Streets were lined with cars and the former Mathews Brothers' building packed with customers and the curious May 27 as United Farmers Market of Maine opened its doors for the first time.

Workers handed out green United Farmers Market bags to all who entered from doors on both sides of the building at 18 Spring St. Inside, visitors crammed the aisles of the 8,000-square-foot market.

They sampled many things edible, from microgreens to Asian dumplings, truffles, salami and juices, and learned about pH-balancing properties of Maine-made olive oil soaps, qualities of bird's eye maple cutting boards, uses of regular lard vs. leaf lard, and ingredients in gluten-free superfood bars — to name just a few offerings.

Some 65 vendors — including local farms and others from around the state — were busy selling vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs, dairy products, lobsters, vegetable plants, flowers, honey, baked goods, ethnic foods (e.g., Jamaican, Laotian), hand-crafted wooden ware, pottery, jewelry, and so much more.

In an adjacent hall overlooking Belfast Bay, many visitors took their food purchases to relax and eat while a pianist played country tunes. Owner Paul Naron made rounds through the market, greeting people and generally overseeing operations.

Several vendors expressed their appreciation for how thoughtfully Naron had set up for opening day — not only with shopping bags for all, but also with the installation of an ATM machine near the Spring Street entrance.

A customer was overheard commenting on the crowded market aisles. "And it isn't even tourist season!" she said.