Farmers market season gets underway in Milford

A kickoff party for the the Downtown Milford Farmers’ Market was held Friday, June 24, and opening day took place Saturday.

Downtown Milford celebrated opening day of its 10th annual farmers’ market Saturday, June 25. The market will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until October.

During the kickoff on Friday, people gathered at the Autumn Rose Flower & Gift Shoppe at 990 Bridgeport Avenue. Rainbow Gardens catered and offered a variety of items like salad, pasta and meatballs. MELT Chocolatier and Scratch Baking provided the desserts. The band, “Someone You Can XRay” entertained the crowd.

Bethany Biondi, who owns the flower and gift shop downtown, hosted the kickoff party.

“Its’ really nice just to be out and see everybody coming together,” Biondi said. “It’s amazing to just work with the farmers. Towards the later part of the year, I like to buy things from the specific farmers and try to bring them back and use them in arrangements.”

Biondi said all Connecticut-grown flowers will be offered at the market along with handmade potpourri, and different local crafts that are featured in her store. She also is teaming up with the owner of MELT Chocolatier, Meredith Lindsay.

Lindsay, who helped host the kickoff party, offered two truffles — a pistachio, and a Chambord. She will sell a wide range of desserts at the market, such as fudge, caramel, coconut haystacks, chocolate-covered fruit kebabs, and frozen bananas that can be dipped into chocolate and other toppings.

Since Lindsay is used to spending a great deal of time in the kitchen, she appreciates working outside.

“I like being out in the sun, I like being outdoors, and I like how the produce comes to you, so I get to do all my shopping for the week and have nice fresh local things,” she said.

Heather Profetto, the owner of Rainbow Gardens, looked forward to selling breakfast items opening day: Cajun eggs on a croissant with andouille sausage, plus grilled fresh mozzarella tomato basil sandwiches.

Not only does Profetto bring her food to the market, but she also buys ingredients there.

Shanonda Nelson, the owner of Nellie’s Fine Foods, said she enjoys working at a farmers market because it is different than catering; she gets to engage her customers and see a lot of people. She said her market offerings will include crab cakes as well as jambalaya, containing chicken sausage, shrimp and spice.

Angelo Durante, the owner of Durante’s Pasta in West Haven, is excited to take part for his  second year at the Downtown Milford Farmers Market.

“We’ve been in business for 30 years and 90% of our business is wholesale,” he said. “We wanted to get more retail focus, so the market is a great way to get our name out there.”

Durante will provide egg noodle pasta, flavored kale, spinach, tomato pasta, Enoki Cavatelli, and one of his most popular dishes, flavored ravioli, plus fettuccini dry cut pasta. There will also be many cookies including angel wings — flaky creations with powdered sugar.

Susan Patrick, the owner of Walnut Beach Creamery, will provide homemade ice cream, lemonades, fruit lemonades, and herb-infused lemonades.

It won’t be just food at the Saturday markets in downtown Milford. There will also be some unique offerings, such as tarot card readings.

Saturday, the first day of the market season, proved just as successful as the kickoff party. There was an abundance of vegetables, flowers, ice cream, gourmet popsicles and much more. There was also yarn, skincare products, purses and accessories.

“I like the fresh farm produce from the local farms. I like supporting our farmers here in Connecticut,” said local resident Kate Kelly, who has been coming here since the market  began 10 years ago.

Market Master Alex Malaspinas, who manages downtown’s Scratch Baking, is very proud of the success of the market.

“I’m really excited about the foot traffic that I’m seeing right now and I think I’m more looking forward to the reception from the community and how that will cause the market to grow over time and through the season,” he said.

Emma Gold, who worked with Malaspinas to provide food from Scratch Baking, said Saturday may have been the best turnout yet.

“I think this is the busiest opening day we’ve had since I’ve worked here,” Gold said. “We’ve already sold out half of our inventory, which is great, and people were coming to the store before the market opened.”

Katherine Hermonot, the owner of Ekonk Turkey Farm in Sterling, said last year was her first year at the market and she is glad to be here again.

“We’re happy to be welcomed back. We enjoy it; it’s nice to travel to bring a good product to a different group of people,” she said.

FarmFan, an online resource, notifies consumers about the different things going on each week at the market. To get messages the morning of each market (every Saturday), residents can text the word, SUBSCRIBE to 203-479-9665.
Woodmont/Devon markets too
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. The market will open July 3 and end in October. Their hours are every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.