Farmers’ Markets: 2010 Season

Hartford Regional Market on 101 Reserve Road
5 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Park Street Farmers’ Market at corner of Park and Washington
9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 5-October 25

Old State House Farmers’ Market
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Capitol Avenue Farmers’ Market at 156 Capitol Avenue
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 5 – October 25th

West End Farmers’ Market at corner of Farmington Avenue and South Whitney
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
June 8th through September (hours change in October)

North End Farmers’ Market at 80 Coventry Street
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
July 7 – November 3rd

Old State House Farmers’ Market
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
July through October

Billings Forge Farmers’ Market at 539 Broad Street
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Old State House Farmers’ Market
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

West End Farmers’ Market at corner of Farmington Avenue and South Whitney
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

If there are others that I have neglected to mention, please let me know.

Pride Overdose

On Saturday, Hartford will be hosting the annual Connecticut PRIDE Rally and Festival in Bushnell Park. It starts at noon, ends around 7pm, and will feature singer Inaya Day. I’m still waiting for the day when there is an actual parade and political edge to the Hartford event, but at least they chose a musician with an impressive resume this year.

Someone recently asked “PR parade is also next weekend (Sun) wonder what the gay boricuas will do.” Well, a weekend has two days, my friend.

Sunday is the Greater Hartford Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival del Coqui. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the name of the parade has slightly changed, as it is hosted only by CICD (Connecticut Institute for Community Development) this year, and there is a new board of directors.

CICD says, “We are a new board that is trying to keep this beautiful cultural tradition alive by implementing different element such as the red carpet VIP area, celebrity hosts and cultural costumes and floats.” Celebrities?! If we start the rumor that Ricky Martin is among them, do you think we could get him to come to Hartford?

The parade begins at corner of Wawarme and Wethersfield Avenues (edge of Colt Park) at 11 a.m. and heads up Main Street, ending at Central Row and Prospect Street. From there, people can head to the Riverfront where Festival del Coqui will follow from 2-8 p.m.

The press release promises that, “There will be many surprises throughout the parade route with some celebrity appearances on floats. At the Festival del Coqui audiences will enjoy Spanish food, local cultural entertainment, and a battle of salsa bands that will allow the audience to select the winner.”

I’m already seeing people getting their cars ready for the parade. If you have never been to Hartford before during the Puerto Rican parade, I’d suggest giving yourself plenty of time to find parking or arrange detours. Better yet, just walk.

A Walk in the Park

The frogs and turtles are part of the playground in Bushnell Park near the carousel. The smell of corn popping in the carousel was drifting through the park.

I liked being able to look up and barely see any buildings. Sometimes it’s just nice to look at trees.

There are tables that look like stacked books. Because of the aging process, the one I sat at seemed particularly forboding.

Asparagus, Italian Ice, and Goat Cheese

It would be incorrect to say that the Billings Forge Farmers’ Market has opened for the season. Technically, it has been operating year round. Recently, though, it returned to the outdoor greenspace on Broad Street. Some of the goods available for purchase: asparagus, cut and potted herbs, geraniums, salad greens, goat cheese, goat milk soap, pizza, Italian ice, bicycles and bike helmets, handmade bags, rhubarb, strawberries, cucumbers, bread and pastries, pies, and probably other things that I am forgetting.

The market is open from 11-2 on Thursdays. It is located on Broad Street between Capitol Avenue and Russ Street.

Do Hartford Residents Care About the City?

This has been the question posed, but the definition of caring is one that I reject. The Courant has framed the issue as follows: Hartford residents do or do not care about the city based on political corruption and/or low voter turnout.

As if those were the only indicators of caring!

Don’t Blame Me for Perez
I have voted in every election. Because I am not able to see the world through rose-colored glasses, I know that people can be corrupt, evil, or just plain stupid, regardless of party affiliation; thus, I do not vote along any party line. Although I do not despise him as many do, I have never voted for Perez. And guess what? Many others in Hartford did not vote for him either. Citing as proof that Hartford residents do not care because Mayor Perez was reelected is like saying Americans did not care because GWB was elected twice. I do not understand why some would cast their votes in favor of certain candidates, but they do.

Low voter turnout is a problem, but it is not a problem unique to Hartford. Even in presidential elections, Americans do not take part as they could. Do we blame voters for not participating in a system that they view as broken or unable to be affected by the people? I don’t. I’ll admit to not always believing that my vote matters, but I do it anyway…in the same way that I wear a seatbelt or a bike helmet. It might be futile, but then, it might not, and it does not hurt me to do so.

Instead of framing the outcome of an election as a sign that Hartford residents do not care, why do we not ask instead why better candidates are not running for political office?

I do not care about Perez

Sure, I care about him as a human being. He’s never been unpleasant in my very few interactions with him. But I do not care about his trial. There. I said it.

The media cares about the Perez trial because it is scandalous (low grade scandal is what I would call it) and scandal sells papers, gets viewers, and allows “reporters” to sit in a court room tweeting inane, irrelevant observations, passing that off as news.

It’s not that I am a supporter of corruption. If the Mayor did in fact do something illegal, he should be punished appropriately for it. But — here’s a shocker — his fancy counter tops do not affect my everyday life. They are not the first thing I think of in the morning and the last thing before I go to sleep. No, the last thing I think about when going to bed is how the “noise ordinance with teeth” is more like one with dentures, in that when residents call for enforcement, the teeth have been removed. I care about the need for stronger enforcement of leash laws. There are people who let their pit bulls roam, which causes problems when they tangle with other dogs; there are some in my neighborhood who are afraid they will be bitten. Another thing I care about is how lackadaisical traffic law enforcement is. The police only need to park themselves at the corner of Broad and Capitol to meet any ticket quotas they might have. Every single time I am at this intersection I see people running red lights, speeding through the intersection, and doing other amazingly idiotic things, like texting while turning. Sit by the highway on and off ramps. I would feel safer standing in the middle of a driving school parking lot. I care about low literacy, bullying in schools, and the lack of employment for residents. I care that in certain neighborhoods where there are high rates of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure, I see prominent billboards advertising alcohol and fast food. I care about the way downtown landlords price out low income residents or new small businesses, how the city demolishes buildings they own rather than maintain them so that they can be used, how the parks are not maintained as they should be, and how a minority of violent thugs make life unbearable in small sections of the city.

When I do not have so many other things to care about, then maybe I will have room in my brain for caring about a rather minor accusation made of a politician, who, by the way, has not gotten us into a war (or two), permitted torture, or wrecked the economy. Let’s prioritize our outrage. If Perez acted illegally, then he should be punished, but there is no need to sensationalize the trial, as this is not worthy of sensationalism.

Real Hartford Blog FAQ Refresher

I’m updating some of the other pages of this blog, but since not everyone makes it into these sections, I thought I would publish this information also on the front page. If you’re an old time reader or don’t care about this kind of thing, then just enjoy the photograph of roses in my neighborhood and then move along.

Answers to Frequently, Sporadically, and Rarely Asked Questions
Real Hartford began in March 2007 as a “Town Blog” hosted by CT Local Politics. In July 2009 it moved to its current address. During the life of this blog, I have lived in the South Green, West End, and Frog Hollow neighborhoods. I recently purchased a home in Frog Hollow; so far, I love the home and the neighborhood. I enjoy being in a vibrant and diverse community, and only blocks from “New England’s Hispanic Main Street‘” (a designation that makes me both smile and roll my eyes).

This blog was born all slimy, kicking and screaming out of my discontent with how my home was being portrayed by the mainstream media and by some vocal, ill-mannered people in surrounding towns. It has been nurtured by those in the community who also understand that stereotypes are for the intellectually lazy.
Blog Content and How to Contact Author

To inform about upcoming actions and events in Hartford CT, send press releases to me by email; please give at least several days of notice before an event, as there are not legions of reporters here, just me. When my schedule allows, I go to events that seem to have the intention of improving life in Hartford, continue to add vibrancy to the city’s cultures, or have a socio-political aim. Unlike the television news or newspapers, I apply critical thinking. I do not have loyalty to any politician, political party, organization or corporation; additionally, I do not claim to approach any story, event, or issue with an ounce of objectivity, as humans are not objective beings. National events get plenty of coverage on other blogs and in the mainstream media, so limit press releases to local events. I almost exclusively write about Hartford. Generally speaking, I am not going to waste virtual ink on events that I can not afford to attend. An exception will be made occasionally if I believe the cause is a very good one or if something about the event seems particularly awesome to me. I could cite the economic meltdown we’ve been experiencing as my reasoning for this, but it’s not. Hartford has consistently been plagued with high poverty rates, yet it is the capitol of the richest (or second richest, depending on the year) state in the country. So, I have to ask: Is it good for the Hartfordites? Is this event something that either the majority of my neighbors could afford to attend or something that will benefit the community greatly? (more…)

Cheap Summertime Thrills

June 8th is the last day of school, so it’s not too early to be thinking of activities for the kids to be involved in. Here are some ideas for free, cheap, or cheaper than usual things to do:

On June 12th admission is half price to the CT Science Center to celebrate its first anniversary. June 12th is also Tom Sawyer Day, which means there are tons of free activities at the Mark Twain House, including performances/appearances by “HartBeat Ensemble, Hartford Opera Theater, Hartford City Ballet, Hartford Children’s Theater, Hartford Symphony Orchestra, and many more musicians, magicians, and buccaneers.” The less than virtuous among us may be interested in participating in the lying contest. Not sure if there is a prize. Next door will be Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Garden Party, also free. Among other things, there will be croquet and horse-drawn carriage rides. Also on this date, the Amistad Center at the Wadsworth Atheneum is hosting a free Juneteenth Family Day. If that was not enough to decide on for the day, June 12th and 13th is when the Annual Bird Count is happening. To find out the location, call the Hartford Audubon Society at 860-282-BIRD or email them at hartfordaudubon AT

The last Saturday of every month, from 10-1, is free admission to the Wadsworth Atheneum. If you don’t feel like being in the museum when it’s swarming with people, you can pick up free passes at the Hartford Public Library. These can be used on most days. The library also has passes for CT State Parks & Forests and Mystic Aquarium.

The Museum of Connecticut History Exhibits in the Connecticut State Library is always free. You can walk across the street to explore the Connecticut State Capitol (also free). From here, you can go gallivanting through Bushnell Park (stopping at the carousel for a $1 ride or for a free tour of the arch, or just wait to watch the trains go by), maybe stopping at the Old State House (children are either free or $3, depending on age), and then heading to the Riverfront. Several parks have pools and/or sprinklers, along with all of the other amenities one expects parks to have. You can watch Vintage Base Ball games at Colt Park on Saturdays during the summer. (more…)

Asylum Market Buying Club Attempts to Bring More Grocery Options Downtown

Editor’s Note 8/1/10: The Courant reports that the buying club has since stopped operation.

Not satisfied with the local farmers’ markets or smaller grocery markets, some residents of the Hollander are attempting to start a food buying club. They write that the first order will be submitted on May 25th, with pick-up on May 27th. There is a one-time $25 application fee, followed by a $10 monthly administrative and delivery fee, plus the cost of the actual groceries. It is said that this buying club is a stepping stone on the path to opening an actual grocery store at 410 Asylum Street. (more…)