Sauces and sweets add diversity at Farmers' Market

At the Ledyard Farmers' Market last week, people in sunglasses and patterned dresses lined up to try Dragon's Blood Elixir.

"This is like a wine tasting, but with hot sauce," said one woman, as a tattooed young lady handed her spoonfuls of the sauces created by Woodstock "alchemist" Doug Crane.

A medieval-themed hot sauce company may come as a surprise during a visit to a farmers market. But Katie Hoffman-who sold the elixirs last week-said her uncle, a chef, uses only Connecticut-grown ingredients.

"There's no chemicals, there's no extracts, there's no funny stuff," said Hoffman, who described the product as "hot sauce for foodies."

The sauces they sell-which have names like Condiment from Hell, Unique Destiny Caribbean Mustard Sauce and Peter Piper's Pickled Pepper Sauce - are different from the "thin red vinegar sauce" you see in the supermarket, said Hoffman.

Some people say they don't like hot sauce, but they've never had something like Dragon's Blood Elixir.

"The biggest part of my job, actually, is getting people to taste it," said Hoffman. After that, she said, it sells itself.The Ledyard Farmers' Market meets every Wednesday from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and the 2014 season will continue through the end of August at the Ledyard Fairgrounds. It's been run by the Ledyard Farmers' Market Association since 2013, and shoppers can find traditional vegetables, fruits, cheeses and eggs, as well as the alchemical elixirs. The can also find something a little sweeter: Jessica Giordani's pies. They were so popular that halfway through the market, she was already sold out and having to turn away eager customers.

The 34-year-old from Preston is the "one-woman show" at Lucky Girl Bakery, selling her baked goods at farmers markets, making treats to order and operating a pop-up pie shop on her porch on Sundays at 22 Old Shetucket Turnpike. Although she makes all types of sweet things-cakes, cookies, brownies, turnovers, candies-Giordani has made a name for herself with her pies.

Sometimes she'll be running errands, said Giordani, and people will say, "There's the pie lady!"

Giordani, who tries to work with seasonal produce, had sold out of her bourbon peach, strawberry balsamic, s'mores, midnight mocha, salted caramel crunch and berry lemon pies by the time Jamie Acers of Groton showed up with her parents and two children.

Acers said she enjoys the Ledyard Farmers' Market-"the kids love it; everybody's so nice"-but the main attraction is Giordani.

Fortunately, Acers was searching for turnovers, not pies, and soon had a bakery box in hand.



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