Local Strawberry Season is here! One of our favorite signs of summer is the arrival of fresh-picked local strawberries from Pell Farms in Somers, CT. Some featured new products: Laura Chenel's Chevre, Whole G Artisan Breads (New Haven), Dave's Gourmet All Natural and Organic Pasta Sauces, Fresh Pastabilities Local Artisan Pastas and Sauces, Cornelia's Confections Nut Brittles (made locally), and we have some wonderful recent arrival Rosés, craft brews and hard ciders in Stewart's Spirits.
Walter Stewart's Market has been a fixture in downtown New Canaan since 1907. With its reputation for impeccable customer service, a personal greeting is not uncommon as your walk through their front doors, but this family run grocer is much more than just your friendly neighborhood market. With a devotion to stocking local as well as unusual or hard to find produce, a beer selection that would impress any serious aficionado, and some very special artisan products, it's time to take a second look at Walter Stewart's Market. Join us as we walk down the aisles. Whether you're looking for fresh figs, Whole G bread (New Haven), Jeni's Splendid small batch ice cream, or Millstone Farm's fresh eggs, Walter Stewart's Market is full of culinary surprises…and it's right around the corner.
The best place to start at Walter Stewart's is in the Produce Aisle, home to a remarkable selection of exotic fruits as well as some wonderful locally sourced gems. Here you will find everything from Persimmons to the spiny relative of the lychee, the Rambutan. I must confess there were a few items here even I could not identify without their helpful signage, and even more helpful staff. While the home cook will marvel at the tropical Sour Oranges and Cactus Fruit, one can also find ingredients here that are much closer to home. Organic Field Greens are straight from Wilton's beautiful Millstone Farms. Herbs come from Westport's own Gilberti's Herb Gardens, while other local growers such as Blue Hill Orchards, Deercrest, Fairweather Acres and Andy Roden's Farm (to name a few) keep the produce section stocked. This commitment to local goods is part of Walter Stewart's DNA.
The butcher shop offers grass fed beef, D'Artagnan Gourmet Meats (a brand found in many chefs' kitchens), and a variety of prepared foods for those nights when cooking just isn't a reality. A sushi chef creates a colorful display of made to order sushi and maki. We even noticed the wildly popular Japanese Sodas that can generally only be found in Asian specialty markets.
The Cheese Case also reflects Walter Stewart's passion for supporting local farms with gold medal winning farmstead and artisan cheeses from Vermont's Woodcock Farms, Massachusetts's Berkshire Blue to CT's own Cato Corner Farms and Arethusa Dairy. Artisanal award-winners from other top local dairies, include many of Wine Spectator's "100 of the World's Best Cheeses" such as Jasper Hill's Bayley Hazen Blue & Winnemere, and Rogue Creamery's Echo Mountain.
Local favorites like the hearty Whole G (German) Bread from New Haven, Wave Hill Breads and Izzy B's Cupcakes were happily spotted, as well as New Canaan's own Loopy Doop's Cookies and Aunt Sassy's BBQ Sauces (review coming soon).
A walk through Walter Stewart's Market is not complete without a stop into Stewart's Wine and Spirits shop. As I stood admiring the impressive selection of craft and small local brews, labels like Ommegang, Rogue, and Southern Tier, the manager enthusiastically told me about the bottles he had in "the back." Out came some amazingly difficult to find, limited production brews. The wine selection is also very well chosen. His passions for his products came across in moments and his enthusiasm was infectious. I walked out with a bag too heavy to carry, although the staff was happy to assist me.
Enjoy your next trip to Walter Stewart's Market knowing you are supporting a family run business that truly cares about the local community. Happy shopping.