Bishop's Orchards was established in 1871, when the first of six Bishop generations began filling shoreline bellies with fresh-from-the-farm fruits and vegetables. Today, having withstood 140 years worth of technology changes and weather disasters, the orchard continues to thrive, currently growing crops on more than 320 total acres—313 of which are family-owned. In 2005, the orchard stretched its homegrown empire into potable territories with the birth of a winery, which produces more than 15 wines using the farm's fruit. Not to be outdone, the orchard's market is still a year-round source for fresh produce more than a century after it sprouted into a humble roadside stand from a single appleseed.
Ever since Liberato and Guiseppina Dell’Amura opened their small Wooster Street bakery in New Haven’s Little Italy in 1922, the business has stayed in the family. Son and daughter Fortunato and Mae—followed by granddaughters Jo-Ann, Dolores, Marie, and Leona and great grandson Salvatore—have all taken on the family tradition of baking cookies, biscotti, and traditional Italian pastries daily.
In-store cases and trays are filled with traditional pastries such as cannoli, bigne donuts, and éclairs. The team can also wrap, box, and ship assortments of 24 types of Italian cookies and nine flavors of biscotti, as well as treats such as chocolate-dipped caramel apples, pretzels, and marshmallow pops. The team also hand-decorates sugar cookies in shapes such as shirts, shoes, and crowns in case an emperor is celebrating the first time he wore clothes.
Book Trader Café stacks more than 16,000 titles of gently used books on its shelves, combined with second-hand DVDs and CDs that transform the inventory into multimedia brain food. Literary works and academic books on art, architecture, and paper towels line the store, their spines inviting readers to sink into their vivid and educational worlds. A cult-fiction section assembles an apocrypha of fringe scribes, photography books tempt eyes with their luscious pages, and a children's-book section tempts kids to burrow into a fort of words. Most titles average $4.95, and staff carefully curates each one to ensure a quality recycled collection sans fraying bindings or torn pages. While Book Trader Café's inventory rotates frequently, the online store lists troves of its selections and lets bibliophiles reserve books by phone. With new old books in hand, patrons can stroll over to the café to enjoy them and further sate their appetites for letters by reading the menu.
Fully staffed by passionate full-time volunteers, Food for Life Supreme partners with the University of Art and Logistics of Civilization (UALC) in an effort to reverse unhealthy eating by providing organic, healthy spins on comfort foods. The bakery menu offers sweet treats that include red velvet cupcakes ($2), strawberry cheesecake ($4/slice), and peanut-butter cookies ($3 for a three-pack). A variety of cakes, pies, and breads are also available.
DIY desserts are the main order of business at Planet Swirl, an intergalactic-themed fro-yo shop that features 21 different flavors each day and 80 types of toppings. The yogurts sate cravings with vibrant flavors, and the nondairy fruit sorbets contain no fat or bad vibes from bummed-out cows. Some are also sugar- and gluten-free. As part of its perennial dessert repertoire, Planet Swirl showcases signature flavors such as strawberry shortcake, caramel apple, piña colada, and peanut butter cup to sweet-seeking audiences.
It takes but fresh fruit and a bit of ice to make many of Rita?s of West Haven signature treats, whose ingredients are made daily. More than 50 rotating flavors?such as Swedish Fish and mango peach?come in standard and sugar-free varieties to cool down most any craving. Customers can order their ices straight up or blend or layer them with decadent frozen custard in seven flavors, such as strawberry, coffee, and light vanilla. The custards come Italian ice-free as well, spiraled into cones or cups with sprinkles and hot fudge or blended with candy mix-ins.
When not serving the masses, Rita?s tends to the needs of local groups and organizations with fundraising opportunities. Sports teams and schools can organize money-raising ?scoop nights,? sell quarts of custard around town, or purchase gift cards.