A dairy cow stands in the shade of a tree at Smiling Hill Farm. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Warm days of abundant sunshine remind us that once again, farmers’ market season is here – a tradition that connects dwellers in dense neighborhoods to the goods grown around them.

But why not further reduce the steps between harvest and table, and get right to the source of the produce, herbs, flowers, baked goods, eggs, dairy and pasture-raised meats that show up weekly in your town.

Many Maine farms welcome visitors to their fields to shop at on-site farmstands, pick their own produce, explore and, at some, even more.

Fair Winds Farm offers a breathtaking coastal landscape. Located on Merrymeeting Bay and the Kennebec River, with fields of fruiting crops in both Topsham and Bowdoinham, the family operation maintains a farmstand open three days a week.

Pickers can visit starting in mid-June for strawberries. Raspberries and blueberries are ready in the weeks after July arrives. (Always call ahead to confirm a farm’s hours and availability.)

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, 332 Augusta Road, Topsham (farm stand location) and 555 Brown’s Point Road, Bowdoinham (U-pick field location), 207-729-1872.  fairwindsfarmmaine.com

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Bumbleroot Organic Farm, in Windham, is a hilly, pastoral destination. Plants and seedlings are offered for sale on Saturdays, along with vegetables, flowers, herbs and local products gathered and grown by the two-family crew.

Bumbleroot’s fields are not currently open to the public. The farm collects online orders of vegetable and herb seedlings for SNAP/EBT customers who then get half off at pickup.

Open 9 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday, 196 Highland Cliff Road, Windham, [email protected] (no phone). bumblerootorganicfarm.com

Hillary Knight brings a goat back into the barn after it was on display during the barnyard story hour at Smiling Hill Farm in Westbrook in 2015. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

Getting up close to friendly animals in the barnyard or taking an ice cream break are options at Westbrook’s Smiling Hill Farm. The family-owned dairy produces milk, yogurt, cream and more. When your cooler bag grows full, perhaps there will still be time for lunch from the cafe, featuring sandwiches, soups and cheeses made in house by Silvery Moon Creamery.

Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (lunch served 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., ice cream until 7 p.m.), 781 County Road, Westbrook, 800-743-7463. Tickets required due to COVID restrictions, $8. smilinghill.com

Blueberries ripen for picking at Orchard Ridge Farm. Jill Brady/Staff Photographer

Orchard Ridge Farm boasts a kitchen slinging breakfast burritos, empanadas, pizzas and fresh eggs. As the name suggests, fruit abounds in its Gorham fields, with pick-your-own high-bush blueberries beginning around mid-July. Apples and pears fill bushels later in the fall.

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The year-round farm store on site stocks local meat, cheese, produce, baked goods, jams, honey, maple products and fermented foods.

Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Tuesday, 236 Sebago Lake Road, Gorham, 207-712-1433. orchardridge.farm

McIntosh apples at McDougal’s Orchards in Springvale. Jack Milton/Staff Photographer

Apple nerds should bookmark McDougal’s Orchard in Springvale for its 40-plus varieties. Go empty-basketed and harvest your own, plus peaches, nectarines, plums, pears, raspberries, pumpkins and winter squash. Those less enthused about picking fruit can explore a corn maze, fairy village, farm store and miles of walking trails.

Opens in August, check website for hours. McDougal’s Orchard, 201 Hanson Ridge Road, Springvale, (207) 324-5054. mcdougalorchards.com

These are only a handful of the hundreds of farms in Maine’s southern and Midcoast regions. To find more, browse UMaine Cooperative Extension’s directory or the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s interactive map.

Alison McConnell is a musician, artist, writer and novice farmer. She is the community growing coordinator for St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston.

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FIND A FARMERS MARKET NEAR YOU

If you don’t have time to spend on a farm, you can enjoy the fruits their labor at one of these nearby farmers markets. To browse even more by location, day and whether SNAP/EBT/WIC are accepted, check out the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets directory.

Christi Daimler of Portland surveys bouquets of sunflowers from Merrifield Farm before making a selection at the Portland Farmers’ Market at Deering Oaks in 2021. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Bath
8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, Linwood E. Temple Waterfront Park, 61 Commercial St., bathfarmersmarket.com
New Roots Cooperative Farm, started by four refugee growers from Somalia, offers chemical-free specialty and rare vegetables. Check out Mana Medicinals, Mainely Poultry and the Cloud 9 double-cream cow’s milk magic made by Hahn’s End Cheese.

Brunswick
8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Friday, Brunswick Mall (town green), Maine Street, brunswickfarmersmarket.com
Sixteen regular vendors offering seafood, meats, produce, cheese, locally roasted coffee, plants and seedlings. Newly accepting SNAP and Maine Harvest Bucks this season.

Gray
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday (starting July 3), 19 Portland Road, grayvillagefarmersmarket.com
Young village market featuring five vendors of eggs, pasture-raised poultry, produce, microgreens, soaps and body care, chevre, baked goods and hand pies.

Portland
7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday, Deering Oaks park, Deering and Park avenues, portlandmainefarmersmarket.org
Three dozen vendors provide an oasis of fresh foods for the city. Don’t miss Fresh Start Farms, North Spore mushrooms or Middle Intervale Farm’s pasture-raised meats and 16 varieties of garlic.

Standish
9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, 1 Main St., facebook.com/steepfallsfarmersmarket
Another small, newly launched venture with local crafts, live music, fresh produce, fermented vegetables, goat cheese and soaps, seedlings, maple syrup and honey.

Yarmouth
3-6 p.m. Thursday, Bickford Pavilion, 1 Railroad Square, facebook.com/yarmouthfarmersmarket
Featuring produce, baked goods, grass-fed beef, cheese, eggs, cut flowers and prepared foods including burritos, soups and gelato. New location this season.


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