HOULTON, Maine — The local open-air Community Market will open for the season Saturday in Market Square.
The market began in 2009 with just two vendors in Monument Park, adjacent to Cary Library. It has since relocated to Market Square, where a number of vendors sell their vegetables, meat, honey, preserves, baked good and homemade crafts each Saturday morning from Memorial Day through October.
“Houlton’s Community Market has been a wonderful addition and attraction to our community,” said Lori Weston, town of Houlton community development director.
With consumers more interested in local food in recent years, starting a farmers market in Houlton’s historic downtown seemed perfect timing.
“It’s nice to once again see a bustling downtown Saturday mornings,” Angie Wotton, board member and market vendor said, “and many downtown shops have indicated the positive effect on their sales as well.”
For the upcoming 2012 season, the Community Market has applied for a license through the USDA to offer Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to better include everyone in the option to purchase fresh produce.
“It has fostered entrepreneurship for young people who working with their parents see the rewards of their labor through the sale of products,” Weston said. “It keeps the community in tune with the local farming and art community as folks purchase fresh produce, baked goods or specialty handmade items from these talented individuals.”
Along with the nutritional benefits of eating local food (fresher, more diversity, more nutrients), when the community buys direct from a vendor at the Community Market, that person is investing in their community by supporting the local craftsperson and farmer, Wotton said.
“That community connection also helps conserve our agricultural heritage and way of life,” she said. “The Houlton Community Market is not just a farmers market, it’s a partnership with the community.”
The market will be open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays, beginning May 26, in Houlton’s Market Square.
“It is a wonderful sight to see the vendor tents set up in Market Square, to see people strolling about downtown on a Saturday meeting up with old and new friends,” Weston said. “The Market really creates a sense of community that is reminiscent of yesteryear and all that was so good about it.”