Opening day, this past Saturday,  at Portland’s new location for its indoor winter farmers’ market was a hallmark event.  If you haven’t been yet, then get yourself there next Saturday at 9:00 AM when the market opens at the Maine Girl’s Academy in the far-flung reaches of Stevens Avenue.

Entry way to the Maine Girl’s Academy and the farmers’ market inside

The space (the school’s gymnasium) can hold another 20-plus vendors beyond the 20 that are already there. And among them there are no surprises.  The same participants from the summer market have set up shop.

Great space for farmers’ market shopping

The campus offers plenty of parking in a lot that’s bigger than the Forest Avenue Hannaford.  And once inside it’s warm instead of being musty as in other places of years past.

The parking lot is much bigger than what’s shown here–plenty of spaces to park

Yes, indeed.  This is a win-win for the market vendors and shoppers if only there were more vendors to fill the space with more variety than the current city charter allows.

One of the few vendors who sell prepared foods from Swallowtail’s certified farm kitchen

Unlike other markets in other Maine towns and cities, Portland does not allow non-farm items, meaning that unless the farmer produced them from Maine sources (from the ground up) then it’s verboten.  Examples of forbidden items include these delirious items: rice Krispy squares, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Another spurious no-no is meringue toppings on pies and such.  Deadly stuff apparently.

It’s too bad that Portland’s farmers’ market isn’t more like a food bazaar where fruits, vegetables, meats, poultry, etc,  join the greater world of  prepared foods.

The best market where you can nibble your way through is at the indoor Brunswick market housed in the cavernous Fort Andross building, where some 50 vendors selling everything from handmade aprons and pot holders to prepared foods, heritage produce, meat, poultry and fish.

Barnlike space at the Brunswick market where prepared food, crafts and mostly organic produce, meats, fish, poultry and baked goods abound

Still, I commend the market makers for choosing such a great place for Portlanders who cherish our farmers’ markets.

Portland’s new space at the indoor farmers’ market at the Maine Girl’s Academy