Portland's winter farmers market moves to Stevens Avenue

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PORTLAND — A new home has been found for the Winter Farmers Market.

Maine Girls’ Academy, at 631 Stevens Ave., offers plenty of parking and plenty of room for vendors. But even more importantly, it’s part of “an already vibrant cultural hub,” according to market organizers.

The winter farmers market will open in its new location at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2. The winter market will run every Saturday through April.

A grand opening is scheduled for Dec. 23 and will feature a variety of local foods, live music and door prizes.

In addition, the market will raffle off baskets of local products each week leading up to the grand opening.

The raffle will culminate in a final giveaway “of an enormous holiday cornucopia,” said Meg Mitchell, manager of the winter market.

The City Council gave final approval Nov. 20 for the market to be held at Maine Girls’ Academy.

“Our winter location has moved around over the years, and until recently we hadn’t found a spot that met all our criteria of square footage, accessibility, parking, easy loading (and a) long-term rental relationship,” Mitchell said in a press release.

This will be the winter market’s fourth move in seven years, from a building on Free Street, to the Maine Irish Heritage Center, to Urban Farm Fermentory in East Bayside in 2013, to a vacant building on Cove Street two years ago.

“We greatly appreciate the support and help that the city has given us as we moved around trying to find our forever home,” Mitchell added.

The council’s “accommodation of our needs has allowed many of us to stay in business over the winter,” Mitchell said. “The winter market sales are (truly) crucial for all of our vendors.”

She said the girls’ school offers 9,500 square feet of space, which is nearly three times the size of the market’s last location.

In addition, there is plenty of both on and off-street parking and the school is easily accessible by public transportation, Mitchell said.

“The building’s atrium is beautiful, flooded with natural light, and the gym is pristine. We have found our forever home.”

“Abutted by the Deering Center, Back Cove, and Rosemont neighborhoods, a winter market location at The Maine Girls Academy will offer residents an easy family outing and fresh, healthy food options throughout the winter,” Mitchell said.

“We see our move to MGA as a mutually beneficial relationship between the Portland Farmers Market Association, The Maine Girls Academy and the surrounding residents,” she said.

“We see endless possibilities for community growth and well-being” at the new location.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Goods for sale at the Portland Winter Farmers Market, now at Maine Girls’ Academy on Stevens Avenue, include locally grown staples like these root vegetables.