A sweltering summer, version 2011, has not kept Fairfield County locals away from the Westport Farmers Market (which is open until November 3). Vendors were seen all around, talking to customers and giving out free samples of everything from the typical farmer’s market fruits and vegetables, to meats, pizza, coffee, cheeses, and baked goods.
Walking around the farmers market, you can see nice deep red tomatoes, beautiful flowers to give to your lived one from gardens all over Connecticut, the greenest of green veggies, sweet strawberries and other fruits, fresh baked tarts, cookies, and brownies. And of course all the townspeople shopping for the freshest organic ingredients for dinner that night. Let’s not forget the children tugging on mom and dad’s clothing to ask for an ice-cold lemonade to cool off and to go with a homemade pretzel.
The Westport Farmers Market even had outdoor yoga by KaiaCafé which operates out of Greenwich and Westport. In addition to yoga, they specialize in healthy food options like fresh squeezed juices, salads, wraps, smoothies, and juice cleansers. Sono Baking Company out of Norwalk looked to be a busy table with their fresh baked tarts, cookies, and pretzels. The best bread at this outdoor market comes from Wave Hill Breads. Their ciabatta bread with roasted red peppers and olives will have you hooked after you sample it. Their three-grain ciabatta was also a highlight.
As I walked through the market I sampled cheeses, breads, and even a few salads. The salads samples were courtesy of Bistro Du Soleil from New Canaan. If you are looking for light, healthy options, visit them. They were kind enough to let me snack on two salads, the quinoa and a salmon salad. When eaten together, these salads compliment each other well. The quinoa was light and fluffy like it is supposed to be and the salmon was fresh. Trust me, even if you are not a fish lover, you will enjoy this salmon salad or the combination of the salmon and quinoa.
A welcomed sight on the hot, humid day that I visited the market was ice-cold milk in a glass bottle from Smyth‘s Trinity Farm in Enfield. If something ever looking refreshing, this was it. The nostalgia of a glass milk bottle will take some customers back to their childhood. “We have 26 cows in Enfield where we get the milk,” said owner Anne Dugas. “Our whole family runs the farm and we use all organic practices with our cows.” In addition to milk, Smyth’s Farm also has yogurt, cheese, cream, butter, and eggs.
One of my favorite stops of the day was Raus Coffee. Owner Donny Raus and Nando Casinelli sell a bottle of brew called Cold Roman. Cold Roman is delicious when served like its name suggests. Cold. A few ounces of Cold Roman and some half and half makes for a strong, refreshingly cold iced coffee. “I always do my best to produce good coffee,” Raus said. “I work hard because I want people to enjoy the product and I would not want to tarnish my name. Ever.” Cold Roman sells for $21 for a glass bottle and refills are available for $18.
I look around and try to notice one important thing at outdoor markets. What are the vendors eating? The answer, wood fired pizzas from Skinny Pines Brick Oven Caterers. Standing in front of an extremely hot brick over was owner Jeff Borofsky making classic pizzas like cheese, pepperoni, and breakfast (bacon, egg, and cheese pizza). The crust has that burnt in some areas effect that pizza enthusiasts love and that crispy, chewy texture. This is a can’t-miss for $9-$11 per pizza.
Peace Tree Desserts had my new favorite cookie. A chipotle chocolate chip cookie. Soft baked, chewy, chocolaty, and with a spicy finish. A customer believed in it so much that she let me have a piece of her cookie! She was right. The cookie was big and for $3, something this good is a bargain. Owner Robyn Eads operates out of Westport says that they keep everything organic. “We use all local, sustainable ingredients, some are from these vendors right here,” she said. “That chipotle cookie is most definitely the best cookie around.”
When you go to the Westport Farmers Market, make sure you stop by some of these places to meet some of the great people behind these great products. Take your family and bring plenty of cash. You will not be able to leave without multiple bags of food. While you’re at it, stay and have lunch too.
The Westport Farmers Market is located in the Imperial Avenue parking lot in Westport, Connecticut and is open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursdays until November 3. For more information on the farmers market, visit westportfarmersmarket.com.
Andrew Dominick is a freelance writer and food blogger living in Norwalk, Connecticut. His articles can be found at andrew-dominick.blogspot.com and his food reviews at food-dudes.blogspot.com