Best farmer's markets/ farm stands?
Are there any (really anywhere in New England) that are really good? Lots of vendors - organic choices - maybe even reasonable prices? I've happened along some farmer's markets that have been pretty useless with less than a half dozen vendors.
Thought I had already replied.
VT: we made a special trip to the Brattleboro farmers mkt on Saturdays. Love the ethnic food stands for an interesting lunch.
Maine: Have been to the Brunswick market held on the common on Fridays several times while vacationing. I have picked up plants (nice selection of potted herbs), pastry, etc. Last year we thought the Bath market was very good - local cheese/yogurt, seafood, etc. Thought the Rockland market was a little small but it was a rainy day.
Portsmouth NH: large variety and popular
During the winter, the winter Tilton Farmers Market is outstanding. In addition to expected vendors such as eggs, Miles Smith beef, etc there's the pasta guy from the Nashua area and the mushroom guy from Tamworth. He has both fresh and dried mushrooms that he grows in a custom facility. I haven't been to the summer market.
I think the bigger markets have their own websites with a listing of vendors so you can decide if a market is worth it or not. I was recently very surprised by the variety of local and regional (including a Boston fish purveyor) food at the Moulton Farms (farm stand) in Moultonboro NH near Lake Winnipesaukee. I thought the prices were a bit high but they have a very upscale customer base. There were people in line for cider donuts. The state depts. of agriculture usually have a list of markets because they are trying to promote them.
Expect to pay more for organic choices but the grass fed ground beef we buy from Miles Smith farm from Loudon NH seems to be comparable in price for the grass fed beef in vacuum packs at the supermarket that come from other countries but the quality is better. Also keep in mind that some small farmers can't afford to get organic certification.
What I like at farmers markets is the opportunity to try some different veggies and fruits that I'm not going to see at the supermarket. I discovered garlic scapes at a farmers market and now grow my own hardneck garlic. I tried growing ground cherries last year but failed. I thought the ones I tasted at a farmers market were very interesting. There's only two of us and I thought $4.50 a lb for fingerling potatoes was very expensive but the seed potato is also expensive. I'm growing for the first time this year and hope I can save my own seed potatoes for next year.
There are several excellent PYO blueberry farms around Concord NH. I thought it was well worth it and easy to PYO and freeze some for winter muffins. It's been a wet summer so the ones I had last week were very good. Last year the berries at one farm suffered from lack of water and they had to close early.
Camden, ME has a spectacular farmer's market Saturday mornings. Several great produce vendors, 3 cheesemakers with incredible cheeses, all kinds of meat (I bought water buffalo kebab meat and some fabulous merguez lamb sausage), poultry, fish, eggs (I got duck eggs), bakers, a booth selling amazing smoked sausages and other smoked things I didn't try. Someone making pizzas, a couple of other people selling food to eat right there. There is a smaller version Wednesday afternoons. I would be thrilled to have access to that Saturday market more than one week a year!
I saw just the end of the Belfast, ME market (Thursday mornings) and it looked as though it was very good.
Not sure if you are interested in greater Boston area, but Lexington (Tuesday afteroons), Arlington (Wed afternoons) and Belmont (Thurs afternoons) are all excellent.