Snap, crackle, pop
The move of the Presque Isle Farmers Market from its previous location in the parking lot at the mall to its present abode near the Riverside Pavilion in downtown Presque Isle created a few changes, some predicted and some unforeseen.
Signage, feather flags, and radio spots have generated a hoped-for positive buzz around town. We anticipated that proximity to the splash pad would increase traffic, both vehicular and pedestrian, and it has. The giggles and squeals we hear from our side of the street bring smiles all around.
We did not necessarily foresee that the additional foot traffic would include a number of fairies in glittery dresses, complete with pint-sized wings, however. Then when the livestock trailer pulled up in the parking lot and a snow-white unicorn danced down the ramp, vendors were agog. It was a very beautiful and well-behaved unicorn, but still really not what we would have said was status quo for the PIFM, regardless of locale.
That was June. In July, we observed the unanticipated antics of Snap, crackle and Pop. If you are of a certain age, you will remember the three elves in curled up shoes and knitted red caps who used to show up between Saturday morning cartoons to espouse the merits of Rice Krispies. The jingle they sang started out, “Snap! What a happy sound. Snap is the happiest sound around.” It went on toe Crackle, the crispy sound, and then Pop came up with something or other after that. The trio always seemed a little too enthusiastic in view of the fact that they were talking about cold cereal.
This July, we had some Snap-Crackle-Pop-style celebrating at the market. Though northern Maine farmers are not necessarily noted for dancing in the parking lot, Deena Albert-Parks (PIFM president) and Lindsay Pelletier (information booth consultant) broke the mold. They exhibited a noteworthy degree of enthusiasm for finally receiving the appropriate rubber stamps on the ambitious stack of government documents necessary to allow vendors at the market to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) cards. The state of Maine also offers Harvest Bucks that will allow folks to stretch their food purchasing assistance even further. Additionally, patrons may choose to make their purchases using debit or credit cards.
Vendors are hopeful these changes will make locally grown fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, eggs and bakery goods more convenient and affordable to all. The mechanics are pretty simple, streamlined and painless. Lindsay is right there under a large sign stating “Start Here,” ready to sign in folks who want to avail themselves of payment alternatives to greenbacks or personal checks.
We encourage anyone interested in fresh, locally grown foodstuffs or skillfully handmade crafts to join us on Saturdays between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Dance on down to the Presque Isle Farmers Market at Riverside (elf outfits are optional).
The Presque Isle Farmers’ Market president for the 2018 season is Deena Albert-Parks of Chops Ahoy Farm in Woodland. For information about participating or visiting the market, contact her at email@example.com.