WESTON, Conn. Lyn Kimberly wants the Norfield Grange to help build a sense of community in Weston. She wants to see neighbors investing in one anothers lives, no matter their social status, political affiliation or occupation.
I am trying to bring us together and use the Grange, in essence, as a community center, said Kimberly, the Norfield Grange's treasurer.
The Grange was established in 1896 at a church on Norfield Road, according to Kimberly. In the 1930s, after the church burned, the organization moved to Good Hill Road, where it stands today. Since its inception, the Grange has always been a place for people to mingle with neighbors, hold town meetings and check out local markets.
In the 1960s, it was even used by the Republican and Democratic town committees to hold joint fundraisers and split the proceeds. Which is something you will never see in Weston now, she said.
Kimberly hopes to get back to that man-helping-man lifestyle and believes the Grange is the perfect venue for that. The history of the Grange is about being involved in each others lives, and that is what I see rebuilding here, she said.
Every Tuesday and Thursday the Norfield Grange puts on a Coffee Club, where residents can mingle with neighbors over a hot cup of joe. The suggested $5 donation goes to the Grange Scholarship Fund, which each year helps a graduating senior at Weston High School and Camp Maud Isabell Berger , a childrens getaway in Litchfield County.
This year, the Grange has brought in programs where Westonites can do yoga and core strengthening. It is also the central meeting place for the Weston Girl Scouts . We are trying to reach out to Weston this is the kind of place where we want to open our doors and let people in, she said.
The biggest draw seems to be the Winter Farmers Market , which was created last year. Lexi Gazy, a farmer from the Oxford-based Gazy Brothers Farm, started the winter market to promote locally grown food to Westonites during what is typically a slower season for consumers. Kimberly took over as market master this year and has helped it become a popular Saturday destination in town.
What started off with about five vendors last year has grown into over a dozen local vendors selling fresh produce, hot soups, maple syrup, kettle corn and even hot sauce. The market also offers spots to local crafters on a weekly basis.
In the past, the Grange has also offered drawings where residents have won fresh Maine lobsters and a Christmas tree during the holiday. A new addition to the market is a series where Weston-connected authors sign and promote their books, which typically have a local farming tie.
To me, we are supporting the local businesses in the state of Connecticut, and I want to keep that going, Kimberly said.
During the early days of the Grange, it was a place to come to market and be with each other, and that is what we are trying to do. We want to make this a community activity, a place that is family-friendly, Kimberly said.
The Norfield Granges Winter Farmers Market runs every Saturday from 10 a.m to 2 p.m.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.