The coronavirus has impacted Maine farms and food, but many are more accessible than ever this year. The coronavirus pandemic has changed much about the way Mainers live, work, and recreate. Stores, farm stands, farmers’ markets, and agritourism sites have adopted effective new practices. As a result, there are terrific opportunities to explore, experience, discover, and connect with Real Maine foods and farms this season!
Our interactions with agriculture will be different this summer than in years past, especially as many cherished fairs and outdoor events have canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, because farmers are very skilled at problem-solving and adapting to changes, many farms across Maine are more accessible than ever this growing season,Amanda Beal, Commissioner Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
Follow these tips when planning agricultural experiences this summer:
- Always call ahead or check online to verify the details of the business or event you plan to visit.
- Wear a mask when around others, and observe social distancing measures.
- Visit the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry’s webpage, COVID-19 Information for Agriculture and Food Businesses for extensive coronavirus-related information for farms, businesses, and consumers.
There are many outdoor food and farm activities available:
Open Farm Day has been a popular Maine activity the 4th Sunday in July for three decades. However, the 31st annual Open Farm Day this year will be a bit different. It will be presented as a virtual event at most farms, kicking off the fourth week in July. Read “Open Farm Day” is Online This Summer and follow Real Maine for more information.
There are farmers’ markets every day of the week. If you’re looking for fresh and prepared foods, consider exploring Maine’s farmers’ markets. More than a hundred markets take place each week all over the state. It’s a great time of year for shopping outdoors, and farmers’ markets offer variety and convenience. Most Maine farmers’ markets and farm stands have special protocols in place to ensure the safety of shoppers and vendors this summer. (Hours and availability may change, so check for the latest updates before heading out.)
Although most agricultural fairs have been postponed, many will be hosting online events, including the chance to shop with some of your favorite artisans. Livestock fans will be able to view some competitions and auctions online. And if you’re craving fair food, be sure to follow the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs for the latest on where to find some of your favorite vendors.
Let’s support Maine’s farms and agricultural businesses in every season:
- Visit farm websites—subscribe to blogs, newsletters and podcasts.
- Follow Maine farms on social media, offer testimonials, and share posts with friends.
- Help keep farms and retail areas healthy — stay home if sick.
- Bring a cooler and ice to keep peak ensure food quality—no matter where you buy it.
- Travel safe—planting and harvest season is means peak road usage by farmers and the public.
- Ask farmers how to enjoy their farm products year-round: special recipes, storage tips, etc.!