When the temperatures climb like they did during our July heatwave, I’m especially grateful to all the farmers who work outdoors through all conditions to keep us fed. They bring us the summer foods that refresh and revive, the cucumbers, tomatoes, salad mix, squash, and meats for the grill (and later in the bitter cold November rains, they bring us the foods that warm and sustain us like potatoes and squash). Though it would be easy for me as a shopper to wimp out and head for an air conditioned store, the farmers have done the hard work in the heat. It’s the least I (and all of us) can do to head out, even in bad weather, to support their businesses so they’ll be there in the good weather, too. So in the midst of upper 90’s and climbing weather, B and I headed to the Derry Farmers’ Market on Wednesday and then the Biddeford Farmers’ Market on Thursday.
B and SZP are challenging themselves to visit all 31 farmers’ markets of Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties in the 31 days of July, and share their discoveries along the way. Previous entries in this series.
The Derry Farmers’ Market takes place on Wednesday afternoons, from 3 to 7pm. I like the idea of the later end time, allowing people time to shop after work, and despite the heat , there were definitely later afternoon and evening customers. Thanks to the vendors for being willing to stay into the evening! The dates of the market, running from July through September, do make this easier than markets that open early May and run through the end of October in terms of the hours of daylight.
On the day we visited, there were 29 vendors set up. The vast majority of these vendors were selling baked goods, sweets, and crafts. There were 3 vegetable vendors, 1 maple syrup producer, a raw milk vendor giving out delicious samples, a meat farmer, and 2 wine producers. Live music was provided by this young lady playing and singing while mom helped with the microphone and umbrella.
On the even hotter Thursday, we headed up to the Biddeford Farmers’ Market. Biddeford started last winter, and I’m happy they decided to continue on through the summer. The 10 farmer/vendors there the day we visited provided such a great diversity of fruits and vegetables along with a lot of other farm fresh foods. There were three growers offering gorgeous fruits and vegetables, including the cherries, wild blueberries, celery, and cauliflower pictured, along with more vegetables.
There was plenty of honey for sale, iced tea and drinks, Above the Dam jams, and The Sweet Specialist with baked goods. Some of the vendors had gone inside the mill building (where the winter market takes place) to get out of the sun, including Creeping Thyme Farm, who makes goat cheese.
Among the varieties of cheese are two that stand out in their uniqueness of availability in our area. They make an amazing Queso Fresco, and an equally outstanding Ricotta Salata. All of their cheeses are delicious (you can sample them all at the market), and I love these two for their balance of flavors – as much Ricotta Salata or Queso Fresco as goat. Both are perfect for summertime culinary adventures and have been rapidly consumed while looking for future excuses to be near Biddeford on a Thursday afternoon.
And very very special props and shout outs of thanks go to the Tricky Britches, providing the best live music we’ve heard this month, and doing it in 99 degree heat.
Farmers’ Market Count: 23 down, 8 to go!