BANGOR, Maine — It has been years in the making, but downtown Bangor finally has its farmers’ market.
The market opened for the first time on a rainy Sunday afternoon in the parking area across from the Bangor Public Library. In spite of the weather, dozens of people perused the market, crowding under tents where they could to avoid the heavier spurts of rain.
Seventeen Maine vendors have signed on for this summer’s farmers’ market, selling products ranging from fresh vegetables and blueberry jam to goat cheese and farm-raised ducks.
The ducks sold out quickly, according to Gina Simmons of Common Wealth Farm in Unity, which produces about 150 to 200 ducks per week for several farmers’ markets and restaurants in the Portland and midcoast areas.
Jamie Shahinpoor of Bangor said she frequents farmers’ markets in the summer and is thrilled that she doesn’t have to travel to Orono’s farmers’ market to stock up.
“We only have four months of goodies” before summer ends and store-bought vegetables replace straight-from-the-farm options available at farmers’ markets, Shahinpoor said as she filled a bag with spinach from Peacemeal Farm in Dixmont.
Scott Belanger of Olde Oak Farm said he has been part of a community of farmers pushing for a market over the past five years. Now that the effort has come to fruition, he is acting as the farmers’ market manager.
Belanger said the farmers’ market effort got a big boost in recent years thanks to the revitalization of Bangor’s downtown.
Among the crowd wandering from tent to tent, Belanger pointed out a number of area farmers shopping at the market but not selling any wares.
“If a farmers’ market is attracting farmers as customers, we’re doing something right,” he said.
“To get this many people on a rainy day is spectacular,” City Councilor Geoffrey Gratwick said as he looked at the shoppers and gazers. Gratwick purchased the last of the highly sought Common Wealth Farm ducks.
The farmers’ market will be held from noon to 3 p.m. every Sunday in the parking lot across from Bangor Public Library. Customers who arrive early are asked to leave space at the front of the lot for vendors.