Fresh veggies, breads, guacamole — Shelton market brings farm to table

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — The pandemic has not stopped residents from flocking to the Shelton Farmers Market, which as become a summertime destination for fresh vegetables, baked goods and even a little guacamole.

The market opened for public shopping on July 4, and Market Master Michael Yachymczyk says the need for patrons to wear facial coverings and social distance while walking from booth to booth has not dampened enthusiasm for the city’s fresh food hot spot.

“We have been flooded with people,” said Yachymczyk. “Everyone was so happy to see the vendors.”

The market is open 9 a.m. to noon at the 100 Canal St. East location, with anywhere from eight to 12 vendors each Saturday.

Yachymczyk said when patrons arrive, they walk to his table before entering. The area usually used for entry is roped off to allow only one way in and one way out. Patrons are asked to wear face masks, remain socially distant and when shopping, ask the vendor for the items which they will bag.

“We do not have that many guidelines,” said Yachymczyk, adding that the Shelton market was believed to be the first such operation to open to regular public shopping in the state.

Among the vendors are Laurel Glen Farm and East Village Farm, both Shelton based, and Grassy Hill Farm of Orange. Other vendors include Sugar and Spice Bakery, Three Bridges Coffeehouse, Vic’s Guac Shop, Granfield Fisheries and Gathered Harvest Granola.

Yachymczyk said the market allows visitors the opportunity to speak with those places growing and creating the food.

Yachymczyk said he is also hoping to bring back the live music that had become a staple of the farmers market in years past. The COVID-19 restrictions that had been in place by the governor’s executive orders for such gatherings prevented the live music, but that appears to be changing.

The Shelton Farmers Market first opened in 1993, thanks to local farmer Guy Beardsley, in a barren dirt field on Canal Street.

In 1997, the city of Shelton took possession of a parcel at 100 Canal St. East, which had been part of the city’s revitalization plan. 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 Yachymczyk, known city-wide as the man in the top hat.