Monroe Farmers’ Market is back for its 17th season

MONROE, CT — Griffin Anthony, a national recording artist, will play his guitar and sing inside the Monroe Town Hall gazebo during the Monroe Farmers’ Market’s opening day this Friday.

Local farmers will sell fresh produce on the green at 7 Fan Hill Road, and vendors will offer a wide variety of natural products, from gin, cheese and seafood to coffee beans.

The Monroe Farmers’ Market, named Connecticut’s Number One Farmer’s Market through the American Farmland Trust Celebration’s online poll three years running, is embarking on its 17th season. The market will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. every Friday from this week through October.

“We have five new vendors in the family,” said Kelly Plunkett, the market manager. “We have a great lineup of music and activities for the kids. The Tasting Tent is back. This is my fourth year managing and we really hit our stride. We have 14 volunteers this year, all of them returning. I love that they keep coming back.”

Among the new vendors are:

  1. Rowland Farm Creamery, of Oxford, known for cultivating its own artisanal cheeses
  2. American Dream Coffee Co., a Newtown business serving hot and iced coffee and expresso, and selling coffee beans
  3. Fifth State Distillery, of Bridgeport, which won Connecticut Gin Distillery of the Year in 2021, 2022 and 2023 at the New York International Spirits Competition.
  4. Ideal Fish, of Waterbury, with farmed saltwater fish, such as salmon, rainbow trout, barramundi, and branzino
  5. Murphy’s Mushrooms, of Northfield, with a focus on the natural benefits associated with a variety of mushrooms it grows

While not a new vendor, Guardians Farm of Southbury will now have fresh milk, yogurt, butter and cheese, according to Plunkett.

For a complete listing of the Monroe Farmers’ Market’s vendors, click here.

Picklefest, Tasting Tent …

Jade van Rensburg feeds a pickle popsicle to her son, Lukas, 10-months, at the Monroe Farmers’ Market to help her baby beat the heat last summer.

Aside from its lineup of musical performers and wide variety of vendors, the Monroe Farmers’ Market is known for its special events.

Picklefest will be held on July 14, National Farmers’ Market Week on August 9, Taterfest on Sept. 20, and the Market Goes Pink on Oct. 4, when it teams up with the Think Pink Monroe Committee in spreading awareness of breast cancer and the importance of routine mammograms.

Plunkett said a grant was awarded for the Market Minis program, which offers fun activities centered around produce.

Children get a punch card to track their completion of activities. When it’s half filled they receive a two dollar token and at the end of the season all participants get a two dollar token no matter how many activities they completed.

The tokens are only good for purchases from farmers.

“We love that program and this grant allows us more robust activities with our Market Minis,” Plunkett said, adding participation grew from 100 to 350 kids last year.

The Tasting Tent, which features samples from two venders every week, is also back. Plunkett said many shoppers immediately make a beeline for the Tasting Tent.

“It helps the vendors, because it’s a vegetable people didn’t try or had only heard of,” she said of the samples.

Plunkett remembers a lunch box pepper, stuffed grape leaves and a feta cheese that became popular.

“It created a little cult. People were obsessed with it,” she said of the cheese. “People would come after that week asking if it was going to be there. They sold out every week after that, because people were obsessed with it.”

A cheesemonger had brought the feta cheese and, while it is no longer a vendor, Plunkett said Monroe’s market now has Rowland Farm Creamery, the actual producer of the popular cheese.

“We also have the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program funded by state and federal money,” Plunkett said.

The more than 100 Monroe senior citizens who qualify will receive $50 to use for farmers’ products. Plunkett said this is a significant increase from last year.

For updates on the Monroe Farmers Market, follow it on Facebook. People can also sign up for the newsletter and text reminders on the website.

Sponsors and donors

Plunkett said an anonymous donation will cover the musical entertainment. In addition to individual donors, she expressed her gratitude for the market’s sponsors, including:

  • A Little More Space
  • Board & Brush Creative Studio
  • Canterbury Pediatrics
  • Connex Credit Union
  • DiBlasi Associates, P.C.
  • Better Homes & Gardens: Gaetano Marra Homes
  • Key Therapy Counseling
  • Monroe Insurance Center Inc.
  • Newtown Savings Banks
  • Row House-Monroe
  • Spadaccino and Leo P. Gallagher & Son Community Funeral Home

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