Lloyd Allen’s Double L Market in Westport is celebrating its 20th year. The market, now in its third location near Hillspoint Road, is the “original” farmstand. Described as “eclectic” it has weathered every storm and outlasted the competition thanks to a very dedicated group of followers. “When you’ve done this for as long as I have you get to know a lot of people and what they want. We want to be able to offer the best!” Allen told me.
“We were a farmstand and farmers market long before anyone else - before it became a thing. We were wild, and on the side of the road, in the open air and having lots of fun doing it.” Although Allen and his staff are no longer on the side of the road, and are now in an enclosed air-conditioned corner store, a little bit of that wildness still remains. “We are still having a great time,” he added. “You meet people who are passionate on both sides of the market - the growers are passionate about producing the best and our consumers are passionate to find and eat the best.”
As Allen showed me around the market, pointing to perfect specimens of carrots, lettuce, berries, peppers, cherries and beans, stopping occasionally to hold one up and point out it’s perfection - the color, shape and size. The produce in most other stores in Fairfield county are lackluster by comparison; they sit around in warehouses for two weeks before the consumer even sees it. “By the time the produce reaches the consumer it has very little nutritional value. By contrast, we get stuff in everyday.” Allen went on to explain how LL Market is different. “Because we are a year-round market and Connecticut has a very limited window of opportunity, we can’t just limit ourselves to what’s in the state. We have to reach out and go beyond.” Allen frequents trips to Pennsylvania, Long Island and New Jersey which is the third biggest growing state behind California and Florida. When he is able he gets a great deal from his produce from local gardens in Fairfield.
Allen sources what the customer asks for. We wandered over to where containers of very different strawberries sat side by side. When we spoke we were at the height of strawberry season in the state. One container, I learned, was from California and the other from Connecticut. The two berries were quite different. His customers prefer the ones from the West Coast which were visibly larger and redder, and according to Allen, firmer and sweeter. “Sometimes what my customers want isn’t local. They just want the best. We try to get them everything they want. You could come to this store every day and only go to the grocery store for the basics.”
In addition to produce Allen stocks up on the best grass-fed beef from New York and Vermont. Connecticut, he informed me, is not a cattle state. His chicken hails from the Carolinas. They are truly free-range, not in a barn, and is, according to Allen, the best (damned) chicken you will ever have. His fish, he carries just a few categories, hails from the waters just off of Boston.
“None of our fish exposed to air,” he explained holding up a vacuum sealed package. Additionally there is a refrigerated section with a few prepared items, artisanal cheeses, eggs from various farms and duck eggs for those who are allergic to chicken eggs. He has a gorgeous selection of hydroponic heirloom tomatoes, gorgeous honey from a hobbyist beekeeper in Fairfield who sells only to LL Market, homemade mustards, jams and ketchup. In the middle of the store in an Igloo cooler are batches of sealed freshly smoked ribs. On the counter by the register was an impressive selection of freshly baked pie. Bags of grains and granola and everything else his customers might want line his shelves and sit on counter-tops.
If you haven’t yet had the opportunity yet, do stop by and check out all the wonderful items available.
Double L Market
730 Post Road East