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Westport Farmers' Market springs to life for new season

Updated 7:30 pm, Thursday, May 23, 2013

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  • Westport Farmers' Market on its opening day of the season, May 23, 2013. Photo: Cameron Martin

    Westport Farmers' Market on its opening day of the season, May 23, 2013.

    Photo: Cameron Martin

 

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Rick Fierberg lives in Bridgeport, but his work as a lawyer often brings him down to Westport.

On Thursday he swung by two of his favorite destinations -- Compo Beach and the Westport Farmers' Market, which opened its eighth season in the Imperial Avenue commuter parking lot. The market is offering a range of meats, baked goods, plants and produce from 29 area vendors.

"I've been aware of it for years," Fierberg, 59, said. "It's outdoor, it's local. It's a friendly vibe. Families are here. You can to talk to people who either made the food or grew the food. All of that works."

The market will be open Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Nov. 7. Approximately 1,000 people visit the market each week, making it a popular destination in warm-weather Westport.

"It's a community institution for Westport, and we're drawing from so many other Fairfield County communities as well," said Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of the market. "It's about creating a conversation around local food and healthy food. And people knowing their farmers and knowing where their food is from."

Mina Hartong, a drama teacher, moved to Westport from Brooklyn six months ago. She's a picky eater, and the farm market has offerings that put her at ease, she said.

"I'm on a restricted diet. I have all these issues with my stomach, so I try to eat as well as I can," Hartong said. "There are a lot of things here I can cook for myself. I know I'm going to get really good food here that is fresh. It's a health issue for me. But it's also fun, it's very social."

Rebecca Batchie is a farmer with Fort Hill Farm in New Milford, which has been participating in the Westport Farmers' Market since its inception. She said Fort Hill is popular with consumers for its salad mix, garlic, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and peppers.

Being a farmer is difficult and humbling, but ultimately rewarding, she said.

"Being a farmer encompasses a lot of things," Batchie, 39, said. "It encompasses a lifestyle and not just a job. To be outside and to be around a lot of young people. To work as a team. We get to see things grow. We get humbled constantly by the weather and by pests and crop plans that don't do what you want it to do.

"But you get to eat really great food."

For more information, check the market's website: http://westportfarmersmarket.com