Palmer’s: A farmers market every day

Palmer’s employee Michael Manginelli hand inspects the farm fresh produce selection.
Palmer’s employee Michael Manginelli hand inspects the farm fresh produce selection.

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It’s not unusual this time of year for Cindy Palmer Dean, co-owner of Palmer’s Market, to arrive at work with farm fresh produce packed into every available inch of her car.

Cindy’s route to work takes her through Easton, past some of the best farms in Connecticut.

“I love visiting the farms in the morning,” Cindy said. “Everything is freshly picked and is so fragrant and beautiful!  My car smells so amazing driving to work.”

Cindy picks up local produce and eggs for the store several times a week, giving Palmer’s customers a farm-fresh selection every day.

Sherwood Farm of Easton, one of the oldest working farms in the U.S., provides Palmer’s with produce including eggplant, squash, lettuce, peppers, fresh herbs, beets and spring onions. In August, the market will feature Sherwood’s heirloom and cherry tomatoes.

“I met Tommy Sherwood years ago and he didn’t do any wholesale business at all,” Cindy said of Sherwood’s proprietor. “It took me two years to convince him to sell to us.”

The farm also provides Palmers with the 80 dozen eggs the market sells out of each week.  The eggs are collected and washed each morning and are tucked in their crates still damp. There’s nothing better than that.“Once you try farm fresh eggs, you can’t go back,” she said.

The eggs are one of the most popular local items at the store.

Her labor of love is also something of a family tradition.

She recalls her father loading down the family station wagon with Vermont maple syrup and wheels of cheese produced up the street from her childhood ski house in Londonderry, Vermont.

“My dad loved establishing relationships with the farmers,” Cindy said. “We’d spend Saturdays visiting the farms, touring their facilities and tasting their products.  There is nothing like meeting the people producing the cheese or growing the food — forming a connection between where it’s made and where it’s sold is very gratifying.”

The Noroton market is also stocked with gold bar squash, zucchini and Boston bibb & Romaine lettuce from Testa Farm in Beacon Falls.

“If you love local lettuce, now is really the time to enjoy it,” she said. “That season is a short one before the weather gets too hot.”

The Connecticut corn season has just begun too.  Palmer’s has always been known for their amazingly sweet butter and sugar corn, which is delivered daily.

When September rolls around, Cindy will be making stops at another Easton landmark: Silverman’s Farm where Palmer’s buys eight to ten different varieties of apples.

“My arms always get a little stronger in September, hauling those apple bins,” she jokes.

Visiting and supporting local farms is something Cindy encourages all her Palmer’s customers to do and Easton is a stand out for easy access and great selection.

But, of course, if you can’t make it to the farm in person, Palmer’s has you covered.

“Our customers love it!” Cindy said of the local selection. “They don’t need to wait to visit a Farmer’s Market once a week — they can come here any day and get freshly picked local produce.”

Palmer’s Market is located at 264 Heights Road, Darien, right across from the Noroton Heights Railroad Station.