Shoppers in Connecticut who want natural, organic, local and non-GMO foods are fortunate in that there are many markets devoted to selling those products and supporting local farmers and artisans. Not every neighborhood in every city or large town has such a market, but for those who do not have easy access to them, there are a number of online markets that gather, sell and even deliver produce from local farms.
Fiddleheads Food Co-op
New London, CT
Fiddleheads Food Co-op is a year-round indoor farmers’ market that specializes in local, natural and organic foods. Open seven days a week in the heart of New London, Fiddleheads is both a traditional co-op and one that is also open to the general public. It has both paid and volunteer workers, encourages and accepts donations to help the hungry and sells everything from locally grown organic produce to beer made by local micro-breweries. It also sells breads and other baked goods made by local bakeries and farms, carries gluten-free pasta dishes from New London restaurants, offers coffee beans from local roasters and provides cheeses made locally and organically from the milk of goats, cows and sheep raised in New England. Fiddleheads is a full-service organic market and natural foods (and supplements) store, supports local farmers and artisans and offers memberships that can be bought or worked off in return for discounts, rebates and a vote in the operation of the company.
It’s Only Natural
“A complete natural food market” is how It’s Only Natural describes itself. This large, brightly lit and professionally laid out full service market carries only certified organic produce, and accepts coupons for some of the commercial health foods displayed on its shelves. It has a juice bar and presents weekly “showcases” of local products – including pet foods and personal care products made from natural and organic products, as well as fresh, frozen and prepared foods from local farms, bakeries, breweries and artisans. It’s Only Natural also offers information in the store and on its website about how to eat healthy, influence kids to eat their vegetables and prepare holiday treats and meals that are both nutritional as well as tasty – and made from natural and organic local products.
Vernon, CT 06066
What do two confessed “long-time foodies” who worked in hospital administration and teaching do when they retire? They open a natural food market – at least that is what Bob and Sue Spector did in Vernon. Residents of nearby Tolland, the Spectors were perplexed by the lack of natural food options “east of the river” (the Connecticut River, that is) and decided to fill that void by opening Nature’s Grocer. Nature’s Grocer is a full-service natural and organic food market. Its shelves are stocked with natural and organic produce, dairy products and foods. The shop also has a “dedicated wheat- and gluten-free” bakery on premises that bakes cookies, muffins and other goods daily for those with special dietary needs – or who just want some healthy, good-for-you baked goods. The deli also makes fresh sandwiches and salads, and carries artisan cheeses, spices and nuts in bulk.
The Super Natural Market & Deli
The Super Natural Market & Deli in Bristol is a family-owned business that has been providing natural, organic and local produce, meats, dairy products and other items to the community for over 30 years. “Everything is home made” in the deli and catering departments, and, like the fruits, vegetables and other groceries in the market, is made with fresh, local and natural ingredients. From basic to gourmet foods and supplements, The Super Natural Market & Deli also provides “A Gift of Food” food baskets – which can include full meals and offers a catering service.
Connecticut Farm Fresh
Not everyone lives near a store that sells organic food or has access to a farmers’ market. Fortunately, thanks to the internet, there are companies that find, gather and arrange delivery of local, organic farm products year round. One such company is Connecticut Farm Fresh. It gathers information on fresh, organic produce from 50 farms across the state, presents it on its website from Thursday evenings through Tuesday mornings and arranges to have whatever customers order delivered directly to their home, restaurant, store or business. The company only works with farms that sign a pledge that their goods are “certified organic,” non-GMO, locally grown and fresh. As founder and owner Deb Marsden puts it, for those who want local, organic food but either can’t find or can’t get to a farmers’ market, “We are the missing link between you and the farms of Connecticut, your personal shopper.”
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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at Examiner.com.