the value of fruits and vegetables for any customer who makes purchases through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, commonly referred to as food stamps.

Thanks to a grant from the nonprofit organization Wholesome Wave, the association has given away $48,000 worth of fruits and vegetables to SNAP customers, Moore said.

Market patron Giorgi Baino of Arundel, who uses SNAP, said she relies heavily on Portland farmers markets year-round to obtain healthy foods at an affordable price.

“This is a real life-saver,” Baino said. “To be able to come here and get my food stamps matched, it’s a gift.”

Customer Carole Ansheles of Portland said she has been a patron of the local markets for decades because the food is healthy and natural, and the farmers are wonderful people to do business with. She said the brightness and openness of the new winter space is likely to draw even more patrons.

“I love it – it’s my favorite of the four I’ve been to,” Ansheles said. “This is a thing of beauty, of eyes and mouth and heart.”