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CAPTURE CREATIVE CONNECTICUT FOOD AND FARM

ROADSIDE RANCH RESCUE & SANCTUARY 2

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PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY FOR THE AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD SERVICE INDUSTRIES. CT Food and Farm Photographer specializes in beautiful photography for marketing… capturing mouthwatering photos that showcase your food and beverage menus to entice customers. Contact us today to begin building a digital library of delicious images for websites, social media, ads, and print materials. ctfoodandfarm.com

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in this issue

DEEP ROOTS STREET FOOD

GENA GOLAS

BEER CAN ART BREWS COLORFUL CREATIVITY

CRIS CADIZ

FARM AID:

A VOICE FOR FARMERS

LAURIE BONNEAU

OH, FOR THE LOVE OF

CHOCOLATE: CRAFTSMAN CLIFF ROASTERS

ANNA SAWIN

BUYING IN BULK AT YOUR LOCAL FOOD CO-OP

JENNIFER C. LAVOIE

YOU COME TOO:

BARN FUN AT MAPLE VIEW

KATE BOGLI

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6 20 36 52 70 88


WINTER 2019 | VOLUME 15

TEA TIME:

HIGH TEA IN CT

SHOP LIKE A CHEF AT EL MERCADO

AMY WHITE

PEOPLE JUST WANT TO DRINK BUBBLES

WINTER CAPLANSON

FARM TO TABLE MARKET

COURTNEY MENDILLO SQUIRE

THE WIZARD OF COOGAN FARM

ERICA BEUHLER

BEYOND YOUR WILDEST DREAMS

ANNA SAWIN

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MATTHEW BRADY

102 114 130 142 164 182


You Come

Barn Fun 3 Maple View Fa BY KATE BOGLI WINTER CAPLANSON PHOTOS

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e Too:

arm

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P

eople often wonder what farmers do all winter – especially in New England, where snow and frozen ground put a hold on working the land. With 29 weeks from first frost to last, there’s still a lot of work to be done. And at Maple View Farm, that means more fun to be had. On a livestock farm, there’s always work. Animals need to be fed, the barn needs cleaning and fences need mending through the harsh winter weather. In the winter, work increases with horses in their stalls for longer days, having to wade through snow to dole out hay, and making sure everyone has the right amount of warm water to drink. “I started Barn Fun to stay connected to my horseback riding students through the winter,” explains Farmer Kate, part of the third generation to farm their land in the center of Granby, Connecticut. With no indoor ring, riding at Maple View Farm takes a break from January until MidMarch. For Barn Fun, kids get to work with Farmer Kate doing the day’s chores. “They love the farm in the winter. We can spend as long as we want on un-mounted

“With 50 acres to explore, the opportunities for fun and learning are endless.” activities like grooming horses or learning how to lead them – time we don’t have during a riding lesson,” she explains.

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“No one can resist the floppy ears and bright eyes of a hungry pig about to be fed.”

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“...each kid climbs the ladder to the hayloft to explore...” Even though it’s called “Barn” Fun, they make sure to get out and about on the farm as much as the weather allows. With 50 acres to explore, the opportunities for fun and learning are endless. In the winter, snow can lead to more excitement on the farm, allowing kids to build igloos in the big, plowed piles and follow animal tracks found in the fresh snow that covers the hay fields. Feeding the pigs is a favorite for everyone. No one can resist the floppy ears and bright eyes of a hungry pig about to be fed. At Maple View, pigs are recyclers – they drink milk from a local dairy and warm brewer’s grain from the farm’s soon-to-open Brewery. Getting to watch young piglets play and interact with their mother is a treat that happens regularly in late winter. Kids love to see how March-born piglets have grown by the time they come back for summer camp in August. Back at the barn, each kid climbs the ladder to the hayloft to explore, and toss down bales for the animals to eat in the coming week. Working together to push the heavy bales gives kids an appreciation of the hard work that is farming, while helping them realize that

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“Working together to push the heavy bales gives kids an appreciation of the

hard work

that is farming, while helping them realize that they have a lot of help to offer a farm.�

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“It’s energizing to hang out with kids who are so full of energy and excitement about the work and the animals.” they have a lot of help to offer a farm. As they dole out hay to the horses, they learn the words “bale” and “flake.” By the end of each two-hour session, the kids are clamoring to decide who will get to use the broom to sweep up. It started in the winter, but Barn Fun is now offered once per month in the Spring, Fall and Winter. Summer on the farm is busy with six weeks of camps. Each month is an opportunity to explore a different part of the farm, from readying planting beds in the garden to splashing in the brook to planting garlic in the late fall. But some chores stay the same: pigs, cows, horses and chickens need to be fed and watered every day, so kids get an idea of both the routine and seasonality of farming.

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“Barn Fun in the winter is still my favorite,” says Farmer Kate. “For me, the winter can be long, hard and monotonous. It’s energizing to hang out with kids who are so full of energy and excitement about the work and the animals. It makes me remember how much I love what I do.” Maple View Farm’s Farm Store is open every day from 8 am-8 pm and sells their own beef, pork and vegetables, in addition to area farm products including milk, maple syrup, honey, and jams. To find out when The Brewery at Maple View Farm officially opens, and info on future Barn Fun events, check out their website.

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g n i y u

B 20

k l u B

]

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e . LaVoi C r e f i n by Jen otos ols ph h c i N Lisa

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THERE ARE SO MANY

mysteries in our daily lives that we need to solve: why nobody in my house understands that you don’t dip the jelly knife back into the peanut butter jar, or why I’m the only one who knows how to replenish the toilet paper. Mysteries abound all around us, but buying in bulk shouldn’t be one of them. A key aspect of buying in bulk is that food co-ops welcome shoppers who aren’t members. If you decide to join, the fee is affordable and broken into installments. I’m lucky enough to live near The Willimantic Food Co-op at 91 Valley Street, Willimantic, CT. The Co-op began in the basement of St. Paul’s Church as the Willimantic Buyers Club in the early 70’s, giving members a way to save money by buying food in bulk. Today, the Co-op’s bulk section boosts a multitude of items such as flour, oats, nuts, beans, coffee, tea, olive oil, spices and much more. It can be a bit overwhelming for bulk food shopping newbies, but the staff at the Co-op are incredibly helpful and kind, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.

WHY BUY IN BULK? Here are just a few of the benefits awaiting you at your local Co-op:

SAVING MONEY: When buying in bulk you’re not paying for packaging, labeling and advertising, saving you about 30 percent. Spices, herbs and teas are much cheaper - almost one-fifth the price of pre-packaged - but you can also enjoy some terrific savings on items like nuts, seeds, rice, oats, and olive oil.

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SAVING THE ENVIRONMENT:

PRO TIP: The Co-op has

Bring your own containers to refill, lessening your impact on the environment. Washing and sterilizing a glass container uses much less energy than making a new one, and glass jars keep food fresher than packaged food…and the amount of packaging waste is reduced.

glass jars you can buy, or you can use inexpensive jars that you’ve picked up at flea markets or garage sales. There are also reusable cloth bags that you can purchase, or use the compostable paper bags the Co-op provides.

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LESS FOOD WASTE: Buying in bulk at the Co-op is not

like shopping at Costco. You can buy exactly what you want - and in quantities that you will consume. The Co-op buys its products in bulk, so the savings are passed on to you. For those occasions when you want to try something new, you can purchase a small quantity of that exotic spice, or specialty loose tea you’ve

always wanted to try, without wasting food or money.

ENSURING FRESHNESS: Freshness does affect flavor, and when buying all-natural or organic products you want to make sure you’re getting the freshest ingredients. In the bins you can see and smell the product,

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“Spices, herbs and teas are much cheaper - almost onefifth the price of pre-packaged - but you can also enjoy some terrific savings on items like nuts, seeds, rice, oats, and olive oil.� CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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something you can’t do in pre-packaged products, so there are no surprises when you open that package at home. The Co-op understands what products their members are buying and will rotate through products faster to ensure that you’re getting the highest-quality ingredients. So what’s it like to actually shop in bulk? When you walk into the Co-op, the aroma of spices and coffee greet you at the door, invitingly pulling you in. Bulk Foods Manager Avery Gratton explains the Co-op’s philosophy on buying bulk; “It’s all 26

about the ingredients first and foremost. No corn syrup, no preservatives, all natural and organic, and it’s about giving the co-op members what they like, while keeping their pockets in mind as well.” You can tell they take this philosophy seriously when you walk through the aisles of colorful and aromatic bins. You can see and smell the quality. The Co-op’s tiny back office is a hive of activity, with customers poking a head in to ask a question, people popping in and out, and the music of ringing phones. I chatted up Avery (and other Co-op team members) about favorite bulk items, and got CT FOOD & FARM / WINTER 2019


“When you walk into the Co-op, the aroma of spices and coffee greet you at the door, invitingly pulling you in.”

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enthusiastic responses. Avery gushed over Oolong tea, explaining that loose tea is one of the most underrated items in bulk. It’s not only cost-effective if you drink a lot of tea, but the blends that they have in stock are delightful. Another favorite of Avery’s is balsamic vinegar. “It’s the real deal,” she explained. “People also rave about the organic almond butter that you grind yourself. It’s not only tasty, but costeffective too: the 16-ounce pre-packaged jar costs $18.99, where the fresh ground is $13.49.” Kombucha tea on tap is also a top seller; the Co-op goes through 200 pounds of it a week. That’s a lot of fermenting going on! The Co-op carries Aqua ViTea from Middlebury, Vermont. 28

Flavors vary: you can try elderberry, turmeric, blueberry, and ginger. Bring your growlers, mugs, or any container and fill up. Because spices have a limited shelf life, it’s best to buy what you use whether it’s a pinch, a pound, or anywhere in between. Buying what you need for spices and herbs will save you money. For example, the supermarket’s Simply Organic Cinnamon is $42.40 per lb., while the Co-op’s Frontier Cinnamon is $9.00/lb. That’s a whopping savings of $33.40 per pound (for a fresher product). Some top sellers that move quickly are walnuts, oats and olive oil. The oat selection is vast; quick

oats, steel cut, and thick cut are available in both organic and conventional varieties. Feeling hungry?

“...food coops welcome shoppers who aren’t members.” Check out our recipe for granola - and our bulk versus pre-packaged price comparison. It’s delicious, and easy on your wallet. A favorite pick from Chris Dubis, the Co-op’s Wellness Manager, is the Double Zero pizza flour. Chris explained that it’s

a specialty item that you don’t find in your typical grocery store and it makes the best pizza dough. Chris also enthusiastically recommended the Forbidden Black Rice. “Once you try it, you’ll want to buy it again and again.” Chris added with a slight shrug, “The story is that the rice was reserved for the Emperor in ancient China and forbidden to anyone else.” Of course, I had to try it - and loved it. The rice is a beautiful black color that is dense, nutty and substantial, slightly higher in fiber and protein, and lower in calories than brown rice. Since it’s a whole grain, it’s also more nutritious than white rice - and the flavor will keep you coming back for more.

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READY TO BUY BULK BUT NOT SURE WHERE TO START? These tips will have you shopping the Co-op like a pro:

• If you’re bringing your own containers, make sure they are clean and - if possible - weigh them beforehand to get the tare weight (this is the weight of a container when it is empty). When checkingout, the cashiers will need to subtract the tare weight from the weight of the food. The Co-op has scales in the bulk aisle, but if you forget to weigh them, the staff are amazing at knowing a container’s weight. I will often take one of the stickers the Co-op provides to note the Price Look-Up number (PLU) number, and write the weight of the container on that as well. • The PLU number is used by the cashiers to look up the product and the price per pound. Make sure to write the PLU number on your container; it also helps to write the product name in case there’s a number mix-up. • When filling a spice bottle from a jar with a spoon, take a spoon from the Clean Spoons bin, and after scooping, place it in the Used Spoons bin. The Co-op has spice

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bottles for sale in the spice aisle, or there are small plastic bags for your convenience. • The maple syrup, olive oil, vinegar, and honey will have a spout that you can use to pour the liquid into your container. The Co-op provides funnels to help aid you in filling your jars or containers. (The funnels are a godsend). • Spills happen, and errant rice or bits of flour can escape, but don’t panic. Just ask the staff for help and they will be glad to assist you. • There are other bulk items for sale at the Co-op that are not food-related. There are dog treats, shampoo, bars of high quality-cut soap (a must is “That Co-op Smell”), laundry soap, and more. The Coop also has a pre-order system for folks who go through a lot of flour, oats, and other items; you can purchase bags ranging from 11 to 50 pounds. Bonus: regular members get a 15 percent discount on the price. Working members receive a 25 percent discount.

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The benefits of shopping in bulk and supporting your local food co-op are many, but one of the most important is the connections we have with our community, the food that we eat, and the shared interest of doing something good for the earth. Friendships are made at the Willimantic Food Co-op; the staff are kind and helpful, and you’re more than likely to strike up a conversation with the person next to you filling up their container of forbidden rice, Kombucha tea, or the multitude of other items that are extrafresh and cost-effective. Plan your visit to the Co-op, which is open MondaySunday from 8 am-8 pm, by visiting www.willimanticfood.coop.

Looking for another Connecticut storefront food cooperative to check out? Visit Fiddleheads Food Cooperative at 13 Broad Street, CT 06320.

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Livin’ that bulk food life? This delicious and easy recipe makes great use of ingredients found in any food co-op bulk section!

Chef Amelia Lord’s Granola INGREDIENTS · 1 lb. quick oats · 3 cups coarsely chopped nuts (try pepitas, cashew and pistachio) · 1/2 to 1 cup dark brown sugar (as sweet as you prefer) · 1/2 cup (115g/1 stick) unsalted butter · 1/3 cup (80ml) water · 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt · 2 teaspoons vanilla extract · 1 cup dried fruit (cherries, chopped apricots, currants and golden raisins are favorites) INSTRUCTIONS 1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees 2. In a blender, grind half the oats into flour. Combine oat flour, oats, chopped nuts and salt in a large bowl. 3. In a saucepan, melt butter, water and sugar together. Whisk in vanilla extract and mix well. 4. Cover oats and nuts with butter mixture; stir well to combine. Spread mixture in even layers over two baking sheets and bake for about one hour, stirring well every 20 minutes to ensure even toasting. 5. Once granola is evenly golden remove from oven and toss with fruit as it cools. 6. Makes 8 cups. COST COMPARISON · Quick Oats (organic) are .99 cents lb. Packaged quick oats are $2.72 lb. Savings per Unit: $1.73. · Pepitas are $6.99 lb. Packaged Pepitas are $11.99 lb. Savings per Unit: $5.00. · Dark Brown Sugar is $1.49 lb. Packaged dark brown sugar is $4.50 lb. Savings per Unit: $3.01. · Vanilla Extract is $3.69 per oz. Packaged vanilla is $4.12 per oz. Savings per Unit: $0.43.

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WINTER TRANQUILITY BY LISA STONE KIM

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“ WINT ER IS

NOT

A

celebration.

SEASON, IT’S A

--ANAMIKA MISHRA

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BY WINTER CAPLANSON

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Creamy, hot milk with real vanilla melts

school instructor, and owned a catering company. One year turned into 20 in San Francisco, but recently his sister had a baby and he felt the call to return east to a family-centered life. “When I came home, I wanted to roast coffee and cocoa, but that opportunity didn’t exist in Norwich. I had to make it. I don’t know of any other shops roasting both coffee and cacao in Connecticut, but that’s what I’d been dreaming of doing here since I was a little kid.”

the handshaved, bean-to-bar chocolate in a metal pitcher. The barista blends your hot cocoa to frothy perfection. As he pours it out, the heavier particles of rustic chocolate that have settled in the bottom of the vessel form a deep, dark “latte art” pattern on the pillow-y top of your cup.

Recently celebrating the six month anniversary of his already booming downtown Norwich coffee and cacao (pronounced ca-cow) roastery, Matthew reveals that his only marketing plan has been sharing his passion for serving people delicious things - and letting word of mouth do the rest.

“That’s real cocoa. The real deal!” declares Craftsman Cliff Roasters owner Matthew DuTrumble.

Born and raised in Norwich, Matthew headed to California during college. He’s since been an executive chef, a culinary

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The city, in fact, has a storied history with chocolate. In 1770, Christopher Leffingwell opened the first chocolate mill in the Connecticut colony on the banks of the Yantic River, becoming our first chocolatier. As early as 1755, chocolate was used as a nutrition- and energy-packed ration for troops during the French and Indian War. It has played an important role in feeding soldiers and boosting morale in every war and conflict thereafter. 39


“that real coco The re deal

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t’s oa. eal l!”

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The shiplap wood coffee bar, and the nautical aspects of the Old Sea Captain’s house that Matthew and his father gutted to create the shop, are a nod to the traditional ocean shipping routes for cacao beans, from which chocolate is made.

shade and back to reach a specific level of fermentation. The flavor profile of a batch of cacao can be attributed to the variety of plant grown, the altitude, soil profile, micro-climate, and the farmer’s mastery of harvesting and fermenting techniques.

The cacao Matthew sources is organically-grown in Belize, Ghana, Guatemala, and Colombia, and can be linked back to specific farms employing ethical labor and trade practices. To me, the scent of a cacao pod is faintly chocolatey and surprisingly sour, like a dark chocolate sourdough muffin. That delicious sourness is an indication of proper fermentation, guided by a skillful farmer to bring out the very best flavors.

“We respect and love that the farmers have put that much attention into the crop,” says Matthew.

Cacao pods are harvested by hand when each individual pod reaches peak ripeness. They are moved from sun to

Although the raw cacao beans are nearly comparable in price to coffee beans, there is far more waste and labor in the process that takes cacao from bean to bar. For every pound of cacao beans, nearly 10% is water weight that evaporates during the roasting process. The shells must be removed to isolate the nibs, resulting in 30-35% more product weight lost. The real cost of cacao is about twice that of coffee.

“Chocolate got its start here, b Norwich can do world-class choco 42

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but I ’m showing how olate now.” CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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“it’s not about fancy. It’s about doing things right.”

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“The thing I love about both coffee and cacao is the food science behind preparing them. It’s why I wanted to nerd out on these two ingredients,” explains Matthew. “As with bread making, every day the cacao roaster needs to tweak

that can interact with the fermentation process. “I’m able to calm down the rotisserie. Coffee spins really fast, but cacao must move a lot slower to roast evenly. I can tightly control airflow. This allows me to tweak how much

“I don’t know of any other shops roasting both coffee and cacao in Connecticut, but that’s what I’d been dreaming of doing here since I was a little kid.” their process to respond to fluctuations in their environment, including humidity and barometric pressure.” Matthew’s coffee roaster has been modified to also accommodate cacao. It’s made entirely of stainless steel, which prevents chemical reactions 46

smoky flavor I want a batch to have, and whether I want to preserve the sour fermentation flavor. I have total temperature control. Cacao requires a much lower roasting temperature than coffee,” Matthew elaborates.

preparation because, he says, nobody wants to give up their secrets. “I will teach anyone how to do it, though. But I’m always improving, so if you’re just following my recipes you’ll never catch up to my skill. It’s your own passion that will drive the quality of your product.” Matthew’s skill extends to the development of specialized equipment, including a custom cocoa bean sheller that operates with nearly 100% efficiency. It separates the shells from the cacao nibs that are a nutritionpacked superfood: nutty, chocolatey and edible as is, and also can be enjoyed in granola, in baked goods, or as an ice cream topping. To make chocolate, the nibs are stoneground in small batches between two wheels of granite for several hours until they become a liquor, looking much like Hershey’s Syrup. While still warm, this can be blended with sugar and vanilla or other ingredients as the maker desires.

Matthew trained himself in cacao CT FOOD & FARM / WINTER 2019


Craftsman Cliff’s bean-to-bar chocolate disks are not overly processed. There are no modifiers, conditioners, or lecithin added. Some producers grind the chocolate to the point that no texture remains to create a smooth, silky mouthfeel. Craftsman Cliff chocolate is, by comparison, more rustic with less cloying sweetness, has a more earthy texture, and retains a great deal of nutritional content. This is personality plus chocolate that talks back to you, truer to the way chocolate was historically produced when Christopher Leffingwell made it. The decision to locate in a still-on the-rise Norwich downtown was folly, according to many who offered their opinions to Matthew. “’What are you doing putting a coffee shop down here? You’re too fancy,’ they said. But it’s not about fancy. It’s about doing things right. I believe that’s a New England value, a Norwich value,” Matthew confides. “Around here, we take great pride in things that have been made in Norwich. “At Craftsman Cliff, you can get a cup of coffee from organic beans roasted in-house. A good cup of coffee is a nobrainer, I thought. And chocolate? Home run! I wasn’t looking for the crowds that are already going to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks, although our pricing is on par. We’ve found our niche with a diverse clientele of local makers, creatives, and community boosters, and we’ve become a destination for coffee and chocolate lovers from further afoot.” Craftsman Cliff Roasters lacks any of the corporate trappings of a chain. The space is the cozy, quirky buildout of Matthew and his father, Cliff. Original brick walls and stone foundations were revealed, and an enclosed niche surrounded on three sides by that material naturally keeps coffee and cocoa beans at the perfect storage temperature. “All analog, baby!” boasts Matthew. CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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Matthew sketched the elements of the business’s logo-mascot and his sister, artist Lindsay Twitchell, took it from there. Look closely and you will see the “Rose of New England” (the Norwich moniker) in place of one eye, with a coffee or cocoa bean in lieu of the other. The figure’s beard is latte art, and the face is mug-shaped with one ear serving as the handle. The image as a whole is derived from a photo of Matthew’s father,

coffeehouse beverages, and the aforementioned rapturous hot cocoa (just $4 a cup!), Craftsman Cliff Roasters stocks their chocolate bar line, including pretzel, marshmallow, chia seed, and cacao nib disks - and a cacao hot cocoa kit. Matthew makes hand-cranked, sweet cream ice cream that is served topped with an espresso shot, or vanilla, or hand-shaved

and other bakery fare. Potter Kim Ford of Salem makes distinctive Craftsman Cliff logo mugs that set satisfyingly in the hand. On Mug Monday, patrons bring theirs in for half-priced fill-ups. The consumption of cacao extends beyond Craftsman Cliff’s doors: Matthew makes chocolatemint coffee cacao scrub for Norwich Inn and Spa, and a nitrocold brew for neighbors Epicure

“This is personality plus chocolate that talks back to you, truer to the way chocolate was historically produced ” “Craftsman” Cliff, from the 1970’s. He is, says Matthew, always creating with his hands and inspires Matthew, by example, to do his best in all things, to do the most honest job he can. And that he does, every day. “We focus on one product at a time, nail it, and move on, growing organically and in response to our community. We love them and they love us.” In addition to all the expected

chocolate, or the healthy sprinkle of roasted cacao nibs for texture, flavor, and nutrition. “I wish everyone would switch from sprinkles to this. It makes ice cream a delicious, good-for-you treat.” Coffee in various roasts, cacao nibs, and hand-shaved chocolate are available by the pound. The shop also serves breakfast and lunch sandwiches made locally by Julio Cancho Viggio at nearby Canggio Restaurant, danishes,

“I wake up every day and do what I love. I love feeding people,” Matthew declares. “I love the farmer who makes the food and I love the person I give my food to. I’ve always followed my passion and everything good has followed.” “Chocolate got its start here, but I’m showing how Norwich can do world-class chocolate now.”

Craftsman Cliff Roasters

EPICURE BREWING

is located at 34 Broadway, Norwich, CT Open weekdays 6:30am - 5pm and Saturday 9:30am - 3pm

(where Craftsman Cliff nitro cold brew is on tap)

NAMOO (Korean)

When you visit this up-and-coming, walkable downtown, Matthew says to expect beautiful architecture, ample parking, and many breweries, restaurants, bars, shops, and events nearby. Among his favorites are:

ROYAL PUNJABI (Indian)

BILLY WILSONS AGEING STILL (best bar, wings, and burgers)

THESE GUYS BREWING

(which brews beer using Craftsman Cliff cold brew) CTFOODANDFARM.COM

Brewing Company and These Guys Brewing who use it in their Coffee Porter.

MI CASA (Mexican) ICE & FIRE (Sushi and Chinese) HARP & DRAGON (Irish Pub) LA STELLA (New York style pizza) NORWICH ART CENTER GALLERY THE WAUREGAN (newly installed gift shop area) FIRST FRIDAY NORWICH (downtown’s monthly block party) 49


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“We focus on one product at a time, nail it, and move on, growing organically and in response to our community. We love them and they love us.�

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FARM

AID:

A VOICE FOR FARMERS by Laurie Bonneau

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It

WAS AN EARLY MORNING in

June 2018 when Connecticut farmer Tom Truelove woke his wife, Alana. A really early morning. He’s usually up and working before the sun comes up. Alana, working as a psychotherapist from 9-5, five days per week, is usually not. “It was Tom’s reaction to what he was reading that got me up,” Alana explains. “He was so excited, and shouting things like, ‘What? WHAT? I can’t believe

it! Farm Aid is coming to Connecticut! We have to write to them right now.’ We were at the computer in no time and emailing Farm Aid. I’d never been so excited to be woken up before dawn.” Every year since its inception in 1985, Farm Aid has held a music festival to raise funds that support their year-round work for American farmers - but as attendees can testify, it’s so much more than music. Established by Farm Aid, “a nonprofit organization whose mission is to keep

family farmers on the land,” the festivals by the same name bring farmers and concerned citizens together; provide meaningful opportunities for unity and discussion among farmers; and promote food from family farms. While the organization focuses on fundraising, advocacy and strengthening relationships between farms and their communities, Farm Aid is perhaps best known for its festivals that feature musicians with a passion for helping farmers, like board

members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews. A number of Farm Aid festivals have been in the Northeast, but not in Connecticut, so it was big news that Farm Aid 2018 would be held at Hartford’s Xfinity Theatre on September 22. All 24,000 festival tickets sold quickly, and there were thousands of others who participated in the festival by volunteering or donating products. All those thousands of people had personal

“EVERY YEAR SINCE ITS INCEPTION IN 1985, FARM AID HAS HELD A MUSIC FESTIVAL TO RAISE FUNDS THAT SUPPORT THEIR YEAR-ROUND WORK FOR AMERICAN FARMERS...”

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FARM AID FESTIVALS BRING FARMERS AND CONCERNED CITIZENS TOGETHER; provide meaningful opportunities for unity and discussion among farmers; and promote food from family farms...”

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reasons to support Farm Aid, and after the festival, had stories to share about their experiences.

together in their farm store, where freezers holding beef, pork, and poultry are lined up against the walls.

Here’s one of those stories, from a farm couple from the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, told mostly in their own words:

Alana continues their story of writing to Farm Aid. “In our email, we wrote how happy we were they were coming, that it was such an honor, that we were excited to host them in our state, and that we wanted to know if there was any way we could really support and be part of it. And we ended our email with, ‘Tom’s longtime dream is to have Willie Nelson eat one

Tom Truelove is the farmer of Truelove Farms. Alana Truelove, Tom’s biggest supporter (as they both told me), is a therapist. And on this day, a few months after Farm Aid 2018 in Connecticut, we three are

of his pork chops.’” The Trueloves not only heard back from Farm Aid, but met with their representatives over the summer. Tom recalls, “They were really interested in Alana being a therapist, and me being a farmer, and they appreciated our perspectives. A big crisis in the farming

“Farm Aid festivals feature musicians with a passion for helping farmers, like board members WILLIE NELSON,

NEIL YOUNG, JOHN MELLENCAMP AND DAVE MATTHEWS.

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ONCE A YEAR,

all these big artists and over tens of thousands of people come to one place where all day, farmers are explicitly the topic of conversation...” community right now is suicide, and they wanted to know more about our experiences with farming and mental health in the farming profession.”

By the time festival day arrived, they were on the schedule to be panelists in a discussion session on stress in farming. Tom had brought their donation of several pounds of product, but it wasn’t pork chops. “No, delivering our pork chops to Willie didn’t happen, but that’s okay. They really wanted our farm-made salami at the venue,” he says with a grin. Everyone has their most memorable moments in the festival, and I ask about theirs. With enthusiasm, they talk about being panelists on Farm Aid’s discussion session, Stress on the Farm. “If there’s any group that would stigmatize going to seek mental health resources, it’s farmers. It’s not even thought of,” Tom says. “Most farmers hardly even go to a doctor when they’re sick or hurting,

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FARM AID BRINGS NATIO

most people don’t often think abou

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ONAL DIALOGUE to something that

ut, which is farming in this country.�

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let alone get a routine physical and checkup. And I think a lot of farmers may not even think they have a problem until they start thinking about something desperate and it becomes dangerous.” Alana adds, “One of the Farm Aid panelists was their inhouse Farm Advocate. He explained their farmer hotline saw a substantial increase in the number of calls in the past year that were related to mental health. Farm Aid is one of the few places where they feel they can go. Farmers just feel more comfortable opening up to peers – people who understand what they’re going through, as opposed to talking to somebody that they think won’t be able to understand or help because they don’t know the unique struggles of farm life.” But the best part of Tom’s day happened before the festival officially began. “As farmers, we could go to the press conference, held on the main stage before the gates opened and the festival started. And that was my favorite part of the day. I found it so interesting to hear Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp say they hadn’t expected to still be doing this. They thought in 1985, that there was a problem, they’d do a couple of benefit concerts and then it would all be figured out. But no, there are still as many problems as there were then. It’s frustrating to everyone. And then to see Neil Young and Dave Matthews, the other Farm Aid board members, get up and rant

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a bit, well, it was good. There are so many institutional problems that could be fixed but aren’t yet, so I’m glad Farm Aid keeps sounding the alarm, bringing awareness, year after year.” But most of the day was spent just being together, sharing the experience with family and

friends. “Our little crew,” Tom laughs, “picked a great spot on the lawn where we all watched and enjoyed the artists and music, had great food. It was so much fun, and such an enjoyable day. It was a good change of pace and a good break for us all.” I ask Tom what, besides the

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over tens of thousands of people come to one place where all day, farmers are explicitly the topic of conversation. From the music performances, the videos and photos shown on the stage video screen between acts, the discussion sessions, hands-on activities – and on and on – it’s all about our farms and farming. It brings national dialogue to something that most people don’t often think about, which is farming in this country.”

Before I leave the Trueloves, I take a last look around the farm store while I pack up my gear, but stop when I see something I recognize. It’s hanging on a wall far from where I’m standing by the door. It’s big. It’s framed. And the colors are a little sunfaded, but it’s a poster I know. Noticing what has caught my attention, Tom says, “I bought that poster when I was at my first Farm Aid festival, which was years and years ago. But now I’ve been to two of them, so I think I’m really lucky,” he laughs.

TOM’S LONGTIME DREAM is to have

Tom goes on to say, “We’re doing okay at Truelove Farms. But there are a lot of problems out there, particularly in dairy farming. For me, it feels very good that we could donate food to the event and give some of our time. We really hope we contributed to the overall success of Farm Aid 2018. We know that the funds raised will be put to good use, providing support for farms that are struggling.” Alana adds, “And part of that support is Farm Aid’s advocacy work – it’s so important. A farmer can hardly ever take a day off, so farmers certainly don’t have time to go to Washington and speak out for farming community needs. Farm Aid is a voice for farmers and what farmers need.”

I ask if 2019 could be their third, and they say they’ve talked about it and clearly hope to, but can’t make the decision until they know where it’s held. Taking a single day away from the farm is hard enough, let alone the few days needed to for traveling to a festival outside New England. But whether they’re at the next festival or not, they are committed to staying in touch with Farm Aid, and being involved in as many ways as they can.

Willie Nelson eat one of his pork chops...”

funds raised, is the benefit of the annual festival, and he answers without any hesitation. “The biggest, most important thing about the annual Farm Aid festival is the discussion. It’s not often that people in general talk about farms, farming, or where their food comes from. Once a year, all these big artists and

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That means there’s still hope for Tom’s dream of Willie Nelson dining on Truelove Farms pork chops.

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TRUELOVE FARMS

122 Thomaston Road, Morris, CT 06763 1-203-217-6234 truelovefarms@gmail.com truelovefarms.org FARM AID 501 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02141 1-617-354-2922, farmers’ assistance line 1-800-FARM-AID (1-800-327-6243) info@farmaid.org farmaid.org

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“Then comes Winter, with bluster and snow, That brings to

our cheeks the ruddy glow...”

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~ Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, “The Four Seasons” (1940s)

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DIRECTION BY LISA STONE KIM69


Brews Colorful Creativity

Written by Cris Cadiz Nicole Bedard photos

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Have you shopped for craft beer lately? The choices are endless, and each is made with a lot of love - and a willingness to take risks to offer something unique. How can one choose from this colorful gallery behind the cool glass doors? If you agree that the beauty of beer isn’t only in its flavor, you’re not alone: the craft beer craze has given birth to a can art movement. The wonders of handcrafted beer include a vast array of flavors and varieties, with amazing creativity both inside and outside the can. Vibrant hues, images ranging from cartoony sketches to polished classic design, goofy names, irreverent humor…there’s a visual style for everyone.

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...the craft bee has given birth t art move

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er craze to a can ement...

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Black Hog Brewing in Oxford, Connecticut, has melded a perfect blend of great craft beer and inspired artwork. Established four years ago in a small, out-of-the-way industrial park, Black Hog is a family-founded, grassroots business that has jumped into the world of craft brewing in a big way. According to Head Brewer Tyler Jones, they have recently expanded to increase production and tasting room space. With five 30-barrel and three 60-barrel fermenters, Black Hog Brewing is on track to produce 6,000 barrels this year. When I arrive, it’s a production day and everyone is hard at work. Jam band rock music blares over the hisses, clinks and snaps of the canning line. The guys working the machine pull from a pallet of printed, lidless cans, placing a row of four onto the assembly line, which moves the cans through an automated process. The cans are washed and sanitized, then filled with a burst of carbon dioxide, then with beer, then another shot of CO2. The aluminum lid is lowered on and then pressed into place with an airtight seal that keeps the beer fresh and frothy until it’s opened. A pleasant, yeasty smell fills the air. It feels like a Willy Wonka factory for the 21-plus crowd. Every Black Hog Brewing can tells a story. The original story starts with friendship and a passion for good food and drink. Artist Max Toth was just finishing graduate school in New Haven for fine art painting when he met Jason Sobocinski. “A mutual friend acknowledged we both have a slightly over-average love of consuming food,” Max says, laughing. “We hit it off right away.” Max started doing small projects for Jason’s business at the time - Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro - including designing a cookbook. “Over the years it became a really easy working situation,” says Max. When Jason and his brother Tom opened Black Hog

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If you agree that the beauty of beer isn’t only in its flavor, you’re not alone

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Brewing four years ago, Max came in on the ground floor, designing the Black Hog logo and everything else after. They told Max, “We know beer and we trust your aesthetic, so let it rip.” Max also developed a strong friendship with Black Hog’s head brewer, Tyler. “Me and Max,” he says… “He allows my art to be on the inside of the can. I allow his art to be on the outside of the can. It’s a great collaboration.” Black Hog uses Max exclusively to design their can labels and all their other creative material…and why not? His can art has depth, tells stories and every design has its own personality and style.

We know beer

and we trust your aesthetic,

so let it rip...”

With strong bonds of friendship plus part ownership in the brewery, working with Black Hog is much more than a job to Max. Although he has had a successful career as a fine artist since 2005 and doesn’t consider himself a commercial artist, Max really enjoys making can art. “I’m having a great time!” he declares enthusiastically. He finds many creative parallels between can design and fine art. “The projects that feel like bears-the frustrating ones where you have to dig for depth--are often the best. I come out with a product that’s different than what I had expected and typically better.”

Max’s first can design was Black Hog’s flagship Ginga Ninja, a red IPA with fresh ginger. Tyler brought this recipe with him from 80

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Max Toth’s can

tells stories and e own personal

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n art has depth,

every design has its lity and style.

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his time as head brewer at New Hampshire’s Portsmouth Brewery. “Ginga Ninja is the classic and was our first true collaboration,” says Tyler. “It was my wedding beer. Max sketched a woman modeled after his girlfriend and added the Ninja stars [an allusion to 2011 documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi]. Then he added my wife’s flowing red hair. He just runs with stories and makes them awesome.” The original watercolor medium translates beautifully to the soft, flowing design on the can. From Tyler’s perspective, their collaboration sounds like magic. “I give Max a beer name, if I have one, or where the beer idea came from…what it tastes like, smells like, the color and other things about it. I’ll get radio silence for a few weeks. Then all of a sudden it’s like all these ideas come back. He always has a few iterations, but I find his first instinct is the one I lean toward. He’s really good at molding it into some art form I would never think of.” “I picture it like I’m untying a knot,” says Max of his creative process. “I start with a specific piece of information and see where it will take me. Which part already has established symbolism? Do we want to stand out or do something different? What has a really cool story? That’s what brings me into all of my art. It’s what I care about the most.” Of course, marketing is as important as aesthetic value. “The art itself helps on the shelf. It’s getting to be a very crowded market out there,” Tyler admits. “The only way to get people to take it off the shelf, take it home and try it, is to catch their eye.” As the craft beer trend took hold, the shift from bottles to cans allowed can art to thrive. “Historically, everything was in glass before they figured out how to extrude aluminum,” Tyler explains. “For years, if beer wasn’t in a glass bottle, people thought it was crap, because all the big guys were in cans.” In fact, an aluminum can is simply

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there’s a visual style for

a better vessel for beer. According to Tyler, “It’s 100% light blocking, 100% oxygen blocking, gets colder faster, stays colder longer. It’s also 100% aluminum so 100% recyclable. It’s lighter, so easier to ship. There’s so many good things about it.”

every-

Tyler explains that huge commercial brewers invested in the cost advantage and people started to realize it was okay to drink beer from cans. When can linings were developed, it changed the game for craft brewers. It meant the pH of the aluminum wouldn’t affect taste—a significant benefit for recipes that depend on unique and unusual flavors. Finally, cans have much more surface area for information than a bottle label. Thus, can art became part of the craft brew phenomena.

one.

Learning to make can art has even informed Max’s technical growth as an artist. Today, his can art work is mostly digital, but he always starts sketching by hand. “The first three cans I designed were all watercolor, full-on art. It was a great process but printing it was [difficult]! Immediately after that, I learned [Adobe] Illustrator,” he admits, laughing. “It was like being given a screwdriver after trying to get the screws in with a hammer. It’s still drawing based so we don’t lose that hand touch, but I’m in control of it.” Max loves Google and Wikipedia for research. It’s often there where he finds “the story that we haven’t heard with a visual aspect that’s going to be exciting.” While

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designing the can for Belgian Invasion - the working title for a NE IPA/Saison Hybrid that will be released in 2019 - Max stumbled across a cultural event that lit his creative fire. “I found there’s this parade through Belgium that is bonkers looking!” he exclaims. “They wear these masks, like from V for Vendetta… but imagine a mask with the face of a portly couch-potato person!” The imagery clearly tickles him. While each of the 40 cans Max has designed has its own unique style and flair--and reflects his vast creativity--the Black Hog logo maintains cohesion. “We’ve been able to keep everything still looking like ours. There are times when we have to sneak it in,” Max says. “Like in Ghost Rye Da… there are little pigs in the fire.” Max also likes to pull in the Black Hog family, using figures of different people in the business. While designing Piglet Double IPA, he borrowed Tyler’s father’s Zentangle design and worked it into the pale yellow background of the can. “The guys are 100% supportive,” Max declares of Black Hog’s can collaboration. “They make a great product, which makes it easy to be motivated. They trust me and I trust them. There is a web of opinions that are all respectful of one another but not always on the same page. It ends up being a great process on both sides. And it’s something I’m really excited to do every time.”

To visit Black Hog Brewing

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GLOBAL STREET

FOOD:

DEEP ROOTS STYLE BY GENA GOLAS WINTER CAPLANSON PHOTOS

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A year ago at Christmas, Eliza Florian was gifted a home DNA test, the kind where you submit a sample by mail and eventually get ancestry results. Little did she know that DNA test would reveal not only her past, but also her future. Also a year ago, Eliza found herself at a crossroads. The barbershop that shared the building with her business, Grassroots Ice Cream, was relocating, leaving a vacancy— and an opportunity. Eliza’s popular ice cream shop had long outgrown its 600-squarefoot space on the Granby town green, which included a basement creamery where every three-gallon tub of ice cream had to be hand-carried up the worn, narrow, wooden steps to the shop above. The newly vacant adjacent storefront was the perfect opportunity to move the creamery—finally—

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upstairs, but Eliza envisioned more in that space. Fueled by the results of that DNA test, and an ancestry with ties to Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, and Africa, Eliza imagined a restaurant that would combine cuisines from each of those countries and more. So, without a clear menu, or a chef, Eliza and her husband got to work on the build-out of the space, deciding to figure out the rest out as they went. While operating a restaurant might have been foreign to Eliza, business ownership was not, and

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neither was cooking international cuisine. “Cooking can give you pops of culture you can participate in without traveling,” says Eliza. Ever since her kids were young, Eliza found ways to travel with her family through food. Together they would seek out the most authentic foreign cuisine in their area, and then take those ideas home to recreate them in their own kitchen. Back then, those dishes might not have been professionally presented to her family, but the flavors were spot-on. The DNA test results, Eliza remembers, were the turning point for her when planning out her new venture: “I want to celebrate what cultures have brought to our country, and have it understood better. People relate to a

culture through food.” Thus, the aptly named Deep Roots Street Food was born. The decision to serve street food meant that Eliza could recreate other countries’ everyday cuisine, Deep Roots style. Some menu favorites include the Turkish Berliner, a German Doner kebab-turned-sandwich, with tender beef and lamb, creamy tzatziki, crisp vegetables, and a Turkish feta dressing; the Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich on a handmade bun, with fragrant lemongrass beef, crunchy vegetables, spicy jalapeno, and sweet chili vinegar dressing; and the showstopper Hairdresser Salad, brought to the Netherlands by Turkish immigrants—a big

“Deep Roots is cozy, relaxed, and friendly.”

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“With so much global cuisine to draw inspiration from, Chef Sturtevantd has, quite literally, the world at his fingertips, all the while rooted in culture and tradition.�

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bowl of minced beef and lamb, French fries, lettuce, feta cheese, tomato, carrot, green pepper, cucumber, olives, pepperoncini, tzatziki, crispy chickpeas, pita bread, falafel, and hummus. The menu may reflect Eliza’s roots, but the “Ever-Evolving Menu” leaves room for creativity by head chef Hazen Sturtevant. Grilled cheese is on the menu, but you never know what you might find between the bread along with the chef-selected melted cheese. Same goes for the Street Dog, a quarter-pound Angus hot dog that can be topped with anything from sauerkraut, to secret sauce, to housemade chili. A menu that may change daily or, sometimes, more than once in a day, mirrors the spirit of adjacent Grassroots Ice Cream. Grassroots is known for its small batch flavors, and its ability “to do anything.” On a busy summer day, the shop will flip its flavor tags eight or nine times, creating a sense of urgency and excitement among its patrons. Some customers call every single day to check if their favorite flavor is back in stock, and the community has taken matters into their own hands, posting

“A menu that may change daily or, sometimes, more than once in a day, mirrors the spirit of adjacent Grassroots Ice Cream.” CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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in the Granby town Facebook group to notify their fellow neighbors of the current menu as they stand in line. Extending that same excitement to the menu at Deep Roots keeps the cuisine fresh and seasonal. Deep Roots operates as a fast casual restaurant, in a style made popular recently out in California. Deep Roots is cozy, relaxed, and friendly. Patrons order at the front

“People relate to a culture through food.”

counter, and the staff will bring your order, check on you throughout your meal, and clear the tables at the end of your meal. Eliza aims to show “how quick service can be a pleasant experience.” She remembers a

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time when “you knew your shop owners” and hopes to create the same relationships with her customers at Deep Roots as she has at Grassroots Ice Cream. Grassroots Ice Cream has made a name for itself, providing delicious, hand-made ice cream with an element of surprise. Deep Roots Street Food, although open only for a few weeks at the time of this writing, seems set to do the same. Eliza says, “I don’t like to micromanage, as long as it keeps the standard of deliciousness.” With so much global cuisine to draw inspiration from, Chef Sturtevant has, quite literally, the world at his fingertips, all the while rooted in culture and tradition.

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“Y

BE STILL BY LISA STONE KIM 100

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o m o t u t c e h g w t ’ i n n a t e c r ” . i n u r t e h t e o n i w Y ~ ROBERT FROST

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~


Beyond Your Wildest Dreams Mystic’s

Denison Pequotsepos

Nature Center BY ANNA SAWIN

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s I asked

a parent what they like best about kids’ programs at the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic. The answer? “Kids come home CTFOODANDFARM.COM

dirty, happy, and knowing more than I do about the natural world!” But what if a nature center could offer more diverse opportunities for kids and adults? The DPNC’s roots are farreaching, with communitybuilding at its core. From fort-building to pond dipping, bird watching and serving up muddy delights, local children have long known the joys of program

immersion at the DPNC. “They’ve learned so much in these programs that it’s now up to us as parents to keep up,” said another parent. And now they can. Children’s summer camp programs are just the beginning at DPNC, with year-round programming appealing to a wide range of participants, “From acorn to oak: children through seniors in their 90s,” says Cassandra

Meyer-Ogren, DPNC Director of Marketing and Communications. Classes are keyed to the seasons, and are inspired by the strengths of individual educators on staff. “We’re kind of like an onion,” Meyer-Ogren explains. “People are familiar with one layer of what we do, and once they get started they realize there are so many more programs for them to interact with.” 103


Exceptional and forwardthinking are two ways to describe DPNC programs. Not just a repository for shedded snake skins and turtle shells, the DPNC highlights the habitats of southeastern Connecticut through its wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation center, their classic natural history museum and shop and their extensive educational facilities, including a preschool and the newly acquired 45-acre Coogan Farm. The farm is where the DPNC branches out from education, to meet yet another important community need. It houses the “Giving Garden,” with vegetables

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grown under the leadership of experienced farmers and their volunteer squad, and distributed by mobile food pantries located throughout New London County. Using sustainable farming practices to provide food for people

“Kids come than I do ab embodies the DPNC’s mission of connecting people to the land, according to Craig Floyd, farm manager. “Food banks typically distribute shelf-stable and

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non-perishable food, so it’s important to provide fresh, healthy, in-season vegetables to our neighbors throughout New London county in need,” says Floyd. “Folks are pretty happy to enjoy our spinach, kale, tomatoes or

Garden is helping meet it.” Also extending the mission of good health and highquality food are the cooking classes at DPNC. Not your usual topic for a natural history museum, but with

known for is their wildlife rehabilitation program, as evidenced by Mr. Bill, the great-horned owl that graces the DPNC logo. Kim Hargrave, Director of Education, cites the more than 1,000 calls they get

be able to survive on their own, and have a permanent residence at the Nature Center,” says Hargrave. Currently, they care for 22 birds at the DPNC, with the majority of them nonreleasable.

each year about injured animals, and encourages the public to keep them coming. “If anyone finds injured wildlife, we at the Nature Center are happy to pass on advice and connect you with local animal rehabilitation if we cannot help the animal onsite,” she says. The DPNC primarily takes birds of prey and adult songbirds into their rehabilitation program; most are there due to wing or sight injuries. “The goal is always to release the animals, but some will not

Interested in supporting these efforts? Here’s an unusual way: fund a shipment of the specialordered mice these birds require. Yes, you heard correctly: between Mr. Bill, red-tailed hawks Wanda and Frank (named for a local couple who volunteered in animal rehab), short-eared owl Kingsley and all their pals, the DPNC must provide approximately 85 mice a day for meals, and that’s just for the birds of prey.

home dirty, happy, and knowing more bout the natural world!” carrots through the local mobile food pantries we supply. There’s a big need in our area, and the Giving

a full commercial kitchen onsite and the bounty of Coogan Farm for inspiration, DPNC has hosted dozens of adult and child learners in the kitchen. “We have classes on cheese making, and elderberry syrup-making and plantbased eating, among many others. It’s definitely a different direction for a nature center,” says MeyerOgren. But what they are most-well

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“From fort-building to pond dippi serving up muddy delights, local the joys of program immersion at

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ing, bird watching and l children have long known t the DPNC.�

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Programs that partner with the animal rehab efforts are among Hargrave’s favorites. “I love to lead hikes and show people things in nature they have likely walked past their whole lives, but never really seen,” she says. “For example, the Owl Prowl in January or February, when the owls set up their nesting sites, or the vernal pool classes, featuring wood frogs and salamanders.” It takes a village to care for these animals and run these programs, from the Animal Curator, to the education staff and the volunteers. Chelle Farrand, Volunteer Coordinator, is quick to praise the Nature Center volunteers, saying, “We have an amazing volunteer corps that support our mission and promote becoming naturecentered. Our modern lives seem to have less appreciation for nature and all that supports our collective health. Time spent in nature changes that. And time spent volunteering can provide better life balance and health. Our volunteers learn new skills, have fun and meet a community of new people. Our goal is that volunteers spend their time with us in meaningful ways that connect back to the community and nature.” Meyer-Ogren adds, “Really, it comes down to community -- from the rich community of microbes in the soil, the community of volunteers that interact with the farm and the community enjoying the produce, and the facilities and the programming.” Whether you’re ready to try a family program, a cooking class, or getting your hands into soil, check out the opportunities below - or visit dpnc.org.

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“The DPNC’s roots are farreaching, with communitybuilding at its core.” 109


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Family Programs WINTER NATURE CREATION STATION For families with children of all abilities Sundays, January 27, February 24 10 am - 12 pm Spend the morning at Coogan Farm. Stop by the J.X. Barn for an inclusive, open art studio for families. Our naturalists / artists will be on hand to provide project inspiration and materials to create your own masterpiece. After spend time on a winter with a hike on the trails, enjoying the beauty of the landscape. Meets in the J.X. Barn at Coogan Farm. FREE through the generous support of the E.K. Bunting Fund

FULL SNOW MOON Tuesday, February 19 6 - 7:30 pm Manatuck Preserve, Stonington Celebrate the full moon with an evening walk, through the meadows and forests at the private Manatuck Preserve. The transition from day to night can be an exciting time to tune our sense to nature. This preserve is only open to the public during DPNC lead hikes. Full moon walks take place whether the sky is clear or overcast. Members: FREE, Nonmembers: $10

Cooking

FROM THE GARDEN TO THE KITCHEN: KID’S COOKING Sundays, January 6 and February 3 2 - 3:30 pm Each month come explore what’s in season at the Kitchen Garden at Coogan Farm and using fresh ingredients each class we’ll cook up something wonderful! Meets in the Lattner Kitchen at Coogan Farm. Members: $17 per class, Nonmembers: $20 per class

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EASY VEGETARIAN MAIN DISHES Thursdays, January 10 and February 21 6 - 7:30 pm You don’t need to be a full-time vegetarian to help the planet. Eating meatless once a week can have a positive impact on the planet and your own health. Each month, a different chef will demonstrate how to make a favored recipe and help you eat good food with a positive impact. Meets in the Lattner Kitchen at Coogan Farm. Members: $17 per class, Nonmembers: $20 per class

CHEESE MAKING GOAT CHEESE Thursday, January 24 6:30 - 8pm Try your hand at learning the art of making goat cheese. Make and taste fresh goat cheese during the program and leave with recipes and experience to make your own at home! Meets in the Lattner Kitchen at Coogan Farm. Members: $21.25 per class, Nonmembers: $25 per class

Gardening

SEED STARTING Saturday, February 16 1-3pm Learn the best practices for starting seeds indoors, including augmenting potting soil, inoculating seeds, how to plant seeds, as well as light, heat and water requirements. Meets in J.X. Barn at Coogan Farm. Members:$17

Nonmembers: $20

Classic Camp NATURE CAMP

DPNC’s classic Nature Camp provides a well-rounded experience for campers ages 3 to 15. Children learn about a wide variety of ecosystems and habitats such as ponds, streams, meadows and forests, all around the Nature Center and on local field trips. Animal encounters are a favorite introducing campers to DPNC’s resident frogs, turtles, snakes, rabbits and birds of prey. Children practice social skills through fun games, test their physical motor skills by climbing on our favorite rocks and boulders, and express themselves creatively through various art projects and activities. Nature camp brings children back to basics and nurtures connections to the natural world.

GARDEN PLANNING 101 Saturday, January 12 1-3pm Let us help you get started with the knowledge you need to grow and tend a successful garden. Farmer Craig will provide tips on what to grow, where to buy supplies, where to start plants inside, transplanting and much more. Meets in J.X. Barn at Coogan Farm. Members:$17 112

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The OF

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By Erica Buehler Winter Caplanson photos

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In a far

corner of the state, in what some describe as a dreary time for all, there shines a beacon of hope; it exists in the form of a purpose, a passionate farmer, and 30,000 square feet of land. The Giving Garden, far more than just a garden, was born as a result of the 2012 revival of Coogan Farm, the secondary campus of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center (referred to as DPNC), in Mystic. Coogan Farm was the last big, undeveloped plot of land between I-95 and downtown Mystic, and the Senior Director of Philanthropy for the DPNC wanted to save the land from future development by preserving it as a natural, open space for people to connect with nature via various hiking trails, group outdoor activities and classes, and rehabilitated animals. The DPNC funded the Giving Garden as part of its mission to improve the quality of life in eastern Connecticut by growing fresh, organic produce for the Gemma E. Moran United Way Labor Food Center, which feeds all food pantries throughout New London County.

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The primary purpose of the Giving Garden is producing organic, nutrientrich foods in a way that “works with Mother Nature” and upholds a “farm, food, and body connection,” as Cassandra Meyer-Ogren, Director of Marketing and Communications for the DPNC, puts it. Cassandra explains that the Giving Garden is often used as a “learning campus, offering education programs for all ages,” used to teach kids and adults alike about

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anything."

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“what we eat and how we grow it,” and the psychological benefits that come from enriching our bodies. There are lessons to be learned out in the Garden, including how to properly mix soil and grow successful produce, and also in the Nature Center’s farmhouse kitchen, where classes are taught on proper food preparation and making thoughtful choices so people can cook with ease and eat healthy at home.

he’s someone who really cares. Upon explaining to me a decision to eat one meal per day for a period of time in 2014 in order to really understand hunger, Floyd describes, “the knot that you get right here in your stomach, when you go to bed hungry and you get up hungry… to have a child experience that…it’s not right. I have the capability of changing that.”

The knot

that you get

With a long history of farming knowledge under his belt, Floyd took over as manager of the Giving Garden in 2014 with a goal of high production and equally high nutrition. Last year’s harvest yielded a whopping 17,000 pounds (from, what Floyd would like to point out, is actually only 11,800 square feet of “plantable” land – aka, a huge increase in production from the garden’s initial harvest of 2,080 pounds). After committing to managing the garden, Floyd visited – and still visits – the food pantries that the Garden serves to ask people what they’d like to see grown in the garden. “What do you want?” He asks. “I can grow anything.”

right here in your stomach, when

What the Garden radiates, other than serotoningenerating bacteria that will have you “wasted on nature” as one comes to find out, is a sense of community and helping others. “It’s the community of microbes in the soil, it’s the community of volunteers that we have and how they interact with us and how they help us to grow, as well as the community that is then enjoying the produce,” says Meyer-Ogren. The Garden, worked almost entirely by volunteers, provides a gathering place for people who want to give back. But one person in particular, the manager of the Garden, seems to work his own kind of magic. Craig Floyd is many things: a skilled farmer, a veteran, a husband and friend; but most importantly,

you go to bed hungry and you get up hungry… to have a child experience that... … i t ’ s not right. I have the capability of changing that.""”

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Floyd clarifies that serving the food pantries is not just about producing food,

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“What we'’re doing is sav we’'re doing our part to

sa

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ving people. And hopefully .�

ave the planet

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but the nutritional quality of the food being produced. He explains that the food we eat today has lost 50% of its nutritional quality since 1940, and loses another 30% within three days of coming out of the field. “People are used to getting canned goods from BJs and Walmart that have just reached their expiration date.” The Garden and Nature Center aim to teach volunteers and visitors that what we eat and how it’s grown matters. That’s also why the Garden’s method of production is totally pesticide and chemical-free, and why it’s a no-till, no-spray garden. What matters most to Floyd, though, isn’t necessarily how much he can grow, but how many people, particularly children, he can feed. “That’s what it’s about – it’s not about me, it’s about my people and it’s about what we’re doing for the community… my focus is right here. This is what’s making a difference, and this is providing a different kind of visibility for the Nature Center…now what we’re doing is saving people. And hopefully we’re doing our part to save the planet.” The Nature Center provides a plethora of before and after school programs and classes, including cooking and gardening classes, that all incorporate the Garden in one way or another with the singular goal of educating kids. While the Garden is open and intended for everyone to enjoy, learn, and heal, the conversation always seems to circle back to the children; the ones who experience real hunger, who grow up without consistent, healthy meals three times a day. As plants need to be properly fed and cared for in order to reach their full potential, children need to be properly fed and cared for in order to reach theirs.

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“...by the time you leave the Giving Garde

y

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en, you feel calm and restored, but

yearning for more.�

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While almost the entirety of the produce grown goes to each and every food pantry in New London County, a small portion feeds the dedicated volunteers who come from all walks of life to experience the calming and invigorating effects of the Giving Garden, including local school children, various community groups, and neighboring businesses like Pfizer. Many of these groups are looking for ways to give back organically and engage with their community, and do so by getting their hands dirty for a good cause. Active volunteers or people just looking to lend a hand can find opportunities on the DPNC website, on local community calendars, or by simply stopping by for a visit (during the winter season, the DPNC Welcome Center is only open on weekends). It would be an understatement to describe the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, Coogan Farm, and the Giving Garden as incredible; the work being done to preserve nature, protect wildlife, and provide for the community is nothing but pure compassion and dedication. Craig Floyd was right, too: by the time you leave the Giving Garden, you feel calm and restored, but yearning for more. There’s a desire to stick your hands into the dirt and watch as you help something come to life – whether it’s a pea or a potato – knowing you’re also helping a fellow human. In the end, we’re all just creatures coexisting. Sometimes we forget, but it’s projects like the Giving Garden and people like Craig Floyd that remind us to lend a hand if and when we can. Volunteer opportunities can be found at: dpnc.org/volunteer, and Giving Garden programs in particular at: dpnc.org/ calendar.

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“ In the end,

we'’re all just creatures

coexisting.

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farm

to table market: cultivating hope

and community BY COURTNEY MENDILLO SQUIRE TERESA JOHNSON PHOTOS

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Walking into Farm to Table Market at Elm Farm in Woodstock, Connecticut on a sunny afternoon, one is immediately transported back to another era. With the ambience of days gone by, it feels like the quintessential small neighborhood general store in 19th century rural America. The items and furniture that adorn the walls and fill the space all come from the family’s home farm, where their main dairy is: just a hop, skip and jump across the street. The market sells their own wholesome fresh milk in glass bottles; beef and pork they’ve raised; delicious breads and pies made just down the road; lettuces and vegetables from local small farms; some of the creamiest ice cream produced in Connecticut; the full line of Cabot products; and other items made with pride by neighbors and other New England producers. It’s a place where community comes together to celebrate the best of what they have to offer, in a beautiful picturesque setting amongst the rolling hills of northeast Connecticut. Customers and neighbors joyfully meander the small but cozy layout, with longtime residents pointing to the pictures on the wall and sharing enthusiastic remembrances of their grandfather or uncle who worked on that CTFOODANDFARM.COM

tractor, or in that barn at Elm Farm almost a century ago. They reminisce about the quiet moments and first dates experienced in this place that was far from the hustle and bustle of mid-century America, when mass production and TV dinners paved the way for our current fast-paced lifestyles. They’re finding the history that connects them, and the food that keeps them connected, in this small little slice of Americana found in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner. Elm Farm began in 1885 and is now in its sixth generation, with the seventh preparing to join the ranks of the small family dairy farms of New England. Owners Matt and Chrissy Peckham and their four kids, Caleb, Grace, Graham, and Tucker, are the faces of what the future of dairy farming looks like in New England. Even the most dedicated and ambitious young farmers-to-be share an uncertain future in a changing industry where the bills have gone up but the paycheck has gone down. In an age where corporate dairies rely on huge herds of cattle to produce mass quantities of milk, that are then sold at a fixed price through big-box retailers, one can’t help but wonder how these small family farms will continue to define the New England landscape. 133


“This feels like the quintessential small neighborhood general store in 19th century rural America.”

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Small dairy operators must absorb and reduce costs at every end of the spectrum to stay in business, such as growing and making their own feed and raising their own calves. And even then, there are the increased costs of doing business that are a far cry from the way this industry was founded over a century ago. The costs of equipment alone leave most small dairy farmers having to pay someone else to harvest and custom-chop the corn and feed, instead of taking on additional debt to pay for enormously expensive pieces of equipment. Add to that the cost of fuel and service bills for on-site equipment, and it’s no wonder that farmers like Matt and Chrissy Peckham are forging a new path in agriculture that hinges upon branching out into retail to complement their wholesale business. Matt’s great-grandfather grew vegetables and did the milk route for his parents back at the turn of the century. Matt’s grandfather made a living selling milk wholesale. They were able to support their families through their dairy back when times were simpler, farms were small family businesses,

and mass production and consumption were not the norm. Understanding that “you can’t just milk cows anymore,” Matt says he and Chrissy have thought about diversifying for years now, in anticipation of their son Caleb joining the family business. They see their new retail store as paving the way for the next generation on Elm Farm, all while providing an extremely valuable service to the neighborhood and community. Farm to Table Market is a vision of the future that is rooted in our collective past, during a time when the neighborhood general store was the main hub for milk, bread, and other items to feed the family. Matt, Chrissy, and the whole family are dedicated to making this store a success, not only to help alleviate the financial pressures of the wholesale dairy business, but more so to create community and a healthier way for people to feed their own families the highest quality food. In fact, they started raising their own beef and pork as a way to ensure they were feeding their own kids the best food they possibly could. Now, they have a way to share

d that keeps them onnecticut’s Quiet Corner.” CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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“We’re going back to what works, which is bringing real food back to the neighborhood.” that with others, as customers stop in after work to pick up their meats, milk, bread, and vegetables for dinner - and maybe some pie for dessert. They line up around the corner in the warmer months to taste the award-winning ice cream for sale at the market, and make local friends while they’re at it. Chrissy says they’re “going back to what works, which is bringing real food back to the neighborhood.” Elm Farm ships over 1,000 gallons of milk a day from their 150 cows as part of the Cabot Creamery Cooperative. They raise and sell their own beef and pork, and bottle their own milk in oldschool glass bottles for sale at the market. The Peckham family is proud of the products they make, and the items they sell. They know the people who make these products, and while they know many of the customers coming from the surrounding area, they are also excited to see new faces, too. It’s a true family affair, with the kids and extended family helping out and supporting this new venture. The Peckham family has inspired other small dairy farmers all over New England, many of whom continue to visit the store to get ideas for their own future projects. As neighbors and customers shop the store, smiling as they pull the jugs of milk off the shelves, Chrissy smiles too and says, “There’s hope in here. There’s hope here.” Find Farm to Table Market on Facebook, and visit the store at 324 Woodstock Rd in Woodstock, Connecticut. They’re open daily from 10 am-6:30 pm.

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a flute of prosecco or cava on its own, I will never say no to the fizz of sparkling wine elevating a Connecticut cocktail! “Bubbly cocktails will be a strong trend in 2019,” predicts Dan Sheckman of Oak Haven Table and Bar in New Haven. “Bartenders are using a wide variety of ingredients with prosecco, champagne, cava or other bubbly wines to create delicious and inspired cocktail options for patrons that want to enjoy a simple, delicate, and refreshing drink that is low in alcohol.”

I’ve gathered my favorite bartenders’ sparkling wine cocktail recipes from around the state so you can make these flavorful and fun drinks at home:

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“I will never say no to the fizz of sparkling wine elevating a Connecticut cocktail”

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Blue Birch ARTISAN, West Hartford

1.5 oz Beefeater Gin .75 oz Wild Moon Birch Liqueur .5 oz Lemon Juice .5 oz Simple Syrup 2 dashes Scrappy’s Black Lemon Bitters 1 eye-dropper of B’lure Butterfly Blue Pea Flower extract Prosecco Combine gin, birch liqueur, simple syrup, and B’lure in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, then strain into a Collins glass with ice. Top with Prosecco and lemon juice…watch the drink change from blue to a purplish pink color! Top with 2 dashes of back lemon bitters and garnish with another dropper of B’lure.

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Blame It On the Aperol

UNION KITCHEN, West Hartford

2 oz Ketel One Grapefruit-Rose Botanical Vodka .5 oz Fresh lemon juice .5 oz Aperol Prosecco Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake hard, and strain into flute glass. Top with Prosecco, garnish with orange twist.

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Smokey The Pear

DAN SHECKMAN, OAK HAVEN TABLE AND BAR, New Haven 3 oz Prima Perla Prosecco 1.5 oz NYDC Perry Tot Navy Strength Gin 1 oz Ruby Red Grapefruit - Lemon Thyme Shrub (It’s fantastic! Recipe below!) .5 oz fresh lemon juice .5 oz smoked agave nectar .5 oz Priqly Prickly Pear liqueur 2 dashes Peychaud’s Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters Add all ingredients except prosecco and bitters to a cocktail shaker. Pour prosecco into tall Collins glass and add ice. Shake ingredients and strain into Collins glass over ice and prosecco. Top with bitters. Garnish with lemon thyme sprig and burnt lemon wheel.

Ruby Red GrapefruitLemon Thyme Shrub 6 large ruby red grapefruits 3 cups apple cider vinegar 1.5 cups sugar 1 dozen lemon thyme sprigs 1 dozen black peppercorns

Juice grapefruits and save juice for alternative uses. Cut spent grapefruits into quarters. Clean and sanitize a one-gallon glass jar. Place lemon thyme and black peppercorns in bottom of jar. Put quartered grapefruits in; top with sugar. Seal jar, shake to disperse sugar, and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. Reopen jar, add vinegar and give a good shake. If there is still open space then use a Ziploc bag filled with water to fill any extra space in the jar to ensure no grapefruit is exposed to air. Make sure jar is sealed well. Store in a dark, dry and cool place for 3-6 days depending on preferred flavor/acidity. Once shrub is ready, fine strain into containers. Make sure you squeeze the grapefruits to get all liquid out. Store shrub in the refrigerator. Total yield will be one full quart. 148

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P rickle Your Fancy CURE, Unionville

“This is an approachable gin cocktail for even non-gin drinkers. Malfy Gin Con Arancia is a bright, vibrant Italian gin produced using Sicilian blood oranges to give it a sweet, juicy flavor profile which melds perfectly here with the sweetness of Thatcher’s Prickly Pear Liqueur. Incorporating ‘The Dead Rabbit’s lemon sherbet,’ a cocktail ingredient that adds a bright citrus note to the drink, elevates this to craft cocktail status. Brut champagne adds balance and cuts the sweetness.” - JAMIE OAKES 1.5 oz Malfy Gin Con Arancia .75 oz Thatcher’s Prickly Pear 1 oz lemon sherbet (Not the freezer-case variety. Recipe below!) 2 oz Brut champagne Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker. Add ice, shake hard, and double strain into cocktail glass. Top with Brut champagne; garnish with lemon peel.

The “Lemon Sherbet” is worth the effort required to make it. Here’s the recipe:

4 lemons 1.5 cups granulated sugar 12 oz. fresh lemon juice Prepare an oleo-saccharum with lemon peels and sugar. (This means to grate the zest of the lemon into sugar, muddle, and let it sit for an hour). In a small saucepan, add the lemon juice and oleo-saccharum and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Strain and keep up to 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.

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Gin Some, Lose Some NOLO, New Haven

1.5oz Gray Whale Gin .5oz Italicus Bergamot Rosolio .25oz Creme de Cacao Pinch sea salt Combine ingredients, stir with ice, then strain into a Collins glass. Add fresh ice and top up with Prosecco. Garnish with a dehydrated Lemon Wheel.

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Catalan Queen TAPROCK BEER BAR AND REFUGE, Unionville

“South American brandy dances with the aromatics and romance of the Mediterranean. The cocktail’s signature flavors come from Barsol Pisco; Italicus Rosolio, a liqueur made from rose petals and bergamot; and Spanish Cava.” - KHALID WILLIAMS 2 oz. BarSol Pisco ¾ oz. Italicus Rosolio ¾ oz. Lemon juice in which blood orange peels have been steeped overnight 1 oz. Spanish Cava Combine these 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice. Shake vigorously then strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with .5 oz Pineapple Sage Foam (recipe follows): 2 oz pineapple juice 1 oz sage-infused simple syrup 1 egg white .5 oz lime juice Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and dry shake vigorously (with no ice), for 30 seconds, until egg whites are foamy.

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American brandy

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true champagne at an excellent price. Made from the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, this champagne is

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“Champagne” can mean many things to many people: a bubbly wine from the region of Champagne…or any wine with bubbles. While true champagne from the Champagne region just northeast of Paris can be expensive, not all bubblies require taking out a second mortgage. Italian Prosecco from the northwestern region of Italy, for example, has become so popular that it has now joined other sparklers on numerous wine lists. Spanish Cava is also a great bubbly option that can give you the bright sparkling fortitude of champagne with the gentler pricing of prosecco. Here are wine writer Marissa Ocasio’s top picks for bubblies available in any well-stocked wine shop. These are delightful enough to sip solo, yet affordable for mixing in sparkling wine cocktails!

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fuller in style. The Wine Advocate gives it 90 points and describes it as “an expansive, generous style, showing gorgeous inner perfume and fine overall balance.” ($32.00)

er 187ml bottles that are perfect for parties and showers - or when you just want a glass to celebrate getting through the holidays. ($15.99/$6.00)

L. AUBRY FILS (BRUT): This is a

A beautiful dry rose sparkling prosecco that will change your mind about what pink bubbles can be. Full of berry flavors and full-bodied, it will do double duty as an aperitif and to accompany charcuterie. ($17.00)

“grower champagne” made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. You won’t find this everywhere, but it is worth seeking out, especially since it will cost less than some of the most popular champagne labels. This bubbly has all of the qualities you think of when it comes to champagne—great acidity, bright saline notes, and enough minerality to complement a dozen oysters or so. ($40.00)

Prosecco: LA MARCA: One of the most popu-

lar proseccos in the marketplace, this one hits all the right notes: bubbly, flavorful and elegant. It has everything you’ve come to expect from prosecco at a price that won’t strain the budget. It’s also available in small-

SAN VENANZIO ROSE (BRUT):

Cava:

CASAS DEL MAR (BRUT): This

Blanc de Blancs is made just like champagne, but with grapes that are indigenous to the region of Penedes in northeastern Spain. It will remind you of champagne with its toasty notes and hints of fruit; an elegant and righteous pour. ($12.00) RAVENTOS I BLANC ‘DE NIT’ ROSE (BRUT) 2016: This vintage

rose sparkler made from Xarel-lo, Macabeu, Parellada, and a small amount of Monastrell will challenge whatever preconceived notion you CT FOOD & FARM / WINTER 2019


may have had about cava. Wine and Spirits magazine gave it 91 points and described it as “refreshing, juicy, crystalline in its fruit expression.� ($25.00)

Marissa Ocasio is a wine writer (drinknowledge. com) and is Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Certified Advanced. She is a wine consultant at Center Wine and Spirits, 41 Hebron Avenue in Glastonbury Connecticut. CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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Sparkling wines

are produced around the world…Cava from Spain, Prosecco from Italy, and Champagne from its namesake region in France. But wonderful sparkling wines are made in our own backyard as well, not only from grapes but also orchard fruits that thrive in Connecticut like raspberries, apples, strawberries and peaches. These outstanding Connecticut sparklers are often available only at the vineyard… your winter wine trail adventures await! BISHOPS ORCHARD WINERY, Guilford Sachem’s Twilight: A sparkling peach wine with a delightfully sweet and light bouquet of peach and summer flavors. Rubus Nightfall: A sparkling raspberry wine with a vibrant red color and petite bubbles. CHAMARD VINEYARDS, Clinton Stone Cold Sparkling: This wine has a nose brimming with green apples and ripe orchard fruit that translate to a bright citrusy palate alive with fresh effervescence. HOLMBERG WINERY, Gales Ferry Bubbly Blanc: A refreshing, champagnestyle wine with notes of strawberries and grapefruit.

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HOPKINS VINEYARD, Warren Silver Label: A brut (dry) sparkling wine, crisp and well-balanced with hints of hazelnuts and fresh bread. Gold Label: A mèthode champenoise blend of the traditional grapes used in French Champagne, offers a creamy richness with a hint of baked apples. JONES WINERY, Shelton Whimsical White: This gentle, sparkling white wine has flavors of grapefruit, honey suckle, and hints of white peach. Strawberry Serenade: A sparkling strawberry wine made with Jones’ famous strawberries.

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PARADISE HILLS VINEYARD, Wallingford Notte di Amore: a nicely balanced semidry sparkling wine with overtones of peach and pineapple flavors. La Bella Rosa: a beautiful sparkling rosĂŠ wine with light blush hues, bold flavors and aromas of strawberry and raspberry with a lively, floral finish. SUNSET MEADOW VINEYARDS, Goshen Shades: A pomegranate-hued sparkling wine bursting with bright, ripe berry, cherry and pomegranate notes with hints of honey on the nose and finish. Shades de Blanc: A Prosecco-style, semi-dry sparkling wine abundant with soft flavors of peach, grapefruit and kiwi. TAYLOR BROOKE WINERY, Woodstock Sparkling Frontenac Gris: Fruity but dry, this sparkling wine displays notes of pineapple, guava and bright citrus and ends with a crisp finish. WHITE SILO FARM & WINERY, Sherman Sparkling Red Raspberry: Fruity, semidry sparkling red raspberry.

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“i wo

...if the snow loves the trees and fields that it kis

And then it covers them up snug, you know, with

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onder

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the summer comes again.�- LEWIS CARROLL CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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P LIKE A CHEF

• o d a c r e M l E at by Amy S. White

Carla Ten Eyck photos CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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In

most major cities around the world, residents and tourists alike are able to enjoy epicurean delights at their neighborhood food market. Part food shop, part food court, part community center, these super-markets (as opposed to the grocery store chains we are used to) overflow with an abundance of regional specialty foods. Their fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, meats and seafoods – as well as stalls that serve prepared snacks and hot meals – all highlight the cuisine of their particular culture. The French Market in New Orleans. Testaccio Market in Rome. Central Market Hall in Budapest. La Boqueria in Barcelona. You get the idea. Their popularity is such that more and more of them, of all shapes (the cornucopia of Markthal, Rotterdam) and sizes (the 25-acre FICO Eataly World in Bologna), are opening every year.

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You may be wondering what all this has to do with the Connecticut food scene. The fact is, several such markets exist right here in the Nutmeg State. One of the best examples is Hartford’s El Mercado, located on Park Street, a street nicknamed “New England’s Spanish Main Street” because of its predominately Latino population. Chef Carlos Perez, chef/owner of La Palette Bakery in Watertown and Birchwood Catering Co. in Woodbury, met me there to walk through the market and talk about what it means to him both as a chef and someone with Latin American roots (he is half Cuban). Before I continue, I must admit that although I’ve lived in CT since 2002 and consider myself a “foodie,” this was my first visit to El Mercado. It sure as heck won’t be my last; in fact, I went back again only three days after

my visit with Chef Perez. As soon as I walked in, I was struck by the festive feel of the place: The sounds of Latin music and neighbors bantering in an array of Spanish dialects. The scents of spicy chicken, rice and beans, coffee. The sights of stacks of cactus leaves, heaps of fresh papayas, brightly colored flags of Central and South American countries adorning the aisles. It was an amalgam of Latin culture fifteen minutes from my house. I must have looked overwhelmed, because Chef invited me to sit at one of the dozen or so booths that lined the outskirts of the market where we could chat before touring the aisles. We were seated in a food court of sorts, although I don’t want to draw any comparisons to something you’d find at the mall. Before us were four separate vendors serving the cuisines of different nations – El Tepeyac

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Mexican, El Gran Dominicano, Authentico Sabor Peruano, and Antojitos Colombiano. Each were serving hot and cold dishes cafeteria-style, on paper plates and trays “for here,” and in the usual take-out containers “to go.” I didn’t eat that afternoon, but having returned only a few days later, I bought from the Dominican stall what was the most succulent roast pork with incredibly perfect crackling I’ve ever had, served alongside a mound of rice and beans, with sautéed sweet plantains, a bottled water and a coconut soda for a ridiculously-cheap-for-what-Ireceived $11.00. This section of El Mercado alone made me realize what I’d been missing all these years. But that was before Chef and I started talking more in depth and

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he explained why he loves this place so much – in a word, inspiration. He said, “We, as chefs, are constantly trying to find the newest thing, the newest flavor to mess around with. Markets like this offer those flavors. I can come here, pick out ten things I’ve never seen before and try to create something new.” One of Chef Perez’s favorite sections of this particular market is the produce section. As we walked through it, he pointed out fruits and vegetables I don’t find where I usually shop – fresh okra (I settled for frozen just last week when I made gumbo), prickly pears, stalks of sugar cane, and nopal, the cactus the prickly pear grows out of and which he shreds into a slaw. I noticed a package of

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CONNECTICUT CHEFS ALSO RECOMMEND: A DONG SUPERMARKET

their boneless spareribs are some of the best. Some advice to newcomers – have Google on hand, don’t be intimidated by the vast varieties, be open minded and always try to grab something new!”

Good to know: Large parking lot, accepts credit cards

Similar CT markets: Oriental Pantry, 485 Orange Street, New Haven; Omi, 786 Enfield Street, Enfield.

160 Shield Street, West Hartford 860.953.8903 adongsupermarket.webs.com Hours: Monday-Sunday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

“The sounds of

Latin music and neighbors

bantering in an array of Spanish dialects”

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A Dong carries a varied selection of groceries, cookware and gifts from all over Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. From kitchen staples such as sesame oil, spices, sauces and noodles to exotic vegetables and produce, this supermarket has been bringing hardto-find Asian products to the Greater Hartford area since 1989. Up front you’ll find prepared items such as roast pork, roast duck, and banh mi sandwiches as well as a butcher readying and packaging snout-to-tail meats. There’s a bakery counter with abundant sweets, fresh seafood, frozen goods, and all types of Asian drinks and snacks. Chef April Gibson of The North House in Avon says, “The thing I love about this market is how many opportunities there are for self-education. There’s just always so much to experiment with. Asian flavors have the most incredible personalities. Dried fish, quail eggs, unique produce like rambutan, lotus root, and lemongrass, even certain uncommon kitchen tools can be found here, and

ROLY POLY BAKERY

587 Main Street, New Britain 860.229.5109 No website available Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; closed Monday.

Good to know: Street and private lot parking, accepts credit cards Tucked inside the neighborhood in New Britain known as “Little Poland” you’ll find Roly Poly Bakery, which is a Polish bakery, deli, and specialty shop not to be confused with the rolled sandwich chain. Roly Poly is famous for their rye bread, pastries, donuts and other baked goods, as well as their wide selection of deli meats and cheeses. Chocolates, canned goods, coffee and condiments imported from Poland line the shelves. But Roly Poly is best known for their fresh, hot Polish meals like kielbasa, pierogi and golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls) that taste like they come straight out of babcia’s kitchen. As Chef 171


CHEFS ALSO RECOMMEND (continued): Matt Wick puts it, “I like to shop there because it reminds me of the time I spent in Europe. The market is very transportive. As a cook, it’s inspiring to be surrounded by a culture you may know little about. It teaches you to respect tradition but also opens up a lot more possibilities for creativity. My favorite time of year to shop there is now, around the holidays. They deck out hard. Not to be missed there for me is the pickle section and the mushrooms – porcini, chanterelles, honey mushrooms, all kinds of wild mushrooms that are otherwise difficult to find or ridiculously expensive in specialty stores (my favorite is the porcini in the mushroom-shaped jar). A home cook should shop there to up their meat and cheese platter game. The variety of ready-to-eat smoked meats and other charcuterie is stunning. My advice is to go without any time constraints and just wander. Get lost in it all. You will find something delicious.”

Similar CT markets: Adams Polish Foods, 205 Talcottville Road, Vernon; Polmag Deli, 820 State Street, New Haven.

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TANGIERS INTERNATIONAL MARKET

550 Farmington Avenue, Hartford 860.233.8168 tangiersmarket.com Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; closed Sunday.

Good to know: Parking lot, accepts credit cards Family-owned and operated, Tangiers International Market has delivered the flavors of the Mediterranean and Middle East to the Hartford area since 1995. Olive oil from Lebanon, spices from India, cheeses from Bulgaria, grains from Egypt, coffee from Turkey – these are just a few of the international products you will find in this specialty shop. But before or after you shop, you must sit at the counter for the true taste of Tangiers, a plate of stuffed grape leaves, spinach and feta pie, or their fabulously famous falafel served with tahini dressing. Chef Tyler Anderson says, “They have a great quality selection of Middle Eastern cooking ingredients. Unfortunately, I have never been to the Middle East, but somehow this place transports me there. Most importantly they have an amazing lunch counter where you can get some of the most ridiculously good Middle Eastern cooking in the state. The hummus ‘omg’, the baklava ‘dear Lord’ and the chickpea stew is rad. After years of being in the restaurant business I can

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CHEFS ALSO RECOMMEND (continued): walk into an operation and tell you if the owners love what they do, and this family, they love what they do and it shows. They are amazingly friendly and you feel like you are part of their family when you’re there.”

Similar CT markets: Saeed’s Market, 464 Ocean Avenue, New London; Dunya, 584 Plank Road, Waterbury

PATEL BROTHERS

171 E. Spencer Street, Manchester 860.645.6100 330 Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk 203.939.1777 patelbros.com Hours: Monday-Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Good to know: Large parking lot, accepts credit cards With two locations in Connecticut, this grocery chain aims to be the primary destination for customers looking for Indian and SouthCentral Asian food products. There’s an extensive variety of rice and other grains as well as peas and lentils staples in Indian cooking. Huge bags of spices such as bay leaves, cardamom pods, and peppercorns plus spice mixes like curries and masalas are offered at reasonable prices. Lassi (a milk-based drink), kulfi (ice cream), paneer (cheese) and ghee (clarified butter) are readily found in the

refrigerated section. Most customers rave about the frozen section, with samosas (baked or fried savory pastries), curries, pizza made with naan (flat bread), and much more to bring complicated yet flavorful dishes to your table with ease and convenience. Patel also carries Indian snacks, sweets, and a great selection of incense. Chef Robert Dickensheets of 21 Oak in Manchester relies on Patel because, as he states, “They carry a wide assortment of Indian/Asian groceries. I go specifically for the many pulses, grains, and beans; the spices which are always super fresh due to going through inventory quickly, and for some of the produce -- okra, eggplant varieties, pomegranate and white melon, to name a few. For those scared to cook Indian, they have curry spice blends for $1 that make it easy to learn and explore. They can answer questions about the cuisine if you are curious. You should try one [new] vegetable each visit and grow your palate. Also make sure to get one of the Indian popsicles – I love the saffron pistachio cashew (sooo good!).”

Similar CT markets: Royal Indian Grocery Store, 560 New Park Avenue, West Hartford; Sunshine Market, 136 Simsbury Road, Avon

what looked like green flower buds. Chef explained they’re called loroco and with a taste that’s similar to broccoli, they are often used as an herb for flavoring rice, soups and stews throughout Central America. We continued toward the back of the store into the freezer section. Here Chef Perez turned my attention toward the wide selection of fruit purees such as tamarind, guava and papaya which the New York Timesfeatured pastry chef often uses to make exoticallyflavored tarts and sorbets. Some of these products can’t be found anywhere else, he pointed out, as the larger chain stores and food distributors pick and choose items that appeal more to the masses rather than carry specialty ingredients such as these. That conversation continued as we hit the meat department, yet another area of El Mercado that Chef Perez highly recommends. As I checked out the cases filled with beef tongue, goat meat, tripe, pigs’ feet and ears, oxtail and more, Chef spoke passionately about these cuts: “They do their own butchery here, and it’s whole-animal style, so there’s a lot of things you can’t find anywhere else. They try to maximize, to use all the parts of the animal. That idea of minimizing waste, paying respect to the animal, to the ingredient, that’s a big part

“The sights of stacks of

cactus leaves,

heaps of fresh papayas, brightly colored flags of Central and South American countries adorning

the aisles.” 174

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“Some of these products can’t be found

anywhere else”

of the heritage as well. Using these cuts honors the history of cooking.” Suddenly he looked wistful, then mentioned his favorite childhood dish, a braised oxtail his father used to make. “It’s nice to see people here buying these things and still using the old techniques,” he said. Our tour continued through the aisles where we spied Chef Boyardee near Goya guanabana nectar, Kool-Aid packets alongside horchata mix, pepper pastes in all shades of red and orange, each of which Chef said had its own distinct flavor, and even a jar of something that neither of us could identify. I commented on the lower prices of the products I was familiar with, and our conversation turned to the role these types of markets have in their communities. “Where these markets are in the neighborhoods,” Chef noted, “they serve to keep the culture alive within this melting pot of America. But also, on some level, they help keep the economy alive as well. People who live here have a place to come where they can buy inexpensive cuts of meat and fresher, cheaper specialty ingredients and go home to make dinner for their families.” Rush hour was approaching and although we could have talked for much longer, it was time to head home. I asked Chef Perez one last question – why should someone like me, someone who has never been to El Mercado before, drive into the city to come and check it out? Without hesitation, he said, “We are so lucky here in

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CHEFS ALSO RECOMMEND (continued): DIFIORE RAVIOLI SHOP

397 Cromwell Avenue, Rocky Hill, CT 860.257.2872 difioreraviolishop.com Hours: Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.; Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Good to know: Products also available at some farmer’s markets, parking lot, accepts credit cards For three generations, the DiFiore family has been providing its customers with fresh pasta, homemade sauces, prepared foods and other Italian specialties. They use solid brass dies to ensure their pastas come out so perfectly that over a dozen of the area’s finest restaurants use pasta from DiFiore, including Carbone’s, the Max Restaurant Group, Salute and Rizzuto’s. A varied selection of specialty olive oils and vinegars, as well as Italian baked goods and imported items, complete the shopping experience. The shop also offers sandwiches and pasta dishes to go, has a catering menu, and was voted Connecticut’s Favorite Small Business in 2014.

Similar CT markets: Carmela’s Pasta Shop, 338 Silas Deane Highway, Wethersfield; Liuzzi Gourmet Food Market, 322 State Street, North Haven

THE CROWN MARKET AND CAFÉ

2471 Albany Avenue, West Hartford 860.236.1965 thecrownmarket.com Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Friday 7:00 a.m. until sundown; Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. CTFOODANDFARM.COM

Good to know: Parking lot, accepts credit cards The Crown Market has been serving Greater Hartford’s community with high-quality kosher groceries, deli items, catering, and fresh meats for over 75 years. A multi-million dollar renovation breathed new life into this longstanding and well-cherished institution which reopened in January of 2017. While still a small supermarket, Crown has all the departments you’d expect in a larger grocery store and has added a café area where customers can enjoy prepared foods from the market’s new Hot Food Bar, Soup and Salad Bar, Mediterranean Olive Bar, and even sushi and pizza offerings. Chef Ben Dubow of Manchester’s Bistro on Main relies on Crown for his kosher catering jobs and for his own “soul-nourishing” cooking. He says, “I go to Crown for both stuff you can’t get anywhere else but also for better quality ingredients. Their white fish salad and smoked salmon, those are as close to New York City quality as you can get outside of the city, and that’s my ‘soul food.’ The knishes and deli sandwiches are not only a bargain but totally off the hook. And here’s a tip – kosher meat includes brine, so when you don’t have time to brine your meat yourself, buy kosher!”

Similar CT markets: Westville Kosher Market, 95 Amity Road, New Haven; Amity Meat Center, 24 Lucy Street, Woodbridge

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“...these markets serve to keep the cultur

melt

Connecticut where within a ten- or fiteen- minute drive we can shop at El Mercado and in another few minutes we can go to A Dong (an Asian specialty store in West Hartford). I always encourage people to come to these places not just because they’re interesting, but to push people out of their comfort

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zone. To try new things. To open up the gates to test out new flavors they haven’t been exposed to yet.” And that’s advice I plan on following. El Mercado Marketplace is located at 704 Park Street in Hartford. The market is open Monday

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re alive within this

ting pot of America.� through Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The food vendors keep similar hours but sometimes close slightly earlier. Credit cards are accepted although cash is preferred at the food vendors; there is an ATM on the premises. There is street parking as well as a small parking

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lot located on the side of the building. The helpful staff is willing to answer all questions but it may be handy to have Google open to look things up. For more information, call (860) 247-6449. The market does not have a website.

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BY MATTHEW BRADY MIKE RIVERA PHOTOS

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AT THE MERE MENTION OF TEA, OUR MINDS START PICTURING GENTEEL FOLKS OF THE PAST, CALMLY ENJOYING HOT, STEEPED WATER IN DELICATE CUPS, SNACKING ON TINY PREPARED FOODS, AND CONVERSING WITH FRIENDS IN MUTED TONES. To confine tea to this cultural stereotype is like calling a single tree a forest: this beverage’s reach and heritage extend far beyond Great Britain’s borders. Tea is consumed all over the world and has been for centuries; it is in fact the second most consumed beverage on the planet behind only water. The word tea can refer to the drink itself, or to a host of ceremonies,

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parties or meals in which the consumption of tea is ritualized by culture, or even religion. By strict definition, though, tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by pouring hot or boiling water over cured leaves of Camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to East Asia. Herbal tea refers to drinks not made from the Camellia leaves, but rather from fruit, leaves and other parts of the plant - such as rose hip.

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Tea originated in Southwest China, where it was used medicinally; as its popularity grew globally, tea was consumed for pleasure, and served frequently. When the beverage made its way to the United Kingdom, it became customary for hosts to offer tea to newly arrived guests. In Great Britain, “tea” evolved to complement the structure of a day in which there

was a long stretch between lunch and dinner, becoming “afternoon tea,” a mini-meal and opportunity for socializing. The food consisted of light fare such as scones with clotted cream and jam, small quiches, tiny sandwiches and desserts, all served alongside a pot of tea. Today’s world is incredibly fastpaced, and tea is now enjoyed at home, sold in cafes and tea rooms - and even in gas stations. It’s commercialized, mass-produced, and often served on-the-go. If you’re a tea connoisseur - or just longing for a place to enjoy the social and emotional relaxation that comes with tea as an event, head to Cromwell, Connecticut, and prepare to treat your senses to Tea Roses Tea Room. Peggi Camosci, with a combined love of tea and an understanding of how these social gatherings can offer so much more than basic nourishment, opened this tea lovers’ oasis in 2010. Like any of the widely-acclaimed food establishments around the world, she knew it was important to be equally committed to the quality of the experience, as well as to the food and beverages served. When you first enter Tea Roses, there’s a small gift area that has books, crafts from local artists, greeting cards and a wide selection of teas and tea accessories, all beautifully displayed. There are many flavors of tea available, including their own “Tea Roses Tea Blend,” and my personal favorite: carrot cake. As you walk further in, you’ll find a small counter where you can order

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“...TO EXPERIENCE WHAT TRULY MAKES TEA ROSES SPECIAL,

YOU’LL WANT TO BYPASS THE TO-GO

COUNTER AND SIT IN THEIR TEA ROOM.” CTFOODANDFARM.COM

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your hot beverage to-go. Although convenient, to experience what truly makes Tea Roses special, you’ll want to bypass the to-go counter and sit in their Tea Room, located in the back of the building. This area has a cozy blend of intimate tables, and an eclectic mix of furniture and flatware that add to the charm of the seated experience. During my visit to the Tea Room I experienced another element of ambiance that was unexpected but welcoming: the rumble of a passing train, a perfect nod to nostalgia. As I sat and enjoyed my carrot cake tea, conversing with Peggi, I suddenly realized that I hadn’t touched my

phone in almost two hours. There was no need to raise my voice to be heard, and I was learning something new from someone who has an incredible passion for what she does. The food served was perfectly portioned, as satisfying to the psyche as it was to the palate. The Tea Roses menu consists of organic, loose leaf and traditional teas; scones with lemon curd and double cream; soups and salads; and mini desserts. Tea is a feast for all the senses, elegantly presented on tiered platters and cups, and full of your favorite hot blends. Peggi informed me that everything she serves has her not-so-secret

“SIT, SIP AND RELAX WHILE ENJOYING THE DELICACIES OF FOOD - AND TIME.”

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“TEA IS A FEAST FOR ALL THE SENSES, ELEGANTLY PRESENTED ON TIERED PLATTERS AND CUPS, AND FULL OF YOUR FAVORITE HOT BLENDS.” ingredient: love. After experiencing one of her scones with the carrot cake tea, I’m a believer. Peggi’s care for her customers and passion for what she does are evident in the way she describes Tea Roses Tea Room, in the attention to every detail from aesthetics to hand-crafted baked goods. Peggi loves what she does - and has a story to tell. She wants that story to be told through Tea Roses Tea Room, and encourages you to sit, sip and relax while enjoying the delicacies of food - and time. Peggi suggests making reservations to allow her to provide the best experience possible.

TEA ROSES TEA ROOM

322 Main Street in Cromwell, CT; 860-632-1400; tearosestearoom.com Hours of operation are: Wednesdays 11am - 4:30pm Thursdays 11am - 7:00pm Fridays 11am - 4:30pm Saturdays 11am - 4pm *kitchen closes a half hour earlier

OTHER CONNECTICUT TEA ROOMS TO SEEK OUT: The Green Teahouse, 55 Isham Road, West Hartford Mrs. Bridges’ Pantry, 292 Rt 169, Woodstock The Herbery, 1001 Middlesex Tpke, Old Saybrook Alice in the Village, 27 Coogan Blvd, Bldg 26A, Mystic Open Door Tea, 3552 Main St, Stratford Tea with Tracy, 16 Bank St, Seymour

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Behind the Pages

our contributors

Nicole Bedard is a

well caffeinated brand photographer who loves to work with entrepreneurs. Follow along to see what she is working on IG: @ nbedardphotog

Kate Bogli (Farmer Kate

to the kids in Granby) loves horses, hogs and hoeing. Exciting next enterprises on her farm include hops and hospitality!

Laurie Bonneau, having

previously worked in biological research and teaching, now enjoys freelance photography, devoting her energies to nonprofit organizations such as NASA and Farm Aid, and to bands and musicians.

Matthew Brady is a graduate

of culinary school, a home chef, food blogger and lover of food. Find him on Instagram and Facebook @thebuddingkitchen.

Erica Buehler likes to write, spend time with her pup, and eat. But mostly eat. Like a lot. Has anyone seen that cheese board?

Cris Cadiz loves writing about cool stuff like craft beer (and drinking it, too!). She cheerleads for noteworthy people, places and biz throughout southern New England in several regional publications.

Winter Caplanson, our

Editor in Chief, knows that heaven is here and now when

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she’s hiking with her dogs, pillaging a junk shop, or is behind the camera shooting food, farm, or handcraft.

Gena Golas can be found

daily behind a cloud of flour and sugar at two Hartford area cafes. This winter she vows to make more homemade soup and bread for her family.

Teresa Johnson is focused

on storytelling, whether she’s photographing weddings or silently correcting others’ grammar. She lives in Woodstock with her patient husband and four naughty cats, and is on Instagram @teresa. johnson.photo.

Jennifer LaVoie is pleased as punch to profile buying in bulk at The Willimantic Food Co-op. When Jennifer isn’t writing and mixing interesting cocktails, she’s wishing she was!

Lisa Nichols is a Hartford

area photographer and designer. She got to make a delicious batch of granola for this issue and enjoyed eating every scrumptious morsel after shooting it. A mom of two humans and three cats, she just opened a studio that specializes in food photography called Bread & Beast.

Mike Rivera has a sensitive

Rita Rivera, our Graphic

Designer, is not related to Mike Rivera as far as she knows. She swears too much and eats more than she should. She posts a lot of that food on her Instagram @loveandpopart.

Anna Sawin wonders if

leaving the Christmas decorations up through March can just count as hygge. When not neglecting household duties, Anna photographs weddings, families and businesses on the New England shoreline. Find her on instagram @annasawinphoto.

Courtney Squire spends the

better part of her time growing delicious veggies on her farm in Pomfret, CT, and cooking up a storm every chance she gets! Find her at www. unboundgloryfarm.com

Carla Ten Eyck was born

and raised and currently resides in Hartford, CT. She is raising her two teenage kids in her childhood home while podcasting and traveling the world.

Amy S. White lives, cooks,

eats, teaches and writes in eastern CT. Her current likes include her cat Louis, root vegetables, slow cooking and snow days. For more about Amy go to amyswhite.com.

side that lets him shoot weddings but he hides it at Plus One Defense Systems as their resident photographer. Find more at his Instagram @ juggernautfotos HARTFORD BAKING COMPANY BY WINTER CAPLANSON

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WINTER CAPLANSON PHOTO

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Profile for Connecticut Food and Farm

Connecticut Food & Farm Magazine, Winter 2019, Volume 15  

New