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Food Nov 19, 2015 - 9:55:16 AM

Winter Farmers' Markets opening across Connecticut

By Connecticut Department of Agriculture

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Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky at the Coventry Winter Farmers’ market Sunday, talking with Tolland mushroom growers Jack and Donna Yurgel, who grow Shiitake mushrooms on logs made of sawdust, oat bran and wheat bran. (contributed photo)
Winter farmers’ markets are opening across the state this month, giving growers and consumers a chance to extend the season, indoors.

The Department of Agriculture has registered 16 holiday and winter markets, which typically offer produce, meats, cheeses, maple syrup, candles and soaps, locally produced jams and jellies and bakery items. A full listing of the markets is available below and on the department’s website:

In Coventry, a newly-reorganized market launched at the town high school last Sunday morning drew about 40 growers and vendors and a steady stream of visitors.

“This is a huge plus for farmers and for those who want fresh, local produce and products,” Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured music from the Nathan Hale Ancient Fifes & Drums.

The opening of the Coventry Winter Farmers’ Market drew about 40 vendors and a steady stream of customers. (contributed photo)
The opening also was attended by a number of area elected officials, including State Senators Mae Flexer and Tony Guglielmo, State Representatives Tim Ackert and Greg Haddad, and U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who represents the 2nd Congressional District covering most of eastern Connecticut.

Courtney noted that winter markets can help maintain the state’s robust 22-percent growth in new farms documented in a USDA census last year.

“It’s a lot of hard work to put this together,” Courtney said. “But this is one of the ways that we will continue to grow and keep that momentum going.”

Jack Yurgel holds one of the logs used to grow Shiitake mushrooms. (contributed photo)
The indoor market is not affiliated with the very popular summer market now run by the town at the Nathan Hale Homestead, but is designed to help bridge the seasonal gap.

Winter market master Aline Hoffman said she and other volunteer organizers enlisted vendors and established the winter market in just a matter of weeks.

“I was very pleased with the turnout and the enthusiasm and excitement of our vendors and guests on our first day,” she said. “It was just wonderful.”

Hoffman and her husband Bill run the Never A Dull Moment tool-sharpening service and have been vendors at the summer market for several years.

Donna and Jack Yurgel were selling Shiitake mushrooms picked that morning at their home-based New England Green Mushrooms in Tolland.

They also have been selling at the Coventry summer market for many years, and are pleased that the indoor market will give them the opportunity to stretch their business into the colder months.

“Growing mushrooms isn’t as easy as it looks,” Jack said, holding a cake-sized growing “log” made of sawdust, wheat bran and oat bran. “We’re up at 4:30 every morning picking mushrooms to be sold fresh that day. But being here at this market – this is fun.”

2015-2016 Holiday & Winter Farmers’ Markets

Old State House Christmas Farmers’ Market
December 8, 9, 10, 11am - 3pm
Old State House, 800 Main Street, Hartford

South Windsor Farmers’ Market
October 31 through December 19
Saturdays; 10am - 1pm
St. Margaret Mary Church - Church Hall, 80 Hayes Road

Goshen Farmers Market
November 15 - December 20
Sundays, 1 - 4pm
St. Thomas Church, 71 North Street

Litchfield Hills Farmers’ Market
October 24 - June 11
Saturdays, 10am--1pm
Litchfield Community Center, 421 Bantam Road

New Milford Farmers’ Market
December 5, 19, January 2, 16, 30, February 13, 27
Saturdays, 9am - 1pm
The Maxx, 94 Railroad Street

City Seed - New Haven Farmers’ Market
November 7 - December 19. (Closed Thanksgiving weekend)
Saturdays, 9am - 1pm
Wooster Square-Russo Park - Corner of Chapel/DePalma

City Seed - New Haven Farmers’ Market
January 16 - March 26
Saturdays, 10am -1pm
Metropolitan Business Academy, 115 Water Street

CitySeed - New Haven Farmers’ Market
November 8 - December 20. (Closed Thanksgiving weekend)
Sundays, 10am -1pm
Edgewood Park - Corner of Whalley/West Rock Avenue

Bozrah Farmers’ Market
November 21, 9am - 1pm
Maples Farm Homestead, 45 Bozrah Street

Stonington Farmers’ Market
November 7 - May 21
Saturdays, 10am - 1pm
Velvet Mill, 22 Bayview Avenue

East Haddam Farmers’ Market
November 22, 11 am - 2 pm
East Haddam Grange Hall

Higganum Farmers’ Market
November 22, Noon - 3pm
Haddam Community Center, 7 Candlewood Hill Road

Colchester Holiday Farmers’ Market
November 21, 11 am - 3 pm
Colchester, St. Andrew’s Church

Andover Farmers’ Market
January 16, 30, February 13, 27
Saturdays, 9am - Noon
17 School Road, Community Room

Coventry Farmers’ Market
November 15 - March 27. (No market on March 20)
Sundays, 11am - 2pm
Coventry High School Cafeteria, 78 Ripley Hill Road

Ellington Farmers’ Market
Nov 21, Dec 5 & 19, Jan 9 & 23, Feb 6 & 20, March 5 & 19
Saturdays, 10am - Noon
YMCA, 11 Pinney Street

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