A Farmers’ Market offers a wide range of fruits, vegetables, breads, meats, cheeses, and much more. In Maine, these markets differ in size and have anywhere from 2 to 50 vendors who sell food and other products that they grow or make during the season. Most farmers’ markets are open during the spring, summer, and often several months into the fall. Some markets stay open during the winter at indoor locations. Go to MHB Farmers’ Markets to find details on markets that accept Maine Harvest Bucks. You can also visit mainefarmersmarkets.org for a complete list of all farmers’ markets in Maine.
Community Supported Agriculture: CSA
Sometimes called a farm share, most CSA’s require customers to pay a fee in the beginning of the season in exchange for a weekly portion of whatever is grown by the farmers in the CSA. The goal of the CSA is to pay the farmers at the beginning of the season to support the costs of materials and maintenance on the farm. This early pay is then returned to customers in the form of a weekly package of fruits and vegetables. There are different types of CSA’s including weekly pre-boxed shares, a “debit style” where you can shop at a market or farm stand, and “full diet” options that offer meats, breads, dairy, and more in addition to produce. Go to MHB CSA’s for more information on Community Supported Agriculture opportunities in the area.
Mobile markets aggregate a wide variety of products from multiple farms and then bring the food to convenient locations. Market operators redesign and renovate a vehicle both for transporting products and materials efficiently and for promoting and generating excitement about the market. Vehicles can include school buses, box trucks, or bicycle carts, and customers may shop inside or outside of the vehicle. Mobile markets typically follow a weekly schedule of market stops and can serve multiple cities, towns, and counties. Choose what you want when the market comes to you, often at workplaces or in neighborhoods.
Similar to a farmers’ market, a Farm Stand offers fresh fruits, vegetables, and other locally produced items. The difference is that there is only one vendor and most of the products are produced by that vendor – though sometimes hey may offer products made by other farmers. Farm stands can be found in both rural and urban settings including the farm where the products are grown, at businesses/organizations, or in residential neighborhoods. For the most part, these stands are only open during the growing season. Go to MHB Farm Stands for more information on Farm Stands that accept Maine Harvest Bucks.
Nutrition incentives are also offered at some small, locally-focused retail stores. These are called Farm Fresh Rewards! This program provides a more traditional shopping experience, retail stores are often open daily with long hours. Retail stores frequently offer products beyond food, and aggregate from a variety of farms. Produce at retail stores is not always locally-produced, although all the Farm Fresh Rewards stores offer a large selection of local food.