If you love local, there’s a novel new way to get your fix this fall/winter at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk (21 ½ Lois St. 2-3 454 FOOD). It’s called FARMS AND A MARKET, and the first one pops up Friday, November 7 from 3-7 p.m. This indoor, rain-or-shine market/outing will run every Friday through February (except after Thanksgiving Christmas and New Year’s), offering locally produced edibles, including milk, eggs, cheese, honey flour, grains, produce and meats. You can stock up on staples, and stick around for a cocktail, a snack or and supper, or grab and go from that week’s food truck and take it home for dinner.
When the first Market rolls out, you’ll find fresh produce eggs and meat from Starlight Gardens in Durham CT and Snow Hill Farm in North Salem, NY, both Certified Organic Farms that follow NOFA practices (no GMOS, no pesticides, no antibiotics, and ethical practices). The Market will also have fresh Arethusa Milk on hand, locally milled flour from Wild Hive Farm in Clinton Corners, NY, Red Bee Honey (Weston), Brookside Farm maple syrup (Litchfield), and cheese, glorious cheese, from select local cheesemakers.
Jen Balin, Sugar & Olives owner, says she decided to do the Market to provide people with more local options. She notes, “Food shopping has always been fun for me and my family. When we can, we seek out specialty shops and food suppliers that are thoughtfully curated. Farmers’ markets are especially nice because you get to meet the creators and growers of the food up close and personal. They are there to meet you as well and explain their passion. I’ve never really thought of Sugar & Olives as a restaurant, it is more of a culinary workshop to explore food and enjoy an experience which could include a class, a meal, and now a shop, too. We want to cultivate the relationship between the farmer and the family.”
We wondered, will the Sugar & Olives Friday Market address the need for an indoor winter market without stepping on toes at The Westport Farmers’ Market?
Balin says, “We are huge supporters of the Westport Farmers’ Market. We financially sponsor them annually, we vend weekly and shop the market sourcing more than fifty per cent of our meats and produce from those farmers. Our FARMS AND A MARKET is another opportunity for folks to shop local and explore why farm to-table is not a trend but a very sustainable way of living. With more than six large grocery stores in Westport alone, open seven days a week, and one farmers’ market open once a week for four hours, there is definitely room for another farmers’ market-- maybe two! In a perfect world, we’d have access to farm food whenever we want it, but instead, we have access to seven frozen yogurt shops practically around the clock! Go figure.”
What else is cooking on Fridays when you visit? Food Truck Fridays at S&O have always been popular, so expect an array of your favorite local food trucks. Skinny Pines (pizza) will kick off the first market, and then Lobster Craft, Bounty, The Local Meatball, and a few others will pop in.
Looking to spend an hour or make a night of it? They serve supper Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 5:30pm. Friday, they are open all day, serving from the afternoon right through the evening. On Fridays during the Market, a cocktail bar, coffee bar and dining room will be open for snacking, sitting and chatting.
Balin jokes, “The idea is to shop and dine—and don’t forget the wine. Our wine list highlights the North Fork of Long Island and the Finger lakes of Upstate, as well as Elk Cove, a classy Pinot from the Williamette Valley in Oregon. We are fans of French wines with two Muscadets on the menu and a nice crisp wine from the Savoie region.”
With fall upon us, the bartenders are mixing up an array of cozy autumn-inspired cocktails, like the Figenza Vodka (fig vodka) and apple cider syrup. Another drink to keep you warm is the Loveboat (a hot toddy, made with Arogya’s LOVE tea and small batch bourbon and a kiss of lemon). Their wells are stocked with mostly organic vodkas and gins, and the bar cabinet is stocked with favorites from Brooklyn like Stillhouse and Greenhook Ginsmiths.
As the temperatures drop, come on out of hibernation on Fridays for a fun local outing. Meet some friends, share a cocktail, and stock up on local goodies for the week.