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Old Greenwich Gets a Taste of Fresh Veggies

GREENWICH, Conn. — It was year one, day one, hour one for the Old Greenwich Farmers' Market on Wednesday evening, and organizer Kevin Burke was already running out of crafts for the kids.

“What the heck has happened over here?” Jeff Fisher, another organizer, said as he gestured to the used-up craft materials.

“So far so good,” laughed Burke. “We didn’t know what to expect, we weren’t sure of the crowds.”

The market, presented in association with the town Parks and Recreation Department, debuted at the Old Greenwich School parking lot on Sound Beach Avenue. It will return every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. through August, when it will move to the Presbyterian Church of Old Greenwich, 38 West End Ave. It was the brainchild of three local families who wanted to bring fresh food to the Old Greenwich side of town.

“We hashed it all out one evening over dinner,” said Burke. “The community has been looking and longing for something like this, especially during the week when people are looking to restock. All the beach traffic, we figured it was a wonderful way to bring everyone together.”

Kids and parents danced to lively music and shopped at vendors set up under white tents. The fare included Connecticut products such as vegetables, fruit, flowers, jams, eggs, herbs, plants, milk, cheese and shellfish.

“We like to have a fresh product, like the sign says, we won’t sell anything we wouldn’t eat ourselves,” said Laurie Popodic, co-owner of Pepe’s Cream of the Crop Shellfish Farm that she runs with husband Ed. “It’s a mom and pop, and we harvest everything ourselves,” said Ed, bagging fresh clams for a customer.

Nancy Korodkin was browsing and said she was enthusiastic about having fresh food available. “I’m excited for Old Greenwich, and I think it will definitely grow,” she said with friend Elyse Brown, who agreed that she was impressed.

Democrat John Blankley, who recently announced his bid for first selectman, was surveying the scene with Selectman Drew Marzullo. “It’s an antidote to a big store,” said Blankley. “Otherwise we’re locked into big distribution and mass market, which we have to have, but to have this as well, I think it’s great.”

“My mother is the biggest fan of farmers' markets. She’s addicted,” said Marzullo. “She thinks they’re wonderful, and they are.”

As hour two of the market approached, shoppers were leaving with bags of fresh zucchini, yellow summer squash and raspberries and were captured by Burke’s wife Amy, who walked around snapping photos of happy customers. “We are delighted, and it’s a beautiful day,” said Amy Burke.

Do you go out of your way to shop for locally grown products? Why? Send responses to ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com.

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