If the fastest way to a person's heart is through the stomach, than the Winter Farmers' Market at Norfield Grange will have many lovers this year.
The market shot into season Saturday, as hundreds of Fairfield County residents journeyed to Weston for a taste of locally grown produce, fresh baked goods, organic meats and cheeses as well as handmade soap for post-indulgence cleanup.
"It's all about providing good, healthy, local food and bringing awareness back to the Grange," said Lexie Gazy, co-owner of Gazy Brothers Farm in Oxford with husband Ed and an organizer of the winter market.
Gazy's table was overflowing with rich greens, root vegetables, herbs, apples and perfectly ripe pears.
The air was a cornucopia of aromas a mingling of fresh breads, earthy veggies and flowers offered by Roses for Autism in Guilford, which exists solely to provide funds for autism research and jobs for autistic individuals.
Goatboy Soaps from New Milford also had an intriguing impetus. "[My son] Bobby was born with severe allergies, unable to tolerate cow's milk or soy," said Lisa Agee, who owns Goatboy Soaps with her husband, Rick. "A search for alternatives led us to goat's milk. ... Suddenly we found ourselves in business!"
Whistle Stop Bakery in Ridgefield dished out decadent pies and desserts, and Giovannni Castano of Beldotti's Bakery in Stamford was a hit with his homemade pesto and fresh mozzarella on rosemary bread.
Eagle Wood Farms in Barkhamsted offered a variety of meats diverse enough to sooth even the most selective of carnivores. Outside the building was an array of fresh-caught Maine seafood from Pemaquid Lobster.
Sara Blersch of Daffodil Hill Growers in Southbury also made an impression with her homemade honey and jam, and Bistro du Soleil offered a range of organic samples in the Spanish-Basque tradition.
The winter market will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays until April 16.
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