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National, Maine Farmers' Market Week recognizes farmers' markets' value to a community

The Executive Director of the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets says it estimates farmers' markets contribute almost $20 million to Maine's economy.

BANGOR, Maine — For many Mainers, having locally grown food on the dinner table is a priority.

This week is National and Maine Farmers' Market Week, which gives Mainers the opportunity to recognize the farmers who help bring locally grown food to their communities.

In addition to bringing fresh produce and other goods to a community, farmers' markets in Maine contribute to the state's small business economy.

The Executive Director of the Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets said it estimates farmers' markets across Maine support more than 300 farms and 500 small businesses.

It also estimates farmers' markets contribute almost $20 million to Maine's economy.

One shopper at the Bangor Farmers' Market said she would rather go to farmers' markets than grocery stores for better tasting produce and to support locals.

"I'm in touch with a lot of local farmers here, and it's just tough for them," Lilian Nowak said Sunday. "So, it's definitely a cause worth supporting."

The Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets also reports food travels on average 22 miles from farms to markets, while supermarket goods travel about 1500 miles from their original source.

"I think it's very important to be able to buy, like, local food and to be able to have a relationship with the farmer, know how they're growing, ask questions about their farming practices," Joy Trueworthy, a local farmer and founding member of the Bangor Farmers' Market, said.

Plenty of vendors gather in Abbott Square in Bangor every Sunday May-November to sell local produce, baked goods, and poultry.

"We do this so we can put good food on the table of our friends and neighbors," Everett Ottinger said.

Ottinger and his wife, Molly, own Nettie Fox Farm in Newburgh. Nettie Fox Farm has been a vendor at the Bangor Farmers' Market since its start in 2012.

Ottinger said the farmers' market is a highlight of the weekend.

"It's a routine for folks to come out and see us and other vendors and see the same kind of crowd each week," Ottinger said.

If you're interested in finding a farmers' market close to home, visit Maine Federation of Farmers' Markets.

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