Farmers’ Market: Use it up

9 years ago

    “Use it up; wear it out. Make it do or do without.” These are words to live by, especially here in the Crown of Maine.

Aroostook County folks have a long history of getting along as best they can with what they already have or figuring out how to do without. A hand-me-down is “vintage” by another name. A church rummage sale is God’s consignment shop. Our inclination to repurpose or renovate rather than to purchase new and improved may put us at the forefront of a wave of anti-consumerism in the “green community.”
Residents rarely have a profit margin that allows us to just buy what might catch our eye. A gardening supply catalog may advertise a $90 Tractor Scoot designed to allow a gardener to “sit, swivel, and roll,” but our solution to sore backs and knees is more likely to be an upended 5-gallon pail. Soil amendments are not referred to as “compost”; manure is more likely to arrive by the sodden pick-up load than dried, ground, and packaged neatly in 20-quart plastic bags. If we do use bags, they are not $30 designer Grow Bags. Folded-over pet food bags or livestock feed sacks filled with topsoil are containers for plants started in milk cartons on our windowsills. These individual “raised beds” offer drainage and warmer soils earlier in the spring and we bought them when we purchased their contents. As is typical, we saved them to use again.
Like our neighbors, local farmers use it up and wear it out. We sweet-talk ancient tractors into pulling a cobbled-together collection of welded and patched implements. We make do, saving seed from year to year and growing the tried-and-true varieties that meet our needs. Our crops are fueled by poop, lime, and sweat equity; irrigation drops from the clouds in volumes that grace us or curse us. Sometimes we do without.
Members of the Presque Isle Farmers Market understand that you work hard for your money. We realize that customers want nutritious food at reasonable prices. We share ideas, experiences, and recipes with our customers … kale chips as a healthy alternative to empty-calorie snacks, delicious stir-fry dishes with new snow peas, green onions and baby carrots, or savory pasta dishes based on roasted strawberries. These are taste sensations that have nothing to do with doing without.
Stop by the PI Farmers’ Market in the Aroostook Centre Mall parking lot every Saturday between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; you will be pleased with the variety, the prices, and the experience of “harvesting” fresh, locally grown food. Catch the wave!
  The Presque Isle Farmers’ Market contact person is Gail Maynard, who operates Orchard Hill Farm in Woodland with her husband, Stan.  Their phone number is 498-8541 and their email is