What local places do you shop at for food, breads, flowers, etc?

mjc_molie(z6 CT)March 18, 2014

Hi all! Richie's post about CSA baskets got me to thinking. Since my DH & I retired, we started taking lots of day trips around CT, MA, and even eastern NY. (We love the Cape and RI but avoid those areas when the summer tourist season begins.) One of the things we most love to do is to stop at smaller local markets, farms and stores that we find on our travels.

I'm curious.... what places would you recommend to day travelers like us? I'd love to hear about more stops where we could support local business. To get everyone started, I've listed some of our favorites.

BANTUM BREAD COMPANY, Bantum, CT.... they bake the most delicious breads, tea cakes and cookies and we ALWAYS stop there on our trips into Litchfield area.

SUNFLOWER FARM, Orange, CT... they sell natural soaps, that I use religiously, local honey, jams, jellies, homemade cupcakes, pies and locally made stuffed breads in a very small farm store.

CATO CORNER FARM, Colchester, CT....artisan cheeses made from hormone free/antibiotic free Jersey cows, raised on the farm.

NATUREWORKS garden center in Northford, CT... they emphasize organic, and natural appearance gardens. Small and very charming. We always find something unique there.

VANWILGEN'S GARDEN CENTER, North Branford, CT... this place has grown and expanded during three generations of ownership. They grow an enormous amount of product and have 2 acres of greenhouse plus tremendous growing fields. In the early 90s, they were one of the first around to introduce water gardening to customers. It's a real contrast to Natureworks.

ROBERT TREAT FARM, Milford, CT.... great family with a long agricultural history. This is where we shop for vegetables and other foods, dairy, fresh eggs, shrubs, perennials, annuals. Located in a beautifully constructed barn! The owner is there every day.

J & L ORCHIDS, Easton, CT... a great place to find unusual orchids with a very knowledgeable, helpful staff. Small but worth the drive.

BLOOMINGFIELDS FARM Daylilies, Gaylordsville, CT....Organically grown on a small family farm, their plants are wonderful... and so are the owners. Smaller selection than the larger catalogue companies, but they can vouch for the stamina of their product.

LOGEE'S GREENHOUSE, Danielson, CT... I'm guessing that many of you are familiar with Logee's. A great place go visit.

KENT GARDEN CENTER, Kent, CT... very high end but great to walk around. We've gotten some neat ideas from visiting this place.

I'd love to hear your opinions! Thanks,

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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Possibly too early to discuss this, but my local farm stand, Montgomery Place Orchards, has about a zillion different types of apples during the apple season. During the weekends, and sometimes during the week, they have paring knives set out so people can cut tastes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Montgomery Place Apples

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 3:39PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Oh, it's never too early to discuss food. Good thread, Molie, and I offer a look at Fiddleheads Food Coop in New London.

There's a neat book titled, "Insiders' Guide to Connecticut", compiled by Eric D. Lehman, which is chock a block full of day trip things to do - and it's inclusive of agricultural/foodie stuff.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fiddleheads Food

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 4:24PM
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You probably already know you can get wine or cheese or ice cream maps in different states. Last summer we visited several wineries in the Camden ME area. We also pick up a list of the farmers markets so in Maine I can highly recommend the Friday market in Brunswick and the one in Bath (sorry, I think it was a Saturday).

Since it's a drive, I only get to the Tilton NH Winter Farmers Market every couple of weeks. Friends from Marlborough MA thought it was worth the 1 1/2 hour drive (they must drive fast) to visit. Lots of value added products like jams and jellies but also the basics. Closer to me, the Hopkinton NH winter market has only a few vendors but Wind Song Farm has wonderful swiss chard. Kind of pricey but worth it. The chard is grown in their high tunnel and has sweetened with winter cold. Nothing like it in the big supermarkets. NH grown mushrooms are available at the Tilton market - grown in Tamworth.

Concord NH has a very nice food coop that's open to the public. Across the street is Bread and Chocolate, a wonderful European style bakery. At the other end of Main Street across from the State House is Crust and Crumb. She makes wonderful unigue whoopie pies as well as several different kinds of breds. She's local but is gaining attention as a recipe tester for AP. Alison Ladman. Of course, up on congested Loudon Rd you can get locally made ice cream at Arnie's!

You can make a grand tour around Concord NH since there are several apple orchards, blueberry farms, etc. Gould Hill in Hopkinton has a very large variety of heirloom apples - see the list on their website.

There is also a local garlic festival in Canterbury. Organic garlic and blueberries are available in Contoocook NH. The Best pies are at Richardson's Farm Stand in Boscawen NH. They make their own ice cream, too, although up until recently they picked up the ice cream at their family place in Dracut MA. They don't have a lot of apples and veggies but I can get a good deal on apple seconds for baking.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:13AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

defrost makes a good note that each state has farm/agriculture maps for free or searchable maps online. In Connecticut, the Dept. of Economic Development use to hand them out. Each state has links to its farms. In CT, one source is: ctfarms

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:51AM
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javaandjazz(z6 CT)

Hi Molie, Not really food but have you been to the old estates along the Hudson River in NY both below and above Pougkeepsie, like Kykuit(Rockefeller), Hyde Park(Vanderbilt), Lyndhurst Castle, Mills Mansion, and then the middle eastern one just about Mills Mansion. Rhinebeck is a cute little town to walk around. Also, Collinsville Antique Center on route 44 in New Hartford and then Antiques on the Farmington in Canton and of course Putnam has the Antiques Marketplace. Have you been to Plimouth Plantation in Mass? In the fall the Apple Barn just below Bennington, VT is a fun stop and then there is Camelot Antiques in Bennington. Have you been to Drazen Orchards in Cheshire for apples or Beardsley in Shelton or Silverman's in Easton? I can keep going!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 12:51PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Mad_G, we drove up the Hudson River Valley on the other side last year. This year we decided to take the Eastern route up the Hudson. A few weeks ago we were in NY.... drove up 22 then crossed over into northern Mass. We could easily head west on 199 and visit Montgomery Place. Richie also mentioned several of the estates in the area that weâÂÂd love to see.

And Richie, I love Plimouth Plantation and hope to take our grandson there some time in the future! All three orchards you mentioned are not places weâÂÂve been to⦠so those will go on our list. Though IâÂÂm not quite ready to pick apples⦠or to face Fall again ⦠there really is nothing as nice as visiting farms and orchards during autumn.

Thanks, Jane, for the link ⦠IâÂÂve bookmarked it. You and defrost had good suggestions to find state listings of farms in CT and in neighboring states. More than anything, we like supporting local farms.

Defrost, visiting wineries is another thing we enjoy doing. Last year we went to several in NY state in the Millbrook area. We like to return to NY State this year and head in a different direction. Thanks for the places in New Hampshire. Years ago I lived in Keene. It sure would be fun to visit that area of the state again and see how much itâÂÂs changed.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 5:02PM
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Molie, if you decide to visit Keene again, Brattleboro VT has a great farmers market with ethnic food vendors. So does Montpelier but that's further away. There was a great food truck serving banh mi sandwiches in Brattleboro but over the winter they decided to move to FL.

There was a tomato festival in western MA that I wanted to attend last year. It would have been fun to try tasting different varieties.

Yankee Magazine said Uncanoonuc Perennials in Goffstown NH (near Manchester) is the best place to buy roses!

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 6:16PM
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Thanks to Defrost's recommendation last winter, I visit the Tilton, NH Farmers' Market. One of my favorite vendors is the tomato man who raises tomatoes in a wood-heated greenhouse. Though not quite as good as summer tomatoes, they are close. In addition to Defrost's list, there's also a range of fresh greens, stored apples and root veggies, maple and honey products, baked goods, prepared foods, and a few crafts. In warm weather I stop at 3 different farmer's markets, one in the town I work, one where I live, and one that's on my route home midway between the two. Each is on a different day and while there is some overlap, each also offers some unique options, so it's worth hitting all 3 as time allows.

I get my beef (and occasionally other meats) locally at Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, NH. They offer both grass-finished and grain finished, in both Angus and Highlander (lower fat content.) They have a meat CSA, but I buy separately the things I know we will use. They offer meats and a few products from other farms as well.

Like Defrost I also go to the Coop in Concord, but mostly for staples, bulk products, and cheeses rather than veggies.

There are two local orchards I patronize, Hackleboro Orchards in Canterbury, and Apple Hill just over the town line into Concord. While both have apples, they each have other products as well: baked goods, veggies, and other fruits. Both have pick-your-own as well as already picked produce.

I realized a couple of weeks ago how much less I am now buying at the grocery store now that there is more local food available. I am one who doesn't require that all my food is organic, but I like to know where my food comes from and that it is raised as humanely and with as few artificial inputs as possible. I feel pretty lucky to live in an area that has so many options for local food.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2014 at 10:17PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Nhbabs, I agree with you. I like to know where our food comes from and prefer to consume foods grown nearby. It's important to look at vegetables or fruit marked 'organic' and pay attention to where they're actually grown. Much better, I think, to buy and consume foods from local farmers and producers, even if they may not be organic, than foods shipped in all the way from Mexico.

Defrost ... funny that you mentioned Brattleboro. Before we moved to Keene, we lived there .... on Main Street (I think) just a bit up the hill from the center. I remember a small gas station down the hill on the main street of town. Besides selling gas & servicing cars, it was also a weigh station where hunters would bring their deer, bear, etc. I never liked seeing dead bear or deer on top of the car hoods. But hunting was a way of life up there and probably still is. It would be fun to return to Brattleboro and see what's changed.

I thank all who have supplied info about your favorite local places to shop. These have all been bookmarked in my "Travel" folder.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 9:51AM
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