10 Years of Fresh Food and Fun at Wilton Farmers’ Market
This article was compiled by this year’s Wilton High School senior interns, Lily Kepner, Grace Bracken and Reed O’Brien.
Whether you need produce, lunch, skin care, tea, or accessories, the Wilton Farmers’ Market has your back. Hosted every Wednesday from 12-5 p.m. by the Wilton Chamber of Commerce at the Wilton Historical Society (224 Danbury Rd.), 10-15 vendors a week display their goods in colorful stands ready to serve the needs of Wiltonians. The market opened for the season on Wednesday, June 5, and will run weekly through Oct. 23.
The Wilton Chamber of Commerce started the farmers market in 2009, according to executive director of the Chamber, Debra Hanson, moving to its present location in 2011. Since then it has blossomed into a weekly community gathering that vendors and customers alike adore. An average of 200-300 people visit the Farmers’ Market every week, sitting in the sun on new picnic tables donated by Horseshoe Farm, or sampling delicious items from the food trucks.
In the future Wiltonians can expect guest vendors to appear as well, Hanson adds. Past guest vendors include non-profit organizations like Fidelco Guide Dogs, various Alzheimer’s organizations, and Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
Camille Carriero, assistant director of the Chamber, took over as market manager this year. Carriero loves the clientele it brings in, remarking that, as a restaurant manager at Wilton restaurant Marly’s Bistro for over a decade before she took her current job, the conversations she has with market visitors bring her such joy.
On its opening day, the Market featured 11 vendors, many of them family-owned businesses with a passion they have cultivated in the local community. GOOD Morning Wilton has the details on the new and returning faces of the wonderful Farmers Markets, below.
Jeff’s BBQ and Catering
Jeff’s BBQ and Catering is one of the longest standing vendors at the Wilton Farmers Market. Chef Jeff Esaw and his team are proud to bring authentic southern BBQ to Wilton every Wednesday this summer. With 20 years in business under his belt, Chef Jeff’s Memphis and Kansas City Ribs and pulled pork are consistently fan favorites and are sure to fulfill the cravings of hungry market-goers all summer.
Returning this year is Angie’s Cocinita, selling their delicious Cuban-Mexican mixture meals. After around a decade of working in restaurants, Angie decided to open her own food truck with her husband, Liam, melding their Cuban and Mexican heritages into a Mexican-Cuban theme. Since opening, they have been traveling all across Connecticut, handling many parties and events.
Enjoy tacos, nachos, cuisines, and guacamole, and try out their signature dish, the Cubano, made with pork, melted Swiss cheese, mayo, mustard, and pickles, served on toasted Cuban bread.
Bubble and Brew
Coupling their passion for tea with their family’s passion for antique cars, mother and daughter duo Wendy and Madison Fellows opened their mobile tea truck, Bubble and Brew, just over a year ago, at a mock reception for the Royal Wedding on May 18, 2018. The business operates out of a shiny red fire truck from Pont-L’Évéque, Normandy, France, that they converted into a lovely and functional home for their tea, pastries, and goods.
Creativity is the key ingredient to the trucks success. Their original flavor “London Fog” bubble tea, a simple experiment by
the duo that quickly became a Wilton favorite. All croissants, pies, scones, and cakes are made from scratch, making for a very tasty and meaningful snack. The pair make sure to include many gluten free options, as Madison is gluten free herself. Bubble & Brew’s compostable straws, utensils, cups, and covers complete every purchase, a perfect excuse for any environmentalist to slurp up the tapioca boba pearls at the bottom of their fine teas.
Though they participated as a guest last year, this year the team is thrilled to become regulars at the market this season. In addition to this, they attend about 2-3 events a week, open houses for Real Estate, bridal showers, partnerships with Wilton Outdoor Sports and weddings. Upon the season closing, the two plan to go to Asia in October to explore more teas, which they hope may inspire a Bubble & Brew led tea tour abroad in the future.
Gazy Brothers Farm
A fourth generation farmer in Oxford, CT, Dominique Gazy proudly attends the Wilton Farmers Market with a large variety of produce every year. The family-owned “Gazy Brothers Farm” has been around for over 100 years, growing and harvesting delicious goods since 1918. Around 60-80 varieties of produce are grown on the 80 acre farm each year, with help from the families and the team. He sells maple syrup he gets from down the street as well. In addition to Wilton, the Gazys attend around 16-17 markets a week, in Stamford, New Canaan, Darien, Norwalk, and many other local venues.
Dominique’s personal favorite produce he grows is watermelon, which comes later in the season. He is happy to become part of the farmers market this year and continue the family business.
Espalier, Natural Botanics
Kimberley Hovstadius, a longtime Westport resident, opened “Espalier: Natural Botanics” in 2016, after years of crafting organic soaps, essential oils, masks, and bath salts for her family, friends, and eventually friends of friends.
A passionate organic gardener, Hovstadius has always loved experimenting with different herbs and spices. She runs the business out of a studio in Westport. She attends the Westport Farmers Market as well, in addition to selling her work in NOYA, a jewelry store in Westport, and on Elm Street. This is her first year in Wilton.
Starting off, Hovstadius mixed and matched clays, herbs, and ingredients based off of her friends needs, and still takes time to know each of her customers’ needs and concerns to match them with the best product. All ingredients are certified organic and serve an important purpose in her creations, all detailed in the personalized card that comes with every product. This card includes a list of ingredients and their accompanying benefits, directions for use, and tips to maximize the item’s value. Many of the ingredients are sourced locally as well, including rosemary she gets from her mother, and the herbs she grows herself. She strives to make sure all of her customers are educated about the product, and prides herself on being totally transparent with what she uses.
Returning to Wilton Farmers’ Market for another year is Stamford-based Beldotti’s Bakeries, offering customers fresh loaves of bread, pesto, and cheese. They proudly boast that their mozzarella is “made from the best cows in Connecticut,” and their pesto is made with no nuts, allowing many people to enjoy it. But best of all, stop by for the Beldotti’s delicious varieties of bread, which is always fresh, baked from midnight to 7 a.m., when it is then transported all over Fairfield County. Sourdough, rosemary, olive, Italian, multi-grain, French baguettes, and many more, the bread is what will keep customers coming back again and again.
Making her debut at the Market is Dani Palazzolo of Dani’s Pantry, specializing in providing people with the best Italian ingredients and foods from their country’s origin. She wanted to help out others that were having trouble finding the necessary ingredients for traditional Italian recipes. So, she started to import different ingredients and items from her home in Sicily and many other parts of Italy. She then created her own website and has found great business selling on Amazon.
Palazzo, a Ridgefield resident, plans to bring her expertise and special Italian ingredients to the Wilton Farmers Market this season to make face-to-face connections for her business within the community. The ingredients range from olive oils, spices, different kinds of pasta, peppers, snacks and so much more. They are also presented beautifully and shown off well.
Since closing the Witchy Poo shop in Wilton Town Center, owner Marie Wendorff moved her family to Charleston, South Carolina, but is back for the summer to sell her stunning jewelry to the Wiltonians who miss her. Wendorff runs her traveling women’s accessory boutique with her three children Harry, Charlie, and Olivia.
Charlie, who worked the stand at yesterday’s market, described Witchy Poo as a staple of Wilton’s small, woman-owned businesses. Witchy Poo’s accessories combine style and affordability and are perfect for gift-giving or self-spoiling. The Wendorffs plan to sell at the Farmers’ Market weekly.
TJ’s Cookie Jar
John Wagner has owned TJ’s Cookie Jar for four years. After a 40-yearlong career in engineering, Wagner decided to pursue this very different career choice. Cookies are no new subject field to Wagner however. Before the business’s start, rolled pastry cookies were Wagner’s go-to gift for friends and family. This treat was so well received that recipients would give back the empty tins and beg for a refill. Wagner bakes every cookie personally and runs the business on his own as well.
Wagner plans to be at the Wilton Farmers Market throughout the summer, happy to delight as many people as he can with his delicious creations. He additionally plans to continue selling his cookies in the Village Market, something he has done for four years. His favorite items include the Raspberry Cinnabon Cookie and the Lemon Zest Cookie. Every week he creates a new original cookie, so be on the lookout for his latest creation next Wednesday!
Blue Lotus Bracelets
Using her creativity to design her necklaces, Patty Robinson’s began Blue Lotus Bracelets around 5 years ago. Her inspiration for the different jewelry came for her own personal experiences. She says how “I was young, it was the coolest time ever to be young in the ’70s!”. This has caused to create unique jewelry, such as necklaces made out of rings found at marinas, where she used to work in her youth.
As she begins to start her fourth year at the market, she has found other business partners, including Local Soul, who took notice of her ideas and now sells them in their storefront. She says she will be at the market once every month, so seeing her is a treat in of itself.
A proud supporter of the Wilton Farmers’ Market from the beginning, the Ambler Farm stand overflows with volunteers, vegetables, and customers, a clear must-stop for the farmers’ market regulars. Everything they sell is harvested that week–or even that same day.
Volunteer Florine Kruger has manned the Farmers’ Market Ambler stand since the market was at its previous location, the Wilton Library, and says she loves volunteering in this capacity. The certified organic farm is clearly a hallmark of the community, and Kruger remarks with pride that Ambler Farm draws volunteers of all ages.
Director of agriculture Jonathan Kirschner, lovingly known as Farmer Jonathan, grows 30 different types of produce and multiple varieties of each. He is looking forward to the strawberries and blueberries, which he loves to snack on on the job. With around 40 regular volunteers at the farmers’ market, farm stands, and in the gardens, Ambler Farm is able to sell and produce a large quantity of food, not only sold here, but also on Saturdays at the farm from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.. Selling 24 varieties of vegetables at the stand on Wednesday, in addition to beautiful plants and bulbs, Ambler Farm is thrilled to help serve the towns vegetable and produce needs.