April 27, 2018 | Jane Holland | Leave a comment Farmers markets have sprung up everywhere over the last few years, there is even a National Farmer’s Market Week in August. If you aren’t taking advantage of MDI’s offerings, here are a few reasons why you should! Fresh and ripe – Your foods don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to reach the shelves, be picked unripe to allow them to be ripe on arrival or be artificially ripened. Better taste, better nutrition. Seasonality – Reconnect with the earth, the weather and the turning of the earth Organic/Non GMO –Many small local farmers choose to farm organically, using unmodified and heirloom seeds. Humane treatment of animals – Producers usually aren’t running factory farming operations. Provenance and variety – You know where your food comes from and tend to get wider variety of each product. Support your local economy, farms, and neighbors. The State of Maine regulations regarding farmers markets require that at least 75% of the products offered must be grown or processed by, or under the direction of the individual vendor, so you really are supporting you local farms and community for sure. Reduced environmental impact – Less transportation emissions, less processing emissions, less pesticide & fertilizer, less soil depletion. It’s fun – Less of a chore than grocery shopping, say hello to your friends and enjoy the fresh air. Generally, it helps to get to any farmers market first thing, especially if it’s early in the season or you want a popular item. (I have returned to a stall for raspberries 5 minutes after seeing them only to find them sold out!) However, as you get to know the farmers and they get to know you, they will often hold items until you get there. It’s all about your relationship. So now that you never want to see the inside of a grocery store again (Ok slight exaggeration!), what are your local options? Farm Drop MDI Farm Drop is the new kid on the block – your online Farmers Market. Farm Drop is being coordinated through Healthy Acadia and is an expansion of a Blue Hill project. When: Order online 10:00am Saturday through 10:00am Thursday and pick up your order at Floret on Fridays 3:00pm – 6:00pm, through June 2018 NOTE: Farm Drop is expecting to continue beyond June 2018, but needs to finalize a location for July – September. Watch their website for details. Where: Floret in Somesville (location in summer TBD) What: Vendors and products are listed on the ordering site and include fermented food, meats and poultry, bread and cookies, cut flowers, blueberries and seafood. The addition of seafood and the year round operation are two of Farm Drop’s unique offerings. Farm Drop is new and still developing, its philosophy is to provide a way for farmers to supplement their regular farmers market circuits and provide a system to utilize excess product. Potential vendors can contact Healthy Acadia for participation details. Currently there is no fee to participate and emphasis is placed on local producers, with good sustainability and ecological practices located within easy reach of the drop site. Since many of the producers are familiar with each other, duplication of offerings is minimal. The location of the drop at Floret led to the development of a winter “pop up” Farmers Market with various of the Farm Drop and other local vendors setting up at the pick up site. This pop up event discontinued Mid April, but you’ll find many of these vendors at their seasonal spots or other farmers markets in the area. Town Hill/Acadia Farmers Market When: Fridays 3:00pm – 6:00pm, June to late September Where: Next to the Fire Station & playground (Rain day location in Town Hill VIS Hall) What: Vendors include Tide Mill Farms (meats & poultry, dairy and produce), Brown Family Farms (pork), Garden Side Dairy at Hatch Knoll Farm ( goat cheese, blueberries, body care products and jams), Burke Hill Farms (blueberries), Thomas Bay farm (produce), Runwater Farm (certified organic produce), A Stones Throw to Health (fermented products), Wild Seed Farms (produce), Sunflower Gardens (cut flowers, plants and produce). This market is managed by one person, Rachel Moses, who vets and approves all vendors. Vendors pay $175 for the seasonal spot and have to obtain all necessary licenses and insurance. This is a good option for newcomers as there are no “non compete” restrictions, as the market allows multiple vendors for the same product. Rachel aims to include as many hyper local producers as possible. Accepts WIC Bar Harbor/Eden Farmers Market When: Sundays 9:00am – noon, May 13th to October 28th, 2018 Where: YWCA Parking Lot at the corner of Park & Main Streets in downtown Bar Harbor What: A seasonal, open air market featuring locally grown and produced items including: flowers, fresh fruit, preserves, seasonal vegetable, seedlings, bread, cookies, milk, yogurt, cheese, coffee, soap and beauty products, prepared foods to take home, beef, pork, eggs, and seafood. The Eden Farmers Market and Northeast Harbor Framers Market vendors are listed on their website. The markets are managed by a volunteer board, with applications being due in time for review at their mid January annual meeting. The markets try to minimize multiple vendors offering the same products. Accepts WIC Northeast Harbor Farmers Market When: Thursdays 9:00am – noon, June 21st to August 30th, 2018 Where: On the green at Harbor Drive in Northeast Harbor What: A seasonal, open air market featuring locally grown and produced items including flowers, fresh fruit, preserves, seasonal vegetables, seedlings, bread, cookies, milk, yogurt, cheese, coffee, soap and beauty products, yarn, prepared foods to take home, beef, pork, egg,s and seafood. Note: NEH is planning to create a formal space for the farmers market and the areas food trucks in this same area so location may change a bit. We believe the availability of food trucks right by the Farmer Market is unique on the island, let us know if we’re wrong. The Eden Farmers Market and Northeast Harbor Framers Market vendors are listed on their website. The markets are managed via a committee method, with applications being due in time for review at their mid January annual meeting. The markets try to minimize multiple vendors offering the same products. Accepts WIC Southwest Harbor Farmers Market When: Fridays 9:00am – 1:00pm, Late June through Columbus Day Where: St. John’s Church Parking lot opposite Bar Harbor Bank & Trust What: A seasonal open air market featuring Maine products direct from Maine farms including artisan bread, goat cheeses, locally grown fruits and vegetables, eggs, pork, beef, chicken, goats meat, flowers, jams, jellies, salsas, pickles, and more. Accepts WIC Here’s hoping we see you at a farmers market soon (and if you have anything to add in terms of information, please comment on this post)!