Sage Whitehead from Winterberry Farms tends to the table at the Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market on Thursday. It was the opening day of the season for the city farmers market, held in the parking lot at Head of Falls. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — For Sage Whitehead, setting up shop at the Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market has been a family tradition dating back to when she was born in 2006.

On Thursday, when the market resumed for the summer, the 15-year-old was back, selling vegetables, baked goods and cut flowers from Winterberry Farm, in Belgrade, run by her mother, Mary Perry.

“We are a horse and oxen-powered farm, and we only grow vegetables and cut flower,” Whitehead said. “When we go to the market we bring baked goods: my mom makes apple pies, blueberry pies, blueberry breads, cookies and prepared moods. We have our own tulip bouquets that we brought for Mothers Day.”

Winterberry Farm also has a store open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Online ordering and curbside services; details can be found on their website. Other services are also offered, including signing up for their CSA program, information on flowers and history on the farm.

Located in the parking lot at Head of Falls, vendors welcomed the community with a variety of products, including fresh vegetables, cut flowers, breads, seedlings and prepared foods.

Other markets in the area have also resumed, including the Skowhegan Farmers’ Market, open Saturdays from from 9 a.m. to 1 at 42 Court St., Skowhegan; and The Market of Unity, open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 74 School St., Unity.

Eileen Flanagan and John Cochrane from Junction Garden sell produce at the Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market on Thursday. It was the opening day of the season for the city farmers market, held in the parking lot at Head of Falls. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Previously, Debra Vermette, chairperson of the Waterville market, said that coronavirus pandemic guidelines were adopted last year to keep shoppers safe and will remain in place this year. This includes spacing vendors slightly farther apart, requiring masks and working to ensure that shoppers can wait in line and walk around while maintaining social distancing.

The market is open from 2 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, with the first hour open for senior citizens and immunocompromised people.

Last year, Vermette said that there was an increase in shoppers at the market as people became concerned about meat shortages and other foods not being available at the grocery store; seedling sales also increased.

Debbie Ferguson, of Snakeroot Organic Farm in Pittsfield, was one of the vendors offering a variety of vegetables and seedlings. She said that the farm has been a participant in the market since it kicked off about 25 years ago.

“We were one of the founding farms,” Ferguson said. “We’ve been here I think as long as the market’s been open.”

John Cochrane runs his Junction Garden farm stand at the Downtown Waterville Farmers’ Market on Thursday. It was the opening day of the season for the city farmers’ market, held in the parking lot at Head of Falls. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

In response to the pandemic last year, an online shop was created to allow shoppers to pre-order their products.

“We didn’t change anything this year that we have been doing last year,” Ferguson said. “We are online in response to the pandemic, we started a nice online store last year, and it works out well. It’s helped people be able to get what they wanted in a safe way.”

She added that Snakeroot Organic Farm also participates in The Market of Unity as well as the Orono Farmers’ Market.

“We have a couple of new vendors this year,” Ferguson said, “and there will be more as the season goes on and as products come in.”

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