Posts

Why isn’t there more parking at BTLT’s Saturday Farmers’ Market at Crystal Spring Farm?

Have you ever been driving around, waiting for a parking spot at the Market on a Saturday morning, and asked yourself – there are all these fields, why can’t we just use them for parking?

It’s a good question, with a good answer: Crystal Spring Farm was conserved for its agricultural value, including some of the best farmland soil in this part of the state. The fields around the Market, while currently in fallow, are leased to the farming operation run by Seth Kroeck and Maura Bannon, and using those fields for parking would degrade their agricultural value, now, and for generations to come.

We have explored moving the Market to another area of the farm. We considered south of the solar array, but that land is wet and has a large area of federally mapped wetland, so simply is not suitable for the Market. We also considered moving the Market to an area near the Tom Settlemire Community Garden off Baribeau Drive. But all of Crystal Spring Farm on the north side of Pleasant Hill Road, while owned by BTLT, has an easement held by the State of Maine. That agricultural easement will not allow the land to be used for a Market. BTLT has explored other options as well – in 2018 and 2019 we offered a $2 shuttle service that ran regularly from several stops in-town Brunswick, but that service was hardly used. We’ve also tried to encourage bicycling and walking to Market, and we encourage parking along Woodside Road and walking the trail to Market, but have not seen a significant decrease in the number of cars using the parking lot.

BTLT Saturday Farmers’ Market at Brunswick Landing (2020)

After almost two seasons of being at other locations during Covid, at the end of 2021 we surveyed many of you to see if you wanted to stay at Brunswick Landing – where parking wasn’t an issue – or return to the Farm. Customers and vendors alike told us resoundingly they wanted to return to the Farm, so we did. BTLT has done our best to make the Market safe and accessible, while working within the constraints of hosting the weekly event on land that also grows food for our community.

We spend many hours each season seeking volunteers and additional staff to help us with parking, setting up cones, and keeping everyone safe. If you are willing to help, we always need volunteers from 7:30-8:30 and 12:30-1:30 to set up and take down cones, and from 8:30-10:30 and 10:30-12:30 to help park cars. Contact market@btlt.org if you are interested in helping.

We all love the Market and we all love having it on a beautiful working farm. We ask all of you driving to Market to have patience as you look for a place to park, and consider that the person helping you find a place is likely a volunteer, so please be kind. We also ask every one of you to try to find ways to ride your bike, walk, or carpool to the Market.

Thank you!

BTLT Saturday Farmers’ Market Back at Crystal Spring Farm!

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Saturday Farmers’ Market has officially returned home to Crystal Spring Farm! We had a fantastic first Saturday there last week and look forward to being there for the remainder of the season.

“All the vendors are really excited about the return back to Crystal Spring Farm!” shares Julia St. Clair, BTLT Agricultural Programs Coordinator. “Though the local businesses around the Landing these past few months have been generous and welcoming, we all much prefer to be surrounded by agricultural land. It contributes to the community-feel of the Market in a really positive way, helping everyone understand and value where their food comes from.”

BTLT is committed to continuing to support our local farmers and food system and proud of how much the Market has grown in popularity over the years. While we all share in the excitement of returning the Market to its home, the Land Trust recognizes that the Crystal Spring Farm site does pose some challenges. Hosting a market on a working farm, means that space is constrained by land that is in active agriculture.

“Everyone loves being in this beautiful setting,” said BTLT Associate Director, Lee Cataldo, “but forgets that the land around the market has been conserved for agricultural purposes, not more parking.”

She also noted that the Land Trust continues to explore possibilities to alleviate parking congestion but there are no easy answers. BTLT asks that all visitors are patient when seeking parking, and are careful of other drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists along the road.

The Land Trust also expressed their sincere gratitude to Flight Deck Brewing, Wild Oats Café, the REAL School, and TBW, LLC. These local businesses have been exceedingly generous in hosting the market (free of charge) in their shared parking area at Brunswick Landing since the summer of 2020.

The Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Saturday Farmers’ Market will continue to run at Crystal Spring Farm from 8:30am-12:30pm every Saturday for the remainder of the market season.