BELFAST—On Friday, March 16, for those shopping at the Belfast Farmer’s Market in the greenhouse of Aubuchon Hardware in Belfast, there were plenty of fresh, farm-grown ingredients to make a classic Irish dish for St. Patrick’s Day—including corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew, Irish pasties and Irish soda bread.
Market members cooked up and put out a spread of dishes for a free public tasting. Each was made with ingredients they grew or produced and were available for purchase at the market.
Jennifer Pierce, a spokesperson for the Belfast Farmer’s Market, said their market was the longest running farmer’s market in the Midcoast, celebrating its 38th season. It is open year-round every Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. during the winter, it is located in the greenhouse and will be moving back outdoors to its summer home at Waterfall Arts in mid-April.
“We tend to have the same members week after week, but it depends on the seasonal availability of their produce or products,” she said. “We only do the public tasting on special occasions, as a special thank you from the Members and it also gives people ideas on how to use locally produced vegetables and in new and different ways, and sample what's in season.”
Dalziel Lewis of Dig Deep Farm in South China not only had an abundant array of micro-greens to decorate a table, but she also had root vegetables that would be delicious in a traditional Irish stew. “You can also find us each Saturday at the Belfast United Farmer’s Market as well,” she said, for those looking for fresh ingredients for a March 17 feast.
Under the wooden handmade sign of Peacemeal Farms, brilliant orange farm-fresh carrots, potatoes, garlic and cabbage were for sale: the ideal ingredients for New England boiled dinner or lamb stew.
Billi Barker, owner of Enchanted Kitchen at Firefly Farm in St. Albans, Maine, is an organic farmer, personal chef and caterer. She offered a classic “pastie” for $3, a savory, flaky pastry filled with organic beef and potatoes, peas, carrots and gravy—all from the very farms she was working with that day. “It’s a boiled dinner in a handpie,” she said, laughing.
For more information about the Belfast’s Farmer’s market schedule, visit them at belfastfarmersmarket.org/belfastmarket/
The United Belfast Farmer’s Market also takes place Saturday, March 17, so if you still want your Irish dinner from scratch, that’s the place to find what you need.
All photos by Kay Stephens
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com