PRESQUE ISLE – Strawberries, vegetables and other farm fresh goodies are just some of the healthy foods that will be available at the Aroostook County Action Program (ACAP) Main Office located at 771 Main St in Presque Isle during this year’s Farmers Markets. The Farmers Markets are scheduled to kick off the 2020 season on Tuesday, July 21.
ACAP has been hosting Farmers Markets at its Gouldville Location, located at 44 Park Street, for several seasons. This will be the first year the fresh local products will be available at the 771 Main Street Office. On July 1, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program relocated from Park Street to the ACAP Main Office and organizers agreed the Farmers Markets should follow the WIC Program. WIC is the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children that provides supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. The market was originally designed with WIC customers in mind, allowing individuals and families to pick up their food vouchers and then use them that same day to purchase the fresh produce right on site. It is important to note that the fresh, locally grown produce is available to WIC clients as well as for purchase to the entire community.
Goughan Farms supplies the produce which will include strawberries, beets, zucchini, and potatoes for the first event. Although other farmers have joined in the market over the years, Goughan Farms have offered a steady presence since the Farmers Market program began and have built a community of followers. Throughout the growing season, the variety of produce varies depending on what is harvestable in any given week, providing lots of variety.
The ACAP WIC sponsored Farmers Markets are just a little different than many other markets in the area and that makes a trip to the ACAP Office on Farmers Market day extra worthwhile. Because the market was designed around WIC customers, nutrition education and building excitement around trying new and interesting foods is a key component of the markets. ACAP Nutrition Coordinator Rachelle Roy explained that the market gives WIC customers as well as the entire community an opportunity to try fruits and vegetables they may never have tasted before. For this reason, she prepares recipes around what produce is in season to make available for market customers. In addition, the ACAP Farmers Markets offer a fun activity for the kids, taste sampling and free giveaways.
“Bringing locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables to our customers certainly makes these items readily available to our participants in a comfortable environment that they are able to ask questions, try unfamiliar foods and get useful, easy recipes,” said Roy. “We aid in improving our customers’ nutritional knowledge while giving them an opportunity to use both their WIC Fruit and Vegetable Check as well as their Farmers Market Vouchers and thus enhancing their diets with fresh produce on site. This year may look a bit different due to Covid-19, but we are committed to providing fresh produce to our customers and the community,” she continued.
Future Farmers Markets this season at ACAP run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 21, August 6, August 12, August 27 and September 1. The Farmers Markets are open to the WIC Clients as well as the entire community.
Aroostook County Action Program provides the people of Aroostook County with services and resources that help individuals and families achieve greater economic independence. As a leader, or in partnership with others, ACAP provides guidance to the community in responding to emerging human needs in the areas of community health, early care and education, energy and housing, and workforce development services. Aroostook County Action Program continues to accept new clients as well as serve existing clients through a vast array of programming. To learn more about available services available contact the ACAP Team at 207-764-3721.