HOME > Chowhound > All New England Archive >


Best Produce within 30 mi of New Haven

I've lived in New Haven for almost two years and I've been continuously disappointed with the produce offerings in local grocery stores. I've found that Nica has a good selection, but vegetables that are less commonly available, like golden beets and Jerusalem artichokes, often aren't very fresh. In a moment of desperation, I drove up to the Whole Foods in West Hartford, where the selection didn't fare much better. I'm not looking for the exotic-- just fresh and tasty, although it wouldn't hurt if someone could tell me who carries m√Ęche on a regular basis.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Further up on Orange St, there is Ceasers. Like Nica's it is small, but you might try there.

    1. Doesn't NH have one of the best farmers markets in CT? Wooster Sq Market?


      1. Connecticut Natural Food Mart, 575 Washington Ave, North Haven, CT 06473

        and amanda is mostly right, it is still early for anything but greens (and dairy and meat) , but once it gets going the farmers market in Wooster Sq. is awesome.

        1. I know what you mean. When I moved to New Haven eight years from the west coast, I just about cried when I went into a supermarket . . . .

          Then I discovered East Rocker's Connecticut Natural Produce in North Haven, on Route 5 north of the Big Y. Great stuff, and CHEAP. Well worth the drive . . .

          Mache is tough, though. Don't know if I've seen it outside of WF . . . great stuff, isn't it?

          1. Bishop's Orchards (exit 57 I-95) has Mache and overall nice produce - not cheap though. Stew Leonard's (Norwalk or Newington) also carries nice greans including mache regularly.

            2 Replies
            1. re: debvil

              Its a bit of a schlep but I second Bishop's, very good selection and fresh.

              1. re: debvil

                Ditto on Bishops

                Farmers Markets are beginning to pop up

                I usually have goodluck at them

              2. Try Whitneyville Foods and ask if Peter Derosa is still there. He was New haven county's #1 produce guy for years. I mean when you talk about attention to detail....all his daily deliveries were hand cleaned and washed . If he is there, you will be in good hands.

                11 Replies
                1. re: vino5150

                  This is a great place for produce. We used to live a few blocks from there. The meat department is pretty good, too. I've had them order me a whole, fresh brisket before.

                  1. re: vino5150

                    They mention DeRosa's Restaurant and Catering, in Westport and "Dave and Peter DeRosa". There was a DeRosa's on Orange, in New Haven, that closed and re-opened briefly in the 2000-2006 range. In its former life, DeRosa's (on Orange Street) was good, too. Are they connected? I'm thinking that Peter or a major family member died and that affected the outcome?

                    1. re: Scargod

                      Peter DeRosa owned DeRosa's on Orange Street in New Haven, before he sold it to two employees, due to health issues. He passed away about a year ago. I think there was some discussion about this on the board.

                      I was listening to Diane Middleton on NPR, and caller said that Limon on State Street on the New Haven/Hamden border (near the DMV) had great produce at great prices.

                      1. re: newhavener

                        Thanks for the info. Yep, 2005, it reopened briefly. I went there a couple of times before, and after. I guess he was supplying produce to Whitneyville Foods?
                        Limon (Fine Foods) is quite a find for me. I've never heard of it and I have been to the DMV many times and up the street to #1 Fish Market (which I recommend) often. Pictures from their website portray it as a pretty upscale place.

                        1. re: Scargod

                          Limon is interesting. I wouldn't call it upscale, but it is clean and nice. It has a bit of a middle eastern leaning to it. It's mostly normal stuff but maybe 10% is specialty. I have found some unusual cheeses, prepared goods etc.

                          1. re: EastRocker

                            Do they have fresh goat? Fresh fish of interest?
                            I don't know if you will be nice to me since I just took a mini-swipe at you about Mezcal. You recommend I try El Charro? How small is it? Is it practical for you to eat in or should we head for the park with our food? Me and SO may go tomorrow for lunch. Answer on my thread http://www.chowhound.com/topics/526883?

                            1. re: Scargod

                              The meat at Limon is nothing special, and I don't think they even have a seafood section. I mostly go there for produce and interesting non-perishables, and to be honest it is also close to my house.

                              1. re: EastRocker

                                Went to Limon (on State Street), on Friday afternoon. I was able to find four or more different imported sea salts, a Limon brand whole bean hazelnut coffee, many varieties of (Vitarroz brand), canned beans I have not seen before, some organic Delallo linguine and some decent produce and cheeses. You are correct that their meat department is nothing special and I would even call it sparse. Just down from it is a nice cheese area. Lots of imported stuff I haven't seen elsewhere. No seafood.
                                The olive selection was disappointing but I found some Greek, oil cured black olives that were nice. They do have a deli and a steam table of cooked (seemed all veggie dishes), by the deli area. There are a couple of tables at the front. There seemed to be a decent mix of imported non-perishables, as you mentioned. So, here and there, I was able to fill in a few gaps in my pantry.

                                The biggest disappointment was the produce. I found a shiny eggplant, among many very dull ones, some nice (though smallish), poblano peppers and some fresh, pretty snow peas; but in general the produce was was tired and old. Why do you even leave out shriveled avocados, bruised and yucky pears or wilted lettuce?
                                A mixed bag but I would go there for the cheese and unusual selection of imports.

                              2. re: Scargod

                                For goat, fresh fish and lots of ethnic produce try US#1 market at the corner of Ella Grasso Blvd. and Route 1.

                                1. re: chefstu

                                  Yes, I've been there a few times, a few years ago and almost forgot about it. It's a a pretty big place.Thanks!
                                  There's another place, with produce and import items, down the street a little ways on the east side. They had a particular kind of cheese (in a ball) that was hard to find elsewhere. They had some decent and unusual stuff, too.

                        2. re: Scargod

                          Peter sold the biz to two former employees that literaly ran the thing into the ground. It was very sad. He was a full time employee for Whitneyville foods doing their produce. Great guy with a vast knowledge about everything. I was fortunate enough to work with him for a few months trading info about cheese, olive oils and produce.

                      2. I'll also give a shout out to Papa & Sons (1385 Chapel St, New Haven), its a family owned fruit stand that has been around forever. I used to walk past it every morning and pick up something to eat along the way. They don't have the hard to find vegetables you mention, so it isn't quite what you were asking about.

                        1. There are a number of ethnic markets that I've heard have good produce in the area (particularly Milford and Bridgeport). The only one I have any experience with is J Mart in New Haven, which I've had mostly good luck with.
                          Bishop's Orchards and the farmer's markets are definitely my preferred sources of produce though.

                          1. I want to give a shout out (as did others) for Bishop's Orchard in Guilford. Also, in Madison on Fridays there is a Farmer's Market on the Green, not sure how far it is from New Haven.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Shoreliner

                              Madison is twenty minutes east of New Haven. The Farmer's Market is very nice, and full of good local stuff-beef, lamb and cheese from Old Lyme, pies, bread, eggs, lovely microgreens, soaps...Take Exit 61 and head south to the Post Road. Turn right, and the Madison Green is right there. It lasts from 3-6 on Fridays.