In Winthrop, we have a small but very nice Farmers’ Market that is held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Winthrop Town Office. Vegetables, eggs, dairy, meat, and baked goods are sold there, and unless my husband, Clif, and I are very busy, it’s a rare Saturday when we don’t stop at the Farmers’ Market to buy something. Often, we go on our bikes as part of our daily ten-mile ride. For us, the location is perfect as we can swing by on our way home, which is about a mile from the Farmers’ Market. Clif and I have good-size bike bags, where we can pack plenty of stuff, ranging from raspberries to garlic sausage. Then home we pedal.
One of my goals this summer is to write a short profile of all the vendors at the Winthrop Farmers’ Market—unless of course they don’t want to be featured on the blog. (I expect most of the vendors will be happy to have the publicity.)
I decided to start with Wholesome Holmstead, where I get the wonderful garlic sausage that goes so well with my homemade sweet and sour sauce. Tomorrow, I plan to make the sausage and sauce dish, and instead of adding spinach, I’ll use a sweet red pepper I have on hand and some of Farmer Kev’s sugar snap peas. But I digress.
On Saturday at the Farmers’ Market, I spoke with Karen Trenholm, one of the owners of Wholesome Holmstead, which is on 432 Stanley Road in Winthrop. In 1947, her family bought the farm, and Karen grew up there.
“This weekend, there will be four generations helping on the farm,” Karen told me.
She then went on to explain how Wholesome Holmstead is a diversified small farm, with meat, dairy, seasonal vegetables, flowers, and herbs. “And we’re making it work,” Karen added. “We’re thankful for those supporting local farms. It can be done. There is diverse farming in the state.”
“When things we eat can be grown in Maine, we should buy locally,” I added, and naturally Karen agreed with me. We also noted that this did not mean we wanted to give up using olive oil, lemons, and various spices, only that a real effort should be made to get produce and products from Maine farmers.
I would have to say that Karen and her family are indeed getting good local support. At about 10 a.m. last Saturday, after only an hour of being open, Karen had sold out of many things, and the chalkboard she uses to advertise her food had been wiped clean of several items. Luckily for us, she still had some garlic sausage left.
Wholesome Holmstead attends various Farmers’ Markets in central Maine, including ones at the Arboretum and the Mill Park, both in Augusta, as well as markets in Belgrade, Gardiner, and Wayne. They also have a farm stand at their Stanley Road Farm, and the stand is open daily.
As a parting bonus, Karen gave me a good tip about how to use the garlic scapes that have recently become all the rage—garlic scape pesto. In a blender or food processor, add the scapes and some olive oil. To this I would also add some walnuts and some kind of grated hard cheese. Another idea for dinner this week because, yes, there are bags of scapes in my refrigerator, and while I have added them to stir-fries, I’ve barely made a dent in them.
Along with the great food, it’s tips like this that make going to the Farmers’ Market so enjoyable.