Farmers' market Saturday ties in to library program
To help inspire healthier, greener and sustainable eating habits, the Pequot Library is hosting its first farmers' market Saturday, March 5, as part of the "One Book, One Town" community reading program.
The market will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library, 720 Pequot Ave., Southport, and will feature growers and guest speakers dedicated to healthier living. Admission is free. Vendors will be selling their products.
In collaboration with the Fairfield Public Library's One Book, One Town program, the Pequot Library plans several other events in addition to the farmers' market. The 2011 book selection is "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer, who recounts his journey toward becoming a vegetarian. While he describes the meat-producing processes ---- some of it hard to digest -- the objective of his story is to teach readers the origins of food, how safe it is and how to eat healthier. Foer will appear at Roger Ludlowe Middle School at 7:30 p.m. on March 10.
Pequot Head Librarian Robyn Filippone said the farmers' market idea grew out of a desire to promote greener and more sustainable living habits. "And that is done locally -- by showing off local growers," she said.
Among the vendors at the market will be local farmers, beekeepers, bread makers and wineries. Filippone is hoping to have cheese makers, too, but is uncertain of their participation as she discovered that this is birthing season for the goats. "They can't leave them alone," she said.
She has lined up, among others, Analiese Paik, founder of the Fairfield Green Food Guide; the Fairfield Organic Teaching Farm; Marina Marchese of Red Bee Apiary in Weston; Margaret Sapir of Wave Hill Bread in Wilton; Geremia Gardens, which grows fruits and vegetables; Moorefield Herb Farm, which also does vending for Goatboy Soaps and The Herb Basket; Raus Coffee of Stamford, which offers organic coffee from San Salvador as well as making its own blends; and Daffodil Hill Growers of Southbury, which plants everything from flowers to vegetables.
The Fairfield Green Food Guide is a free online resource -- at www.fairfieldgreenfoodguide,com -- to help consumers find more locally grown and organic food. It provides descriptions of farmers' markets, specialty shops, grocers, restaurants and community supported agriculture. Paik will give a talk about the many and varied choices consumers have for sourcing local and sustainable food, including the vendors that will be at the market.
Marchese -- an entrepreneur, author, designer, beekeeper and honey sommelier -- founded Red Bee Artisanal Honey and Rossape sustainable skin care. A former career as an international designer led her to China, where she was introduced to the healing way of the honeybee. At the farmers' market, she will give a brief presentation in the afternoon and will be selling honey and honey-based skin care products in addition to her book "Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper."
Sarah Blersch of Daffodil Hill Growers, a third-generation farming family, said the farm is bringing apples, potatoes, jams and jellies, honey, maple sugar, all-natural dog biscuits, hydroponic lettuce, mixed greens and eggs -- all from the farm, except for the apples, which are from an orchard that has been in business for 100 years.
The farm is run by Blersch, her husband, her parents and her sister, but they get help from friends and other family members for spring planting. Daffodil Hill Growers participates in three summer farmers' markets and two winter ones each year as the primary way of selling to the public.
Because consumers want fresh fruits and vegetables, she said, Daffodil Hill Growers is in its second year of year-round growing. "We are moving more toward it," she added
She attributed heightened interest to consumers' desire to buy locally and to know that their food is safe. "People are more willing to be health conscious," she said, and they have become more knowledgeable about their food.
They also want to support their local growers, which she welcomes. She said she has a couple of customers who only eat locally grown food and will travel within a 100-mile radius to find it.
And she said, "Fresh stuff tastes better." For instance, she said, farm-fresh eggs are at most a week old. But in the supermarket, even though eggs are labeled as "fresh," they have been sitting there for a few weeks. "You notice the taste difference," she added.
The farm adds one new endeavor each year, she said, and by next year, it hopes to become a community-supported-agriculture location. "We are moving in that direction," she said, and probably will start with 10 shares.
Filippone, herself a flower gardener who tries not to use chemicals, said she also will be putting together a booklet on Connecticut green-living resources, such as farms, dairies, beekeepers and maple sugar makers, that will be available that day.
Depending on the success of the farmers' market, Filippone would like to conduct more on the library's lawn, possibly at the beginning of summer and the end.
In conjunction with the One Book One Town program, Pequot Library also will host Movie Night at 7 p.m. March 24, when "Food, Inc." will be shown and a discussion at 7 p.m. March 28 on Foer's book as well as Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle."
For more information, call 203-259-0346 or visit www.pequotlibrary.org