By Analiese Paik
Walter Stewart’s Market in New Canaan wants shoppers to have a fantastic experience buying fresh, local and sustainable food in their store and goes above and beyond to deliver on that goal. I was delighted to find CT Grown fruits and vegetables in abundance, Millstone Farm eggs, Arethusa Farm milk and cream, grass-fed and organic beef, pastured lamb, wild seafood, excellent artisan and farmstead cheeses, and an enticing variety of local and organic specialty foods. Those too busy to shop at the store can order online for home delivery or pick up in front of the store. Text them when you arrive and a car hop will load your order and collect payment using a mobile app. Add a few bottles of craft beer or wine to your order from Stewart’s Wine & Spirits to save yourself another trip.
Bins of seasonal produce and fruit from Connecticut farms greet shoppers at the “farm stand” located just outside the entrance to this family-owned grocer that’s been serving the community for three generations.
When I visited a few weeks ago, two full aisles were stocked with top quality produce and fruit, including arugula, lettuce and tomatoes from Millstone Farm, Red Jacket plums, Pell Farms raspberries and strawberries (obviously the everbearing type), Blue Hills Orchard peaches and nectarines, Bagget Farms summer squash and zucchini, scotch bonnet and long hot peppers from Soffer Farms, Brandywine tomatoes from farms in Cheshire and Beefsteaks from Northford. Organic cantaloupe and melon nicely rounded out the offerings. Now that the seasons have changed, the first flavors of autumn have arrived, including Honey Crisp, Gala and McIntosh apples, pears, Blue Jay Orchards cider donuts, broccoli, cauliflower, pumpkins, and squash.
An careful selection of artisan and farmstead cheeses awaits in the case just opposite the meat section. Burrata from Maplebrook Farm in VT, handmade by veteran cheesemaker Domenico Marchitelli from Puglia, the birthplace of burrata, would be perfect with figs and honey this time of year. Don’t miss the hard, aged goat’s milk cheese from Blue Ledge Farm and organic triple cream from Champlain Valley Creamery when creating your fall cheeseboard with pears, apples, honeycomb and artisan bread.
Artisan and specialty foods from local, Non-GMO and organic producers, some quite small, make shopping at Walter Stewart’s particularly exciting and rewarding. I discovered Whole G bread from New Haven, a delicious German-style bread made with whole and organic grains, Lulu’s Southern Pies from Greenwich, and Nutty Bunny ice cream, a Westport-based maker of organic, Non-GMO, gluten-free and dairy-free frozen desserts just perfect for vegans and those suffering from food allergies. Stock your cupboard with Shearwater Coffee Roasters’ line of organic and Fair Trade coffees, Maury’s Hive Tea, and direct trade, Non-GMO hot chocolate from Cisse Trading to go with the European style chocolate cake, macaroons, and tarts from Sweet Sabrina’s Cake Shop.
The meat and seafood section of Walter Stewart’s includes excellent organic and grass-fed choices including Bell & Evans organic chicken, Applegate Organic cheese and lunch meat, wild salmon and scallops, grass-fed beef (look for the green label), organic ground beef, and Lava Lake Lamb that is 100% pasture-raised in the Northern Rockies using sustainably and humane practices. Yes, we do have local lamb, but it’s hard to source and in short supply. Ditto for organic ground beef. It’s refreshing to see an independent retailer going the extra mile to source local, artisan and sustainable food for the growing number of consumers who want to eat this way.
229 Elm St, New Canaan, CT 06840