Tag Archives: Double L Farm Stand

Bert’s Firewood

Bert Porzio is one of Westport’s all-around good guys.

The tree service owner lends a hand — no questions asked — in emergencies large and small. He helps families in need, Little League fields — you name it, Bert’s there.

With all those trees, it’s no surprise that a side gig is selling firewood. For years, customers picked up cords at the Mobil Self-Serve next to Barnes & Noble. Many say it’s the best wood around.

Unfortunately, the gas station closed earlier this fall. With winter near, what’s a Westporter to do?

Lloyd Allen to the rescue!

The owner of Double L Farm Stand less than a mile west of the Mobil station told Bert he’s happy to sell his firewood.

It’s a warm win-win for everyone.

Bert Porzio at the Double L Farm Stand

Double L’s Secret Llibrarian

For over 3 decades, Westporters have known — and loved — the Double L Farm Stand. Lloyd Allen’s Post Road spot is the place for locally grown fruit and veggies, grass-fed beef, banter and community.

For more than 5 years, it’s also been a library.

Every 2 or 3 weeks, someone leaves a book just underneath the front window. Most are by best-selling authors, and/or from the New York Times bestseller list.

Some of the books left underneath the farm stand's front window.

Some of the books left underneath the farm stand’s front window.

Lloyd has no idea who his secret donor is. Nor does he know why he or she does it.

But he’s built a very nice lending library. His customers love it.

And — just like Lloyd’s produce — it’s growing very nicely.

Part of Lloyd Allen's lending library.

Part of Lloyd Allen’s lending library.

“Double L” Starts 3rd Decade

It’s moved a couple of times. It’s added a few items. It’s raised prices once or twice.

But other than that, not much has changed since the Double L Farm Stand opened more than 30 years ago.

The first funky farm stand on Kings Highway North, near Nash's Pond and the waterfall.

The first funky farm stand on Kings Highway North, near Nash’s Pond and the waterfall.

Owner Lloyd Allen (Double L — get it?) has offered roadside fruits, vegetables and more since the (other) Clinton administration.

(He did take off a few years, to try to write a musical and actually write a book, “Being Martha: The Inside Story of Martha Stewart and Her Amazing Life”).

Location #2: On the Post Road just over the Southport line, in the former Casa Verde Nursery.

Location #2: On the Post Road just over the Southport line, in the former Casa Verde Nursery.

His “roadside” is now a Post Road storefront near Hillspoint Road. But Double L has weathered everything from the economy and competition from new outlets to — well, the weather.

Lloyd Allen, outside his current "farm stand" on the Post Road.

Lloyd Allen, outside his current “farm stand” on the Post Road.

Enjoy your 3rd decade, Lloyd and crew. Here’s to more great, fresh food!

A promotion from Double L's first year. Lloyd Allen's style hasn't changed a bit.

A promotion from Double L’s first year. Lloyd Allen’s style hasn’t changed a bit.

Daylight Savings Begins Tomorrow (Part 2)

As always, Lloyd Allen’s Double L Farm Stand has us thinking ahead.

Lloyd Allen

Fresh Stuff!

Man cannot live on Planet Pizza alone (though for the past 2 days, I’ve tried).

Lloyd Allen — the irrepressible owner of Double L Farm Stand on the Post Road next to Calise’s — reports that one of his dairy farms milked cows till midnight last night.

And deliveries of fresh produce, fish, meat and dairy are coming in daily.

Sign ‘Em Up

In the span of 12 hours last week, 2 alert readers emailed several shots of local signs.

In typical Westport fashion, they’re poles apart.

A woman named Victoria is not a big fan of the signs that have sprouted at Bridge Square.

She writes:

I know there was some concern when Dunkin’ Donuts moved in and had their flags. That was nothing compared with the eyesore that is on the corner now.

We are big fans of the new restaurants that have moved in and wish them lots of success, but hope they can modify their Pepsi advertising signage and their massive white board which seems more appropriate for a Holiday Inn conference. Do any local laws govern signage such as this?

A couple of miles away — geographically and philosophically — there’s Lloyd Allen. The owner of Double L Farm Stand is a big fan of creative, eye-catching and hand-made signs.

However, he says, the recent P&Z “clean sweep” of Post Road signs has forced him to remove some of his own. Right now they rest in front of his store — not, more visibly, nailed to nearby trees.

“The town takes its signs seriously,” he notes. But, he says — tongue only slightly in cheek — “If my sign said ‘Vote Grass Fed!’ that would be okay.

“Or ‘Still Lost: Free Range Chickens.”

Meanwhile, “the biggest signs of all are the ones that say ‘Space Available’ up and down the Post Road.”

“Count them,” Lloyd says, referring to the legal “For Rent” signs. “Go figure the logic behind it all.

“Of course, businesses can pay $80 for a minuscule chalk board sign that’s unreadable form a car going the posted speed limit.”

Lloyd believes each establishment should be allowed one sign. “Better that,” he says, “than going out of business.”

After which your landlord can put up a big, ginormous sign. Saying “Space Available.”

Remembering Jimmy Belta

Jimmy Belta — one of Westport’s last remaining farmers — died Saturday. He was 88.

Since 1945, Jimmy raised poultry, eggs, vegetables, plants and flowers on Bayberry Lane.

Lloyd Allen — owner of the Double L Farm Stand — remembers his friend:

Jimmy Belta

Jimmy was a friend of mine. I’ll miss him and the flowers and vegetables that he grew. I’ll miss the stories he told. He always had a story to tell that had a lesson tied to it. He’d often often yell, “I’m not telling you what to do, I’m just trying to teach you something.”

He lived off the land. His hands were leathered and worn. He loved working from dawn to dusk. He grew and packed some of the nicest vegetables in the region. His tomatoes couldn’t be beat. He loved growing basil most of all and his garlic bulbs were huge. He picked his yellow squash small and they gleamed in the sunlight.

He had 1 phone line. It rang up at the house and out in the greenhouse. His wife would pick up the phone and always say, “Call back, maybe he’ll pick up.”

The Belta family will receive visitors today (Thursday, January 12) from 4-8 p.m. at Collins Funeral Home, 92 East Ave., Norwalk. A funeral service is set for 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, January 13), 10 a.m. at St. Luke Church.

Jimmy Belta's sunflowers.

Sam Allen’s Star Turn

Page 1 of today’s New York Times Home & Garden section features a long — very, very long — story on “Sam Allen, Teenage Decorator.”

If the name and subject sound familiar, it’s because “06880” profiled Sam — the son of Double L Farm Stand owner Lloyd Allen — back in May.

But we’ll defer to the Paper of Record.  The Times piece begins:

This affluent town has long been associated with Martha Stewart, who built her domestic empire here while living in a farmhouse on Turkey Hill Road.  But in the last year or so, a new local talent has emerged: a boyishly handsome designer named Sam Allen.

Open The Weston Forum newspaper, and there he is, sharing his “latest obsession” with readers of his weekly column.

Leaf through a recent issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, and it’s hard to miss the six-page spread of an Hermès-orange bedroom suite he designed for three sisters in exclusive Greenfield Hill.  Swing by the high-end home store Dovecote, and there, on a miniature brass easel, is his business card, advertising Sam Allen Interiors on thick Weimaraner-gray card stock.

“Everyone in my area of Connecticut seems to know him,” said Gerry Bush-Jaffray, who hired Mr. Allen to help decorate her 7,000-square-foot house in nearby Weston.

Sam Allen, with a client. (Photo/Tony Cenicola for the New York Times)

But while many consider him a rising star, Mr. Allen still lives with his mother in Weston, where he works out of a tiny office in her house.  And though he advises the readers of his column how to freshen up their rooms (“It’s time to abandon safe, go-to colors”), in his room, piles of wrinkled clothes are heaped on the bed.  Around town, the pampered housewives of Fairfield County greet him enthusiastically by name, but at home, he gets grief from his little sister.

That’s because the new design star is a teenager.

“Because I’m so young, some people don’t take me seriously,” Mr. Allen, 19, said one recent morning as he zoomed around Westport in his white Lexus S.U.V., running errands on behalf of clients.  “I say, ‘I’m an interior designer,’ and they think I look through a Pottery Barn catalog.”

Mr. Allen, who has been honing his skills since age 12, added emphatically, “No, that’s not what I’m doing.”

It used to be even worse.  When he was 17, he said, he was meeting with a client to discuss his vision for her austere concrete-and-glass home in Fairfield, Conn., when her husband walked in and said skeptically, “I don’t want to be rude, but how old are you?”

Drinking one Diet Coke after another and talking animatedly about ikat prints, Mr. Allen comes across like a Bravo reality show waiting to happen.  You don’t spend an afternoon with him so much as strap yourself in for the ride.

To read more — including the classic quote from a Weston High School English teacher, who remembers him as  “the boy who read Vogue instead of To Kill a Mockingbird”– click here.

Back To Its Roots

Lloyd Allen’s Double L Farm Stand started out with an actual stand on North Kings Highway.  Next stop:  an actual stand on the Southport line.

Lloyd moved indoors — next to Calise’s Food Mart — last year.

Thanks to Hurricane Irene, Double L is back to its roots.

They’re operating under a tent, adjacent to the still-powerless store.

“We’re having a great time!” Lloyd reports.

His many customers — grateful for great, fresh produce, in a town with many shuttered grocery marts — agree.

Double L Farm Stand is open for business -- outdoors. Julie Gaines enjoys the produce.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em…

Last month, someone complained about Lloyd Allen’s LL Farm Stand sign in the Post Road median.  He took it down.

Lloyd’s back, with a perfectly legal — and very rustic-looking — sign in front of his Post Road place.

Right behind it — and also inviting — is a hand-written sign for all the good stuff Calise’s Market offers up.

(Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

Westport is awash in signs.  If we’re going to have ’em, these are the ones that hit the mark.