Still having Shark Week withdrawl? Help is on the way. Thanks to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack there is another great week to celebrate this summer. August 2-8th has been designated National Farmers Market Week, so forget those foraging carnivores and go locavore.
Locavore means choosing to eat sustainably by purchasing locally produced food. This has known benefits for both personal health and the environment. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown is a wonderful thing these days. And eating locally also means your carbon footprint is smaller, as less long distance trucking is involved from farm to your market bag.
Vilsack has marked regional food production one of the “Four Pillars of Agriculture and Rural Economic Development.” Here in CT, agriculture is a 3.5 billion dollar industry, and supporting your local farmers helps contribute to the economy of the state and your own community.
Fairfielders are living the dream, with an abundance of fresh and locally grown vegetables and fruits, seafood and meats available through local farmers markets and farm stands.
“I love my hard core locavores who support local farmers who put their heart and soul into growing,” says Patti Popp of Sport Hill Farm in Easton. “A farmers’ market that works well grows a community of like minded people who are there to support one another, share recopies and really appreciate the fruits of the farmer’s labor.” Popp participates in both the Westport and Black Rock markets.
Westport Farmers’ Market is one of the oldest in the area. Founded in 2006 by Paul Newman and sustainable food guru Michael Nischan, offers everything from organic produce, fresh seafood’s, sustainably grown meats, allergen free baked goods, to deliciously prepared foods that you can gobble right there. Walking through is like experiencing market day in another century. Live music and wonderful smells of cooking fill the air. Where else can you witness children picking out their favorite vegetables? You might even see a farmer leading a lamb around followed by a bevy of children.
Black Rock Farmers’ Market, now in its second season was conceived by Karen Leito and Michelle Margo while listening to a concert in St. Ann’s Field. St. Ann’s priest, Fr. Peter Lynch quickly offered the spot. Although the market was started with the idea of promoting fresh healthy food, Leito says it has also fostered a strong community. Every last Saturday of the month they feature local artisans. Grass fed beef and organic produce might be the draw, but people stay for the fun. There is live music, yoga classes and art projects for kids. Says Leito. “A lot of young families come. They tend to stay because of the atmosphere in the field. We have one vendor who makes homemade donuts and lemonade. She’s a popular attraction with the kids.”
When was the last time food was an adventure? Make it a family day out; and be sure to go hungry. There’s a lot to taste. Here are some markets local to Fairfield that offer times and days to fit everyone’s needs.
Greenfield Hills Farmers Market
75 Hillside Rd., Fairfield
Westport Farmers’ Market
50 Imperial Ave., Westport
Black Rock Farmers’ Market
481 Brewster St., Bridgeport
Bridgeport Downtown Farmers’ Market
McLevy Green- Main & Bank St. Bridgeport
Bridgeport East End Market
485 Stratford Ave. Bridgeport
Bridgeport South End Fresh Market
United Congregational Church
877 Park Ave. Bridgeport
Wednesdays 3:30 – 6:30
East Side Market
752 E. Main St., Bridgeport