New indoor farmer's market open through winter

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

Laurie Wakeham is one of about a dozen vendors participating in the new indoor Bellaire Farmer's Market, which is open every Friday from 9 a.m. until noon inside the Bellaire Conservation Club's meeting room, which is also used by the Antrim Conservation District.


BELLAIRE – Established by area farmers, the Antrim Conservation District was created in 1944 to aid and assist growers with issues of the day, which included re-forestation and a need for better soil practices to curb massive erosion problems, as well as improve harvest yields.

Seventy-five years later, the Antrim Conservation District (ACD) is still helping farmers and local food producers.

"One of the district’s recent goals has been to find out what local farmers need now and how the Conservation District could assist," ACD Manager Wendy Warren said earlier this week. "Local members of the East Bay Farm Guild, which includes a number of area producers, noted that they would like to have a place to sell their wares during the winter."

An informal survey was done to collect thoughts from the public on a winter farmer's market, which has proven very popular in other areas of the country.

"The answer was a resounding 'Yes!’” said Warren.

The first indoor Bellaire Farmer's Market was held on Friday, Nov. 8 inside the Bellaire Conservation Club's meeting room, which is also used by the Antrim Conservation District.

Vendors from both the popular Bellaire Farmers Market and the Ellsworth Farmers Market were invited to participate in the effort. Twelve area producers signed up.

"Which is quite a lot for the size of the room we have, but since not all of them can make it every Friday we've averaged six vendors in our first two weeks of markets," Warren said. "It's worked out pretty well."

Offering fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables still available at this time of the year – such as root vegetables, squash, pumpkins and apples, as well as eggs, meats, jellies and jams, frozen seafood, baked goods and maple syrup – the new market has proven very successful and more customers attend every week.

Because many of the vendors at the market also offer other products, such as homemade knitted items and custom-made jewelry, local artisans are also invited to participate in the weekly market.

"We've had a lot of interest from local artists and craft vendors. With Christmas on the horizon we are offering them another opportunity besides the usual Christmas craft fairs in the area," Warren noted.

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