MEXICO — Last week’s heavy rain put a damper on the opening of the River Valley Farmers’ Market, but this week with a sunny sky not only did more than a half-dozen food vendors turn out, but also dozens of customers.
The market has returned to the parking lot of Labonville’s every Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Its return after a year has brought more local food producers, with many joining the market for the first time, offering a wider variety of homegrown or home-produced goods.
Among the vendors Friday morning was Grandma’s House Bakery and Gardens, owned by Gail and Carl Cutting from the Roxbury Road in Mexico. Carl was offering two sizes of bat houses, while Gail displayed rows and rows of freshly baked breads, homemade jams and whoopie pies. She also offers classes in baking and takes special orders.
Next to her was Adam Arsenault of Mexico, who was selling fresh eggs and strawberries. Also under one of the canopies was longtime farmer and veteran of area farmers’ markets, David Kimball of Rumford Center.
He and his wife, Ann, were also offering fresh eggs and a few early vegetables. As the season progresses, more will be offered, just as it will be from new vendor, Jessica Roy of the South Rumford Road Roy’s Family Farm.
Roy not only offers locally grown vegetables, seedlings and flowers, but she also is a member of Community Supported Agriculture, whereby people can pay a specified amount of money and in return pick, or have picked, their choice of vegetables. She said plans are to meet with Diane Jackson from Sen. Olympia Snowe‘s office to work on a grant for a Feed the Community Garden.
Stan Haynes of Clay Hill Farm in Peru was offering homegrown Angus hamburger, stew meat, steaks, roasts and other beef products.
Also selling seedlings, perennials, hanging baskets and other items was the Hope Association, which operates the Briar Patch Greenhouse in Rumford.
Others who participate include Kelly and Jeremy Volkernick of Rumford with a family sausage recipe; Clarice and Larry Hodges of Dixfield with their baked goods, maple syrup and jams and jellies; and Tammy and Harry Hutchinson of Andover, who sell berries, vegetables, herbs, beef, pork and maple products.
Laura Newell of Mexico has always attended farmers’ markets when available because she likes the fresh produce. On Friday, she chose some bright red tomatoes grown in Madison.
The River Valley Farmers’ Market is one of the projects of the Agricultural Commission and is assisted by the River Valley Growth Council and the Threshold to Maine, which is a division of the state Resource Conservation and Development area.
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