GREENWOOD — Fedco seeds, fresh local eggs and milk, sprouts, micro greens, worm farms and hundreds of other items for anyone who loves to dig in the soil or eat local foods line the shelves and cooler of this town’s newest business.
Janet and Nick Bartlett opened The Local Hub last month, much to the excitement of many in the local foods movement in the greater Bethel area.
They had been farming for more than year, then decided to take the leap when the former convenience store located on 224 Main St. in Greenwood became available.
“We started with our farm and began getting extra things for friends who had been traveling so far to get supplies,” Janet said, as she held the couple’s youngest child, 3-year-old Macio.
“This place has all kinds of opportunities built into it,” said Nick, who is a glassblower when he isn’t at the store or farming.
The Bartletts offer a huge variety of local foods from nearby farms, such as milk from Sandy River Farms, and many other foods and baked goods from No View Farm, Why Knot Farm, Tourmaline Hill Farm, Slow Food Maine, the Dunham Farm, Back to Roots and lots of others.
When spring arrives, the Bartletts, or some other area farmers, will also have seedlings for sale and ready for planting, as well as other locally produced items at a series of Farmers at the Market events at the store.
As time goes on, plans are to expand the kitchen, build an office and offer lunches, as well as have a fresh seafood seller from the coast bring fish twice a week.
Right now, handmade dough and sauce pizza is available on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Buying locally grown food once had the reputation of costing more than food shipped to Maine from the south or west. That isn’t necessarily the case now.
“This is the first time you can start to compare prices at the grocery store. Prices for local foods are comparable now with the fuel costs and overhead (of grocery stores),” Nick said.
When some vegetables aren’t available locally, then the Bartletts buy from the Crown of Maine in Aroostook County. But something is available fresh everyday, from eggs and milk to canned goods, jellies and jams, and baked goods.
“We want to know where everything comes from. Food should be as local as possible,” Janet said.
Among the items most people might not see in a garden store are worm farms for aerating the soil, locally made compost barrels, smart pots, propagation tents, and pea and sunflower shoots.
Janet is originally from Connecticut and Nick from Kansas. They lived in many parts of the country before moving to Maine 13 years ago.
“Everyone has been so welcoming of The Local Hub,” Janet said.