An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Oct 12, 2013
07:13 AMThe Connecticut Table
Like Farm-to-Table Life? Go to Morris Marketplace Sunday; Even Hot Air Balloon Rides
The Morris Marketplace, a farmers' market-style gathering of the local and organic foods vibes held each Sunday at South Farms in a small town south of Litchfield, has become a real phenomenon.
If you're anywhere near the Litchfield Hills over this Columbus Day weekend, or even if you're not, this is the weekend to connect with the marketplace before it sunsets for the season at the end of October.
Why? Because in addition to offering farm-fresh hyperlocal products that range from fruit to veggies and even farm-raised meats, along with local music and other extras, the marketplace is celebrating its success with a special event this Sunday that includes hot air balloon rides and hay rides, and an extended timeframe that has the event running through 3 p.m.
But before you come, spend some time on the marketplace's website, and especially on its Facebook page, because you'll find that knowing who the vendors are and coming prepared will yield a much richer experience--while you're at the marketplace and, notably, afterward when you sit down to enjoy fabulous dinners made with outstanding fresh ingredients with great integrity.
In one Facebook post, a marketplace fan rhapsodized last Sunday, "Going to enjoy a complete market dinner tonight -- South Farms Pork country rubs, Newgate farm zucchini and sweet potatoes!!!"
The next day, marketplace driving force Ben Paletsky, or one of his team, posted, "I'm gearing up for the most amazing fall-squash soup and focaccia from WINVIAN and delicious unpasteurized cider (the only kind worth drinking!) from MARCH FARM."
Winvian, of course, is the luxe Relais & Chateau inn, restaurant and spa that's just down the road from South Farms in Morris. Its world-class chef Chris Eddy is so devoted to the farm-to-table ethos that he has his own extensive gardens at Winvian, and he brings produce to sell at the marketplace, sometimes manning the booth himself.
March Farm is just down the road in another direction from March Farm in Bethlehem, and it's a world of wonders unto itself that deserves a companion visit before or after the marketplace, especially now when apples are still being picked, pumpkins rule the landscape and the retail shop is overflowing with harvested bounty.
Even last Sunday, when heavy rain drowned plans that weekend for the balloon and hay rides, turnout at the marketplace was vigorous.
"To the vendors that made the market a success today-SouthFarms, Take This Cup, Winvian, March Farm, Adamah Dairy, Newgate Farms, A Little Slice of Heaven, Winter Winds Farm, Kate Stephen Jewelry and Switch Factory (fantastic market-going music!!) thanks for going with the flow and making our improvised indoor venue work," a marketplace Facebook post said. "And thank you to the many people (over 200) who made the trek out in the rain to support The Morris Marketplace!! You are the best and it is ALL of you that make us want to bring these wonderful products to the community every week!!! Keep demanding and the vendors will keep supplying!!"
So make plans to head to the marketplace this Sunday (Oct. 13), for the tethered balloon rides in the field above the Sam Paletsky Barn and valley, and hayrides across the big pasture.
"Our old Ford Model AA farm truck (a Morris resident since 1929) will be loaded up with pumpkins from the property for sale," Ben Paletsky said, adding, "South Farms will be firing up the grills during the market, and selling our own heritage grass-fed beef burgers and farm fresh sides."
"Special guest vendors and artisans will join our awesome vendor line-up, including a crowd favorite, Chet's Italian ice," his email note on this Sunday's marketplace went on to say. "They'll be offering pumpkin gelato, lemon sorbet, apple spice, strawberry and mango Italian ice."
"It will be a great Sunday to relax and enjoy a real New England experience with foodies, friends, and family. Note that for those attending the Garlic Festival at the Bethlehem fair, the Morris Marketplace is one road away and a great way to easily hit up two outstanding events with the family."