WESTPORT, Conn. – Farmers Markets aren’t just for local fresh produce anymore, and the Westport Farmers Market hopes that it provides a wide range of locally made products along with the locally grown ones.
If you have never been, the Westport Farmers Market is open on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors from around Connecticut and New York set up tents in a parking lot off Imperial Avenue and sell everything from fresh beets and lettuce to handmade cutting boards and homemade pickles.
Over the years, the market has expanded. For Market Director Lori Cochran-Dougall, the farmers market is all about connections.
When local residents come to the market, they find out what is going on and talk to each other about what to do with the produce, Cochran-Dougall said.
“We’ve seen such strong community support for the market,” Cochran-Dougall said. She added that the Westport Market has some of the strictest guidelines in the state, requiring that each prepared food vendor have food from at least one local farm.
That something that Westport resident Jane Costello of Jane’s Good Food does every week.
“I go to Sport Hill Farm after the market closes to get bushels of beans,” Costello said. For the last three years, she has been buying vegetables at the market one week and then selling her pickled vegetables and fruits the next.
Everything she makes is seasonal, Costello said. Right now, she’s making of sauces and pickling cucumbers and beans. Later this season, when the local peaches are ripe, she said that she will be making spiced peaches.
“We’re supporting one another when we go to farmers markets instead of the big box stores,” said Easton’s Patti Popp of Sport Hill Farm.
Seeing customers return time and again is rewarding, especially after all the work that gets put into bringing the produce from the farm to the tents to sell at the market.
“It comes down to good, healthy, local and non-GMO foods,” said Lisa Lionetta of Farm Girl Foods. The farmers market in Westport has seen such great success because the people who come appreciate the high quality food that is sold. “They’re very supportive of the market.”
It was a good day to check out the scene -- this is national Farmers Market Week, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Westport Farmers Market is open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m at 50 Imperial Ave. until Nov. 6. For more information, check its website.