Reap a harvest of kindness
Posted: Jun 24, 2021 4:30 PM
Home and work are our first and second “gathering places”. Other common places that bring people together are becoming a ‘third place’, and in Newtown we have a number of them: CH Booth Library, Newtown Community Center, Seniors Center, cafes, restaurants, the Fairfield Hills Trails – and the Newtown Farmers Market.
The Newtown Farmers Market has been a hangout since its inception at the Sandy Hook Center in 2003. Even amid the pandemic of the last growing season, physically distant hand waves and virtual hugs in place of pre-pandemic greetings have taken place. brought a sense of community as farmers and buyers worked to be safe and healthy: a goal not unusual for those dedicated to the purity of their produce. But the summer of 2021 promises to be the one in which the more festive atmosphere of previous years is felt.
According to the state Department of Agriculture, our Farmer’s Market is one of more than 100 such markets in Connecticut. This means there are plenty of opportunities to support dozens of farmers and reap the benefits of some of the freshest, healthiest food around.
Creating a meal from local, seasonal foods is a blessing. For those who are unable to grow their own fruits and vegetables, or who have inherited a black thumb, the 2021 Newtown Farmers Market season is a reason to celebrate.
Offering a range of state-grown and produced food and artisanal items, the Fairfield Hills Market opened on June 15 and will be there every Tuesday through October, from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
What is striking is that aspect of the Newtown Farmers Market that goes beyond the produce and other food items that the 20 or so vendors will provide to buyers. That is, the feeling of belonging to a greater good.
Every week, regular buyers meet farmers who share their premium. It is possible to engage and learn as the items are read. Farmers, in turn, get to know loyal customers, sometimes offering them items that have been requested – and perhaps putting aside a little something special for a particular buyer. Neighbors collide with neighbors, and culinary secrets are shared over heaps of Swiss chard and kale, as a familiarity is honed among those who show up at the same time each week to browse and buy.
Nearby farmers’ markets can be found in Monroe, Bethel, Shelton, and Trumbull if you want to make it a week; hours vary for each, and although most outdoor markets now run through October or November, a number of others access indoor facilities during the cooler months, allowing merchandise to be sold year round .
Farmers are not making money out of hand. The average income for a full-time farmer ranges from $ 23,000 to about $ 75,000 per year, depending on the product. Farmers need your support, and a farmers market is the place to do it.
So gather at your first and second place – and embrace the third place which offers fresh air, fresh food, and camaraderie. We are finally invited to come together.