Foodie Frenzy Last Updated 4/16

One way to enjoy a relaxing stay in Connecticut is to explore its many outlets for fresh, native foods. In the last 10 or so years, the state has experienced an explosion of outlets offering local treats ranging from cheese and meat to ice cream, fruit and vegetables. Here are a few of the most notable offerings:

Cheese

Suddenly, Connecticut cheese is on everyone's lips. Small dairy farms now make and sell their own cheeses or pack them off to retailers.  For now, we'll concentrate on a few outlets you can get to in person. Cato Corner Farm in Colchester raises 40 free-range Jersey cows and makes and ages farmhouse cheeses for sale in its Cheese Room Store ranging from “mild and milky to runny and pungent to sharp and firm.” Beaver Brook Farm in Lyme offers a variety of cheeses (feta, Pleasant Cow and Nehantic Abbey, for instance) as well as yogurt and raw milk. Litchfield's Arethusa Farm raises champion dairy cows, and their products are available at its farm store in Bantam. Cheeses include Al Tavolo, Bella Bantam and camembert. Fresh milk, yogurt and ice cream are also available.

Meat

If you'd like to take a break from the supermarket meat selections, there are all sorts of meats and meat products now on sale from small Connecticut farms, including beef, bison, lamb, chicken, pork, turkey and veal. You can get a complete rundown on them below, but here are a few to consider putting on your shopping list. The bison meat offered at Creamery Brook Bison in Brooklyn is hormone- and antibiotic-free and lower in calories and cholesterol than beef. But if it's beef you prefer, you might head for Eagle Wood Farms in Barkhamsted, where pork and eggs are also on sale. In Granby, Maple View Farm sells its own grass-fed beef and pasture-raised pork as well as local eggs and maple syrup. Finally, there's Nodine's Smokehouse's retail store in Goshen, where its wonderfully tasty hams, bacon, sausages and other treats can be found.

Orchard Stores

It doesn't have to be fall for you to go to an orchard store. These are now year-round retailers, offering the best of Connecticut farms, orchards and fields, and often baked goods and other products as well. You can find a link to listings of Connecticut orchards below and figure out which have stores as well. The Apple Barrel farm store at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, for example, has its own bakery as well as mounds of its own orchard apples, pears and berries. Bishop's Orchards in Guilford goes back 140 years, but the farm market there is totally up to date, with local honey, eggs, flowers, bread and more to go along with the orchard's own fresh produce.

Chocolate

Love fine chocolate? Connecticut is home to a Chocolate Trail filled with all kinds of chocolatiers, from the traditional to the truly original. In Fairfield County, you’ll find two of our favorites, Norwalk’s Café Chocopoligie, voted one of the Top Three Chocolates in the World by Gourmet Magazine. And in Westport, Le Rouge Chocolates & Cakes by Aarti, an artisan chocolatier offering an eclectic collection of handmade and hand-decorated, gluten free chocolates and cakes and named Best of Westport 2015 Best Chocolate Shop in Westport, Weston & Wilton Magazine.