HAMPDEN, Maine — Michelle Byram and other members of the new Hampden Farmer’s Market didn’t intend to be the latest vendors to attempt reviving a traditional farmers’ market in Hampden, but they’ve grown to like the idea.
The idea for the market, which opens Friday for the season in the parking lot of Schacht’s True Value Hardware and Variety Store, sprouted after vendors were unable to join other markets.
“A lot of us have applied at various farmers’ markets around the area, but didn’t get accepted because they felt they already had too many vegetable vendors, so we kind of all felt like a bunch of misfits,” said Byram.
Despite several unsuccessful attempts to start up farmers’ markets in the Hampden area, Byram and other organizers of the Hampden Farmer’s Market are optimistic about their staying power. It will be open 2-6 p.m. Fridays, through mid-November, in the parking lot.
“I think it’s going to be really great. I think the time slot will work really well and Hampden is a place that has been kind of underserved,” said Byram. “Everyone does them on either Saturdays or Sundays, and we offer some products that you don’t find at many other markets.
Beyond the usual produce, dairy products, plants and flowers, this market will offer meats, handmade glass jewelry and decorations, and wood products.
So far, there are six participating merchants including Balfour Farms of Pittsfield, Forest’s Edge Gardens of Hampden, Parker Family Farms of Newport, Nancy Tang of Glass Orchids of Frankfort, White’s Farm of Winterport and Smith’s Log Smokehouse of Monroe.
Another way the market will differentiate itself is by offering a free space to nonprofit agencies and charities.
“We’re planning to have an open booth each Friday free for any nonprofits or charities like the Boy Scouts or a church group that want a space to raise money,” Byram said.
Byram also takes part in another Hampden farmers’ market that occurs much less frequently. The farmers’ market at Harmony Hall in Hampden will return for a second year starting Saturday, July 21, and will be the first of three markets held there. The other two are Saturdays, Aug. 11 and Sept. 8. All three will be open from 9 a.m. to noon.
“We just invite vendors and farmers and will probably have a half dozen vendors selling produce, flowers, eggs and maybe some baked goods,” said organizer Anne Bennett. “We don’t charge anything for the vendors to have tables there.”
Harmony Hall also will hold a day lilies sale from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 2.
For information on the markets and lilies sale, call Bennett at 862-3467.