The Boothbay Farmer’s Market has moved around over the past two decades from the Boothbay Region schools parking lot to the Meadow Mall parking lot to the Boothbay Common, and man has it grown. This year there are 21 vendors and I dare you to go to this market and leave without having purchased something.
Don’t believe me? Check it out ... First off, new to the Boothbay Market in 2023: Barter’s Island Bees/Barters Island, Fat Friar’s Meadery/Nobleboro, Wildwoods Bakery/Nobleboro, Kelly Brothers Farms/Pittston, and Maiz!/Brunswick, and Gracelynn’s Flower Truck.
They now join familiar vendors to the Boothbay Market: Big Barn Coffee/Wiscasset, Blue Tin Farm/Edgecomb, Sweet Monkey Business/Belfast, Grey Goose Gourmet Pepper Jelly/Wayne, Hootenanny Bakery/Damariscotta, Seacolors Yarnery/Washington, Mainely Poultry/Warren, Dharma Farm/Washington, Goranson Farm/Dresden, Mana Medicinals/Boothbay Harbor, Frontier Maple Sugarworks/Jackman, West Masquoit Vinegar Works/Brunswick, Hubbard Brook Farm and Basket/Unity, Smith’s Log Smokehouse/Monroe, Stewart & Reid Bakers/Southport, Jyang—Lee Kitchens/Cooper’s Mills, Pemaquid Lobster & Seafood/Pemaquid, Broad Arrow Farm &The Rooting Pig, /Bristol, Boothbay Craft Brewery/Boothbay, and Arkeo Farm/Sidney.
It’s such fun visiting the booths, talking to the vendors, sampling some of the food and beverages ... and buying that scrumptious loaf of rustic sourdough at Hootenanny Breads (the most popular loaf at the Market and after buying a loaf I could taste why), or a bottle of Frontier Maple Sugarworks’ bourbon maple syrup (both Lindy Bragg and Kathleen Jones say it’s to die for); or maybe some yummy goat cheese from Blue Tin Farm or a dozen blue eggs laid by Crystal Theall’s Araucana chickens or some of her goat’s milk soaps … plus, Crystal is fun and animated.
As soon as I set foot on the Common, the first vendor I saw, straight ahead was Sweet Monkey Business and its sign that read “Shortbread.” Hypnotized by the promise of buttery, sugar goodness I went straight for the tent. The items ranged from traditional flavor to lemon, cocoa, pecan, rosemary and cranberry, to the savory rosemary short biscuit. While I was there a fellow fan tried the rosemary and added a couple bags to her order. The Belfast—based company has been at the Boothbay Market for five years. Oh! And the granola … wild Maine blueberry and pecan, chunky cherry chocolate and three more flavors … you’ll be going back for more.
Sandra of Grey Goose Gourmet pepper jellies says her business began with her mom’s original pepper jelly recipe 35 years ago with green bell peppers and jalapenos, which Sandra says “was the beginning of no end.” She now has 20 additional pepper jelly flavors including one with southern roots that she discovered in Savannah and that she calls FROG jelly – has southern roots – figs, raspberries, orange and ginger; Bear Jam – wild Maine blueberries, elderberries (from a Belgrade elderberry farm), apples, raspberries, lemon … oh yeah, I had to buy this one. And it is ca-YUM-ba!
Mysterious moment at the Farmer’s Market: While I was chatting with the woman from Maiz!, a woman came by and said Maiz! was the reason she came to the Market that day. As soon as I told her I was from the local paper and writing about the variety there, she immediately asked not to be interviewed – and then began hearing what foods were available. There were arepas (stuffed corn pockets) with a variety of fillings to choose from; pasabocas, and cazuela de frijoles. I suspect the Colombian street food lover did not leave disappointed – or emptyhanded!
Sean Bailey of the Fat Friar’s Meadery in Newcastle. I had discovered the Meadery on Maine Winery Day in 2015 and knew “The Friar” to be a quick-witted, entertaining sort. Well, he still is – even more so. There was a grand lineup featuring some familiar and new mead flavors – Holiday mead with all the favorite flavors of Yule and Christmas, lemon ginger, black cherry, chili pepper, sweet woodruff (some of you who drank May wine back in the day will be familiar with its flavor). I think new sweet woodruff mead would be perfect for Summer Solstice celebrating on the 21st. The Friar says it’s a nice substitute for vermouth in a gin martini, too.
Dharma and Goranson farms were consistently busy – fresh veg – asparagus full and green, strawberries red ripe and luscious, starter plants of herbs, vegetables, flowers ready for the home gardens. Dharma’s petunias were a big hit and found their way into many a tote bag or box bottom. When I was arriving, Lori Grinnell was just leaving. She stopped to share her purchases, particularly impressed with how large and colorful the Dharma Farm petunias were and how gorgeous the Goranson asparagus was.
You run into a lot of very happy people at a farmer’s market.
Anna Christina of Mana Medicinals here in the Harbor had a fabulous variety of her holistic teas, tinctures – including CBD, salves, and oils. She said the healing clay was proving helpful to people dealing with brown tail moth rash and poison ivy. You could easily spend the entire three hours — from 9 a.m. to noon — at Mana Medicinals. Luckily, she’s right in the harbor ... not literally, of course.
Music always creates a festive air and last Thursday Goofy Dave Rumson was playing his acoustic guitar, accompanied by his wife Janet. He does Beatle song requests — I asked for “Norwegian Wood” — and I got it! Dave will be back throughout the 2023 farmer’s market season. Locals may remember him from the Opera House open mic nights — and he’ll be playing at the Market again this month.
In her spare time, Anna Christina lined up some fine Midcoast bands. Here’s the week-to-week: June 8: Jim & Elna Joseph — Celtic music; June 15: Goofy Dave Rumson — guitarist, Beatle tunes by request (I asked for “Norwegian Wood” and I got it); June 22, July 27, Aug. 24: No Spring Chickens — a.k.a. Linda and Michelle — guitarists known throughout New England — pop, folk, rock; June 29, July 20: Tim Trafton; July 6, Aug. 17: Jim & Elna Joseph; July 13, Aug. 3: Charles Durfee — Irish tunes; Aug. 10: Jim Hanley & The Newagen Crew; Aug. 31: Jackie & Justin Rudy.
See ya on the Common this summer on Thursdays!