Fresh from the farm: Westport Farmers Market's new season
Updated 9:24 pm, Thursday, May 21, 2015
It was a great day to go to market, and that's exactly what dozens of people did Thursday. The season opening of the Westport Farmers Market, featuring fresh fare from 30 vendors, attracted a robust crowd.
The vendors included Melissa Slattery, who was busy selling baked goods from Wave Hill Breads, an artisan micro-bakery. "This is our third time here and we really enjoy it," she said of the weekly market. "We have such a great product and use a lot of organic ingredients," she said pointing to muffins made with Maine blueberries. "We are constantly getting local supplies," she added.
Skinny Pines was offering wood-fired pizzas with a variety of toppings while Two Guys From Woodbridge, which grows organic, hydroponic produce, had a selection of salad and other greens for sale.
"I'm a one-man show," he said, adding he also designed the packaging. "This is my fourth year here at the market," he added. "The customers are fantastic. I'm always making new friends."
Friends Polly Temple of Westport and Barbara Stephen of Weston savored tacos from the Boxcar Cantina. "I come here every week," said Temple, "especially for the tacos." They both said they love the market because of the varied fare it offers. "We just like coming here," Temple said.
Annelise McCay of Fairfield was having lunch with her daughter, Sasha. "I'm enjoying a day with my girl," said the Westport native. She had purchased a shopping bag full of items, including flowers and scallions and other market goods. "This is a great place to come," she said.
At noon, Lori Cochran, the market's executive director, offered a green juice toast to the new season. "We can't make this happen without you guys," she said. "If you know someone who isn't here, tell them to come."
The goal of the market is to provide fresh, local, healthy and seasonal food to the community, Cochran has said. The farm market also promotes education about local food, local farms and sustainable, healthy growing practices.
The logo of the market is "real food, real farmers," something Cochran said organizers strictly adhere to.
"We have strict guidelines," she said. "We are bringing real food -- producer-only products. And vendors need to include at least one locally farmed product in any prepared food."
After toasting the season opening, Cochran introduced chef Michel Nischan, a founding member of the market. "It was just an idea, but now it's a vibrant market, one of the best in the state," he said. He said it's a place where people "want to come and buy."
He said acres of farmland were being lost 10 years ago, when the market was established. "But that trend is reversed due to places like this," he said.
The market began in 2006 in the parking lot at the Westport Country Playhouse and moved to its current location at 50 Imperial Ave. in 2009.
The Westport Farmers Market will be open weekly on Thursdays -- from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. -- until Nov. 5. For more information, visit www.westportfarmersmarket.com.