Expanded indoor farmers market opens

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NORWAY — The finishing touches have been put on the newly-expanded indoor farmer’s market in preparation for a grand opening next week.

Located at the Progress Center on 35 Cottage St., the market will be celebrating not only the renovated space but a new online shopping website and a new store manager.

“We’re expanding our options,” said Patricia Verrill of the Oxford Hills Food Collaborative, a division of the Progress Center, which partnered with area farmers and food producers this past year to offer locally-grown foods to the Oxford Hills area.

Verrill said the two-day grand opening of the indoor market on Tuesday, May 4, will begin the new store hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays. The store will maintain the current noon to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday hours.

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Samples will be available from the products the markets carry and there will be chances to win prizes when making a purchase, she said.

“We will have samples available made from the products we carry for the first 25 people both days — refreshments, cheeses, cookies, breads,” Verrill said. “Customers will be able to claim a special grand opening day gift upon a minimum purchase, and we will offer great discounts on selected items on the two-day grand opening event and a chance to win prizes when customers register at the door.”

Jessica Paradis, a 2004 Oxford Hills graduate and native of Norway who has worked at the Progress Center, a 30-year-old organization that services children and adults with disabilities, for the past two years, is the new manager of the store.

Fresh vegetables including parsnips and carrots from Verrills’ Harvest Moon Produce in West Paris are already available from local farm gardens along with a wide variety of other foods such as fresh breads, eggs, cheeses and other foods.

The store expansion and painting were done by Larry Jordan, who is the maintenance supervisor at the Progress Center, and his crew, Mike Twitchell and Joelle Corey from the Rotary, who volunteered their time.

The renovations include new shelving, market bin racks and a cash counter built and designed by Jordan and his work crew. Jordan said Wednesday that the renovations more than doubled the size of the store to over 200 square feet

“The response is tremendous,” said Priscilla Burnett, administrative assistant at the Progress Center.

Additionally, Verrill said there will also be a new online shopping website at http://harvesttomarket.com/farmers-market/Oxford-Hills-Food-Collaborative.

The online shopping service was started this past year and has seen a growing number of customers over the winter, Verrill said.

“The beauty of this website is all local producers, farmers, farmer’s markets can have their own Web page for a one stop source for shopping local,” Verrill said.

A new outdoors farmer’s market is also set to open this spring at the Stephens Memorial Hospital on lower Main Street in Norway, she added.

ldixon@sunjournal.com

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