On Tuesday and Friday afternoons and early evenings from June through October the west end of Hartford, Connecticut is home to a wonderful farmers’ market. My apartment is located close to the farmers’ market site and I usually stop by the market at least once a week.
The West End Farmers’ Market has been in existence since 2003 and it’s going stronger than ever. The market is held on the grounds of the United Methodist Church on South Whitney Street right at the intersection of Farmington Avenue and South Whitney Street.
Pretty much rain or shine the market is held on its designated days and it always draws customers from throughout the neighborhood and the local area. The farmers’ market brings a real sense of energy and vitality to the west end that matches well with the diverse nature of the west end.
The market is held on the east side of the Methodist church across the street from the top-rate South Whitney Pizza restaurant. At least eight or nine different vendors usually have booths or tables at the farmers’ market in Hartford’s west end. Prices at the market are reasonable and any quantity of produce can be purchased.
On any given Tuesday or Friday you’re likely to find at least half a dozen farms from various parts of Connecticut setting up shop at the market. Good selections of fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables are consistently provided by the participating farms. In addition to fresh produce, a gourmet bakery and a gourmet pasta shop regularly maintain stalls at the farmers’ market.
The selection of fresh fruits and vegetables at the West End Farmers’ Market varies depending on what is in season and freshly-picked. One of the things that I really enjoy about patronizing the market is getting to talk face to face with staff members from the farms where the food I’m buying was grown. More often than not, when I ask how fresh a specific item is the answer will be that it was picked earlier that day.
The items that I most frequently seek out and purchase at the farmers’ market are corn on the cob and yellow summer squash, but I also frequently purchase small amounts of other types of fresh produce. Among the fresh fruits and vegetables that I have purchased at the farmers’ market are different-colored bell peppers, zucchini squash, tomatoes, eggplant, pumpkin, acorn squash, scallions, plums and blueberries.
A great feature offered at the seasonal farmers’ market in Hartford’s west end is the live music that is usually provided. On Tuesdays and Fridays the sounds of various live rock, blues, reggae, jazz, world and acoustic musical acts waft throughout the area surrounding the farmers’ market, providing soundtracks to the hustle and bustle of the west end.
Last week, a very talented solo electric piano player/vocalist was performing excellent renditions of one cover song after another with ease. The artist was so good that I stopped at the farmers’ market twice that day to hear his versions of songs made famous by artists such as Neil Diamond, Elton John, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix.
Up until April 2012 with the grand opening of Central Supermarket on Farmington Avenue, the West End Farmers’ Market was virtually the only place in Hartford, Connecticut’s west end where residents could regularly purchase fresh produce. Even though the top-rate Central Supermarket does stock and sell a very good selection of fresh produce, the farmers’ market is still packed with customers every week.
As a resident of Hartford’s west end I am enlivened by the positive energy that the farmers’ market adds to the neighborhood. It’s great to see people of all ages purchasing healthy foods in an upbeat atmosphere and it’s also good to see the city-farm link working with farmers from throughout the state offering their produce at the market.
Special events, such as clothing swaps, book swaps, vegetable and fruit celebrations, dancing and more are also scheduled at the West End Farmers’ Market in Hartford, Connecticut’s west end.
Personal experience with patronizing the West End Farmers’ Market