2018-11-02 / Community News

Market offers fruits, veggies in winter

By Abigail Worthing Staff Writer


Emily Whitmore, left, and her mother Deb Harvey, manned the stand for Whitmore’s The Farm at McKenney Road at the soft opening of the Saco River Market on Oct. 27. (Abigail Worthing photo) Emily Whitmore, left, and her mother Deb Harvey, manned the stand for Whitmore’s The Farm at McKenney Road at the soft opening of the Saco River Market on Oct. 27. (Abigail Worthing photo) While the weather shifts with the seasons and farm stands and farmers markets complete their respective seasons, in Biddeford, one market will go through the winter.

The Saco River Market will open for its first official weekend on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Pepperell Mill Campus in the lobby of Building 13. This is the seventh year of the market, and the third that it has been hosted at this location.

The market features local businesses, and will provide visitors with the opportunity to purchase farm fresh produce through winter, when most farmers markets have closed for the season.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for farmers to sell our overstock produce once the farmers markets end their seasons,” said Josh Girard of Girard Farm in Lyman. “It’s great because it’s inside so you can sell through the holidays.”


Josh Girard of Girard Farm in Lyman, mans a stand at the Saco River Market on Sat. Oct. 27. Girard’s collection of produce heralded patrons into the indoor market, which allows visitors to access fresh vegetables into winter. (Abigail Worthing photo) Josh Girard of Girard Farm in Lyman, mans a stand at the Saco River Market on Sat. Oct. 27. Girard’s collection of produce heralded patrons into the indoor market, which allows visitors to access fresh vegetables into winter. (Abigail Worthing photo) Girard was at the soft opening of the market on Oct. 27 with his stand, featuring roaster bags filled with root vegetables, beets and assorted squashes. For Girard, it was the perfect opportunity to sell overstock from the summer harvest, as well as get involved the community event.

Also present with produce was Emily Whitmore of The Farm at McKenney Road in Saco, selling broccoli, carrots and potatoes. Whitmore has participated in the farmers market for three years, and is proud of the way the market has grown over the years.

“This is such a great event for the community,” Whitmore said. “People just walk around and talk, and they sit at the tables to just hang out throughout the day.”

A point of pride for Whitmore and the market is the acceptance of Electronic Benefit Transfer, which will allow those who use state assistance to use their cards at the market to buy produce. When patrons use their Electronic Benefit Transfer card at the market, they also earn “Harvest Bucks,” which provides an extra dollar to be spent on fruits and vegetables in exchange for every dollar already spent. Harvest Bucks can be used on the same day, or saved for later, allowing families to get more with their assistance and get more fresh produce into their pantries.

Some vendors, such as The Farm, have elected to accept funds from the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition program. The choice to accept WIC is not a market-wide decision, but Whitmore is proud to offer it at their stand.

The space at Pepperell Mill Campus is heated and handicap accessible, which provides a warm, inviting space for the market to be housed through winter. To Whitmore, the market is the perfect place to do Christmas shopping, as there are vendors who sell art and homemade goods as well as fresh food and baked goods.

“This brings together a wide array of people to come together and enjoy the market,” Whitmore said. “It gives everyone a chance to support local businesses during the winter, when there aren’t as many opportunities for farmers markets.” the market will host a series of musicians to provide entertainment for patrons, and according to Whitmore, is looking to gear more activities toward children who visit the market and make the day family inclusive. Starting with the official opening this weekend, Sweetcream Dairy will open early on mornings of the market at 9 a.m. so patrons can enjoy coffee and/or ice cream while they peruse.

Staff Writer Abbigail Worthing can be reached at news@inthecourier.com.

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