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The Freshest Grocery Store on the Web

I used to regularly drag my ex-boyfriend to the farmer’s market near my old apartment on Saturday mornings. There he joined the throng of other bewildered, sleepy young males, following their girlfriends morosely through what is normally the movie theater parking lot, burdened with bags of greens, apples and bread and undoubtedly wishing they were still in bed at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m.

In time, the ex-boyfriend developed a crush on fresh milk in bottles, chocolate croissants and other delicious baked goods that he discovered were also available for just a few hours a week, only two blocks from his front door. And now, years after he was first strong-armed into accompanying me and my blue basket to the gates of couple-Hell, he goes on his own. And even blogs about it from time to time. A small victory for me, and a big one for single man-kind.

For Mainers who haven’t quite made it past the hurdle of all of the (not-entirely unfair) cliches heaped upon farmer’s market-ing, don’t live close enough to one or just don’t have the time to fight lab-walking, stroller-pushing, ultra-fresh-strawberry-loving freaks on the weekends or after work, Western Maine Market has developed a way to bring the best of products made in the western Maine region – from eggs to herbs and skin care products – to you, via the Web. Well, at least to you if you live in and around Farmington.

How it works:

the growing season, WMM is only “live” for buying from Friday afternoon
to Monday at noon. If you visit the site on any other day, you will
find all items to be “sold out.” On Mondays, we let our farmers know
what has been purchased. On Tuesdays, they deliver everything to the
Sandy Rivers Farmers Market in the parking lot of the Better Living
Center and the Narrow Gauge Cinema at 181 Front St, Farmington. You can
either pick up your order at the Sandy River Farmers Market between 4 –
6 pm or at Franklin Memorial Hospital between 3:30 – 5 pm.

While organizers report that demand has increased since the service’s launch, the combination of current economic pressures as well as the tough task of getting people to change their shopping behavior has slowed the Alliance’s goal of becoming self-sustaining. But efforts are underway to explore additional drop spots and link other farmer’s markets in the future — if they can make it through the first year.

If you miss your local market’s hours this week but still want some Marble Family Farms chocolate chip oatmeal cookies, Sherman Farm goat milk cheese or Stevenson’s Strawberries* — don’t wait until next week. Just go online and fill your virtual basket. A farmer will thank you for it when you come to pick it up in real life.

* Full disclosure, I used to play with some of the Stevenson children
about 20 years ago, but I clearly remember the berries and they deserve
the plug. Delicious.

Jessica Strelitz is a contributing writer to Maine Food & Lifestyle magazine.

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