People care about sustainable agriculture. They want healthful foods from farming techniques that protect the environment. Animal welfare is a top priority. Future generations must have the ability to produce the same. Many farmers in Maine chose a simpler way of life but are using creativity and resourcefulness to make farming work. The Maine farmers want to share the fruits of their labor with people that share their same values. The sharing occurs at the local farmers market or cooperative, agri-tourism and the extremely popular farm-to-table restaurant movement.
The snow has finally melted and we anxiously await the return of warmer weather and sunshine in Maine. The farmers are planting their crops. It won’t be long until the Farmer’s Markets and farm stands are in full swing! There are several farmers’ markets that are open all year long. The remainder open sometime in May and stay open through the end of October. You can find a local farmers’ market most days of the week.
- Camden’s Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.
- Rockand’s Farmers’ Market is on Thursdays.
- Belfast’s Farmers’ Market is open on Fridays.
- The United Farmer’s Market of Maine, also in Belfast, is open on Saturdays.
Farm stands are often open every day of the week. Fortunately when the farmer’s markets are not open there are the local cooperatives which carry the local produce.
There is nothing like fresh produce! Before we moved to Maine, I liked vegetables. After learning about so many varieties, I have grown a deeper appreciation of vegetables.
In addition to the fresh produce, one can find a larger number of other products
- Baked goods including breads
- Sprouted nuts and seeds
- Maple Syrup
- Local tofu
- Scarves and stoles from woven local luxury fibers.
I have ALWAYS loved cheese, any kind of cheese, the stronger flavor, the better. A visit to a farmers’ market often affords me a taste of a new goat cheese. This love of goat cheese and talking to the local farmers at the markets has peaked my interest in agri-tourism.
The definition of agri-tourism varies depending upon where you look. In a very broad sense, it is any agriculturally based operation or activity that brings visitors to a farm or ranch. Agri-tourism in Maine is so abundant and popular that there is a Maine Agri-Tourism Map with hundreds of stops across the state. One can use this tool from Get Real Maine to plan your Maine agritourism itinerary.
One of my favorite activities is the meet and greet of the new offspring. The farms are open with staff available to answer questions, education programs, and products to purchase and taste.
- April 22, 2018, Appleton Creamery in Appleton, Copper Tail Farm in Waldoboro, and Fuzzy Udder Creamery in Whitefield (members of the Midcoast Cheese Trail) will hold the annual Kid Hugging Day! You will be able to visit with Pumpkin Vine Family Farm’s kids on May 27, 2018 at their Spring Fest. See the individual websites for the specifics.
- May 5, 2018 is Calf Unveiling Day at Aldermere Farms.
Toddy Pond Farm, also a member of the Midcoast cheese trail, is celebrating Dairy Month on June 2, 2018. They are opening a new farm store to visitors on Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm and Wednesdays from 4 to 8 pm. This schedule will begin on Saturday May 26th and will end in late September or early October. Visitors will be welcome to self tour the farm, shop the store and ask them questions as availability allows. They have a larger variety of animals on their farm; Jersey and Guernsey cows, East Friesian / Romney mix for fiber, Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs, free range chickens, and honey bees.
The members of the Midcoast Cheese Trail have events year round:
- Educational visit the farm days
- Cheese making workshops
- Tasting events
- Holiday events
If you need a place to stay after attending any of the fascinating events, book a room at our Camden B&B. We are located only minutes away from Aldermere Farms and less than an hour from all of the Midcoast Cheese Trail farms.
There is much to much to describe the Farm to Table movement in Maine in one blog post. Visit us again for future blogs on the food scene in the midcoast.