Downtown farmers market opens Saturday for the season

Editor's Note: A kickoff party for the downtown farmers market has been changed from Thursday to Friday due to anticipated rain. See details in bold below.

The tenth annual Downtown Milford Farmers Market opens Saturday, June 25 in the parking lot at 58 River Street, and Milford’s two other farmers markets will kick off the season shortly.

According to the downtown Milford website, many crops and other items grown and created in the state will be presented by special exhibitors and vendors. The Connecticut State Department of Agriculture supports the farmers’ market.

Alex Malaspinas has been the market master for three years. He describes the aspects he loves about the farmers’ market in poetic terms: “The very clear and present knowledge of the life cycle of people and food that unfolds right before my eyes every Saturday, June through October from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friendly faces, trust, and happy bellies. The music is also awesome.”

Malaspinas is in charge of running the market and said that as early as January, he gets in touch with potential vendors in order to “sell” them on the idea of joining. He explains how necessary it is to recognize the farmers who have good knowledge about the timeline of the crops.

“It is important to stay on top of this as their participation dictates the success of any given year. Typically speaking, the Connecticut climate permits for a mid to late June start of the market season,” Malaspinas said.

The market master hires entertainment and decides which old and new musicians should attend; he creates materials used for promotion. He also tries to secure sponsors by contacting local organizations.

“The results are always different, of course, but the support, I am finding is mounting,” he said.

Beth Boyd is one resident who said she enjoys the market and finds it very beneficial.

“I like that it’s convenient and what we have purchased has always been great; tomatoes and corn are our favorites,” Boyd said.

Even those who have not yet attended the market have intentions to do so.

“I would definitely check it out sometime this year,” said assistant general manager of SBC, Max Brown. “On my way to work I usually stop at the supermarket to bring food to work, so I would stop there to see if their produce is better.”

Residents say they find the farmers market a great feature for the downtown area.

“I think it attracts people and increases the business for downtown, especially for all that we have to offer in the summer weather,” said Boyd.

According to Malaspinas, there will be a kickoff party for this year’s downtown farmers market on Friday, June 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Autumn Rose Flower shop at 990 Bridgeport Avenue. The rain date will be Thursday, June 30. Many individuals, including vendors and farmers, will attend and a toast will be given to the beginning of the season.

Malaspinas said a farmers market is about more than just produce: It’s about people.

“I am inviting of a relationship beyond the consumer to vendor transaction,” he said. “I am instead inviting of a new family to be born. In essence, that is my goal for the kick-off party, and ultimately the market.”

There are two other farmers markets in Milford as well. One is the Woodmont Farmers Market at Robert Treat Farm and the other is the Village of Devon Farmers Market.

According to the market master, Katie Cook, the Woodmont market begins Wednesday, June 29 and will remain open until August 31. It is located at 1339 New Haven Ave, and the hours of operation are every Wednesday from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m.

Kim Rose from the Village of Devon Farmers Market says the Devon market takes place at 120 Bridgeport Avenue in the municipal lot, which is across the street from the Milford Irish Heritage Club and Off The Hook. The market will open July 3 and end in October. Their hours are every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Downtown Market vendors include
Downtown market vendors include the following:

Vaiuso Farm (Branford); River Crest Farm (Milford); Gentle Giant Farm (Bethany); Maple View Farm (Orange); Ekonk Turkey Hill Farm Meats & Eggs (Moosup); Scratch Baking (Milford); MELT Chocolatier (New Haven); Autumn Rose Flower Shoppe (Milford); Rainbow Gardens Restaurant (Milford); Durante's Pasta (West Haven); Nellie’s Fine Foods (Orange); Molly & Murphy Dog Biscuits (Trumbull); Walnut Beach Creamery (Milford); Milford Rocks Jewelry (Milford); Healthy Energy Therapeutic Massage (Milford); PopCentric Gourmet Popsicles (North Haven); Anahi Naturals Soaps & Oils (Greenwich); Carrot Top Kitchens Prepared Foods (Redding); Prevo Brands Organic Freeze Dried Fruit (Granby); Dash N’ Drizzle Oil & Vinegar (Fairfield); Guardian Angel Goat’s Milk Soaps & More (Naugatuck River Valley); Donna Berlanda Clothier (Milford); MOD Design Furniture Repurposing (Branford); Sally Russo Tarot Reading (Milford); Sea Art Creations Jewelry (Milford); Siren’s Song Yarn & Fiber (Bethany)
Kids Days at the Downtown Market
Special Kids Days at the Downtown Market will be held on the following dates: July 9, Aug. 6, Sept. 24 and July 9, and will include the following participants:

Shoreline School Kids Cooking Class (sign-up required) / Kenny the Clown / Pantochino Monkey / Face Painting / Tinkergarten Kids Outdoor Activities / “Chompers” The Scratch Baking Shark; August 6th - Critter Caravan (traveling petting zoo) / Kids Arts & Crafts w/ Sea Art Creations / Pantochino productions "Into the Woods" sneak preview / Tinkergarten Kids Outdoor Activities; Sept 24th - Kids Yoga / Tinkergarten Kids Outdoor Activities and more.