By Analiese Paik
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean opportunities to eat food from local farms have all dried up. On the contrary, there are more ways to source local and sustainable ingredients for home cooking than ever before at this time of year thanks to four season farms and plentiful artisan foods. Eating out sustainably can be a challenge, but our list of restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops will help guide you no matter what town you live in. 2012 will usher in at least two new farm-to-table restaurants, and we look forward to covering them here.
Winter 2011-2012 Guide to Eating Green
Fresh winter vegetables
The Saturday winter farmers’ markets at the Granges (Norfield and Greenfield Hill) and the Westport farmers’ market at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens on Thursdays are THE places to go to find potatoes, carrots, celeriac, garlic, onions, hardy greens and other winter crops. The Double L Market in Westport is a seven-day-a-week source for seasonal vegetables and The Farmer’s Table in New Canaan has a small selection in winter.
Local and sustainably grown meats and poultry
The Saturday winter farmers’ markets at the Greenfield Hill Grange host vendors Greyledge Farm (pastured chicken, beef and pork) and Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm (lamb). Both vendors can also be found on Thursdays at the Westport farmers’ market at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens. Eaglewood Farms offers natural beef and pork each Saturday at the Norfield Grange winter market. The Double L Market in Westport has everything from New York state bison to Vermont grass-fed beef and The Farmer’s Table in New Canaan typically has a small selection of meats from John Boy’s Farm in New York. Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport is a whole animal butcher (think oxtail, tongue, and offal in addition to all the regular cuts) specializing in fresh (not frozen) beef, pork and lamb from sustainably run family farms in New York and Connecticut.
Local and organic dairy products
The widest selection of cheeses are available at cheese shops like Fairfield Cheese Company, which is dedicated to sourcing from small artisan producers including Cato Corner Farm & Beltane Farm and other distinguished cheese makers from New England. The Saturday winter farmers’ markets at the Greenfield Hill Grange offers cheeses from Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm. It’s worth asking for their fresh sheep’s milk ricotta for making homemade lasagna, ravioli, tortellini and manicotti. Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm is also a vendor at the Westport farmers’ market at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens, along with Beltane Farm, our state’s biggest producer of fresh and aged goat’s milk cheeses. Butterfield Farm sells goat’s milk cheeses at the Norfield Grange farmers’ market each Saturday. Walter Stewart’s Market in New Canaan and The Double L Market in Westport also carry Connecticut artisan and farmstead cheeses. When in New Haven, be sure to head to Caseus, where cheese is both sold at the fromagerie and served in the bistro.
Milk, cream, yogurt
The Double L Market in Westport carries Arethusa Farm’s (Litchfield) milk, cream and yogurt and milk from Smyth’s Trinity Farm (Enfield). Saugatuck Craft Butchery carries an organic, grass-fed yogurt from New York state that’s fantastic. Visit Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm for sheep’s milk yogurt, both at the winter farmers’ market at the Greenfield Hill Grange and Westport farmers’ market at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens. Beltane Farm does not milk their goats in the winter so there will be no yogurt until the spring. Take a trip to the Norfield Grange winter market for Butterfield Farm’s goat’s milk yogurt.
Honey, jam, and maple syrup
Daffodil Hill Growers sells honey and maple syrup and The Herb Basket sells honey, maple syrup and their own diverse line of specialty jams at the Greenfield Hill Grange farmers’ market on Saturdays. Daffodil Hill Growers and Gazy Brothers Farm, two vendors at the Norfield Grange farmers’ market, sell honey and maple syrup. Winding Drive, an award-winning producer of jams made from Connecticut fruit, is a regular vendor at the Westport farmers’ market at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens. The Double L Market in Westport carries honey from a Fairfield beekeeper, an enticing variety of jams from Red Jacket Orchards in New York, and estate maple syrups from Vermont. Fairfield Cheese Company, Catch a Healthy Habit Café, Michele’s Pies (Norwalk/Westport), Aux Delices (Greenwich/Darien), Plum Pure Foods (Old Greenwich), Practically Green (Ridgefield), and Jones Winery (Shelton) sell single nectar source honeys and honeycomb from Red Bee Honey (Weston).
Home delivery of local and organic foods
Farm-to-door delivery services are practical and convenient for busy families. Order online and they’ll deliver to your door. Connecticut Farm Fresh Express serves all of CT and sells exclusively CT Grown and made foods, Graze (Fairfield County only) specializes in VT Grown and made foods, Concierge Foods (Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan only) sells local, farm-fresh and sustainable foods and now sources from at least two Connecticut farms (Chef Alvarez will also cater your private party), Mike’s Organic Delivery (Stamford, Greenwich, Darien only) focuses on market baskets from small, sustainably run NY farms.
Fairfield County has watched the number of farm-to-table restaurants grow over the last year, and there are more to come. Bill Taibe, celebrated chef/owner of LeFarm in Westport and a James Beard Foundation Award 2011 Semifinalist for Best Chef Northeast, will be opening a new eatery in Saugatuck Center directly across from Saugatuck Craft Butchery in January. Chef Brian Lewis, best known for his collaboration with Richard Gere and Carey Lowell in creating the Bedford Post, will be opening Elm in New Canaan in early 2012. Chef Lewis describes his modern American cuisine as rooted in tradition and inspired by the seasons.
Restaurants serving farm-to-table and/or organic food and drink, from casual to fine dining.
- Boxcar Cantina (Green Restaurant Certified), Greenwich, Southwestern food, also a regular lunch vendor at the Westport farmers’ market
- Le Pain Quotidien, Greenwich and New Canaan (source organic ingredients whenever possible and have green business practices)
- LeFarm, Westport (innovative local farm-to-table cuisine; Chef Bill Taibe is a James Beard Foundation Award 2011 Semifinalist for Best Chef Northeast)
- Farmer’s Table, New Canaan (Southwestern casual fare made with local meats and vegetables; features in-store mini farmers’ market)
- Harvest Supper, New Canaan (seasonal farm-to-table, named one of top 4 chefs in New Canaan by Patch in 5/11)
- Schoolhouse at Cannondale, Wilton (elegant and refined regional farm-to-table cuisine)
- The Dressing Room, Westport (white tablecloth regional farm-to-table cuisine)
- The Boathouse at Saugatuck, Westport (refined regional farm-to-table cuisine)
- Health in a Hurry, Fairfield (organic vegetarian food to go)
- Catch a Healthy Habit Cafe, Fairfield (organic, raw food cafe)
- Green Gourmet to Go, Black Rock (organic vegetarian food by weekly order only)
- Bloodroot, Bridgeport (organic vegetarian/vegan restaurant)
- The Filling Station, New Canaan (hamburgers, hot dogs and sloppy joes made with organic raised beef from local farms, organic French fries, and hormone free & anti biotic free milkshakes)
- Napa & Co., Stamford (“innovative wine country cuisine made from organic, farm-fresh, seasonal ingredients”)
- Fat Cat Pie Company, Norwalk (pizza and salads made with organic and local ingredients)
- Sugar & Olives, (Green Restaurant Certified) Norwalk (local, sustainable farm-sourced ingredients for a seasonal menu)
- The Stand Juice Company, Norwalk & Fairfield(organic juice cleanses and casual menu using organic ingredients when possible)
- Restaurant North, Armonk (refined farm-to-table new American fare)
- Tarry Lodge, Westport & Port Chester (Green Restaurant Certified; some sourcing from local farms, sustainably farmed ingredients)
- Artisan, Southport, (“seasonally inspired” New England cuisine)
- West Street Grill, Litchfield
- The Perennial Chef, Ridgefield & Bedford, prepared foods and catering using their own organically-grown vegetables, locally sourced ingredients and sustainable seafood.
- The Organic Market, Westport (also has a lunch counter, hot buffet and seating area). 285 Post Road East Westport, CT 06880-3613 – (203) 227-9007
- Port Coffeehouse, Black Rock, Bridgeport, organic/Fair Trade coffee http://www.portcoffeehouse.com/
- Michele’s Pies, 666 Main Avenue, Norwalk, CT and 180 Post Road East, Westport, organic/Fair Trade coffee from Bean & Leaf, some local ingredients used in her award-winning pies www.michelespies.com
Do you have a resource to share? Please post in the comments below and/or on our Facebook page.