By April Guilbault
Nestled in a quaint, idyllic corner of a beautiful cove, at a lovely, tree-filled park is the Rowayton Farmers’ Market. The lawn is green and lush, white canopied stalls line the driveway proudly and there is much to entice the senses of taste, smell and sight. To call it simply a farmers’ market is actually a bit of a misnomer, as their motto “Home Grown and Home Made” is far more accurate.
Scattered among the many vendors, one will find farmers from various Connecticut towns selling long tables-worth of fresh, seasonal vegetables and fruits. The day I attended, there were just two produce and fruit farms present – Smith’s Acres Farm and Vaszauskas Farm – but their wares were copious. The white peach that my daughter spied and had to have was worth every bite; juicy, delicate and representing all the goodness summer has to offer. The cantaloupes at one stall were the biggest I’ve ever seen and unique orange eggplants (called scarlet, Turkish or Ethiopian) graced the boxes of another.
Beyond the farmers, specialty food vendors abound, selling all manner of delectables. There are Lulu’s Southern Pies, offering the delicious southern staples of chocolate-pecan, chess and key lime pies. The chess pie was simple in terms of ingredients, but utterly delicious. A few stalls over, there were Unbakeables, which just might be the ultimate care-package item for the college-bound on your list: eggless cookie dough bites (just keep them frozen!) in a variety of flavors such as classic chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip or birthday cake, complete with toppings like peanut butter and sprinkles. I have two words for you: They ship. Yet another stall touting sweets was With Love from the Cupboard, but theirs were of the fancy cupcake, tart, and French macaron nature. All beautiful and some were even gluten-free, which I’m sure will pique the interest of many these days.
Interested in some apple cinnamon, honey maple or vanilla almond granola for your hikes or the increasingly cooler mornings? Four Plus Granola is the stall to visit and snag a bag (or two. Or four). St. Ex breads was handing out samples as fast as they could whip together mini-towers of pesto, tomato and mozzarella atop their fresh bread. All the while, the sweet scent of Non-Stop Donuts wafted through the air, so we just had to buy a bag of the powdered-sugar tossed delights (which actually were more like little fried dough ringlets than doughnuts, but were tasty nonetheless).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Percy Thomson Meadows farm, hailing from Bethlehem, Connecticut, which sells a variety of grass-fed pork, lamb, beef, chicken and eggs. Behind them were not one, but two vendors selling empanadas (Bistro du Soleil and Josie’s) and Simply Delicious Catering To-Go, with bags and bags of kale, tortilla, bagel and sweet potato chips.
One of the uber-draws at this market is a gray and orange food truck – the LobsterCraft Truck- whose catchy tag line is “From Boat to Bun.” LobsterCraft is starting to roll all over Fairfield County, serving lobster dishes made from the day’s catch. A variety of fresh lobster rolls are offered as well as a hearty Lobster Kielbasa Mac and Cheese. Folks line up and wait for those freshly made rolls! New England + Lobsters= Summer, no two ways about it.
You could eat yourself into oblivion here. And this is only a smattering of the rotating vendors that appear each Friday through October. For the full list, visit the Rowayton Farmers’ Market on Facebook.
I haven’t even mentioned the non-food vendors! Upscale, creative and many eco-friendly goods are present, all of which would, in fact, make great presents. Anita Design sells rustic yet elegant hand-stamped linens, which would be perfect holiday or hostess gifts. Her linen is from Poland, chemical-free; the bee and pinecone motifs are whimsical and earthy. Mister and His Sister tees, bibs and assorted clothing, with jaunty fabric enhancements, are wonderful for the younger set that you might be dressing or buying for. There are even gorgeous handmade letterpress cards from Saltbox Press or unique photographically printed place mats and coasters from Garden to Table. Again, those were just the ones present the day I visited.
This farmers’ market is certainly an unusual one in that it is very pristine and offers such elegant goods in a gorgeous setting. From the foods to the wares, be sure to stop by to shop, grab a lobster roll, then sit by the water and take in the beautiful views.
All is food for the soul.
Rowayton Farmers Market
Historic Pinkney Park
177 Rowayton Ave.
Open Fridays from noon until 5 pm through October