Fresh Start

C itySeed’s Wooster Square Farmers’ Market was set to begin its season on April 1, but spring rains got the better of it. Rescheduled to last Saturday, the extra week didn’t do much to temper the weather, but hardy shoppers came out anyway. “We brave few,” one man intoned through a scarf as he purchased some sourdough.

The chill in the air was a boon to some vendors, however. Sweet Madeline’s truck did a brisk business selling hot apple cider and warm, sugar-dusted donuts, while Chief Brody’s Banh Mi sold more savory fare and Crêpes Choupette did both. A few shoppers warmed themselves by dancing to the music of Ear Candy for the Soul, an acoustic folk-rock duo composed of Dana Takaki on violin and ArleneWow! on guitar and vocals.

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Of course, the wares for sale didn’t mind the natural refrigeration. Bright green lettuce, cheery red radishes and hearty carrots were available from Stone Gardens Farm’s tent, while Sanko’s Beaver Brook Farm sold milk, cheese and woolen socks. Riverbank Farm offered windowsill plots of miniature potted herbs including sage, thyme, lemon balm, dill and two types of basil. Bread, pastries, onions, meat pies and honey were all being hawked throughout the market, and Best Buddy Biscuits was selling organic dog treats.

To a question about different fowl eggs, Chuck Haralson of Sugar Maple Farms responded, “Well, a duck egg is a duck egg, a turkey egg’s a turkey egg and a chicken egg’s a chicken egg.” That dose of salty wisdom was countered by a sweet description of the CitySeed shoppers he’s been servicing for seven years. “They support the market, they’re very knowledgeable [and] they’re willing to try something different,” he said before brokering the sale of some Grade-B maple syrup, which he says is stronger, darker and richer than the Grade-A stuff.

A few stalls down, Nicola Distafio was manning Barberry Hill’s tent. Last Saturday, she was selling two types of tomato plant—Purple Cherokee and Black Krim—but recommended the seedlings stay indoors until spring warms up in earnest. She was also selling eggs, which ranged in color from chalky blue to petal pink. “Barberry Farms has free-range Americana chickens,” she said. “I think those are the ones that pop out the Easter eggs.”

It was another loop up and down the stalls, sampling nutty cranberry bread and salty farmer’s cheese, before the cold breeze got the best of me. But for the Wooster Square market, this is only the beginning. Scheduled for every Saturday through December 16, it’ll be progressively joined by Edgewood Park, Downtown and Fair Haven markets, and as temperatures rise and the growing season starts in earnest, there’ll only be more and different foods to browse, sample, discover.

I for one will be back next week to purchase a goose egg, which Haralson says can make two omelets comfortably, and which, having learned my lesson, I can only assume comes from a goose.

CitySeed Wooster Square Farmers’ Market
Along DePalma Ct between Chapel and Wooster Sts, New Haven (map)
Sat 9am-1pm
(203) 773-3736 | info@cityseed.org
www.cityseed.org/wooster-square

Written and photographed by Sorrel Westbrook.

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Sorrel is a California transplant to New Haven. She studied English at Harvard and fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She spends her free time among her house rabbits and houseplants, looking at maps of Death Valley. She loves New England for its red brick and rainstorms and will travel great distances in pursuit of lighthouses and loud music.

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