Tag Archives: Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens

Unsung Hero #142

Alert, well-fed and grateful “06880” reader Pippa Bell Ader writes:

Lori Cochran, Westport Farmers Market‘s executive director, isn’t sitting behind a desk during the coronavirus crisis, shuffling papers.

Lori works hard, 60 to 70 hours a week, ensuring that Westporters — and residents of many other towns — have access to organic, locally grown food.

In normal times Lori would be taking a much deserved break from coordinating the Winter Farmers’ Market at Gilbertie’s Garden Center, before the summer market opens in May.

Lori Cochran

Not that Lori ever really rests. This is the time she normally regroups with summer vendors, making sure they comply with all health and safety regulations, understand the nuances of the market, and are ready for the vibrant Thursdays, from May to November.

But this year is different. Lori recognized early on that — given mayhem and shortages in supermarkets — there would be a greater than usual demand for locally grown produce.

She contacted farmers and food vendors; identified those with produce to sell right now; set up a method to purchase and pay for items in advance so that no money or credit cards touch hands; educated herself about best practices to minimize chances of spreading COVID-19, and developed a scheduling method to ensure that no more than 8 shoppers are at the market at the same time — and never closer than 10 feet.

And she did it all in less than 3 weeks.

Now in its second week, you’d think the current system at the Westport Farmers Market had been set up forever. Just click on the website before 4 p.m. Tuesday. Choose and pay for the items you want to purchase, then pick an available time to get your produce.

On Thursday, head to Gilbertie’s on Sylvan Road South at the allotted time; wear a mask and gloves.

Don’t mess with Lori. If you’re supposed to be at the market between 12:10 and 12:20, be there then!

A little rain — and a lot of coronavirus — doesn’t dampen Lori Cochran’s enthusiasm for the Farmers’ Market.

Parking is a breeze. Follow the signs to the first “waiting” station. When you reach the front of the line you are asked your name, and who you purchased from. Vendors place your prepaid order on the table. Pick up your food, then leave via a different route — still minimizing contact.

None of this happened by chance. Every detail, down to the meaningful statements posted at each station, was carefully thought out by Lori.

The Farmers’ Market’s many customers and vendors thank Lori for all of the work she put into this system of food purchasing.

We all wish for the day that this is no longer necessary. But until then, know that your local, organic produce from the Westport Farmers Market is brought to you in the safest possible manner.

Thank you, Lori!

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Photo Challenge #232

Sylvan Road is well named.

Last week’s Photo Challenge — courtesy of Tom Lowrie — showed a pastoral scene. The flowers, bushes and rock gardens are on a main road. But where?

They’re on Sylvan Road South, near Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens. Marion Kelly, Amy Schneider and Darcy Sledge were quick with the answer. Though I gotta say, last Sunday was gorgeous. They shoulda been outside gardening. (Click here for the photo.)

This week’s Photo Challenge also has a nature’s feel to it. Kinda, anyway.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)

If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

Pic Of The Day #598


Sylvan Lane South, near Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens — site of the Winter Farmers’ Market every Saturday. (Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Gigantic Gilbertie Family Gathers

In 1890, brothers Antonio and Alesandro Gilbertie immigrated with their families from Italy to Brooklyn.

Through friends and relatives they learned of a small Connecticut community called Saugatuck. Italians were moving in, displacing the Irish who had built the first 2 railroad tracks.

The Gilberties fell in love with the area, and found work building the railroad’s second 2 tracks.

Antonio and Alessandro wrote their 3 brothers — Samuel, Michael and Julius — back home in Salerno that they’d found the perfect place to live. Within the next few years, the remaining brothers and their families arrived in Saugatuck.

Over the years, the Original 5 — as they’re still called — started A. Gilbertie Florist (now Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens), Weston Gardens, and many small businesses.

They and their descendants became builders, excavators and plumbers. They served in both world wars, and in town government. Gradually they spread to neighboring towns, the tri-state region, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

A Gilbertie family photograph, circa 1910.

A Gilbertie family photograph, circa 1910.

Today, Ken Gilbertie has no idea how many 2nd and 3rd cousins he has.

But he, his cousin Ginny and others would like to find tout.

They’ve organized a Gilbertie family reunion. It’s set for this Saturday (September 12) at Sherwood Island.

They’ve created a Facebook group, and are trying to get the word out in other ways. But they know there are more Gilberties out there.

If you’re a member of one of Westport’s leading families — or know someone who is — check out the “Gilbertie Family Reunion 2015” page on Facebook. Or email GilbertieReunion@gmail.com.

Normally, a family reunion would not be “06880”-worthy.

But — since 1890 — the Gilberties have been much more than a normal family.

Antonio and Marie Gilbertie with granddaughter Celeste, around 1940.

Antonio and Marie Gilbertie with granddaughter Celeste, around 1940.

Wakeman Town Farm And Gilbertie’s Celebrate Strong Roots

90 years ago, Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens planted roots on Sylvan Lane.

Today they stretch all across town.

A few years ago, the Westport Farmers’ Market needed a winter home. Sal Gilbertie — the herb garden founder’s grandson — stepped up to the plate.

Sal Gilbertie

When Wakeman Town Farm needed to brighten its grounds for a Harvest Dinner fundraiser, Sal showed up with a truckload of over 100 fall mums. He dropped them in the yard without a word.

To show its appreciation — and demonstrate the importance of strong local roots — WTF is partnering with Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens for a 1-day Christmas tree and greenery sale. It’s next Saturday (December 1, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) at Wakeman Town Farm, 134 Cross Highway.

Sal will sell Fraser firs and undecorated wreaths, plus balsam wreaths festooned with pine, cedar, herbs and assorted natural decorations.

At 5 p.m. there’s the 1st-ever Wakeman Town Farm Christmas tree lighting, featuring hot chocolate and a bonfire.

True to its goal of supporting local farmers, growers and businesses — as well as its educational mission — WTF passes along this info:

Christmas tree farms stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife, while also creating scenic green belts. For every real Christmas tree harvested, 3 seedlings are planted in its place. That, in turn, reduces global greenhouse gas effects.

Meaning — just like at Gilbertie’s Herb Gardens — strong roots continue to grow.