A fresh beginning

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Farmers’ market, stand open for season

Maureen Wadman and her grandson, Adam Setaro, 5, both of Beacon Falls, pick out some radishes during the Beacon Falls Farm Stand July 12. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
Maureen Wadman and her grandson, Adam Setaro, 5, both of Beacon Falls, pick out some radishes during the Beacon Falls Farm Stand July 12. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

The farmers have returned to Naugatuck and Beacon Falls.

The Naugatuck Farmers’ Market and the Beacon Falls Farm Stand opened for business last week.

“We come here every year,” said Maggie Digan of Dondero Orchards in South Glastonbury about the Naugatuck market.

The borough’s market, which was first organized by former burgess Mindy Fragoso, is in its eighth year. Located on the Town Green, the market has become an anticipated summer staple in Naugatuck.

On the market’s opening day July 10, curiosity brought Paul Becker to the Green to see if the market had opened for the season yet.

“I didn’t recall that I had seen it yet this year, so I thought I would come down and see if it was here,” he said.

Dondero Orchards was one of a three vendors that greeted customers with a bounty of fresh produce and other treats. Business started a little bit slow on opening day of the market, but picked up as the hours passed.

“It’s been a little slow, but it’s starting to pick up now,” said John Marcucio, who owns Marcucio Farms in Ansonia with his wife, Louise.  

Joe Dondero of Dondero Orchards is coordinating the market this year. He is expecting a couple more vendors as the season progresses. This is usual for the Naugatuck market, he said.

“It was pretty decent last week,” Dondero said on Monday. “The heat’s not helping. We’ll see what happens. I think it will go pretty good.”

Dondero has been a vendor at the market since it began.

“It’s a real good spot for market. A nice shady Green. You get a lot of people from the surrounding businesses. Logistically it is a good market,” he said.

Marcucio Farms has participated in farmers’ markets for three or four years, John Marcucio said. This is the second year he has taken part in Naugatuck’s market.

“Great people,” was the reason John Marcucio gave for returning to Naugatuck this summer. “It’s just great people that are here.”

Two days after the market’s first day in Naugatuck the Beacon Falls Farm Stand opened. Four vendors set up shop in the lot next to the firehouse on North Main Street including Marcucio Farms.

Customers steadily trickled into the lot to see what the season has produced so far.

John Marcucio, left, of Marcucio Farms prepares to ring up Paul Becker of Naugatuck for yellow squash July 10 on the Town Green during opening day of the Naugatuck Farmers’ Market. –LUKE MARSHALL
John Marcucio, left, of Marcucio Farms prepares to ring up Paul Becker of Naugatuck for yellow squash July 10 on the Town Green during opening day of the Naugatuck Farmers’ Market. –LUKE MARSHALL

Maureen Wadman and her 5-year-old grandson, Adam Setaro, both of Beacon Falls, perused the few vegetables laid out by the Marcucios. A spread that John Marcucio said will become more diverse as the season continues.

For Wadman stopping at the farm stand was not only a way to pick up some fresh vegetables. It was also a means to show her support for activities in town.

“We always support Beacon Falls,” Wadman said.  

After a few minutes, Wadman with the help of her grandson picked out some radishes and lettuce. The radishes specifically caught the eye of Adam, who said he’s read all about them in the tales of Beatrix Potter’s character Peter Rabbit.

The farm stand was started last year by the Beacon Falls Economic Development Commission.

“It went over incredibly well,” said commission Chairman Jeremy Rodorigo of the stand’s first year. “I received so many compliments.”

Rodorigo added many people asked him this year whether the commission was going to organize another stand. He said he’s happy the commission did it and the farm stand offers just a little something more for the town.

Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables receive top billing at the market and farm stand. However, that isn’t everything that’s available to customers.

Food preparation items are being sold out of the Pampered Chef tent at the farm stand by Martha Melville of Beacon Falls.

In the borough, even man’s best friends can find a tasty treat.

The New Haven-based Best Buddy Biscuits was represented at the market last week. Among the items for sale were dog biscuits and jerky for dogs.

Amanda Bartow of Naugatuck, who was manning the table, said the company took part in the market last year as well.

“It’s going pretty good for the first day. I’m surprised at how many sales I’ve made,” she said.

The Naugatuck Farmers’ Market is open Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Sundays from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the Town Green until October. The number of vendors varies each of the days. The farmers’ market accepts WIC and senior FNMP checks, according to the state Department of Agriculture’s website.

The Beacon Falls Farm Stand is open Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. in the lot next to the firehouse until October. The number of vendors also varies each week.