Local food movement growing in Washington County

Posted May 24, 2011, at 8:51 p.m.
Last modified May 24, 2011, at 9:07 p.m.

MACHIAS, Maine — Building on the strong growth of the locally grown food movement, a “Meet Your Farmer” film series and food event will be held next month at the University of Maine at Machias.

Washington County has truly embraced the local food movement, Inez Lombardi, manager of the Machias Marketplace, a local buying club, said Tuesday.

At the Machias location alone, the buying club did more than $40,000 worth of business last year. The club works with a dozen local farmers and The Crown of Maine food cooperative to provide members fresh local food one day a week. There are buying clubs all over the state and at least four in Washington County. The Machias club serves up to 100 families and offers locally produced milk, cheeses, meats, baked goods and hundreds of other items.

Lombardi said several businesses, such as the Cherryfield General Store and The Red Sleigh in Perry, are also focusing on locally-grown and produced food. In addition, there are numerous farmers’ markets throughout the county.

“I bet easily more than $150,000 in sales stayed right here in Washington County last year instead of leaking out to places unknown,” she said. “And we will top $200,000 this year. That really is amazing.”

Lombardi said sales at the Machias club for the first quarter of 2011 were $4,000 higher than last year. “I know that the Calais club is doing very well and the Eastport club has been reinvigorated by a new coordinator, and there is a small club forming in Lubec,” she said.

The free film and discussion event will be held 4-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, and will provide consumers an opportunity to meet local farmers and get more information about buying clubs.

At least a half dozen farmers are expected to participate in the event, which will be held in rooms 102 and 103 of the Science Building at UMM. There will be an opportunity to sample local food; watch the film series, “Meet Your Farmer,” which was commissioned by Maine Farmland Trust; and participate in a discussion with a panel of local farmers.

The farmers will represent Hatch Knoll Farm in Jonesboro, Shore Road Farm in Perry, and Tide Mill Organic Farm in Edmunds, among others.

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