Last week — in the midst of the summer growing season — the town of Fairfield threatened to shut down the very popular Double L Farm Stand.
The town alleged zoning violations in the open-air market, on the Post Road a few yards beyond the Westport line. Owner Lloyd Allen countered: “We’re being treated with the same mind-set as Stop & Shop.”
Lloyd called a few minutes ago, with great news. The Connecticut Department of Agriculture ruled — ta da! — that the Double L Farm Stand is officially “a farm.” A farm is zoned differently than, let’s say, Stop & Shop.
So Double L is open for business. As always, business is booming.
Go whenever you can. New local produce arrives throughout each day.
This morning’s “06880” post — the story immediately below this one — sent scores of produce-lovers to the Double L Farm Stand, located on the Post Road a few yards over the town line in Southport.
Simultaneously, owner Lloyd Allen sent this urgent email to customers:
The city of Fairfield has decided once again to close us down. In the meantime, we are going to quietly sell off our inventory while we make alternate plans to stay in business. Tomorrow and Sunday we will be open and selling our wonderful peaches, tomatoes, corn and much more. We hope you will come in and give us a helping hand. See you soon and spread the word.
“The building is not up to code,” Lloyd admitted this afternoon, as shoppers — some of whom had gotten the message, others who had not — thronged the shop.
“But it’s an open-air farm stand,” he continued. “We’re being treated with the same mind-set as Stop & Shop.”
Lloyd called the Fairfield zoning action “a little bump in the road. We may be out of commission this week. But stuff is still coming out of the field. We can’t stop farmers from growing.”
He pointed to enormous cucumbers. “Those came in 30 minutes ago, from Redding Road.”
Lloyd advises customers to call (256-9994) next week to find out what’s happening. If “06880” hears anything, we’ll let you know.
During 12 years running the Double L Farm Stand on King’s Highway, Lloyd Allen’s “local” produce came from places like New Jersey.
Now — in his 2nd year on the Post Road, at the Southport line — “local” means right down the street. There are beets from Bayberry Lane, tomatoes from Old Redding Road, potatoes from Easton. It’s a true farmer’s market, and the farmers are our neighbors — maybe even you.
“Jimmy Belta pops the hood on his car, and unloads beets, garlic and basil,” Lloyd says of the native Westporter.
“He’s not the only one,” Lloyd notes. “It’s everybody. People deliver onions, eggplants, you name it. They bringing it in Balducci’s and Saks bags. They’re growing organic, and they’re excited.”
One of Lloyd’s suppliers used to work in New York. Now he raises fingerling potatoes — hundred of pounds of them.
Another Westporter brings cucumbers. A 72-year-old woman in Easton grows russet potatoes.
Lloyd calls the new emphasis on local farming “phenomenal.” He attributes it to education; greater concern about what we eat; the economy and food prices, and a desire to eat better than we’ve been doing.
As if on cue, Mike Robertshaw drives up. The 2006 Staples graduate’s car is filled with eggplant.
“He’s 1 of my farmers,” Lloyd says proudly. And off he goes, to help unload another serving of very local produce.
Mike Robertshaw, Lloyd Allen and a car full of eggplant.
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