I hit up two of these today: I would have preferred to have visited my favorite, the one in Litchfield, but I had to go into work this morning and that’s the wrong direction. So… I visited both the Danbury Fair Mall one, and the Bethel one. (Connecticut.)
The Danbury one is larger than the Bethel one, and the co-worker who prefers the Danbury one is the same co-worker who isn’t savvy about soft shell crabs. But I think it comes down to (for me) PRODUCE. The Bethel FM has as many actual produce vendors as does the Danbury one. The Danbury one has a lot more of what in the trade is called “added-value” vendors: they take the produce, or they take whatever, and they make something from the parts, and sell that. Which is fine and good, and almost usually local, and I certainly appreciated the unsweetened ice tea I purchased at the Danbury FM today. I also appreciate that the Ball canning company has a booth here: I now have canning essentials in part courtesy of their presence. They also have had two (now one) pasture finished meat vendors, and I am told there has been a seafood vendor but this has never been present at the same time I shared the locale with my physical presence.
There’s one truly excellent produce stand in this FM. No, not the one that is there where you first walk in , if you walk in past the beverage stand. They’re huge, but there’s nothing remarkable there. They do admit up front they love pesticides, or at least they did the day I heard someone ask. No, it’s towards the back, but not all the way towards the back (next time I am there I will get their name!) All manners of leafy greens. Many manners of herbs. They’re good, and the prices are competitive. You’ll need to rinse, but I hope you do so, anyway. I bought my dill for pickling here today.
I also like the seller who works right next to where the fish stand is supposed to be. She’s in the back. She sells potted flowers as well as veggies. She’s not organic, but she’s got some great produce, and while it is limited, it’s good.
Today, there’s still one meat vendor. I bought nitrite-free bacon, and a package with a large sirloin pork chop. The bacon I will parcel out to portions for freezing (okay, I bought it frozen but it wasn’t when I got home, but I think bacon thawed for such a short time is NOT going to be a health issue.
Bethel Farmers’ Market:
They have heirloom veggies here! They didn’t have herbs, so I wouldn’t have gotten fresh dill here, and I got here too late to buy my eggs, and they don’t sell meat (except at one vendor who sells quiche pies of various vegetarian or omnivorian sorts). There are six produce-vendors, of which four are large, and the other two specialize in interesting items. There are (today) three “added value” vendors: a soap vendor who makes soaps from goat milk, a bread vendor, and the aforementioned pie (quiche-like) vendor. I have had the quiche and they are excellent, but at the moment not really on my food plan.
Yes, overall, I like the Bethel FM best of these two.
The weird eggplants and the round squash and the golden beets, and everything except the meat and the dill and the pickling cukes came from there (and I could have gotten the pickling cukes from Bethel, as well).
(Currently also in house, once from a FM: fridge or out on a counter: fennel, Yukon golds, onion, older tomato, lettuce, zucchini, goat cheese.)