Spring is upon us, and, so, too, is the Shelton Farmers’ Market.
Nearly a dozen vendors — featuring some familiar names like Jones Family Farm and Three Bridges Coffeehouse — will open their shops beginning Saturday, May 4, at the Farmers’ Market Building at The River Walk, 100 Canal Street. The market will run every Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through November.
The market’s website states that people will “find the freshest produce grown by local farmers who have dedicated their lives to providing quality locally grown food for people in their communities.”
Vendors will be selling a variety of produce, eggs, cheese, pies, breads, muffins, cookies, teas, spices, BBQ sauce and popcorn, according to the website, as well as flowers and other handmade items. There will be some live music and events for children and families. This year, the market will feature live cooking demonstrations on select weekends.
This year is the latest for the farmers’ market that first sprouted up, thanks to local farmer Guy Beardsley, in 1993 in a barren dirt field on Canal Street. In 1997, the city of Shelton took possession of a parcel at 100 E. Canal Street, which had been part of the city’s revitalization plan calling for the cleanup and restoration of targeted brownfields to enhance Shelton economically and aesthetically while also providing new open space.
At that point, the Shelton Economic Development Corp., with feedback from several local groups, identified a farmers’ market as a viable use for the site. By 2005, the Shelton Farm & Public Market building was completed and opened. And while Beardsley has since retired from the market’s top job, people can easily find the new Market Master — just look for the man in the top hat, Market Master Michael Yachymczyk.
And as this year’s market opening day approaches, the Herald will spotlight four of the vendors scheduled to offer their wares to area residents. This week’s featured vendors are Laurel Glen Farm and East Village Farm, LLC.
Laurel Glen Farm
Laurel Glen Farm has been in the Rogowski family for more than 100 years and produces more than 50 varieties of vegetables on 20 acres of land, using sustainable farming methods.
John Rogowski came to the United States in the early 1900s with big dreams for his family and future. After working in a coal mine in Pennsylvania, he decided on a whim to try his hand in agriculture, and so, Laurel Glen Farm was born.
Once more than 100 acres and milking more than 60 cows, the farm provided fresh dairy products to the local area. In the 1970s, dairy production ceased due to the competition from supermarkets. However, second-generation farmer Peter Rogowski and his brother, Alexander, kept the farm alive by raising beef and growing hay.
In 2013, Randy Rogowski took the reins on the family's farm and converted it to a mixed vegetable operation. Now, with 20 acres, Randy and the rest of Laurel Glen Farm are committed to keeping the locavore movement alive by providing fresh produce to the community. Laurel Glen’s produce can be purchased at its farm stand at 247 Waverly Road in Shelton as well as the Shelton Farmers’ Market.
East Village Farm, LLC
East Village Farm, LLC, is a small, family-owned farm nestled in the White Hills section of Shelton. Established in May 1998, when owners Bob and Darlene Mingrone purchased their first four lambs from a local shepherdess.
Over the years, the farm has grown from raising chickens, sheep, llamas, alpacas and angora rabbits to producing farm fresh eggs, seasonal produce and handcrafted products. This year, the farm has started selling its handcrafted soaps and handspun hand-dyed yarns at Jones’ Holiday Gift Barn at Jones’ Family Farms.