Winter farmers’ market makes stop at Goodwin College
By Brenda Sullivan - ReminderNews
East Hartford - posted Wed., Dec. 4, 2013
If you can’t make it to the market, sometimes the market comes to you.
On Nov. 26, Goodwin College was host to a "pop-up" farmers’ market in the school’s main lobby and community room.
Of the more than two dozen farms and small businesses represented at the Riverside Farmers’ Market, the majority were regulars from the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market, which has built a huge following from a wide geographical area, including East Hartford.
The CRFM recently began taking its show on the road with what its organizers call "pop-up" markets just prior to the summer season and now, during the winter months.
The CRFM also has a winter home at Coventry High School and is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays from now through the end of February.
Winter Caplanson, one of the founders of the CRFM, was at the market selling her handcrafted soaps (http://www.sleepymoonsoaps.com).
She said CRFM decided to work with the college’s market program coordinator, Sandy Pearce, to create this event, "because we do have a fan base in Hartford, and this would be an opportunity to introduce ourselves to new people."
"We also thought having this just before Thanksgiving would give people the chance to do some last-minute holiday shopping," she said.
Caplanson also noted that in lieu of charging vendors fees, a donation was made to the local Foodshare.
Pearce added that the college winter market also is part of an effort to keep up the momentum created by the college’s first farmers’ market, held in July, which was open to the surrounding community as well as students, faculty and staff.
The turnout at the Riverside Farmers’ Market wasn’t quite as large as the organizers hoped, however, because of an unexpected exodus from the area that took place Tuesday evening, two days before Thanksgiving, thanks to weather forecasters’ predictions of bad weather on Wednesday.
Still, there were plenty of shoppers who braved the highway crush, including Krista Varszegi of Wethersfield, who especially wanted to visit Lisa and Chris Baker, owners of Baker’s Dozen, a small company that produces grain-free dog treats (http://www.bakersdozentreats.com).
Lisa Baker noted that the main ingredient for each flavor of their treats comes from local farms, "because I grew up on an orchard, so I want to give back to farmers," she said.
So, for example, the cheese-flavored cookies are made with cheese from Cato Corner Farm in Colchester. Other ingredients include Farmer's Cow milk, and pumpkin from Savitsky Farm in Colchester.
Varszegi said she follows the Bakers to various markets because her dog, a whippet named "Roman," loves the cookies and because she likes knowing exactly what’s in the treats she gives him. "We go for the peanut butter, my mother goes for the cheese," for her dog, Varszegi said.
Shoppers had a wide range of local foods to choose from at this market, including wheat-free/gluten free/vegan goodies for humans – biscotti, brownies and pies – from Shayna B’s, owned by Shayna Reed of Ashford (http://www.shaynabsandthepickle.com).
There also were organic, GMO-free fruits and vegetables, locally pastured meats (bison, pork, beef), locally-roasted coffees, maple syrup and honey, and much more.
For more information about future "pop-up" farmers’ markets, visit the CRFM website at http://coventryfarmersmarket.com/winter-market and sign up for the weekly newsletter.
For more information about being a part of future farmers’ markets at Goodwin College, contact Sandy Pearce at SPearce@goodwin.edu.