Market on Main Street

Rockland welcomes Terra Optima

By Beth A. Birmingham | Jul 11, 2013
Photo by: Beth A. Birmingham Cutting the ribbon at the grand opening of Main Street's new neighborhood grocery store is Cheryl Denz, owner of Terra Optima Farm Market. On hand for the celebration July 10 is, from left, Frank Isganitis of the Rockland City Council; Denz; Val Despres; and Lorain Francis of Rockland Main Street, Inc.

Rockland — A long-awaited goal of moving to Rockland was realized July 10 when Terra Optima Farm Market opened its doors for business at 218 Main St.

The small neighborhood grocery specializes in artisan meats, fresh vegetables and fruits, and other delicious, locally-sourced products. The market was previously housed in Thomaston, at the corner of Routes 131 and 1.

"We are looking forward to seeing all our regulars from Thomaston, and meeting new friends," said owner Cheryl Denz.

Officials from the city of Rockland, Rockland Main Street, Inc., and the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce were on hand for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, along with about 25 guests.

Samples of breads and cheeses were available for tempting, as customers perused the rooms full of products.

Lorain Francis, executive director of Rockland Main Street, Inc., served as master of ceremonies.

"Everything is local, and gives a farm-to-table appeal," said Francis. "We are glad she is here."

"We are excited to have this type of business here," said Frank Isganitis, Rockland City Councilor. "It's just a walk from home."

Denz said as a farmer she has been looking at something like this for 15 years.

"I wanted to reach out to all of you," said Denz, who wanted to become part of a community. "This space makes it possible."

A variety of fresh products will be available all year, not just a couple days a week like the farmers markets Denz used to attend.

She said during the construction that people would just stop in off the street and say "go, go, go."

"This is a very welcoming neighborhood," Denz said.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at

Comments (7)
Posted by: Donna Hurley | Sep 08, 2013 23:58

Thanks to this great article I found Terra Optima on Facebook and enjoy reading the daily farm's brilliant! Can't wait to stop in their market next visit back home! Oh by the way..Ted's and Sampson's were two great grocery stores housed where the Rite Aid sits! And thank goodness for the Curtis Market telephone booth..that was my only telephone back in the days!

Posted by: RUTH ROWLING MAXFIELD | Jul 13, 2013 23:02

Oh!  And congrats to Cheryl!  She is "the berries" and her meat and produce is "to die for".  : )

Posted by: RUTH ROWLING MAXFIELD | Jul 13, 2013 23:00

Oh com'on people.  Does no one recall the old A&P on Main Street?  First National - where now stands Key Bank?  Was Sampson's first or secondly at Park and Main Streets?  There were more . . . just can't think of them all.  We had small groceries, specialized groceries, fruit stores, national chains and local groceries.  Ken is right . . . the paper's writers need to check with some of we oldsters.  : )  <just sayin'>

Posted by: Debra L Whittier | Jul 12, 2013 08:48

I didn't read the caption - I should have.  Still, though, the focus was on this new, very cool market.

Posted by: Martha Johnston-Nash | Jul 11, 2013 23:03

Sorry, Debra, it may not be in the article, but it is in the description under the picture. One would assume it's part of the article.

At any rate, best wishes to Cheryl and staff on this venture.

Posted by: Debra L Whittier | Jul 11, 2013 16:29

The article didn't say anything about this being the first Main Street grocery store.  Rather, it was a very warm and welcoming article about a nice store opening on Main Street in Rockland.  There was nothing in the article pointing to a need for "historical homework".   Beth is a lifelong resident of Rockland, like I am.  We know about Rockland history - there wasn't a need for it in this lovely write up.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jul 11, 2013 10:24

This is not the first Main Street grocery store. A number of family grocery stores have been in this same location over decades, with Sweets and Meats being the latest one in this building. What about South End Grocery? That store has been there for decades, as well, under earlier, different names, e.g. Curtis's. Courier writers need to do their historical homework...

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