Behind the Market – Part 1

image-3Spring has sprung and despite the recent rain, many people are spending as much time doing things outdoors as they can – and that includes shopping.

Mainers who shop farmers markets are enjoying both the good food and the outdoor atmosphere.

farmers prepare all year for what they call, market season. owners and employees head to markets all over the state to sell their goods. for the customers, it’s a one stop shop.

Waterville Farmers’ Market Manager, Hanne Tierney, said, “You can come and get your milk, your cheese, your bread, your meats, and all your veggies for the whole week. So you may find you don’t have to go to the grocery store as often if you’re coming to markets that have a wide diversity of products.”

Farmers across the pine tree state head to local markets to meet customers and, of course, make some money.

Ad Promotions Coordinator for the Maine Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Jessica Nixon, said, “Farmers are then able to sell their product locally, to take that revenue and but and hire locally as well. So, it affects various aspects of the economy.”

Not only do farmers’ markets help the local economy, experts said they can improve diets.

“It provides the consumer an opportunity to have education right with the source of the food,” said Nixon.

The Waterville Farmers’ Market manager said shopping at markets gives customers a variety all year long. “You’re supporting open land all around us and you’re getting delicious, healthy, and good food. You get to eat with the seasons. All those things are really important.” Tierney continued, “It’s great because we get a relationship with our customers and the customers get the freshest product possible.

That customer-farmer relationship can make all the difference when it comes to food quality.

Tierney explained, “It means that we’re personally caring how clean that spinach is and how fresh it is. We want to get those customers to come back, so we want the customers to get the best possible product they can when they come from us.”

While Nixon thinks markets are Maine involve a lot more than just food. “A lot of them will have entertainment coming in or other activities. So, it really is an engaging environment where they can walk around, really be outside and enjoy that nature component.”

Various markets around the state now accept programs like SNAP and EBT, allowing another group of people to eat fresh and enjoy the market environment.

Tierney said, “The person who produced it really takes a lot of pride in that and we like to share that with our customers. We want people to come and to enjoy themselves, to chit chat with their neighbors, and have it be a real community center – and this market is wonderful that way.”

To find a market near you, head to

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