WOODBURY — New Morning Market is celebrating 48 years in business at its 129 Main Street North location in Woodbury. An event celebrating the anniversary was held recently.
“When New Morning was started, our mission was for everyone to have access to organic healthy food that was sourced from a resilient local community,” said John Pittari, owner and president of New Morning Market. “This is certainly being realized more everyday but has been realized over the last 48 years.”
Pittari said at New Morning Market, there is a real connection between creating market demand for local products and the growth of infrastructure supporting local farmers.
“Part of our job is to lower the risk of doing business for our producers,” said Pittari. “We helped create market demand for local products by being an outlet for them and giving local product makers more confidence to make them. It’s a reality we’re living in and able to see and touch. That to me is very satisfying, and that we have so many customers that are recognizing it.”
New Morning Market opened in 1971 in Woodbury and the town has been a large part of its success. Pittari said that the character of New Morning Market as a business fits well with the character of the town of Woodbury.
“There’s a concentration of businesses focused on promoting a holistic and healthy lifestyle — from acupuncture to upcycled antiques,” said Pittari of the businesses in Woodbury. “It’s a great community to be in.”
Pittari, reminiscing of years past in Woodbury, said in the beginning, New Morning Market sponsored contra dances in the late 1970s and early 1980s at the Old Woodbury Town Hall and created opportunities for the community to gather together.
“Since then we have hosted concerts, wine and cheese tastings, and the Woodbury Earth Day event,” said Pittari. “We need these ways for people to come together. Decades ago we decided to invest in events that brought people together and we still are today.”
In May 2012, New Morning Market created an even larger presence in Woodbury when it opened its new, current location. Prior to this, New Morning Market had been in the Middle Quarter Mall area of Woodbury, before that, in the Hollow Park area, and even earlier than that, in the Hotchkissville area of town.
“We knew we were going to grow, and we have,” said Pittari. “The new store set the stage to carry our mission and spread the goodness.”
Pittari said New Morning always had an environmental bottom line. Early on, it recognized that it had to be sourcing food in Connecticut, and could not rely on California, Florida and Texas to produce the food that it needed.
“That is very much a part of New Morning’s ethic — to promote local,” said Pittari. “The design of the new building allowed for the creation of atmosphere-controlled environments and a system flow that enabled us to handle a higher volume while maintaining the highest quality. It allows us to do our job — make good food available.”
Pittari added that a healthy lifestyle requires a healthy environment, with access to open space and sky and woods. The site of the building was chosen with thought to storm water protection.
“We worked closely with the Pomperaug River Watershed Coalition in Woodbury, and the Northwest Conservation District in Torrington, to improve the storm water,” said Pittari. “We also wanted all of the building materials be sustainably produced, with a high recycled content in the building materials and to not give off volatile organic compounds.”
Pittari said the new building allowed them to accomplish all of that. Planning and investment went into creating a healthy natural environment on its property to support the native plats and wildlife.
“I certainly have learned so much over the years, moving into the new building was challenging, but we rose to the occasion and are here,” said Pittari. “From where I stand now, I would not have done anything different. All of this has led to our success now. But I will take those life lessons forward and share them with the New Morning team.”
“We don’t eat to save money, we eat to nourish ourselves,” said Pittari. “My wish is that New Morning Market provides a living wage to producers, enables the land to be used as a regenerative resource, and brings a tangible value to the land, beyond buildings and houses.”
Pittari said he thinks this is already happening in our part of the world. Younger customers especially are much more aware of this connection and are dedicating themselves to be part of a sustainable food movement.
“That to me is very helpful. That is what I have observed over a couple of generations now in our young customers who have grown up shopping at New Morning,” said Pittari. “It brings meaning, it’s more than meaning, it really brings deep purpose and value to what New Morning has done over the years and the work we will continue to do.”
Pittari said the awareness of eating healthier and living more lightly on the earth is at an all-time high. As a result, the grocery industry has had to respond to those changes in demand.
“The changes and increased awareness that we’re seeing are exactly what I and my colleagues from the early days of the natural food movement wanted to happen,” said Pittari. “That our food would be organically grown and that everyone would have access to it.”
Pittari said what sets New Morning apart is that it has been part of the founding of an alternative food system.
“As we’re nearing a half century, I’m encouraged that I’m seeing what we have been striving for just mushrooming everywhere,” said Pittari. “I can see our food system having a great shift.”
Pittari said New Morning has grown as a result of its relocation and its commitment to its mission. It has significant growth to the point that customers have told Pittari that the parking lot is always full.
“We’ve certainly known this as a problem in our past, in the Middle Quarter, and we have a plan to address our customers’ access to more parking,” said Pittari. “With that opportunity, we will continue to uphold our mission to spread more goodness. It is too early to say right now, but watch us closely over the next year.”
For more information on New Morning Market, visit www.newmorn.com or call 203-263-4868.