Celebrate Maine Farmers' Market with Snapshot Week

Farmers’ markets across the state are preparing to celebrate Maine Farmers’ Market Snapshot Week, August 7-13th. Markets from Madawaska to Kennebunk, and Eastport to Newfield will be participating, with special events to include music, children’s activities, contests, and more as part of this new program developed by the Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM).

Snapshot Week will take place during “National Farmers’ Market Week,” as proclaimed by the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.

Most Maine farmers’ markets are operated cooperatively by the market members, which creates a special atmosphere and unique variety of vendors. Capturing the story of these markets and the stories of some of their devoted friends is the goal of Snapshot Week. Participating markets will be encouraging shoppers to tell the story of their market through photos, shared memories, special events, and surveys.

Maine state law states that it takes two or more farmers to make a “farmers’ market,” and they range in size accordingly from two to forty or more. (The state average is about 16 vendors per market.) Snapshot Week is a scalable event, with markets rural and urban, small and large participating. “Having the opportunity to take part in a statewide marketing campaign  like Snapshot Week helps bring more locally minded folks to our sweet little market,” said Rose Rapp, manager of the Bayside Farmers’ Market. “It’s also a great way for me as a market manager to reach more potential customers both in our vibrant community, and folks that are visiting our great state.”

Market farming in Maine dates back centuries, with significant growth in number over the last decade. When MFFM was founded in 1991, there were about 30 summer markets, whereas now there are about 115. This growth reflects many cultural and economic factors. “Farmers’ markets are excellent sources for local food in Maine, particularly since the region’s farms tend to offer a wide diversity of products,” according to Leigh Hallett, MFFM Executive Director. “Markets are also social places, where people can connect with friends and family, and really get to know their farmers in a fun, family-friendly, outdoor setting.”

Over the last decade, many people have sought food produced closer to home for ecological reasons, as well as for improved taste and freshness. With many markets accepting WIC and SNAP, and also serving as Senior Farm Share pickup sites, the community spirit and good food at farmers’ markets is increasingly accessible to a wide range of shoppers. “Farmers’ markets don’t just get people outside, they bring people together and they bring them downtown. And thanks to innovative programs at the markets, healthy local food is within reach of people of all income levels,” according to Sean Faircloth, mayor of the city of Bangor (home to three vibrant markets).

In addition to grocery staples at a range of price points, many farmers’ markets offer interesting specialty products, such as locally roasted coffee, flavored oils and vinegars, foraged mushrooms, artisanal cheeses, and local brews . Some also offer unique services, including chair caning and knife sharpening. If you haven’t experienced Maine’s farmers’ markets recently, now is the time! Locate one near you using the statewide directory: mainefarmersmarkets.org.

To learn more about Maine’s farmers’ markets and Snapshot Week, contact:

 

Leigh Hallett, Exec. Dir., Maine Federation of Farmers’ Market, 113 North Lancey St., Pittsfield, ME 04967, (207) 487-7114, director@mffm.org