Cape Elizabeth farm to open locavore market in South Portland
CAPE ELIZABETH — The Maine Food Strategy came to Jordan's Farm this week to announce the results of its 2014 Consumer Survey Report, which found that nearly 80 percent of respondents prefer to purchase food grown, raised and caught in Maine.
Jordan's Farm, meanwhile, will try to capitalize on those findings when it opens a year-round market featuring locally grown meat and produce this summer at 161 Ocean St. in South Portland.
"Our intention is a full market with everything a person would need to create a meal with Maine-raised and -produced foods," said Penny Jordan, whose father, William H. Jordan Sr., opened the Wells Road farm in 1948. "We'll not only source from Jordan's Farm, but from other farms around the state."
The market – Jordan hopes to finalize the name and opening date in the next two weeks – is a partnership with Farmers' Gate Market, an organic butcher shop in Wales, owned by Ben Slayton. They plan to offer a variety of meats, fruits and vegetables, as well as dairy products, prepared foods, and beer and wine.
"Ben heard that Jordan's Farm had been considering opening a year-round location in South Portland, and he knew that was a prime community to open a market like this, because there's a lot of the demographic we're looking for — families that look to buy local and eat healthy, fresh, high-quality food, and the population over 50 that's looking to support local."
The 2,500-square-foot market in the Mill Creek/Knightville neighborhood will house retail space, coolers and a certified kitchen for making value-added products from the food in the market – anything from sandwiches, to beef stew, to butternut squash, Jordan said.
The market will source breads from a local bakery, and while there are currently no plans to offer seafood, Jordan said she hopes to eventually work with community-supported fisheries.
Jordan said the market speaks to several trends that emerged from the Maine Food Strategy survey: People want to shop local, but access and affordability present problems. The store's location addresses the former: about halfway between Mill Creek Park and Legion Square, it could draw customers who also shop at the nearby Hannaford and Shaw's supermarkets.
With regard to cost, Jordan said, "It's not going to be an elitist store, so to speak. It'll be priced competitively with stores in the area. Some products may be priced 10-to-15 percent higher than (supermarkets), but I think there's a big percentage of people who will pay more if they know it's supporting the Maine economy."
The survey results found that two-thirds of Maine households said they purchase local food to support local farmers, fishermen and businesses. With that in mind, Jordan said she wants to focus on the "narrative around the food": where it was raised, what the farms are like, and the values of the farmers themselves.
"I think that survey speaks volumes about the success of this venture for Farmers' Gate and Jordan's Farm," she said. "But the key is it's not just about our farms. It's about many Maine farms and Maine agriculture as a whole."
The new market will be a short distance north of Uncle Andy's Diner, which next month will receive a $10,000 makeover by the Food Network reality TV show "Restaurant: Impossible."