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Norwalk Neighbors Notes: It's Too Darn Hot!

NORWALK, Conn. -- Temperatures in Norwalk get up to 106 degrees! Who could have predicted this? The Farmer’s Almanac? Not hardly. The 2011 edition stated of the Northeast: “Summer temperatures will be near normal in New York and cooler than normal elsewhere.”

If only that were so. The Almanac’s mission is to be “useful with a pleasant degree of humor.” That explains those rosy weather predictions: A little “pleasant humor.”

It’s probably a good idea to keep a farmer in good humor, though. It is very hard and most recently, very hot work. After speaking to a few real farmers at the Rowayton Farmer’s Market, it was clear that a quick wit and strong commitment got them through the 106 degree heat.

Who comes to the market in such hideous heat? “Crazy people like me who are trying to sell leafy green vegetables of all things, to crazy people like you who don’t actually have to be here, that’s who,” said Jessica van Vlamertynghe , owner of the Speckled Rooster of Westport . “Yes. We have a farm in Westport, Conn.

My partner, Matt Oricchio and I recently started the business on an acre of land in Westport. It’s been a struggle but it’s been a rewarding commitment. We’ve helped to bring “organic” to people’s daily lives. We’ve rented an acre from a 95-year-old lady who is delighted to have us there because it’s where she used to grow all her own vegetables for her family.” It must be a fertile acre because vegetables from the Speckled Rooster look delicious.

Not surprisingly, one of the busiest booths was the ice tea booth handing out free samples. They could have charged $5 per gulp and retired to Florida -- or maybe Alaska. Their most popular blend, Ruby Slippers, launched Frank Kwei , of Wilton, into the Mamacat’s Tea business. “I started this because I didn’t approve of the drinks being marketed to kids. Ruby Slippers is natural, no caffeine and sugar free. It’s especially popular at kids' tea parties.”

Marisa Perkins, of Rowayton, mother of two preschoolers, asked, “What should I get? I need to drink something with a kick to get me through to supper.” For her, Frank recommended a glass of cool Casablanca, a darjeeling blend. Her son, Levi, had no interest in tea. He was devouring a pickle on a stick, another popular item at the market from Horman’s Pickles. Monica Lane , professional dog walker in the area, was relieved to see ice tea at the market. “On a day like today,” said Monica, “even the dogs don’t want to go for a walk.” Her mother, Sharon Simons, of North Carolina, agreed that the heat was unbearable.

Anne Carr, of Darien, loves the Rowayton Farmer’s Market. “The food is fresh and good, and I don’t have to go to the grocery store.” Anne bought a loaf of Wave Hill bread from Jeb Waters, of Rowayton. Said Jeb, “The bread is very popular. You can also find it at Whole Foods.”

The bread goes well with the cold soups from another booth, Soups Etc, a Rowayton-based business started in June by two Rowayton moms, Judy Hartos (former owner of Upper Crust) and Beth Thill . Their wonderfully refreshing gazpacho is perfect for 100 degree weather.

“If Beth hadn’t pushed me, I don’t think I would have done it,” Judy said.

How do they do it? How do farmers do it? Bless them. We need them because eating is the one thing that never goes out of style. But in 106 degree heat, you couldn’t blame them if they sat back and ordered in. “Could I get a crop of lettuce, please. Extra large. When can I expect delivery?”

To have your social event, announcement or honor included in Norwalk Neighbors Notes, email Jeanne at jeannehard@aol.com . Follow the Daily Norwalk on Facebook .

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