Van Buren kicks off second annual farmers market

2 months ago

VAN BUREN, Maine – After the success of Van Buren’s inaugural summer farmers market last year, the northern Maine border town kicked off its second season on June 1. The Main Street event featured an eclectic assortment of vendors selling everything from handmade tools, to coffee and books.

The farmers market, hosted at 84 Main Street, will take place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. throughout the summer.

Thomas Segen and his wife Danielle Segen sold an assortment of surplus plants and crops from their garden, along with a selection of handmade wood tools, walking sticks, and instruments. 

The Segens moved to Van Buren across the country from Los Angeles three years ago. 

They both grew up in Washington state before living in California, but neither location could prepare them for northern Maine, Thomas said.

“Neither in Washington nor California do you have a real winter,” Thomas said. “That’s something we’ve really enjoyed. It’s a beautiful, beautiful place. There’s a lot to like about it.”

Among their items was a handmade whistle that looks like a small recorder.

“It’s a traditional Swedish springtime craft,” said Segen. “When the willow is in sap, you can slide the bark off the twig, which allows you to make a little whistle out of it.”

Everything is carved with just three tools — an ax, a straight knife and a hook knife.

The market also featured an assortment of self-published books written by Benjamin Scribner, who also recently moved to town. Scribner has a series of children’s books as well as a book about his time living off-grid in Idaho.

“I was encouraged by my mother to write when I bought a cabin off-grid on the side of a mountain,” Scribner said. “She said ‘Oh my God, you’re just like Henry David Thoreau.’ And that inspired the title.”

The book, titled “Escaping a Life of Quiet Desperation: Walking in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau,” gives a detailed account of Scribner’s experiences living in the Idaho wilderness.

Melody York, who owns and operates York’s Kitchen with her family, was also at the farmers market selling a variety of coffees, lattes, and homemade baked goods ranging from breads, cookies, and donuts.

VAN BUREN, Maine — June 3, 2024 — Melody York, pictured in the center with two of her children, owns and operates York’s Kitchen – a local business that specializes and coffee and baked goods – with her family. Pictured on the left is Anna York and on the right is Caleb York. (Chris Bouchard | St. John Valley Times)

“We started out just cooking stuff like Grandma used to make from scratch,” said York.

The business gained momentum, and York said they were contacted by the town about the possibility of opening up a brick and mortar location on Main Street which will also offer coffee. In the meantime, they applied for a grant via the Northern Maine Development Commission and also received a cart to make and serve coffee.

York’s Kitchen was also at last year’s farmers market. York said she has sold baked goods at other farmers markets for several years.

Being involved from the start, York said she is happy to see the Van Buren farmer’s market continue to grow.

“We’re a small market, and we’re trying to get the word out,” she said. “We’re trying to grow, and it’s great to see this many vendors, even from the very beginning.”