Friday, June 1, 2018

First day of the Farmers’ Market at Turning Leaf Drive in Windham was a hit by Lorraine Glowczak

If you missed the first day of the Farmers’ Market at Turning Leaf Drive in Windham (intersection of Route 302 and River Road) that occurred on Saturday, May 26 – no need to worry. The market will continue every Saturday from now until November 17th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

But come early and often! Saturday’s first market was such a success, despite the cloudy and cool weather, that when the farmers packed up at 1 p.m., they had very little produce left to sell.

Windham Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is the sponsoring entity of the Farmers’ Market and Tom Bartell, Executive Director and Lisa Fisher, Administrative Assistant have been working tirelessly to bring back a market in the area. “Despite the fact we got a little bit damp [on Saturday] it was so nice to see everyone happy at this Saturday’s market,” stated Fisher. “It was great having a large crowd of people come out to enjoy a farmers’ market again. I was very pleased with how successful the day was.” 

Bartell and Fisher are grateful for the help they have received to make this farmers’ market a realization. “So many people helped with this project, not just Tom and I.” Fisher said. “Local farmers, the folks from the Windham Community Garden and volunteers came to our meetings and graciously shared their time and knowledge. The property owner [at Turning Leaf Drive] let us use his land. Town staff helped us to get ready for opening day. Members of the WEDC gave their time and efforts. The people who help us with graphic design and advertising have been great. There are community members who kept asking for a farmers’ market. The wonderful vendors took a chance on this new beginning. It has really been a group effort.” 

https://www.egcu.orgBetween the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., the parking lot was intermittently full as people visited each farmer and vendor, purchasing their locally raised produce, meat and gifts. The first market included the following businesses:

1)      PH Farm from South Paris. They were at the market on Saturday to sell eggs and seedlings and plan to also have produce at future markets. PH Farm also hopes to incorporate selling rabbits in the future.
2)      Mountain View Farm from Harrison was available to meet the needs of those who prefer locally raised chicken, beef and pork.
3)      Mulberry Farms from Raymond was available to provide organic produce such as asparagus, radishes, lettuce mix, cucumbers and rhubarb.
4)      Sweet Relief Farm from Standish was available to sell organic seedlings. They will have organic produce in the future.
5)      Fox Run Gifts from Raymond were available as well to sell many locally made gifts including, household products, bird houses, wreaths, placemats, aprons and more.

“We have had additional vendor inquiries, so we suspect there will be more vendors available as time continues,” explained Fisher. “WEDC is working to grow the market in order to have a variety of vendors and attractions. In fact, we recently discovered that June is National Dairy Month and we are told to expect to have calves present during month of June.”

Farmers’ markets are an up and coming way to provide healthy and locally grown foods as well as a way for people to gather. There are many advantages to farmers’ markets and Frank Pecoraro of Mulberry Farms stated those advantages in a previous article. “The big difference between grocery store produce and what you get at a market is twofold,” Pecoraro began. “First, most often you get to speak to the person who grows the produce you are purchasing. You get to find out what fertilizer was used, if there were any pesticides applied, when produce was picked, etc. You don’t get that sort of knowledge at a grocery store. Second, the food that is grown locally is much better tasting and nutritious because it hasn’t traveled up to 3,000 miles. Food at a store is also made with the intention to have a long shelf life. As a result, the produce purchased at a grocery store loses nutrition and flavor.”

If you are a farmer or artisan and wish to be a part of the Farmers’ Market at Turning Leaf Drive in Windham, contact Fisher or Bartell at 207-894-6900, extension 6122.

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