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Calling All Makers: Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair to Add Local FlavortradefairFort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce Partners with Cary Medical Center, Healthy You and the Maine Potato Board to Bring Local Foods to Forefront on March 25 & 26
For 36 years, The Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce has hosted the Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair, an annual opportunity for growers and gardeners, farmers and foresters, and everyone in between to see the latest and greatest tools and technology for the farm, field, and forest assembled under one roof.  But much like agriculture and forestry have changed over the past three decades, so too must the Trade Fair change.

“We are excited to announce that on March 25th & 26th the Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair will add a Specialty Foods and Sample Space,” announced Tim Goff, Executive Director of the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce.  “There will still be plenty of exhibitors featuring a wide variety of agriculture-related products and information.  There will also be an opportunity to catch up with friends after the long winter, to take a class or catch a presentation, and to check out the newest innovations in the fields of farming and agriculture, but new this year there will also be an opportunity to sample some of the fine specialty foods and beverages being crafted with locally grown and sourced products from throughout Aroostook County and the Pine Tree State!” 

The Specialty Foods and Sample Space at the Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair will feature samples for attendees to taste, as well as the opportunity to interact with the growers and producers and purchase their products - allowing attendees to gain more knowledge about the people who are working to make Maine renowned for its quality agricultural products.  We anticipate approximately two dozen vendors offering samples of locally sourced products using a wide variety of all natural, sustainable and organic ingredients – from soaps to syrup, ployes to potatoes – providing a true taste of the County!

The Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Cary Medical Center and Healthy You to bring this new, exciting and flavorful feature to the Trade Fair.  By working together, our organizations have reduced the cost for smaller producers to attend.  Initially, the event will feature twenty-four specialty food booths reserved for producers looking to showcase their products.  Thanks to a generous contribution from the Maine Potato Board, the price for those featured farms and producers to participate will be just $100!  These vendors will be required to provide product samples in exchange for the reduced vendor fee.  Specialty food vendors are strongly encouraged to have product on-hand to sell directly to consumers.  In addition, there are some scholarship funds available to assist small producers to further reduce the vendor fee.  Interested vendors are encouraged to contact the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce today as the number of scholarships is limited.

“We are very pleased to have the Maine Potato Board sponsor the specialty foods section of the Maine Farm Festival at the Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair,” stated Bill Flagg, Director of Community Relations for Cary Medical Center.  “A key component of a healthy lifestyle is watching what you eat, and when you know where your food is coming from and have established a relationship with the grower, you can get fresher foods grown close to home.  This not only has benefits for your health, but for the local economy as well.  That is why we strongly encourage specialty food producers from throughout the County to join us as we bring thousands of people together to celebrate local agriculture and learn more about the many ways agriculture impacts our lives.”

As part of the specialty foods offerings, the Maine Potato Board will be providing Caribou Russets for the folks at Cary Medical Center and Healthy You to stuff and give away to attendees of the Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair.  The Caribou Russet is a new potato variety that was developed through years of research to grow in Aroostook County’s special blend of fertile soil and climate conditions.  The Caribou Russet combines numerous positive characteristics found in Maine Potatoes, and is equally tasty baked, mashed or processed into chips and fries.

“We’ve seen the popularity of events which bring foodies and producers together to celebrate locally grown food, and we believe folks in northern Maine are interested in learning more about what is being grown right here in their own backyard,” explained Goff.  “In many cases, these producers are the farmers themselves, looking to add value to the crops they grow, so adding them to the roster of vendors at the Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair not only makes sense, but we hope will generate sales and connections for these small business owners that will strengthen the market for locally sourced products and expand their customer base while connecting them to other folks who are helping support agricultural operations in Maine.”

While the 37th Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair will experience a monumental change in 2017, the goal remains the same - to continue to bring people together for an exchange of ideas, to create community by hosting a spring fever-reliever like no other, and to promote all aspects of agriculture.  This year, the Trade Fair will feature more instore with an added taste of the flavor or Maine. 

For more information on becoming an exhibitor or about the 37th Annual Northern Maine Agri-Business Trade Fair, please contact Tim Goff at 207-472-3802 or email tgoff@fortfairfield.org.  You may also visit http://www.fortfairfield.org/about-us/visitor-information/agri-business-trade-fair.html for additional information or to download a registration form.

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