|DECEMBER 15, 2011 --
While winter is inevitable, the organizers of the winter farmer's market at the Norfield Grange say the change in season doesn't mean one has to go without fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
A directional sign inviting visitors to "Defy Winter" points to the Grange, which is the home for the second year to the indoor farmer's market, and which features local foods, flowers, honey, soaps, natural beef and pork, seafood, jams, prepared foods and crafts.
"The market goes along perfectly with the Grange's mission to support the agricultural community," said Lyn Kimberly, organizer of the market, which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. "Two of our farmers have greenhouses so that they are able to extend the growing season."
The idea for the winter market came from Gazy Brother's Farm.
"They approached us last year with the idea for a winter farmer's market," said Kimberly. "There has been an increasing demand for local produce, and we've seen the interest in the market growing since last year."
Established in 1918, the 80-acre Oxford Gazy farm is run by the fourth generation of the Gazy family. The farm produces 25 acres of vegetables, herbs, flowers and plants each year.
"We typically have about 20 vendors each weekend," said Kimberly. "They include produce, meats, seafood, prepared foods and we've added a lot more crafts this year."
Some of the other Connecticut farmers include Daffodill Hill Growers from Southbury; Smith's Acres from Niantic; The Butterfield Farm Company from East Granby; Weston Gardens; Eagle Wood Farms from Barkhamsted, and Pemaquid Seafood of Naugatuck.
Butterfield Farm, which focuses on the production of goat and poultry products, and whose motto is "Promote the Goat," will be bringing Myrtle the dairy goat to the market.
"Kids love to pet and feed the goat," said Kimberly.
Craft and gift items include: Natural soaps from Nod Hill Soaps of Wilton; locally-made boxwood wreaths, jewelry, hand-knitted goods made from raw wool, pottery, antiques and picket fence-painted art.
"Everything is made by local artisans with local materials," said Kimberly.
Prepared foods include baked goods from Whistle Stop Bakery of Ridgefield and homemade filled pasta from Pasta Heaven of Watertown.
"Their pasta is out of this world," said Kimberly. "The pasta contains filling made only with local, fresh ingredients."
Kimberly is hoping to organize special events each week.
On Saturday, Dec. 17, the market will sponsor a book signing with Chef Emily Brooks, author of "Connecticut Farmer and Feast." There will also be a seafood drawing with a prize of eight one-and-one-quarter-pound lobsters donated by Pemaquid Seafood.
For more information, visit www.wintermarket-ct.com or www.norfieldgrange.com.