DEXTER, Maine — More shelves are going up, food and beverages are being stocked in the coolers and the phone in Judy Craig’s office sometimes is “ringing off the hook.”
After three and a half years of planning and a few setbacks, Fossa’s General Store in downtown Dexter is ready for a “soft opening” on Thursday, June 27.
“We’ll have an official grand opening sometime in August when most of the crops are harvested,” said Craig, executive director of the Dexter Community Farm Project. “Some farms are a little behind because of the wet spring. But nature has a way of catching up.”
Fossa’s General Store is a nonprofit start-up project of the Dexter Regional Development Corporation and will open as a retail outlet for locally grown, locally produced products.
The kitchen will also be open, but with a limited menu. The custom-built brick oven for pizzas and other baked goods won’t be quite ready for the June 27 opening, said Craig. “We want to make sure we get it right the first time,” Craig said.
The list of farms that want to sell their products at Fossa’s is growing daily, Craig added. Among recent additions are Siberia Farms in Hermon, which sells raw and lightly pasteurized milk from Jersey cows.
“They actually bought extra cows so they could have a steady supply of milk for us,” Craig said. “We’re going to make our own cheese, including mozzarella.”
Also coming on board recently are Worcester’s Wild Blueberry Products of Orneville, Highlander beef from the Page Farm in Sangerville, the Maine Cookie Kitchen of Dexter and Leaves and Blooms from Dover-Foxcroft.
One major supplier for Fossa’s will be the Somerset Grist Mill in Skowhegan, which began milling whole-wheat flour and oats in the old Somerset County jail building earlier this year. The grist mill has picked up numerous accounts in New England from health food stores to bakeries, so having their products at Fossa’s “will be a huge boost. We’ll also use it for our baked goods,” said Craig.
Any other farmers or local food producers who want to sell their wares in the store can call 924-DEXT (3398) or visit the Fossa’s General Store Facebook page for information.
“Anyone who grows unaltered fruits and vegetables can sell to us,” Craig said. “You don’t need a license or anything like that. One local farmer put in 200 tomato plants this year just to supply the store.”
Fans of homemade bread and pizza, however, may have to wait a week or two. “But trust me — it will be worth it,” Craig said with a grin.