Tom Henderson, or “Turkey Tom,” sets out some Thanksgiving birds people have purchased from Pine Tree Poultry. The winter farmer’s market opened on Wednesday for some last-minute Thanksgiving food shopping and turkey pickup. (Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record)

BRUNSWICK — Tom Henderson, also known as “Turkey Tom” handed out more than 100 turkeys to visitors at the Midcoast Winter Farmers Market last week before Thanksgiving to people looking for fresh, local meat to serve at their holiday meals.

Henderson, along with Stephanie Grant, represented Pine Tree Poultry from New Sharon, one of about 16 vendors who now sell at the farmers’ market at Turtle Rock Farm on Fridays. The market moved from Topsham Fairgrounds at the beginning of November and relocated to Turtle Rock, one of dozens of businesses now found at Brunswick Landing. The market sells fresh fruits and vegetables, pastries, breads and meats — everything that was found at the old location in Topsham.

Although a small, locally run farmers’ market might seem out of place at a former military base dominated by larger, primarily technology-centered companies, Ben Whatley, market president, said that it has been successful so far, drawing foot traffic from many employees on their lunch breaks or by people visiting the nearby YMCA.

While some people who lived nearby may have stopped coming when the Midcoast Winter Farmer’s Market moved, Whatey said, there are still a number of “regulars” who followed the market from its previous location, as well as new faces. From talking with people or observing people walking over instead of driving, Whatley estimates that so far about half of the people who have visited the market over the past few weeks have been people who work at Brunswick Landing. 

Fresh fall produce for sale at the winter farmers’ market on Wednesday. (Hannah LaClaire/The Times Record)

“The fairgrounds were a destination,” Whatley said, which meant people had to go out of their way to visit the market. Brunswick Landing is similar in that people are not just stopping in on their way downtown, but there are more businesses and homes surrounding the new location, he said. 

There are also a number of people who moved to Brunswick to work at Brunswick Landing and are still getting to know the area, including the local farmers’ markets.

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“Folks are excited about it,” Whatley said. “There’s more energy and activity here now even in the last year and a half since we started talking about the project.”

“It’s pretty cool,” said Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority. “Any time there’s that activity and energy, it’s great,” he said.

Plus, with the new location, Jen Legnini, who owns Turtle Rock Farm, is able to run a cafe out of her kitchen, expanding on some of the options that she had at the old market since now she does not need to transport her food. Four days a week, Legnini makes jams, jellies and various canned goods at Turtle Rock.  

“We’re having fun, people are excited,” she said. For now, they are keeping the number of vendors small, until they gain more traction. “We’re getting into the rhythm now,” she added.

Aside from traditional word-of-mouth advertising, Whatey said he and other vendors put the word out in the Cryer, have done some Facebook advertising and have been distributing postcards with the new location displayed on the front to get the word out. So far, he said it seems to be working, and with the market’s third Friday open coming up, he is expecting a good turnout.

The Midcoast Winter Farmers Market is open Fridays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 39 Burbank Ave.

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