FARMINGTON — Rustic Roots Farm owners Dave Allen and Erica Emery have expanded their operation with a restaurant and farm market now open three days a week at 54 Farmington Falls Road in New Sharon.

Root Down Market in New Sharon opened for breakfast and lunch on Friday, Jan. 5, as an expansion of Rustic Roots Farm in Farmington. Pictured from left in the market section of the facility are Scott Croteau, owners Dave Allen and Erika Emery and April Duval. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Rustic Roots Farm, 120 Vipah Lane has become a familiar and popular spot on the Farmington Falls Road between the two towns, where a variety of vegetables are grown in the gardens and greenhouses. The farm sells CSA shares and attends local farmers’ markets.

“The idea for a market came when we realized that we needed a brick and mortar farm stand to sell vegetables on more days than just Saturdays at the farmers’ market,” Emery said recently. “Initially we thought we would do simple sandwiches, soups, and salads, but we found the building in New Sharon had an entire kitchen setup, so we really worked with Scott [Croteau, chef] to build out a full restaurant menu.”

When asked about how the name was chosen, Emery said, “We were trying to get the word “root” in it as a tie in to the farm and we tried a bunch of different word combinations and Root Down is what stuck.”

Root Down Market opened Jan. 5, and is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for now, Emery said during a visit to the Market on Thursday, Jan. 11. “We are hoping to expand later in the winter,” she said. “The goal is to be open up to five days by the summer.”

The restaurant portion, which also offers vegan and vegetarian options, is open for breakfast and lunch while the market section will be stocked with lots of produce, Emery stated. Thursday is prep day when many menu items are put together, she noted.


A refrigerator case holds cheeses, vegetables, eggs and other items from local producers during the Jan. 12-14 weekend at Root Down Market in New Sharon. Submitted photo

When open, a refrigerator case will be filled with local cheeses, vegetables, eggs, sandwiches and other locally processed food items, Emery said. “We are slowly ramping up,” she noted. “We have a bakery case that will be full of muffins, croissants, cookies and cakes. One thing we are trying is breakfast sandwiches to go. For lunch, the fried chicken sandwich has been the shining star so far.”

Emery said Croteau is a great chef, is very excited about the farm to table menu.

Croteau was busy slicing ham at the time.

“That will go in our breakfast sandwiches, the ham bone in split pea soup,” Allen stated. “Nothing gets wasted if we can help it.”

Everything on the menu features local farms, every dish has something from Franklin County in it, Emery said. Breakfast sausage comes from Sillanpaa Farm in New Vineyard, cheeses from Pineland Farm in New Gloucester, tomatoes from Backyard Farms in Madison, maple syrup from True Mountain Maple Syrup in Industry, and breads from Maine Grains in Skowhegan, she shared.

Lunch items include ground beef from Colby Woods Cattle Farm in Chesterville, chicken from Pine Tree Poultry – two minutes down the road in New Sharon – and radishes from Rustic Roots Farm, Emery said. “We still have some radishes, so we do have Rustic Roots Farm on the menu, which is nice,” she noted. “In the summer it will be all our vegetables.”


Allen indicated a house blend of beef from Cold Spring and Colby Woods was being used that weekend.

Root Down Market is trying to be an outlet for local growers, will have their produce for sale in the market section out front, he said.

“It will be cool to see the things that people bring to us that they want to sell here, to have a place for people to be able to sell their produce,” Emery stated.

“We closed an hour early last Sunday due to the weather,” Allen noted. “It is great for people who live in New Sharon. They don’t have to travel to Farmington to get their breakfast and lunch on weekends, they can come here.”

Emery said halfway through the first weekend it was decided to change the hours a bit. “We realized we needed a half hour to close the kitchen to transition from breakfast to lunch,” she explained.

A bakery case is filled with croissants, flour free cookies and vegan carrot cake muffins during the Jan 12 to 14 weekend at Root Down Market in New Sharon. Submitted photo

April Duval of New Sharon worked at the farm, is now moonlighting at the new facility, Emery noted. Duval preps the salads and all the stuff that is going to go in the deli, she said. “She is cutting up our watermelon radishes,” Emery stated. “April has a long history of food work in Portland, so we are really lucky to have her. She worked at a cheese shop for a long time, worked at a catering company.”


“I had just finished a summer gig at a private sporting camp in Franklin County,” Croteau said when asked how he connected with Allen and Emery. “I was taking a break, a friend was joking around with me if I was going to sit around all winter. He gave me their ad, I started reading it, was interested with the farm to table idea. It’s close to my home in Phillips, they have a good reputation.”

Croteau has been a chef since 1996, had previously worked at Kawanhee Inn in Weld, Cleonice in Ellsworth and Hotel Rumford. The latter was originally a sports themed bar, he helped make it more of a family friendly venue.

Emery said everyone was excited to be working with farm fresh ingredients. “It is our bread and butter,” she stated. “Dave is already trying to figure out how to get more tables in the restaurant section. We were pretty busy last weekend.”

Emery is doing most of the baking for the restaurant, is considering hiring a baker in March when she will have to devote more time to the gardens. She expects to expand what is grown this year, hopes to see an increase in sales.

The farm had two staff last summer – Duval and a University of Maine at Farmington student for three months, Emery said. “That is probably what we will try to run,” she noted. “Myself and Dave will be there.”

Emery said she may take on a few more CSA members this year, but it is hard to tell as her plan is to be at the farm during the week and at the restaurant on weekends. “Dave and I will figure it out,” she noted.


A high school student may be hired to wash dishes since there is no mechanical dishwasher at the restaurant. “We burned through a lot more dishes than I thought we would,” Emery said.

“We have got fast hands,” Allen quipped.

Emery is also excited about using the patio out back during the summer. “I think it is going to be a hit, we are going to get people outside,” she added.

Root Down Market is open 7 to 11 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more information and the daily specials list visit Root Down Market’s Facebook page or call 207-778-0288.

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