The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets (MFFM) reminds farmers, food producers, and others interested in joining a Maine farmers’ market for the 2018 summer season that they should be finalizing their applications now. Most markets accept applications from new vendors in January and February, and some continue to accept applications through March.
The winter application process is vital for anyone planning to sell at farmers’ markets in the coming season. Typically the application is reviewed by a committee, and potential new vendors may also be invited to attend a market meeting to meet the current members and discuss the new vendors products. (Learn more about the process and read our FAQ here.)
Maine has more than 130 summer farmers’ markets, and each is operated locally. To find out whether a particular market is accepting new vendors this year, visit the market’s website and social media. The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets maintains a Facebook page to help connect vendors with markets (@mainevendorswanted). Unexpected vacancies may occur at any market, and vendors of less common products (such as bread, fish, and cheese) may have more latitude, but generally, a winter application process is the norm.
“We often receive calls from people in May and June who want to join a farmers’ market for the season, and they are disappointed to find they are months too late,” according to MFFM’s Executive Director, Leigh Hallett. “The bulk of the planning for the summer season takes place in January, February, and March, when farmers’ markets hold their winter meetings. Joining a market means joining a team that will ultimately be helping to support your business, so it’s definitely worth the time investment now.”
MFFM research has found that farmers’ market members in Maine travel an average of 22 miles from farm to market, and it’s common to belong to two or more markets. This and other data is available in the 2017 Maine Farmers’ Market Annual Report, which is available in print (free at farmers’ markets and MFFM’s office) and online at mainefarmersmarkets.org. The report is a useful tool for anyone considering joining a farmers’ market, and a great read for anyone who supports Maine agriculture.
Markets are community hubs, and MFFM is the hub dedicated to markets and the farmers and customers who rely on and love them. The Federation’s website offers detailed information for farmers’ market managers, market members (vendors), and shoppers. Staff may be reached by calling the office at (207) 487-7114, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.