By Analiese Paik
The change of season from fall to winter brings us shorter, darker days and a challenging growing season for even the most adventurous four-season farmers. Ah but the wonders they’re able to produce despite the elements – tender field spinach and baby kale plus greenhouse treats like fresh herbs, pea shoots, mushrooms and lettuces – are drawing crowds to the winter farmers’ markets. Indeed, it’s the winter spinach and kale that are the first to sell out at Fort Hill Farm’s booth at the Saturday Westport Farmers’ Market. Even latecomers will find potatoes of many varieties, carrots, celeriac, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips and other storage vegetables at multiple vendors.
Freshly made cheese, locally caught fish, pastured meats and poultry, eggs and other dairy, specialty foods ranging from granola bars to hot sauce, plus prepared foods suitable for lunch or taking home make each of our three winter farmers’ markets compelling destinations. I recommend trying all of them because each is unique and special. The Winter Farmers’ Market at Norfield Grange in Weston is held on Saturdays from 10-2, The Winter Westport Farmers’ Market is held at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens on Saturdays from 10-2, and the New Canaan Nature Center’s Winter Farmers’ Market take place each Tuesday from 10-3. Click through the hyperlinks to learn more about each market or visit our Guide to Farmers’ Markets page for listings with hours and locations.
For the more committed locavore, winter CSAs are an excellent choice and the offerings have never been better or more flexible. Unlike summer CSAs, most of the winter programs allow you to opt in even after the program has begun. Pick up a frozen share once a month from Wakeman Town Farm or have a weekly delivery of fresh vegetables made to your doorstep by Mike’s Organic Delivery or My Farm Share (please note the delivery restrictions to towns only in southwestern Fairfield County). Click through the hyperlinks to learn more about each CSA program or visit the Fall and Winter CSAs section of our CSAs page for complete listings.
Fortunately for Bethel residents and anyone passing through, Holbrook Farm’s Farm Market & Bakery is open year-round from Monday through Saturday and carries not only what’s growing on their organic farm, but also specialty and prepared foods from other farmers and artisan producers. Arethusa Farm’s dairy products, Winding Drive’s award-winning jams, Cato Corner and Beltane cheeses plus local honey and maple syrup and much more fill the store to almost overlowing. Visit our Organic Farm Stands of Fairfield County page to learn more about Holbrook Farm. Visit the product page on their website for a complete listing of vendors and products.
Pasture-raised meats and poultry are available year-round at Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport and at Percy Thomson Meadows at SoNo Marketplace. Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport is a whole animal butcher sources their fresh (not frozen) beef, lamb, turkey and pork from grass-based family farms in NY and CT and their organic chicken comes from PA . Percy Thomson Meadows is a 100-acre family farm in Bethlehem, CT where the beef and lamb are 100% grass fed and the poultry is pasture-raised. All the cuts of beef, pork, chicken and lamb are sold frozen. In the spring and summer they’ll also carry their organic vegetables. SoNo Marketplace is a convenient spot where you’ll find a number of local and specialty food vendors including local shellfish from Bloom Bros. and artisan breads from Wave Hill Breads. Read about our top 8 picks here.
If you’re lucky enough to live near an independent, family-owned grocery store, chances are really good you’ll find a number of local foods, even if it’s just Gilbertie’s USDA Organic Mesclun mix at Caraluzzi’s in Bethel, Georgetown or Newtown. Walter Stewart’s Market in New Canaan carries an impressive array of specialty foods from CT companies and you’ll also find local cheese and other dairy products. One of the best places to go for a wide variety of local produce and specialty foods is the Double L Farm Market in Westport. This boutique grocer offers the truest expression of local food outside area farmers’ markets and farm stands, and it’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 until 5. Vegetables from local farms, locally baked breads and pastries, prepared foods, granola, hand-blended organic teas, grass-fed beef, lamb and pork, bison from New York state, Connecticut and Vermont cheeses, milk and dairy from two Connecticut farms, eggs, apple cider, estate maple syrup, and fish from a Boston fishmonger line the shelves and fill the coolers.
Did we miss any of your favorite winter sources for local food?