The Sun Rules with the Sunday Farmer’s Market and a Super Cool Sun Dial

Thank heaven summer has finally arrived. And along with it comes all of the local farmer’s markets offering us tastes and smells of summer.In the winter,  the Stonington Farmer’s Market moves to the Velvet Mill on Bayview Avenue and has now moved back to the town docks for the summer location. But that isn’t the only game in town.

Denison Homestead - Mystic CTWhile I do go to the Stonington Market the most, sometimes, ahem, I sleep in too late to make it there so I must go further afield to get local ingredients. On Thursdays, Westerly has its farmer’s market near the ice skating rink and Sundays a market can be found at the Denison Homestead in Mystic. While both have a good variety of vendors I was especially surprised in a delighted way with the Sunday Market.

A few weeks ago I stumbled into the Sunday Market to visit one of my friends who is working to legalize hemp in Connecticut (the industrial plant, not the smokable one) and was surprised at the quantity of vendors. I know this market has only been around for a few years, but it is beginning to rival the selection in Stonington. One reason I believe this to be so is because of the leader, our own Mr. Davis from Davis farm, who is inviting a wide range of new vendors including a local meat purveyor, my hemp loving friend, and another cool product – a human-run sundial.

Sun Dial Time TestActually, human-run sundial is my name for it. John Geary, its inventor, calls it a Horizontal Analemmatic Sundial. John has several clients who have had him install these sculptural sundials in their gardens to delight visitors and I dare say, many schools are interested as well. I do have to say, it is quite a conversation piece. Many decide to place a special sculpture at the center of the dial to help tell time rather than using their own shadows for the effect. John spent a few minutes at the Farmer’s Market showing me how it was installed and I got to stand in for the statue to see how it worked first hand. Its kinda neat!

Want to check out some of his videos showing the whole thing in action? Just click here

The mysterious calculations to create a sun dial in your yard.

The mysterious calculations to create a sun dial in your yard.

and you can see several showing not only how it works, but also the construction process.

So, if you are like me and tend to sleep in on Saturday mornings, I suggest you try out the Sunday Market at the Denison Homestead. And if you see John and his sundial, stop by and say “Hi”, you will be glad you did.



Precision Sundial

John Geary, 860.383.3068


Denison Homestead Farmer’s Market

Every Sunday through mid-October, 12-3pm, 860.536.9248


Beyond the Farmer’s Market @ The Velvet Mill

Each weekend the Stonington Farmer’s Market is held at the Velvet Mill, the streets get more and more crowded. Soon, I think the parking is going to overflow down my street. Especially if it keeps snowing the way it has. Yet, while the Market is packed, I wonder how many really go beyond the obvious to discover some of the other vendors and artists that inhabit this interesting revitalized factory.

This rambling building hosts a surprisingly wide-variety of businesses. I encourage you to get adventurous and poke your nose into the many wings and floors of the Velvet Mill. While not all businesses are open each Saturday, many do have their doors open for people to wander in and check out their wares.

DSCN0223If you enter the building from the main parking lot on Bayview Avenue, you will find a set of stairs in front of you. Don’t be like most people and walk by; if you go up the stairs, you will be greeted by what I like to call “The Great Hall.” This is a wonderfully bright gallery filled with paintings and sculpture by the many artists who have studios located on this floor. One of the most prominent artists is Dennis Sirine. You can’t miss his studio, because it is flanked with several of his paintings, including a large self-portrait over his studio entrance.

DSCN0228Enter his airy studio and you will find yourself surrounded by both his realistic and abstract paintings and tables. This is a must see on your weekly rounds. Oh, and if he isn’t in his studio, just go on down to the Farmer’s Market – he is often there socializing with the regulars.

Once you come back down the stairs, before you continue on to the Farmer’s Market (looking DSCN0226for Denise maybe?), stop off at Zest Bakery. This small shop is becoming a must for regulars. Zest always has a line on Saturdays, but no need to just stop by then, they are open every day except Mondays. Their baked goods are available for the impulse purchase or you can make a special request and they will take special orders. Some of the treats I have tried so far include a lemon meringue tart with a lavender/lemon zest crust for Easter, special order macarons for a graduation party, and just a double chocolate brownies, just for fun. Stop by and check it out; you will be glad you did.

DSCN0227Continue on down the corridor with a cookie and coffee in hand and you will find Indo Chic

, an import clothing company that specializes in Asian inspired clothing, which is both comfortable and well, chic! I love to look through the hangers and tables to see what is new each week. If you go around the corner, you will see even more outfits in the studio space. If you like bright colors and funky apparel, this is the place for you.

As you can see, the Farmer’s Market @ the Velvet Mill is MUCH more than just food. I mean really, I haven’t even told you about the glass and clay studios, print makers, art school, yoga studio. . . .

You get it. See you Saturday; it’s a Do Again!

Just wondering, if you went to a farmer’s market this weekend, what did you buy?

Stonington Farmer’s Market at the Velvet Mill has a Brooklyn Vibe

beer tasting  Living in Stonington, CT there are a few things that are considered must dos.

  • Picnics on Sandy Point
  • Watching the sun set at Whalen’s Wharf
  • Getting the New York Times at Tom’s Newstand
  • And going to the Farmer’s Market at the Town Docks.

But what’s a girl to do in the wintertime? It is too cold to go to Sandy Point and Whalen’s Wharf. I still need my NY Times and Tom’s is great, but that isn’t enough. Thank goodness the Farmer’s Market is still running throughout the winter at the Velvet Mill (Bayview Avenue, Stonington, CT). This bustling Saturday event is a cornucopia (heh, heh – sometimes I just make myself laugh)  of  food, crafts, music, neighbors, and beer.  Fun times!

Did you just say “beer?”

Yup, sure did. Keep reading. . .

Last Saturday, I decided to take my son, who was visiting from Philly – one of my favorite cities – over to the mill to show him all the fun. He used to live

Free concert at the market!

Free concert at the market!

in Brooklyn and I thought that he might enjoy the Market at the Mill since it definitely has a “Brooklyny” (is that a word?) aura to it. With an empty growler in hand, we took the short walk from our home to see what treasures would be there this week.

As we entered the mill, we heard a trio of musicians playing jaunty, olde timey music. What fun! The tune added a festive tone  to the event that both adults and children seemed to enjoy. And they were selling their own CDs which would make great stocking stuffers! While that was enjoyable, that was not our goal. We needed food. It was time to move on.

Although there weren’t as many vendors as usual, probably because of the holiday weekend, the assortment of products available was varied and plentiful. Our first stop was at the bread table to purchase a rustic loaf of country bread. I felt quite lucky to get it since the previous week, by the time I had gotten there, the vendor had packed up, having sold out. The line is usually long, so as I have learned my lesson – get there early.

davis farmNext on the list was our quest for fresh veggies.  Sadly, my vendor that sells sun chokes was not there, so I had to fulfill my veggie purchases with locally grown garlic and stone milled corn from the oldest farm in CT – Davis Farm (see a short video about the farm here). Pretty cool, huh. Since my larder was already full of fall apples, squash, and leeks from Thanksgiving, I didn’t need a lot. That’s okay though, just gives me a reason to return this weekend.

Lastly, we went to Stoney Ledge Farm, the local meat purveyor, and bought a package of oxtails for soup (recipe to come soon). They have a great selection of local, organic frozen meats that are top quality. They also sell  produce, eggs, and preserved fruits. With at least three generations working the booth, they are a true family farm.

By this time, Doug and I were getting a little parched so we strolled over to Beer’d Brewery for some beer

Beer'd Brewery

Beer’d Brewery

tasting. As you can see by the picture, we had quite a few tastings and they were all quite different and delicious. Now Tim would have been happy to attend this event with us, which we do almost every week, but he was brewing his own beer at home, so it was our job, poor us, to choose the beer for our weekly growler. After much sipping, Doug chose Midnight Oil Stout – it had a low ABV with a luscious mouth feel. Tim approved.

What I like the most about this Winter’s Farmer’s Market is that it has that city-feel that I so love. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is cool to have it down at the Town Docks in the summer, but to have it in a Velvet Mill, just down the road from my house is pretty awesome too. The vibe at the mill is much more urban and since I love cities, it gratifies me greatly. And from the attendance at these Saturday markets, it seems to satisfy many others as well.

So, all I can say is that if you have about an hour to kill and want to spend some time in Stonington, why not try the Farmer’s Market. We, along with many others, feel it is a Do Again. Look for me this Saturday. I am sure I will be there!