Despite the dark gray, overcast skies, the New Canaan Farmer's Market has never looked brighter. Saturday's 2011 kickoff transformed the Center School Parking lot into an open-air emporium for the 8th consecutive year. And the presence of new vendors coupled with the return of some old favorites had patrons abuzz with anticipation and delight.
The much-hyped and popular Skinny Pines Pizza from Easton drew some impressive lines. Showcasing their use of fresh, local organic products, 90% of their ingredients come from area purveyors, including vegetables and herbs from Easton’s Sport Hill Farm and Greyledge Farm in Roxbury. The star of the Skinny Pies show is the portable wood-fired oven, from which pies emerged with a terrific, charred crust and bubbling-hot toppings and cheese.
For those with a sweet tooth, there will be ample opportunities to satisfy cravings, as three bakeries, of Stamford, of Westport and Norwalk, and Ridgefield’s are on hand this season. Michele’s (try the strawberry-rhubarb) are recognized as being the best pies in the area, and their award-winning samples, along with fresh-baked banana nut, zucchini nut and pumpkin breads are sure to fly off the display table. Whistle Stop featured samples of several different pies including a savory plum pie…freshly baked and not overly sweet with a nice, flakey crust, and also a heavenly lemon merengue. And the pies at Beldotti’s are second only to their artisan breads, famous pesto, and house-made mozzarella, all of which are available to sample at the Farmer’s Market.
Be sure to try the samples of Dream Dessert … all-natural, gluten-free dessert bars. The relatively guilt-free take on old standards like lemon squares and peanut butter cups are not to be missed.
Smyth’s Trinity Farm from Enfield offered no such samples of their famous chocolate milk, but the $6 price tag (bring the bottle back next time for a $2 refund) is worth every penny for a quart that will transport you back to your childhood. Fresh and rich, with the subtle, indulgent sweetness of the chocolate … getting your daily intake of calcium was never so delicious.
Bistro Du Soleil was another welcome participant, having first appeared on the scene at the tail end of last year’s market. The Vitti Street-based gourmet shop came armed with an impressive array of prepped dips and salads, including a refreshing edamame bean salad, a delightful quinoa salad and perhaps best of all, an apricot chicken curry, which playfully pitted sweet and spicy flavors against each other with tremendous results.
Pasta Lovers need not travel to Arthur Avenue for top-notch pasta, as Bongo & Capacci made their way down to New Canaan by way of Watertown. With Batali-esque varieties of fresh ravioli to choose from (including whipped beat, pea and smoked salmon among many others), the hard part for Farmer’s Market attendees will be deciding which one to take home (we grabbed a box of the sweet potato).
Amongst all the foodie fantasies at the farmer’s market, perhaps the best addition of all was the inclusion of Raus Coffee. A local fixture at the Westport Farmer’s Market, Raus takes his coffee seriously and his signature drink, the Cold Roman, is an indulgent treat for any coffee lover. The espresso-based iced coffee will undoubtedly be the hit beverage of the summer here in town.
In addition to all the prepped food, there were a few local farmers hawking their products including Riverbank Organic Farm from Roxbury, and Oxford’s Gazy Brothers Farm, co-owned by Alexis Gazy, Market Master for the New Canaan event. Gazy told Patch that because of the curve ball Mother Nature has thrown at local purveyors this spring, some products, such as fresh fruit, might be a little behind schedule.
“It’s a cooler season than usual,” said Gazy. “Hopefully it won’t make everything too much later than usual.”
In the meantime, pies, pizza, artisan bread, fresh ravioli, dessert bars, gourmet salads and dips, fresh cheese, herbs, veggies, Cold Romans, and chocolate milk will have to suffice.