Sunday, August 10, 2008

fodor farm farmers market

A while ago, Stanley and I were driving back home from the oncology vet’s office and went via Flax Hill Road in Norwalk, passing Fodor Farm. We noticed that there were community gardens set up there and were delighted to see that. (We don’t subscribe to any local papers so aren’t up on Norwalk news much, except for what we see on News 12. We spent more time recycling The Horror than reading it, and the other one is mostly Stamford news, so why bother?)

Anyway, Fodor Farm is about nine acres and three houses that the city acquired back in 1997 or so after some long dispute that’s too complicated to go in to (because I don’t know the whole back story). Of the three houses, the main one was originally built in 1802 and modified with dormers and a cupola in 1860. They’ve been rotting for years. Here are two photos of the back of the main house that Stanley took today (click the image to enlarge it):

Fodor Farm main house, rear, August 10, 2008, by Stanley H. Thompson

Fodor Farm main house, rear,view two, August 10, 2008, by Stanley H. Thompson

We’ve been thinking for years that it was a crime to let these properties rot. But, apparently, enough preservation momentum got going, and the city council got off their asses long enough, to vote a plan into action, so that these houses are going to be saved. The idea is to sell two of the houses, subject to historic preservation restrictions in the deeds and easements and other stuff designed to keep the houses intact (and avoid a teardown/condo-build disaster) and use the proceeds from the sales to restore the main house and the lands. We’re just thrilled with the prospect—Fodor Farm is in a gorgeous old section of Norwalk and it will be wonderful to see it restored.

As part of the project, Norwalk decided to open up 1.8 acres of the Farm as community gardens, and lease the plots to Norwalkers at $5 per plot (4’ x 12’ plots), provide water and gardening equipment, fencing, and compost and see what happens (it helped to get a $98,000 grant to help fight obesity). All 200 plots were leased within a couple of hours of opening them up and there is a waiting list, so the city plans on opening up more space next year for a total of three acres. All has been going well except for a couple of assholes who broke in and stole tomatoes (capital punishment wouldn’t be too harsh for people like this). The cops are keeping an eye on it now. (Fat lot of good that will do.)

Here are two photos of the community gardens, which were featured in the New York Times not too long ago. Stanley took them today (click to enlarge):

fodor farm community gardens back side norwalk ct

fodor farm community gardens street side norwalk ct

The photos don’t really do the gardens justice—they are beautiful and lush and the gardeners should be proud of them.

Also as part of the initiative to encourage people to eat locally grown food, there is a farmers market every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. into November. This was our destination today—we picked up our friend Helene and went to the market before heading to the Driftwood Diner in Darien for brunch. We got there before it officially opened, but it was fine as people were selling stuff already, and bought some leeks, corn, peaches, plums, cucumber, and pumpkin bread (with butter listed as the main ingredient!) along with Valencia orange-flavored grapeseed oil and some white balsamic vinegar (these last two from The Olive Oil Factory in Watertown, CT. A salad with cold sock-eye salmon is on our dinner menu tonight.)

There weren’t very many booths as far as farmers markets go, but this in just the first year so I’m assuming it will pick up as it becomes more known. I love the hours—afternoon hours—as I sleep in on most Sundays and am just starting to function by the time the Westport Farmers Market is closing down. Stanley took this picture of the market today:

fodor farm farmers market august 10, 2008

It would be wonderful if the plans for Fodor Farm are implemented. I really like Norwalk and it would be great to see it come out of its stupor. It would be even better if the city decided to go green (and a miracle, as we’re home to one of Connecticut’s Sooty Seven power plants) and be a leader in the region. It could happen ... ?

posted by lee on 08/10/08 at 12:23 PM

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