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A vacation from the supermarket

Eating should be joyful, and it all starts with the shopping. Farmers markets are a fun way to reconnect with seasonal eating and with the community—and to find varieties that you might not find in your typical store. The farmers market can be a welcome vacation from the supermarket routine as you enjoy the outdoors and buy directly from the people who grew, raised or foraged what’s for dinner.

Portland Farmers Market

The Portland farmers Market has been around for centuries—since 1768! In the warmer months (until Thanksgiving), this agricultural showcase happens twice a week from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Deering Oaks Park and Wednesdays at Monument Square downtown. Dozens of farms participate, as well as non-profits, artisans and street performers. Saturdays have a relaxed weekend feel, with a trip to the market and a trip to the park—and the kids’ swimming ravine, playgrounds, duck pond, playing fields and TIQA Cafe and Bakery—all at the park. You’ll find a much wider variety of produce than at the supermarket, as well as vegetable seedlings, hanging and cut plants, organic meats, dairy foods and fermented foods like tempeh, kimchi and sauerkraut. Wednesday markets at Monument Square are little smaller, in the open space between Portland Public Library and One City Center, surrounded by coffee shops, restaurants and bakeries. (portlandmainefarmersmarket.org)

The Gateway York Farmers Market

This market is right off I-95 and Route 1 behind the York Region Chamber of Commerce (by Stonewall Kitchen, which is also worth a stop!). It’s at 1 Stonewall Lane in York every Saturday from May 27 through October, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine. You’ll find produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, cheeses and homemade goodies. (gatewayfarmersmarket.com)

Sanford Farmers Market

This market meets Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at Central Park on Main Street across from City Hall in Sanford. Wares include fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, goat milk products, eggs, meats and wild mushrooms. (sanfordfarmersmarket.org)

Wells Farmers Market

At this producer-only market, you’ll buy directly from the people who grew the microgreens, raised the broiler chickens and cooked the Lebanese dishes to go. With about 20 vendors here at 270 Post Road (Route 1), in the rear parking lot of Wonder Mountain Fun Park, you can find a lot more than the usual selection of produce, eggs and maple syrup. You can pick up a couple of live lobsters, some annuals for your flower beds or a bottle of wine and some artisanal breads and cheeses. The market is every Wednesday, 1:30-5 p.m., rain or shine, through October. (wellsfarmersmarket.org)

Kennebunk Farmers Market

This producer-only market has about 20 vendors with everything from butter and baked goods to seedlings and salsa. It’s Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine, at the Garden Street Municipal Lot in downtown Kennebunk, just off Main Street (set your GPS to 3 Wells Court). For a list of vendors and links to their websites: kennebunkfarmersmarket.org/vendors.html.

Community Market of the Kennebunks

Vendors at this community market include fishermen, florists, foragers, artists, craftsmen, creameries, canners, carpenters, chocolatiers, weavers, beaders, bakers, photographers, roasters, musicians, metalsmiths, herbalists, painters, knitters and quilters. The market is on Saturdays through October from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Waterhouse Center, a pavilion at 51 Main St., Kennebunk. The market has a Facebook page called “Kennebunk Community Market.”

Saco River Market (Biddeford)

The year-round Saco River Market brings together farmers, fishermen, foragers, artists, crafters and musicians. The market is on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Pepperell Center at 40 Main St., Biddeford. (sacorivermarketmaine.org)

Scarborough Farmers Market

Local farms and artisans are well represented at this market on Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., June 5 through October. The market is at 259 U.S. Route 1, in front of Town Hall off Route 1. (facebook.com/scarboroughfarmersmarket)

South Portland Farmers Market

Everything from fruits and vegetables to seafood cakes to grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and goat are sold at this market. It’s Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the South Portland City Hall parking lot (at the corner of Ocean and Thomas streets) through October. (southportlandfarmersmarket.com)

Greater Gorham Farmers Market

A full selection of local produce and farm products is sold at this market on Route 114 every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. through October. The market is at 71 South St., in the public parking space between Baxter Memorial Library and The Gorham Times office. (facebook.com/greatergorhamfarmersmarket)

Cumberland & Falmouth Farmers Market Association

This non-profit organization is made up of local and regional vendors of agricultural and Maine-made products. The market meets on Saturday mornings from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Town Hall, 290 Tuttle Road, Cumberland Center, and on Wednesdays from noon to 4 p.m. at the American Legion at 65 Depot Road, Falmouth. (cumberlandfarmersmarket.org/vendors)

Brunswick Farmers Market

The mall in downtown Brunswick (between Maine Street and Park Row) hosts this market every Tuesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., rain or shine, through Thanksgiving. Wares go beyond all the usual local produce—like sweet corn, potatoes, and strawberries—to include treats from The Lobster Ladies, Borealis Breads, King and I Angus, Big Barn Coffee and several others. (brunswickfarmersmarket.com)

Farmers Market at Mill Park (Augusta)

Along the beautiful Kennebec River, the Farmers Market at Mill Park (1 Water St., Augusta) is the place to be on Tuesday afternoons from 2 to 6 p.m. Wares include beef, bread, candy, cheese, coffee, eggs, flowers, fruit, honey, jam, lamb, milk, pickles, potted plants, pork, pretzels, rabbit, sausage, scones, syrup, tea, vegetables, Whoopie pies and yogurt. (millparkmarket.com)

Augusta Farmers Market at Turnpike Mall

The oldest farmers market in the state’s capital city, this market is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Whitten Road and Western Avenue in the Sears parking lot. Wares include fruits and vegetables, beef and pork, baked goods and dog treats. There’s a market-wide community supported agriculture (CSA) program, too.

European Farmers Market (Bangor)

This market includes a variety of ethnic foods as well as farm-fresh produce, eggs, milk, meat pies, mushrooms and baked goods. It’s at 117 Buck St., Bangor, every Saturday year-round from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There’s a meat vendor in the back.

More markets!

Maine has 115 farmers markets in the summer. The Maine Federation of Farmers Markets has an extensive website, searchable database so you can find a market near you, wherever you are in Maine. (mainefarmersmarkets.org)