Tony Mica has an enviable job at Palmer’s Market.
As the Darien store’s Specialty Food Buyer, he is constantly looking for, and taste-testing, new foods — deciding which snacks, pastas, cheeses, sauces and more belong on the shelves.
And, he’s good at his job. Whether the products are made internationally or produced nearby, Tony has a discerning eye and palate. Some 400 award-winning specialty products are cycled through Palmer’s Market, making it a Fairfield County destination for “hard-to-find,” local and specialty products.
“We have so many customers who come to us looking for really unusual ingredients and even if we only sell one jar of an item in a year — say, pomegranate molasses — nothing makes us happier than to say, ‘Yes, we’ve got that,’” Tony said.
Tony, who recently returned from the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, attends more than a dozen food shows throughout the year searching out the latest and greatest products.
“What I love most is bringing something in and watching it take off,” Tony said. “As an independent store we are able to carry a lot of cool products you won’t find anywhere else. Almost every week we have something new for our customers to try.”
Culinary Director Megan Palmer Rivera explains Palmer’s enjoys introducing customers to unique, high-quality products. Supporting other small businesses in the process is an added bonus.
“Tony, and our other buyers, travel the country (and the neighborhood) searching for the finest products to carry in our store and are always up to date on the latest dietary trends and needs of our customers.” Megan said.
A few featured Connecticut products include Jane’s Good Pickles out of Westport, Weston-based Red Bee Honey and Nutty Bunny, a line of dairy-free frozen desserts made in Westport. One of the most popular local offerings are eggs from Sherwood Farm in Easton.
“My mom picks up eggs there twice a week and they always sell out,” Megan said. “The farm increased its chicken flock just for us. Once you try the local eggs, you’ll never go back!”
The market is launching a new loyalty program, where every dollar spent earns a point that can be redeemed on specialty foods.
“We feel passionately about introducing our customers to something fun and new,” Megan said. “We found a line of olive oils and vinegars when we were out in California and we actually had to send in references to carry the line in our store!”
Customers still have the selection of traditional grocery store fare and familiar brands, competitively priced. The specialty products just add greater selection and a little edge.
“You can get all these quality products here and each one has a great story behind it,” Tony said.
“Once you taste products of a different caliber, it’s hard to go back,” Megan said. “You get spoiled shopping here.”
New specialty foods at Palmer’s are always introduced prominently on end caps, next to the market’s cheese case and throughout the aisles. Be on the lookout for the “NEW” signs and tantalize your taste buds today!
Visit Palmer’s at 264 Heights Road or find more information at PalmersDarien.com.