2017-09-07 / Front Page

Market to return to Biddeford in October

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer

BIDDEFORD – The Saco River Market will return to the Pepperell Center in Biddeford 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. starting Saturday, Oct. 28 for its sixth year running and second in this location.

Emily Whitmore, president of the Saco River Market Steering Committee hopes to have a Halloween themed event that day with activities for families and children. She expects to have about 10 farms at the market throughout winter and is always accepting new vendors.

“We were really happy with the move last year, the new space was really busy,” she said. “This year will be even better now that we’re more established.”

Whitmore said the space at 40 Main St. has heat and is easier to access due to a lack of stairs. She also enjoys the glass in the front of the building, which makes the space feel much nicer than the previous location in 110 Main St. Saco which needed significant repairs. Other businesses in the mills opened their doors on Saturday mornings last year with the increased foot traffic, which resulted in a mutually beneficial situation for everyone.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to build community in a new space, meeting new customers, getting new vendors and making food more accessible to the Biddeford community,” she said.

John Bryson, steering committee member, has been involved in the market’s social media efforts and booking musical acts. Music will continue during this fall’s markets and visitors can expect to see returning acts such as Guy Gaudette, Kristian Beal and Freddy Dame Jr. Bryson reiterated the ease of hosting the market in the mills on Saturdays.

“It’s very difficult to find a space that is available to rent one day a week,” he said.

Whitmore also runs The Farm on McKenney Road in Saco with her husband Michael. The season has gone well for them, but like most farmers in the area the lack of rain made things a little more difficult. They sell produce at Saco River Market as well including carrots, beets and squash.

“Right now we’re working on beefing up our reserves enough for the market,” she said. “Overall it’s been a really great season.”

The biggest challenge for Whitmore is growing enough in the summer to last through the entire winter market. Storing produce turns out to be relatively easy. Whitmore said many vegetables store really well in a root cellar at 50 degrees and taste as fresh in February as when they were pulled out of the ground.

This was the first summer the Saco River Market did not run since it became a year round operation. Whitmore didn’t think it was necessary to run an indoor market during summer since most people want to be outside during that time of the year.

“There aren’t many places where people can get local stuff in the winter time,” she said. “We get a lot of vendors going to the summer markets and then coming back to sell their cold storage items with us.”

Whitmore feels lucky to live in a state with many young farmers and new farms beginning to grow. She said because so many farms are rural, it’s important to provide access for local communities. Whitmore believes locally grown food is healthier and it has a positive impact on the environment because less fuel is spent shipping it across the country. On top of that, Whitmore enjoys the community built around the market.

“The community is my favorite part, food just brings people together,” she said.

Vendors interested in joining the Saco River Market can contact Emily Whitmore at thefarmme@gmail.com

Contact Staff Writer Grant McPherson at news@inthecourier.com

FMI

The Saco River Market will be back Oct. 28, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Pepperell Center in Biddeford, 40 Main St.

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