The Market at Pineland features a cafeteria-style deli and bakery counter, with an array of to-go food options, not to mention an adjacent market filled with produce, groceries, craft wine and beer and Maine-made gifts. Photo by Eric Russell

NEW GLOUCESTER – If you’re not already hungry when you walk into The Market at Pineland, you will be when you leave.

Not because the portions are small, but because there are so many other things to tempt your stomach beyond the lunch menu.

Set up almost like a cafeteria, the market has a traditional café menu of specialty sandwiches and create-your-own options, as well as soups and other sides like macaroni & cheese, and a separate bakery counter for sweets.

On a weekday in early September, I walked in just before noon and found the place busy already. All the sandwiches looked appealing. The Famished Farmer ($9.99) featured two kinds of meat (turkey and ham directly from Pineland Farms), two kinds of cheese (baby Swiss and Monterey Jack, also from Pineland) and vegetables with a house-made garlic pepper mayonnaise.  The Almost Thanksgiving ($8.99) was filled with Pineland turkey, stuffing, red onion and house-made cranberry horseradish mayo.

I opted for The Smokehouse ($8.99), which was made with Pineland roast beef, smoked cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion and the garlic pepper mayo.

Sandwiches are served on a choice of bread (white, wheat or rye) or wrap (white, wheat or spinach). I went with wheat bread.


As I waited for the sandwich to be prepped (about 10 minutes), I wandered around the expansive café, which includes a bunch of picnic table-style seats and a wide range of to-go food options. I’m talking packages of steak and ground beef from Pineland cattle, pre-made frozen meals like lasagna, and all sorts of sauces, salsas and marinades.

And that doesn’t even include the adjacent market itself, which is filled with fresh produce, select groceries, craft beer and wine, not to mention a variety of Maine-made crafts and gifts.

It’s all located inside the Pineland Welcome Center, a stately brick building on the gorgeous campus of the former state institution for developmentally disabled adults, which closed for good in 1996 following years of mistreatment of residents. The market is accessible by Morse Road.

Four years after the institution closed, the campus was purchased by the Libra Foundation, a nonprofit charity founded by Elizabeth Noyce, and repurposed into a working farm, with trails open to the public for running, biking and cross-country skiing, and several buildings now leased to various businesses that have a wonderful lunch option right on site.

Back to the food.

The Smokehouse sandwich at The Market at Pineland features roast beef, smoked cheddar and a house-made garlic pepper mayonnaise for $8.99. Photo by Eric Russell

The Smokehouse sandwich was a solid choice. The bread was soft but hearty, with oats providing a bit of texture. The roast beef was lean and tender. The flavor star was the smoked cheddar, but coming close behind was the garlic pepper mayo. Lettuce and tomato played supporting roles. The sandwich was served with a pickle spear but otherwise no frills. It didn’t need them.


The sandwich was plenty big enough to satisfy any lunch hunger – especially if paired with a small bag of Cape Cod style chips, as I did – but customers can choose a half sandwich option, too, if their appetite is smaller or if they want to try a heartier side. Macaroni & cheese made with Pineland Farms cheddar sounds like something to go back for. A variety of specials are on rotation, too, including made-to-order burgers with Pineland beef.

If I’d been in the mood for sweets, I might have brought home a salted caramel brownie or a slice of apple cider pound cake, but everything looked worth trying.

Perhaps the only downside of The Market at Pineland is its location, although that might be a plus for some. It’s not in or near any town center, which means a drive for most, or a nice bike ride for some.

But the drive is worth it, if not for the food and atmosphere, then to see how a campus that once represented a dark chapter of Maine’s past has been transformed into a destination.

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