Fresh apple cider, savory stews, fresh baked bread, rolls, shepherd’s pie, fresh-baked fruit pies, nutty-tasting squashes – acorn, patty pan, butternut, Hubbard, spaghetti – for inspiration to add flavor to a family meal, visit a market or farm stand and ask for recommendations and recipes. You will reap delicious ideas and the fixings to make hearty meals in your own kitchen. The end of October means say farewell ’til spring to some markets while others already have planned their stand-alone holiday editions. Other markets move indoors and keep on going year-round – we’ll tell you where to find them. But after Halloween.
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
The first one said, “oh my it’s getting late.”
The second one said, “there are witches in the air.”
The third one said, “but we don’t care!”
The fourth one said, “let’s run and run and run.”
The fifth one said, “I’m ready for some fun!”
Oooh went the wind,
And out went the lights,
And the five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
A year-round indoor farm market/shop is located at 35 Oakland St., Manchester, part of the farmer-owned cooperative known as the Central CT Co-op. Here’s a link to their Facebook page to see some of what the local goods and fresh produce from local farms coming in the doors. Or visit and walk around – it’s a cross between a farm stand and a farmers’ market/feed store. Special event – Meet the Producer Day at CCC Farm Stand – Nov. 8 starting at 10 a.m. Details will be announced via their Facebook page or check back for details here.
Did you know? The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) is an affiliation of seven state chapters: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The NOFA Interstate Council provides coordination between the chapters, conducts the annual NOFA Summer Conference and acts as an umbrella organization for projects. Each of the seven state chapters host educational conferences, workshops, farm tours and act to educate farmers, gardeners, consumers and land care professionals.
Now, have you ever seen a citrus grove in Connecticut? How about avocado trees grown from a pit that bear fruit? Well, Urban Oak Organic Farm is not a typical places. Consider helping them acquire the land on which they grow by adding to their GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign. Here’s why, from the farm’s blog: “After a wonderful 15-year relationship with a phenomenally generous landlord, the land will be put up for sale next spring. Our best hope to save our certified organic farm is to buy the land ourselves, but we do not have the resources. The fertile, nutrient rich soil is prime alluvial silt. When bulldozers demolish the greenhouses and concrete foundations are poured, our farm will be gone forever. We need your help.” For more about the farm and how to help it stay as a hub of the New Britain and beyond community, see this link to their site.
Prime foraging time for “stumps” as my dad used to call them. Learn how-tos of mushroom identification from experienced people who are members of the Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association (COMA), an educational and recreational group devoted to “advancement of the science of mycology through public education, organized forays and field trips, publication, lectures, and nature study” – for information check out www.comafungi.org. The Connecticut Valley Mycological Society (CVMS) is an active community (and a non-profit organization) composed of recreational mushroom hunters. The group welcomes people with “a sincere interest in collecting wild mushrooms and the study of fungi.” Contact Linda at firstname.lastname@example.org or Bill at email@example.com.
“Farmers markets have a long history of connecting customers directly with the people that grow our food,” said USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Across the country, farmers markets play a key role in the sustainability of family farms, revitalizing communities and helping to grow rural and urban economies.”
Killam & Bassette Farmstead stand is open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the honor system (exact change or checks). Take a ride on the Rocky Hill to Glastonbury ferry across the Connecticut River and stop by for picked fresh GMO-free products. The farm also offers all-natural, USDA fresh pork; call (860) 833-0095 to check availability.Bishop’s Farm Market and Winery, on the Boston Post Road, Guilford, offers fresh produce, gift baskets, pick your own and seasonal goods, a fully-stocked grocery, specialty products, sweet apple (and pear) cider, delectable pies, breads, muffins, cookies, fudge – apple cider donuts – much more. On-site bakery. Gourmet food and a wide selection of spices and oils. Alpaca yarn, special events. Gift baskets, corporate gifts, kettle corn or dried fruit/nut tins. Bishop’s is a hub for foods produced in the area and region. You can also purchase wine made from their fruits and farms in the state seven days a week. Tours of the winery on Saturdays, open to the public.
Grab an unforgettable grinder to go at G. M. Thompson, include some chips, bring water, and make a short jaunt to the University of Connecticut at Storrs where a number of livestock barns are open to the public. Have a picnic lunch or walk the campus or Horsebarn Hill. Beautiful every season of the year.There’s also a marvelous independent bookstore and a network of hiking trails nearby. The history of the G.M. Thompson building is also interesting. The northeast front corner is the original part of the store and the section to the very back (where the meat counter and office are) served as a post office stood for about 25 years until it was moved across the street in 1937. That’s just part of life at G.M.Thompson and Sons Feed, located at the railroad tracks in Mansfield Depot.
Wethersfield Farmers Market happens every Thursday at the white-with-black-shutters (and a wrap-around porch) Solomon Welles House (near the DMV), 220 Hartford Ave., 3 to 6 p.m. Acres of roam to roam and play at Cove Park; ongoing until the end of October.
Hartford Billings Forge, Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Frog Hollow. Stonington Farmers’ Market, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon, inside the Velvet Mill. Coventry Regional Farmers Market moves indoors; stay tuned for details. Billings Forge Farmers Market (Hartford), Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Willimantic, Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon, near the Frog Bridge (giant frog sculptures on monumental-size thread spools – worth a trip for the photos and a walk about), until Nov. 8.
Limited-edition forever stamps to celebrate farmers market feature fresh breads, baguettes and rolls; cinnamon buns, cookies, artisan cheeses, brown and white eggs. Vegetables and fruits include apples, eggplants, watermelons, peppers, grapes, potatoes, broccoli, gourds. Cut flowers and a bucket of sunflowers, plus celosia are side by side with live plants, herbs, tomatoes, marigolds and nasturtiums. Get ‘em while they last.
Considered by many to be the new town square, farmers markets offer, as they did in the past, a gathering place for diverse groups of neighbors to meet and mingle and to share news, recipes, and stories—in short, to create a new sense of community.
All things must change. Billings Forge Farmers Market, Nov. 1, inside the studio for winter market, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Storrs Farmers Market, Saturdays; see this market link for location. Urban Oaks Organic Farm store open year round Fridays, 2 to 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 225 Oak St., New Britain. Bozrah Farmers Market holiday event Nov. 22 .
Remember, LocalHarvest makes it easy to find good food no matter where you roam – on the road, while on vacation, visiting friends and family – or in your own community. Their directory lists more than 30,000 family farms and farmers markets, restaurants, grocery stores – all with a focus on local food. Take it for a test drive – here’s the link to search by Zip code or product. Now, if you are a producer or grower, be sure to tell people what you offer – to create a listing, click here.