Shopping Guide: Green Foodie Finds for the Holidays

Analiese Paik

Analiese Paik, Founder of the Fairfield Green Food Guide is constantly scouring the farm stands and markets of Fairfield County for great green foodie finds. She has come up with a list of wonderful local products just right for the holidays. Happy shopping!  

Holy smoke!: The Willie Bird whole smoked turkey, formerly available exclusively through Williams-Sonoma’s catalog, is now available at Palmer’s Market in Darien. You can thank Richard the butcher for bringing in this famous all-natural, vegetarian fed bird from Sonoma, CA to grace your holiday table. Save yourself the shipping and head to Palmer’s Market at 264 Heights Road in Darien, just off exit 10 on I95 across from the Noroton Heights train station. They also have fresh Long Island duck!

Feel good shrimp: Wild harvested Mexican white shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, a sustainably raised and harvested seafood, is now the ONLY shrimp carried by Palmer’s Market in Darien. Available raw with the shell on or peeled and deveined, it’s the perfect sustainable seafood choice for a make ahead appetizer. Looking for the easiest, most comprehensive way to choose sustainable food at retail? The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s web site has a treasure trove of resources for consumers including iPhone and other mobile apps plus the Seafood Watch pocket guide which you can download and print for fitting neatly into any wallet. 

David Burke's Twelve: Looking for a special non-alcoholic beverage to serve or bring to a party? My top pick is Twelve (Fairfield), a lightly carbonated, sophisticated, festive, and food-friendly adult beverage that was created by the legendary chefs David Burke and Alfred Portale. The clever and catchy name is derived from the 12 hours which span the drink’s recommended consumption time – from noon to midnight. The web site describes the base as “a blend of white, green and black organic teas” to which “a delightful mix of herbs, spice and citrus essence” is added. I imagine Twelve would make a great mixed drink too. You can find Twelve at Whole Foods Market, Palmer’s Market in Darien, and Balducci’s.

A cut above the rest: Local, sustainably-raised meat just got easier to find at retail. Whole Foods Market Westport is now sourcing pasture raised, grass-fed beef from New England farms through a program with Wolfe’s Neck. Wolfe’s Neck Farm was a pioneer in raising beef on organic, small-scale alternative farms employing rotational grazing practices, and their program has grown to include over 150 family-owned farms in NY, NJ, CT, MA, NH, MA, and VT who share their dedication to sustainable agriculture.

You’ve never tasted grass-fed beef? Then this event is for you. Please join me at Whole Foods Market on 399 Post Road West in Westport on Saturday, December 19 from noon until 3 pm for a Free Holiday Roast Tasting and a Sustainable Discussion featuring Wolfe’s Neck Natural Beef. The first 20 guests will receive a free holiday gift. We’ll have tips and holiday recipes for the taking! Don’t forget to bring your #5 containers for recycling. 

Michele's Pies NorwalkGreat finds @ Walter Stewart’s Market at 229 Main Street in New Canaan: These guys are an amazing resource for many locally produced foods that are perfect for the holidays. Don’t let the Elm Street address scare you off; they have plenty of parking in their lot and are down the road from the congested shopping area. Walter Stewart’s is a compelling one-stop holiday shopping destination for award-winning Michelle’s Pies (find her full selection at her Norwalk store), Blue Jay Orchards Cider Donuts (Bethel), The Gracious Gourmet’s award-winning spreads and tapenades (Bridgewater), El’s Kitchen’s dry rubs (Weston), Sankow’s Beaver Brook Farm’s premium ice cream (Lyme),maple syrup from Lamothe’s Sugar House (Burlington), Hopkins Inn Caesar and House Dressing, and Bear Pond Farm’s (Glastonbury) line of nut-free pestos made with organic basil and non-GMO canola oil. Look for the line of Organic Chocolate Mexicano from the sustainable and socially conscious company Taza Chocolate (MA) near the registers. It’s a foodie dream come true! This stone ground, organic chocolate is the ne plus ultra of authentic Mexican-style chocolates to eat or sip while sitting by the fireplace with a good book or socializing with friends. Don’t forget to ask for a recipe card if you want to make Mexican hot chocolate. Note: You’ll need a grater and a whisk (or molinillo if you’re a purist).

Yes, the farmers markets are still open: Stop in to the Fairfield Winter Farmers’ Market at the Fairfield Theater Company on Saturdays between 10 and 2 for CT maple syrup, the full line of Beltane Farms artisanal, farmstead goat’s milk cheeses and yogurt, and a wide variety of unusual salad greens and root vegetables from USDA Certified Organic Starlight Gardens. Their reddish-purple dragon carrots are fantastic – stunningly beautiful, tender and sweet. Video from opening day at the farmers’ market is available for viewing on YouTube: Beltane Farms and Starlight Gardens.

Have a wonderful Holiday and a very Happy New Year. May all your foodie wishes come true.

Analiese Paik appears monthly as a guest on WTNH News Channel 8’s Good Morning Connecticut show and her next scheduled appearance is December 20 at 7:35 am to discuss Green Food for the Holidays.