Where can one find a giant bag of whole turmeric seeds for less than three bucks? How about frozen samosas, violet yams, 20 different varieties of ghee and the famous snack food brand Raju?
At the newly opened India Foods Farmers Market at 179 Berlin Turnpike, that’s where. Located in the same plaza as Michael’s and Pet Smart, this 5,000-square-foot market is filling a need in this area.
Local residents grew accustomed to getting their international groceries in Newington, where there used to be several specialty markets that offered Middle Eastern goods typically unavailable at the larger grocery chains.
The Sayad International Market on Fenn Road closed a few years ago after more than 20 years. The family-run store offered a variety of Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern products. Then just this past year, Asia Grocers on West Hill Road moved to a bigger space in Cromwell.
Newington and Berlin have a large population of Indian and Pakistani people. Many families worship together at two Hindu organizations in Newington: BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on North Mountain Road and the Vallabhdham Temple on Church Street, which represents Vaishnav Parivar of Connecticut.
India Foods owner Bharatkhumar Patel has been an active member of BAPS for many years. He’s excited to welcome friends and local families to his new market, where they can find the traditional foods from their culture.
However, people of all ethnicities are encouraged to visit India Foods, where 5,000 different products represent a much wider section of the world map than just one country.
“The community loves our products,” Patel said. “Not just Indian people.”
He works with an importer and distributor in New York, where he lived during the first 20 of his 42 years in the U.S. Patel also owns Patel Foods in Manchester and is a former owner of several Subway franchises.
“The reason I came to this area is because of its proximity to the community,” he explained. “There’s no other store like this within a ten-mile radius.”
Manager Bilip Sapkota is friendly and helpful to every customer who enters.
“We have people coming from Newington and even Wallingford, Middletown,” Sapkota said. “Almost every visitor tells us we’re in a good spot. They get everything they need here.”
Guava fruit sits next to the bitter gourd karela in the fresh produce section. Soan papdi is a flaky, pistachio-laden treat. Ten pound bags of flour made from healthy grains are a surprise find, as are methi leaves, antioxidant-rich greens from the fenugreek plant, served up the same way as spinach. If you can’t find it here, they’ll get it for you.
“We’re doing very well so far,” Sapkota said. “Good reviews and response.”
India Foods is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.