Keep the chills away with fresh products from these five farmers markets

Winter may seem like an unlikely time to visit a farmers market. But it’s actually a great time to get acquainted with mom-and-pop businesses and fresh food products available year-round, market organizers say. A taste of what to expect this season? Baked goods, maple syrup, honey, milk and dairy products, fish, meat and organic produce from throughout the state.

“The winter market is smaller in size, but still gives opportunity for farmers and local crafters to sell their products,” Durham Farmers Market Master Jon Scagnelli said.

Offerings in Durham include Connecticut-grown and produced products like fresh pasta made in Wallingford, artisan cheese from East Lyme, a variety of jams from Cheshire, and “pickled and bakery items as well as produce” from a farm in South Glastonbury, Scagnelli said. The indoor market is open Saturdays from 10 to 1 p.m. at Durham Activity Center, 350 Main Street, above the Core Club Gym.

Also open Saturdays from 1 to 1 p.m. is New Haven’s Cityseed Farmers Market, which began its winter 2021 season Jan. 9 and includes 16 vendors. The outdoor market, which in summer months is among the largest in the state, has scaled down for covid-safety to the parking lot of Conte West Hills Middle School, 511 Chapel St. The first hour is reservation-only in order to limit crowd size and maintain covid-safe social distances. Sign up for a time slot at https://cityseed.org/socially-distanced/.

In Litchfield, the Litchfield Hills Farm-Fresh Market moves its operation indoors for the winter every other Saturday at the Litchfield Community Center, 421 Bantam Road, through June 12. As the name would indicate, fresh foods abound at this year-round market, among them cheeses, winter greens, squash, pork, organic chicken and eggs. For updates, a vendor list and even recipes, check http://www.litchfieldfarmersmarket.org/

Sundays are Stamford Museum & Nature Center’s time to shine. The winter farm market runs a short season from Feb. 21 to March 21, but so far includes a roster of 18 vendors and three food trucks. For updates, check https://www.stamfordmuseum.org/sunday-farm-market/.

Midweek, try Westport Winter Farmer’s Market, at Gilbertie’s Herbs and Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane, runs Thursdays through March 11. “We are in heated greenhouses at a lovely garden center. Come get your Vitamin D!” market organizers report. Recent vendors’ products at this indoor (but well-ventilated) market include goat cheese from Norfolk, organic hydroponic greens from Woodbridge, mushrooms from Stonington, and custom pet food from New Milford.

State-certified farmers markets must adhere to COVID-safe practices, among them one-way foot traffic and mandatory facemasks. Many vendors also are operating touch-free and cashless this winter, and will take orders in advance for quick, crowd-reducing pickup (check websites for availability).

awinchester@bcnnew.com