Rick Macsuga, marketing representative for the state Department of Agriculture, said there has been a significant increase in requests by towns and cities to offer farmers' markets.
"Town involvement has definitely increased over the years," he said. "Before, we would kind of have to reach out to towns in order to hold a farmers' market. But nowadays, more towns have been reaching out to us and demanding more and more farmers' markets.
"With more and more town support, it definitely makes this process a lot smoother and easier," he said.
Macsuga said 21 new farmers' markets will debut this season, bringing the total statewide to "a little over 100," with 320 farmers contributing fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and other produce. However, farmers are not the only suppliers to these markets. Fishermen, bakers and florists also participate, adding variety to the markets.
The draw of the farmers' market is "the fact that it is local," Macsuga said, "that the money spent here stays here. There is less of a carbon footprint and the food travels less miles in order to get here."
Customers at the Fairfield Farmers Market at Greenfield Hills agreed.
"I like the whole ambiance of the farmers' market," said Fairfield resident Art Beagan.
Some just want to help support hometown goods. "I like the idea of buying local, homegrown products," said P.J. Calyne, of Fairfield, who was shopping with his wife, April, and two children, Abigail and Alexandra.
Others have another agenda.
"I like the cookies," said Abigail with a giggle.
Vendors say they most enjoy the one-on-one contact when dealing with buyers of their crops.
"It's great," said Jay Ott, of Vaszauskas Farm in Middlebury, "You get to really connect with the customers and it adds to the close-knit feel of being at a farmers' market." Chicken egg vendor Katja Pieragostini also enjoys the meet-and-greet aspect absent when items are bought in a grocery store. "The people you meet are the best part of this experience," said Pieragostini, a Newtown resident and from On the Rock Farm, also located in Newtown. "They have a genuine appreciation for fresh, organic products."
John Koizim, owner of Greenfield Liquor Shop, has organized the Fairfield Farmers Market at Greenfield Hill on Bronson Road for 12 years. He felt the need to establish a market in the area because he thought it would be "something nice to bring to the neighborhood and bring more business."
"One day, I looked out at the large, empty space right in front of my store and thought, what can I do with all this space here?" he said, referring to the stretch of grass parallel to the Greenfield Hill parking lot. "I came up with this as a solution."
Koizim said that along with shopping, customers can also enjoy live entertainment from weekly musicians, with the genre of music ranging "anything from rock to banjo."
"People have a good time here," he said.
Some vendors feel farmers markets are rising in popularity because of increasing food prices.
"I think people are responding to the economy and, as a result, are buying more grown products than they used to," said Nancy Moore, representing Moorefield Herb Farm in Trumbull.
However, not even farmers' market vendors can escape the effects of inflated food prices. Ron Vancil, of Stamford's Belldotti Bros. Bakery, said the cost for ingredients has increased tremendously in recent years.
"The price of flour has tripled and it doesn't seem like it's going down any time soon," he said. Recently, farmers' markets have begun to step out from being seasonal events to year-round affairs. From January to April, the Fairfield Theater Company on Sanford Street hosted the city's first Winter Farmers Market. Along with the usual staples like cheeses, greens and eggs, different items such as soaps.