Enjoy the In-Town Lifestyle in the Heart of Ridgefield
Living close to a walkable downtown offers a truly unique lifestyle that harkens back to small town living with close community connections.
Enjoy this guest article written and photographed by Alexandra Barnes.
As they so cleverly say, it’s the most wonderfall time of the year… and it’s also the most bountiful around Ridgefield! Our vibrant town is home to a few hidden gems, and all it takes is a short but picturesque drive out of town to find some wonderful farms providing fresh, delicious produce and other wares. Read our guide below for information on where to pick up the best that fall bounty has to offer…and a couple of our favorite accompaniments, too! Mums, pumpkins, and gourds are popping up at various stands and farmer’s markets, too, so don’t forget to support your local farmer when thinking about changing your front porch decor. Autumn bounty and its associated familiar and beloved activity may look a little different this year, but if there were ever a time to explore the lesser known nooks of town and support our homegrown farmers, it’s 2020.
Venture off Main Street east on Rt 102, winding your way around beautiful Ivy Hill to Lounsbury Road. A few minutes from the town center you’ll most certainly feel like you’re in the country as you come upon The Hickories. The family-owned organic farm strives to provide the community with conscientiously farmed fruits, vegetables, and flowers, as well as pasture-raised meat, preserves, and yarn from their own sheep. The farm also participates in a lengthy CSA program, providing freshly harvested produce and flowers from April through Thanksgiving. As if that’s not bountiful enough, the farm also offers pork shares and local grass-fed beef throughout winter, and farm-to-table dinner kits during November and December.
The Hickories is currently accepting online orders for curbside pick-up on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 2-5pm.
If the bucolic bug has bitten you, you’ll most certainly want to take a drive up Ridgebury Road to Henny Penny Farm. This beautiful piece of property is home to a flock of Romney Sheep, chickens, ducks, goats, llamas, and Felix the pig…and what would a farm be without its resident barn cat? The farm is proud to offer a curated range of humanely raised, organic meats, local produce, farm-fresh eggs, and dairy products, including cheeses, butter, and ice cream. The farm is currently taking online orders for food with pick-up on Tuesdays 10-12pm, Thursdays 4:15-5:45pm, and Saturdays 8-10pm; upon request, soaps, fibers, and wool products can be purchased at the farm store during pick-up. Due to the current circumstances, they are happy to invite those picking up an order to do a loop around the farm to see the animals, but the farm is not currently open merely to visitors. They hope to return to the old way as soon as is safe.
Veronica’s Garden is yet another wonderful local farm for fall’s harvest, providing pesticide-free produce via a roadside stand, four local farmer’s markets, and a CSA. Shop the garden’s stand in front of Prime Taco daily from 10-6pm, weather permitting. You can also access their ever-changing selection of produce like corn, tomatoes, eggplant, and fall squash at farmer’s markets in Wilton, Georgetown, New Fairfield, and Rowayton. Of course, we are so lucky in Ridgefield to have access to so many CSAs and Veronica’s is proud to offer their own, abundant with each season’s delights! Stay tuned to their website for the application for the 2021 CSA program.
As you head south on Wilton Road, keep your eyes peeled for Horseshoe Farm, town’s newest addition to Ridgefield’s agricultural arena. Eggs, seasonal produce, fresh flowers and maple syrup tapped right on the farm are just a few reasons you’ll want to stop by during season. Currently, a sign for maple syrup sits on the side of the road, and just behind it you’ll spy a cooler housing autumn’s iconic sweet available for sale every day. Horseshoe Farm is proud to have one of the only sugar houses in Fairfield County on its land, and where it is fully produced from tapping and collecting to bottling. ’Tis the season! The farm is getting ready to harvest their ginger and we can think of a few delicious ways to use it in the coming months.
Follow along on their Instagram @horseshoefarm06877 to see what’s available and reach out to farmer Pete.
Do you prefer to do all your shopping right in town? There are a few wonderful options for organic produce, artisan breads, gourmet foods, and delightful cheeses right in the midst of your other favorite local shops.
109 Cheese & Wine is home to an array of fine cheeses, charcuterie and all the accompaniments you could want. Crackers and breads to enhance your cheese selection, unique gourmet jams and spreads, and of course, fabulous wines are all available in this one-stop-shop for a simple gathering among friends. On the shelves in front, discover a few gifts for the kitchen and culinarily-inclined host. The shop is open for business and currently allows just one guest in each the front and back of the store. Don’t forget to wear your mask and utilize the sanitizer at the front of the store for an exceptionally safe experience.
Just next door is Ross Bread Shoppe, where fresh bread is scratch-baked every morning. Nothing says fall like a hot cup of something delicious in one hand and a sweet treat in the other as you peruse produce stands and drive to country farms. The shop also has a simple menu of delicious breakfast and lunch items as well as a selection of prepared items available to grab and go. Items available for pick-up include everything from granola and coffee beans to chicken salad and…cookie dough! The shop is open for business but pre-ordering is also an option.
One more door over is Ridgefield Organics, and just outside on the weekends you’ll find an abundance of freshly picked local produce, including some unusual finds – go to @ridgefield_organics to see what interesting garden finds they have each week. Aside from beautiful produce and flowers, the shop offers a wide selection of juices, cheese and crackers, meat, dairy products, and organic sweets.
There is so much to do and see in beautiful Ridgefield at this time of year, and having access to these farms and locally sourced products only makes it more charming. So hop in the car and support your nearby farms and shops, make some locally sourced meals, and toast to the season of abundance!
And don’t forget to share your experience with us by tagging @inridgefield!