Pete's Produce Farm owner Pete Panzarella and his daughter, Anna, at the Newington Farmers Market
The Connecticut summer is on heading into the home stretch, but the season for locally grown produce is just heating up. So far this year we’ve consumed a massive amount of pie at the Wethersfield Farmers Market, rocked the farm stands in Rocky Hill, and witnessed the scenic views of Cromwell’s weekly market.
Now it’s Newington’s turn.
The town has a weekly farmers market that doesn’t have the space or size that the surrounding towns have, but it packs a lot into a small space at 100 Market Square.
The weekly market, which is open to the public from 9 am to 1 pm every Saturday from June through the end of October, is home to about a dozen vendors, serving up fresh produce and homemade delights and treasures.
Pete Panzarella, owner of Pete’s Produce Farm of Franklin, makes the trek west to Newington each and every Saturday to sell his farm fresh vegetables, fruits, and flowers.
“It’s been pretty steady this summer. Farmers markets are good for me because I just started,” said Panzarella, who started the farm six years ago and has been a vendor in Newington for the past five seasons, “Right now I sell seasonal vegetables, but I just put up a hoop house so I will be doing some early and late season growing.”
Panzarella runs the booth with his daughter, Anna, and started farming as a hobby after retiring from the state. His new hoop house, which is a tunnel-shaped greenhouse, will allow him to lengthen the growing season and will open up new avenues for his expanding hobby.
“I’m hoping to get a bigger jump in the spring,” added Panzarella, “Right now I just do the local farmers markets, but I used to sell to some restaurants and I’m looking to do more of a destination, so people can come. I’m also looking into eventually becoming a CSA.”
Panzarella’s farm stand has been one of the constants at the Newington market. Quilting after Dark and Maria’s Kitchen Krafts are a few of the others that set up shop on Saturday mornings. The market used to operate on Thursday evenings as well, but is now exclusive to Saturdays.
If you’re seeking farm fresh variety on the other six days out of the week, Stew Leonard’s is your best and most convenient option.
The massive store, located at 3475 Berlin Turnpike, is one of a handful of locations for the world famous market.
Originally started in Norwalk as Clover Dairy Farms in the late sixties, the name was eventually changed to Stew Leonard’s before the Newington location debuted in 2007. It quickly became a local hotspot for families due to the interactive and electronic farm animals, dairy products, fruits and veggies that sing and dance as you pass through the store.
As a matter of fact, the New York Times once called Stew Leonard’s the “Disneyland of Dairy Stores” and one visit to the location on the turnpike and you’ll see why.
Dairy products are Stew’s specialty and no visit would be complete without a soft served ice cream or frozen yogurt. Yours truly once channeled his inner-Bret Hart and proclaimed Stew’s ice cream as “the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.”
The tasty and delicious dairy products are what made the store renowned, but the limitless amount of produce is the freshest you can get, outside of a farmers market. The entire front of the store is a colorful array of freshness and during the holiday season pumpkins, trees, and wreaths fill the storefront.
If you’re looking for more of a traditional farm, Eddy Farm, located at 851 Willard Avenue, is you best and only bet. The century old farm is open seven days week though the end of October and is the only working farm in the town of Newington.
The farm’s rich history dates back to the late 1800’s and the current farm stand had been in business since the 1960’s.
Eddy’s sells everything from fresh basil to green beans and is home to the coveted Silver Queen corn, which is a naturally sweet corn that will melt your mouth and make you never again want to eat canned cream of the corn.
The fruits and veggies are enough to satisfy anyone’s taste buds, but the farm specializes in beautiful flowers, creating breathtaking floral designs for all occasions and all seasons.
Each and every day the farm stand also has freshly baked breads on hand from The Hartford Baking Company.
So no matter what your farm fresh needs are, Newington has several nutritious options.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin