Nathan Hale Homestead Transforms into Festive Fiddle Playing Farmer’s Market
Posted on October 21, 2014
Article & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb.com
Every Sunday, June through October, the Nathan Hale Homestead is transformed into a festive, fiddle playing Regional Farmer’s Market in rural Coventry, Connecticut. The Market attracts a multitude of area farmers, specialty food producers and artisans. Its folksy atmosphere includes fiddlers -performing on this past Sunday, October 19, were “The Whiskey Boys” – complimented by the venue’s first ever “Farm to Latte” display and demonstration. Overall, the Hale Farm made for an inviting and educational backdrop for the weekly event.
Accenting The Market is the beauty of the red house that was home to the Hale family. The house, its elongated attached shed, nearby barn and maple tree grove are all surrounded by stone walls – the type the Minutemen are said to have used for cover when battling British soldiers.
Born on the Hale Farm was Captain Nathan Hale, the American Revolutionary War patriot hero, hung by the British Army for spying on September 22, 1776 at age 21. Upon facing his death historians tell us Hale spoke these immortal words: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” A schoolteacher, Hale attended Yale and volunteered for the mission in New York that led to his capture and subsequent execution.
One of the many interesting items that have been on display inside the homestead over the years are Nathan Hale’s shoe buckles. An officer in the Continental Army, Hale was said to have removed the buckles because they could have revealed to the Brits his position as being other than a poor schoolmaster. As well, an intriguing shadow portrait could be seen on an upstairs door thought to show Hale’s profile. In 1985, Hale was designated Connecticut’s state hero.
In that the Hale family farmed the land themselves, one can only speculate that some two centuries later they would have welcomed an opportunity to highlight the hard work of neighboring farmers and home grown produce, in addition to the wares of New England’s ‘Yankee peddlers’. Among them ….
Siblings Andrew, Dan and Stephanie DiFiore are third generation owners of the DiFiore family business. They run the DiFiore Ravioli Shop at 556 Franklin Avenue in Hartford’s “Little Italy.” It was their paternal great-grandfather who came to America. The seeds of the family business soon followed. Their father was in the restaurant business in “Little Italy”, located in Hartford’s South End, during the heyday of the eateries there. At one time they were so busy, reservations were said to have been required months in advance. The brothers and sister run their Italian food specialty shop featuring their best seller DiFiore’s Ravioli – along with other pasta, sauces, breads and more. www.facebook.com/DiFioreRavioliShop
“It’s fun,” they said of the family business.
According to the three, they have been participating in The Market at the Hale Homestead for two years. Perfect for autumn, they created a Pumpkin Raviloi!
“We are the highest grossing vendor here,” said Dan DiFiore.
Linda Daly studied her craft at the Hill Institute in North Hampton, Massachusetts.
“I like being creative,” she said.
Her handmade scarves were displayed on a wooden rack but were so popular that Daly said she had only a few left. She also creates thematic fabric handbags. Daly has worked on her crafts from Massachusetts to Key West, Florida and now in Coventry where she and her husband moved about a year ago. A multi-media artist, Daly is one of a group slated to take part in the upcoming Artists’ Open Studios being held in Northeastern Connecticut , November 28, 29, 30 and December 6 and 7. Look for a story about this event, headed by Coventry resident Aline Hoffman, in a future newsandviewsjb post. In the meantime, go to aosct.org for further information.
The Market at Hale Homestead has featured different activities each weekend. This past Sunday they held their first ever “Farm to Latte” complete with an aroma rich display and demonstration of coffee beans and latte making. As well, Faddy’s provided on-site donut making. The folks from Hale Homestead were on hand too. They sold homemade sweets, such as spice cake, to benefit the homestead which is a museum. It was available for touring for a $5.00 fee. However, on this cool, blustery day, the purchase of a cup of hot cider gained guests access to warm up by the kitchen hearth.
The final Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market of the season is scheduled for Sunday, October 26 – the theme is “Halloween Harvest”.
Coventry Regional Farmer’s Market at the Hale Homestead in Coventry, CT is in its 11th season at its current location – Sundays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2299 South Street. http://coventryfarmersmarket.com/