Eat Local Challenge: 10 Ways to Eat FRESH

Nick Mancini's organic vegetables at the FRESH screening
Nick Mancini's organic vegetables at the FRESH screening

I announced an Eat Local Challenge at the FRESH screening on Wednesday night, inviting attendees to pledge to eat more local food. You set the bar where you feel comfortable. Whether you’re a newbie or already well on your way to eating locally and sustainably, think about one more thing you could do. Stop in a farm stand on the way home? Buy local cheese at a farmers’ market or specialty shop?

10 Ways to Eat FRESH is designed to help you find that “one more thing”. The Challenge doesn’t end; it’s a new way of eating. Email me at to add your name to the growing roster of  Challenge participants. You’ll receive a special monthly e-newsletter providing you with new and interesting ways to eat locally and sustainably and are invited to submit comments about how taking the Challenge is changing the way you eat.

10 Ways to Eat FRESH

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1)      Pick from your own backyard garden. Do you have some tomatoes, fresh herbs or lettuces growing? Add them to any meal to make it a CT Grown feast. If not, consider starting a fall garden, even if it’s just a few containers.

2)      Go foraging for free food! Raspberries and blueberries are in season and you can find them in your neighbor’s backyard (ask first) or along the roadside. Be sure to wash well. Ask your local school garden if they’ll trade volunteer hours for picking rights.

3)      Visit your local farmers’ market or farm stand and stock up for the week. Fairfield’s newest farmers’ market at the Promenade at The Brick Walk features live music from 9-12 and an ever-growing list of vendors. The Double L Farm Stand in Southport offers an eclectic mix of produce, fruit and artisan foods ranging from foraged berries to local, organic pies on the weekend. Visit the Fairfield Green Food Guide’s Buying Guide to search for farmers’ market and farm stand locations and hours in your town.

4)      Visit a farm and vote local with your dollars. Sport Hill Farm in Easton supplies local families with CSA shares, The Unquowa School with organic food for their cafeteria, and is hosts a Summer Farm Camp. A wide variety of local, organic produce, eggs, bread and honey can be purchased at the farm Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10-6. Ask Patti about upcoming events or visit their events page online at

5)      Go to a farm to pick your own. The CT State Dept. of Agriculture and both offer extensive lists of pick your own farms and it’s really a fun family outing. Crops available for picking right now include blueberries, corn, peaches and tomatoes. Jones Family Farm in Shelton offers blueberry picking from 9-5:30 Tuesday thru Saturday. Please call (203) 929-8425 the morning you’re picking to hear that day’s crop report.

6)      Buy from a local specialty or independent grocer that makes it a point to carry locally grown and produced food. Palmer’s Market in Darien, Fairfield Cheese Company and The Pantry in Fairfield, and Walter Stewart’s Market in New Canaan carry local fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, honey, artisanal and prepared foods.

7)      Eat at a restaurant that sources local ingredients. Health in a Hurry and Café Lola in Fairfield, The Dressing Room in Westport, Bloodroot Vegetarian Restaurant in Bridgeport, Cobbs Mill Inn Restaurant in Weston, David’s Catering and Napa & Co. in Stamford and Woodway Country Club in Darien all make it a point to source fresh, local ingredients.

8)      Buy CT Grown foods online for home delivery. Order online from CT Farm Fresh Express by midnight Tuesday for a Friday home delivery. You pick what and how much CT-grown food you want from their online store and they deliver it to your door. No minimums, no membership fees and no ongoing commitment. Leave a cooler with ice packs on your doorstep if you won’t be home for delivery.

9)      Get some local seafood straight from the source. Take a drive to Stonington to buy some scallops, shrimp or fish right off the fishing boats or at Stonington Seafood Harvesters on 5 High Street in Stonington, which is open Monday through Friday from 8-5 and Saturday form 9-12. Ask for the prized Bomster scallops – you can’t get fresher or more delicious scallops because they’re flash frozen on the boat within hours of being shucked. Bring your cooler.

10)   Buy some Connecticut wine directly from a winery or wine shop that carries local wine like Harry’s Wine & Liquor in Fairfield. Some standouts I tasted at the Connecticut Wine Festival were Sharpe Hill Vineyard’s Ballet of Angels, the award-winning wines of Hopkins Vineyards, Miranda Vineyard’s Seyval Blanc and Woodridge White, Land of Nod’s Bianca, Taylor Brooke’s Traminette and Connecticut Valley Winery’s Chianti and port-style Black Bear.

Eat Local, Eat FRESH, and Eat Well.

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