Houlton Community Market offers options for shoppers
HOULTON, Maine – Veggies, cheese, fruit, and baked goods are always fresh and local at the Houlton Community Market.
Angie Wotton, board chairman of the Houlton Community Market, joined the Houlton Rotarians for their weekly luncheon on Monday, Aug. 5, with some fresh market talk. Wotton is the owner of West Berry Farm, one of the vendors at the market. She is also district manager at the Southern Aroostook Soil and Water Conservation District,
The Houlton Community Market started in 2009 with just two vendors, and has grown increasingly over the last 10 years. Today, there are upwards of 20 vendors participating each Saturday.
The market season is every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Memorial Day to Columbus Day. The market is not only for farmers, but bakers and crafters as well.
The Houlton Cary Library and the Houlton Museum are also opened during the same hours as the market and most of the local downtown businesses are open as well, creating plenty of shopping and visiting destinations in one stop.
As a part of the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets, Houlton’s Market has started using various programs to help promote activities in downtown Houlton. A few programs that have been successful are the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and the Maine Harvest Bucks program, which were implemented in 2016.
Thanks to the Maine Harvest Bucks program, the market was able to bring on a staffed information booth that allows them to process credit cards for shoppers, making fresh market shopping even more convenient. This information booth also acts as the central link for the market, hosts the children nutrition programs, and process the SNAP cards. The growth from these programs over the last few years has been incredible.
New this year was the Kids Market Program. This program was funded in part by a grant through the Maine Community Foundation, and this year saw 75 children sign up. Teaching children to purchase their weekly fruits and veggies with wooden tokens, it also teaches them about supporting local business, and eating healthier and fresh.
The next scheduled special event at the Market is the Harvest Festival, Sept. 14. This will have kids activities, tractor rides and much more.