For those of us who try to eat locally, the winter used to be a bit of a challenge and left us longing for the warmer days of spring, summer and fall, when our beloved nearby produce was easier to obtain and contained more variety. Now, thanks to a growing demand for healthy, high-quality, local food, you can continue to eat a large percentage of your calories from Maine producers. Here are a few places to check out (and look for them on Facebook, too).
Become a member-owner now in anticipation of the opening of the new storefront at 290 Congress St., Portland this fall and take ownership of your food. Currently a bulk buying club, the co-op is and will continue to be the best place to find a huge selection of affordable local produce, meat, seafood, cheese, dairy, eggs, household cleaners, soap and body care, tinctures, beer making kits, bulk spices, and more – all from Maine! www.portlandfood.coop/.
Portland Winter Farmers Market:
There is nothing like the calm weekend wander through a summer farmers market, but we live in Maine so that’s only a reality for half of the year. Maintain your Saturday morning shopping routine year-round by cruising through the cozy and bustling weekly winter farmers market. Starting this year, the market is located at 200 Anderson Street every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and is chock full of greens, root veggies, honey, tempeh, yogurt, kombucha, bread, pies and so much more! Well-behaved pets are welcome, too. www.portlandmainefarmersmarket.org/wintermarket.htm.
Did you know there are now four Rosemont Markets? They must be doing something right and they are known to carry plenty of local options! Stop in to do your quick and dirty milk, kale, eggs and tomato shopping, or linger a little longer and explore the stocked deli and cheese counters, treat yourself to a local beer and mead, or snag some of Rosemont’s own baked goodies. Have you tried the pretzels? Go, now. www.rosemontmarket.com/ .
Seafood (we live on an ocean, people):
If you haven’t already, please switch to buying local seafood. Support our own working waterfront (we all know someone who fishes for a living!) and reduce our carbon footprint at the same time. Check out Salt & Sea for an always-local and super fresh seafood share: marketplace.saltandsea.me/ (or order their products through the Food Co-op, above). Want to look your dinner in the eye? Visit Harbor Fish Market, a longtime staple of Portland’s waterfront, and ask for their local options: www.harborfish.com/.
Lastly, for your and our oceans’ health and safety, follow the guidelines for buying seafood put out by the Monterey Bay Aquarium: www.seafoodwatch.org/.
Tyler Kidder is USM’s Assistant Director for Sustainable Programs, who always boasts loudly about the quality and quantity of local food served to frequent her dinner guests.