Shopping Local, Through the Holidays and All Winter Long

In spite of the pandemic, it is still possible to shop local for the holidays, although it might entail waiting in line at the door of some shops. Dress warmly and bring a book — and remember that in some of our busier metropolises you can find several shops to visit. They won’t all have lines at the same time. Cast a discerning eye and go to the store with the shortest line at any given moment.

Towns that have a variety of retail choices include Millerton, N.Y.; Kent, Conn.; Salisbury, Conn.; and even little Sharon, Conn., where the B. Johnstone & Co. vintage fashion shop is steps away from the Sharon Farm Market grocery store, which recently got a nice sprucing up; and the little gem of a wine and spirits shop called Rick’s Wine and Spirits (run now by Dave, not Rick).

And then there’s small and extremely charming West Cornwall, Conn., which is home not only to the historic and iconic red Covered Bridge —it also has Ian Ingersoll’s world-renowned Shaker furniture shop; and the wonderful Wish House, which is a few small rooms that are overflowing with perfect small gifts for all ages (including a room dedicated just to infant and toddler clothes and toys). 

And now there is an added attraction in the form of a winter indoor farm market that is a project of the town’s Hughes Memorial Library. The library is temporarily closed while the town makes a decision on how and when to upgrade the village’s septic system. 

So the library volunteers decided to open the indoor winter farm market to offer someplace for shoppers to find not only fresh winter farm foods but also wonderful artisan-made gifts, many of them from Birdseye and Tanner Brooks farm, which is owned by a well-known actor and is ably run by farm manager Mark Orth.

Although the farm sells livestock, you won’t find any cows or lambs at the new market, which was beautifully designed by Dee Salomon and is going by the name The Local, A Cornwall Collective.

You will, however, find cuts of fresh meats from the farm as well as shelves full of gorgeous shearling rugs, and blankets and scarves and hats and yarn all made from the farm’s sheep, under the label “Sam’s Wool.” The woven goods are mostly made for the farm by Salisbury’s very respected Under Mountain Weavers.

Meats are also for sale from Hurlburt Farm and Ridgway Farm.

You can find arrangements of flowers and greens. If you don’t have anything to put them in you can certainly find a handcrafted vase in the shop, which represents potters Jane Herold, Sanah Peterson and Susan Fox. And James Fox offers soups, including classics such as lentil and clam chowder as well as the enticingly named Kentucky Mushroom.

Calf and Clover farm on Route 7 heading south from town has a cooler full of dairy products, including lusciously thick creams. They sell baskets of fresh eggs as well, but you’d better get there early if you want to buy some. 

Baking of course is best with fresh eggs and dairy products, but for those who’d rather let someone else do the heavy kitchen lifting there are baked goods from Cornwall’s famous small-scale baker, Susan Saccardi. 

There is of course no shortage of farm markets (in normal times) in our area towns, but farmers and artisans seem to especially like the model being used for The Local.

For one thing, they don’t have to be on the premises to sell their wares. The library volunteers are on hand, and transfer the cash for each sale to the artisan/farmers, sometimes by modern means such as Venmo.

Perhaps even more enticing is that there is no fee for them to sell at the market. 

“It is a collective market where all profits flow back to the farmers, artists, cooks and craftspeople who work and thrive in Cornwall,” said Libby Mitchell, one of the organizers. 

The market is expected to remain open through the winter on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is in the building that for years was home to Todd Piker’s pottery shop. 

And in the event that there is a wait to enter The Local or The Wish House, you can take a walk and look at the Twelve Days of Christmas holiday display, with works of art depicting the days in the holiday song, at locations throughout West Cornwall village. 

The display will remain up, day and night, until Jan. 3. 

 

The Local is at 415 Sharon-Goshen Turnpike in West Cornwall, Conn., just steps away on one side from the Covered Bridge (and Robert Ensign’s electric bicycle shop) and Ian Ingersoll Cabinetmakers; and steps away on the other side from The Wish House, 413 Sharon-Goshen Turnpike.

The Local: A Cornwall Collective is now open in West Cornwall, Conn., on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The volunteer-run indoor market has everything from fresh eggs to beautiful woven goods made by Undermountain Weavers using “Sam’s Wool” from Birdseye and Tanner Brooks Farm in Cornwall. Photo by Cynthia Hochswender​

The Wish House in West Cornwall, Conn., is a lifesaver for those who suddenly discovered (perhaps a little too late for the postal service) that they hadn’t bought enough holiday gifts. Photo by Cynthia Hochswender​

The Local: A Cornwall Collective is now open in West Cornwall, Conn., on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The volunteer-run indoor market has everything from fresh eggs to beautiful woven goods made by Undermountain Weavers using “Sam’s Wool” from Birdseye and Tanner Brooks Farm in Cornwall. Photo by Cynthia Hochswender​

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