PRESS RELEASE -- FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION -- THE BELFAST FARMERS MARKET
The members of the Belfast Farmers Market are gearing up for opening day on Friday, May 5, from 9 to 1 at their usual place in downtown Belfast, on Main Street, near the waterfront. This year, it promises to be even more enjoyable than before. In what is likely a first of any farmers market in the state, one Friday a month, on May 26, June 23, July 21, August 25, September 15 and October 20 they will be setting up at their Street Festival location, on Upper Main Street between High and Church Streets which will become a pedestrian mall during market hours.
Facing the prospect of losing their usual location last year the market embarked on a search for a new home, leading to a one day experiment on Upper Main Street. Shoppers and people out for a walk smiled their delight at temporarily reclaiming a small portion of their town from the automobile and expressed the hope that the event would be repeated.
Aiming to please both shoppers and shopkeepers, the market thought there might be support for an uptown market one day a month, and set out to see if they were correct. With the help of a store owner, surveys were circulated among businesses on Upper Main and other stores in the immediate area. The completed surveys showed overwhelming support for the project.
This is about more than just the market. It is about the larger Community (sic). The market will create events during its Street Festival days. It is looking for local talent to perform during those days, not only soft music but also mimes, jugglers, childrens portraitists, clowns, etc. It will be six exciting days, designed to draw many to the area, and to Belfast. Last year the market was featured nationwide on the TODAY show and statewide on the evening news, celebrating our 25th anniversary. With that type of exposure, the market just may have the hoped for drawing power.
How well do you know your market ? We are not just a random collection of local farmers with something to sell. Members of the Belfast Farmers Market are accepted only after close scrutiny. Each new applicant makes a personal presentation to the market membership, and is voted upon after discussion and evaluation. In addition to submitting references, they undergo an on-site inspection by two voting members to certify that what they sell is grown, prepared or made by them, on their premises. New members are provisional for the first year. Only after a year can they gain full voting membership. All members must carry all relevant Maine licenses which must be current and available for examination. To maintain the markets integrity, any member not in compliance can be voted out of the market.
Additionally, the market is self-financing. Members pay annual dues, and from these monies expenses such as advertising, signs, insurance, fees including registration of its trademark and entertainment are paid. You could say that the market is run like a business. It has to be. We care about our customers, we are proud of what we have to offer and we care about the larger Belfast community.
Come and visit us. Shoppers will be able to purchase the items they have come to love; locally grown, locally prepared foods, fresh vegetables, seedlings, cut flowers, jams, jellies, flax seed crackers, cheese and yogurt, honey, blueberries, apple, apple cider, freshly baked artisanal breads, cookies, cakes and sweetie treats, chicken and other meat products, veggie burgers, dips, hummus, tempeh, wood crafts, pottery, and skin care items. And when you visit the market on Upper Main Street, have a look inside the nearby stores.