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June 2017 May 2017 A guide to finer living in Connecticut & abroad.

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Vol 13 Issue 138 2017

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www.inkct.com

Features

JUNE 2017

Columns, Reviews, Events

ISSUE CONTENTS

Cardinal Points Nurturing Body and Soul The Pure Joy of Dining at La Marea

pg. 10

Baby Has New Shoes Common Tern, Falkner Island

pg. 64

The Cheesemonger The Stag

pg. 68

On The Vine Lower Connecticut River Valley Up and Coming Winery Hotspot pg. 70

June Events Upcoming events in Connecticut

pg. 75

“Fistful of Stars” Eliza McNitt and the Science of storytelling

pg. 20

Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater: Acting, for the Future

pg. 30

Get your ink online at www.inkct.com!

Down By the BAY Niantic's Little Red Barn for Artistic Youth

On the Cover this Month: Orion Nebula’s swirls of gas and dust as enhanced by NASA artists. Image by Hubble Space Telescope.

pg. 40

INK staff Contributors:

Advertising:

Jeffery Lilly- founder/publisher/webmaster

Contact us to receive our media kit complete with detailed advertising information including ad rates, demographics, and distribution in your area.

Stephanie Sittnick - publisher/sales/design

Filling the “Gap”

Carolyn Battisa - editorial

Learning to be a Fromager at Cato Corner Farm

Laurencia Ciprus - editorial

pg. 50

Charmagne Eckert - editorial

Caryn B. Davis - editorial/photography Gina King - Design in Mind Sharma Piersall Howard - editorial Nancy LaMar-Rodgers - editorial Barbara Malinsky - editorial

Race4Chase “Taking the High Road” A Little Boy and his Legacy

pg. 58

We encourage the public to submit stories, poems, photography, essays, and all things creative. If you know of a person or place of interest, please submit your ideas to: submissions@ink-pub.com We will do our best to put your ideas in INK.

Rona Mann - editorial Paul Partica - The Cheesemonger A. Vincent Scarano - photography

Please direct your advertising inquiries and questions to: Stephanie Sittnick - Director of Advertising advertising@ink-pub.com 860-227-8199 Cheryl Powell - Greater Connecticut cheryl@ink-pub.com 860-608-5749 Rona Mann - Clinton, CT - Rhode Island six07co@att.net 401-539-7762 Jacki Hornish - Litchfield jacki@inkct.com 860-488-0393

Submit Events Listings to: Angela Carontino - events@inkct.com

Every issue is printed using 100% Soy based ink. All content of INK Publications including but not limited to text, photos, graphics and layout are copyrighted by INK Publishing, LLC. Reproductions without the permission of the publisher is prohibited. Ink Publishing, LLC is not responsible for images or graphics submitted by advertisers which are not copyrighted or released for use in this publication.

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Nurturing Body and Soul The Pure Joy of Dining at La Marea by RONA MANN MANN // Photos Photos by by Tracey Tracey Kroll Kroll by RONA

J

uliana uliana Pisanzio Pisanzio stares stares at at her her phone. phone. She She conconstantly stantly flips flips through through the the myriad myriad of of stored stored photos photos while while holding holding the the phone phone close. close. It’s It’s obvious obvious these these images images are are very very precious precious to to her. her. “This “This isis my my life,” life,” she she repeats repeats as as her her fingers fingers fly fly from from snapshots snapshots of of small small Italian Italian villages villages to to those those of of her her well well loved loved famfamily, ily, vacations vacations with with friends, friends, beautiful beautiful food food presentations, presentations, and and the the remodeling and crecreremodeling and ation ation of of the the space space that that eventually eventually became became La La Marea Marea Ristorante. Ristorante. La La Marea. Marea. In In Italian Italian itit means means “the “the tide.” tide.” An An apt apt choice choice in in so so many many ways ways because because of of what what the the tide tide symbolizes...rising, symbolizes...rising, receding, receding, constant, constant, never never ending. ending. To To understand understand what what La La Marea Marea truly truly represents represents and and isis all all about, about, you you have have to to know know what what Juliana Julianaand andhusband, husband,Nino Ninoare areall allabout. about.“Nino “Ninoand and II grew grew up up the the same same way,” way,” begins begins Juliana. Juliana. “I “I was was born born in in Stamford, Stamford, but but my my family family moved moved to to Italy Italy

when was young. young. Nino Nino isis from from the the when II was Island Island of of Capri Capri and and has has had had 27 27 years years of of restaurant restaurant experience. experience. Both Both of of us us were were always surrounded by by food food and and family. family. always surrounded We We had had aa huge huge vegetable vegetable garden, garden, we we canned cannedtomatoes tomatoesin inour ourgarage, garage,made madeour our own own sausage. sausage. We We even even had had vats vats of of oil oil in in the the cellar cellar to to help help cure cure the the sausage.” sausage.” ItIt was was aa joyous joyous household. household. “My “My parents parents had had parties parties all all the the time. time. We We constantly constantly had had guests guests over. over. There There was was always good food food and and drink drink always good and and people people and and love love and and laughter. laughter. That’s That’s what what kept kept people people together. together. My My parents parents always always taught taught me me that thatfood foodnurtures nurturesyour yourbody bodyand andlaughter laughternurtures nurtures the the soul.” soul.” Nino Ninowent wentthrough throughculinary culinaryand andhotel hotelmanagement management training training in in Italy, Italy, then then earned earned his his chops chops working working his his

way way up up in in the the business business from from washing washing dishes dishes to to making beds. “But “But he he loved loved itit all,” all,” says says Juliana. Juliana. making beds. “He “He always always said said his his most most valuable valuable lessons lessons were were working working side side by by side side with with the the owners, owners, learning learning and and doing everything.” doing everything.” Nino’s Nino’s mother, mother, aa cook cook and and baker baker in in her her own own right, right, was was from from Lyon, Lyon, France; France; his his father father from from Campania, Campania, so so Nino Nino also also grew grew up up with with an an inherent inherent love love of of food. food. In In 1994 1994 he he came came to to the the United United States States and and not not long long after after met met Juliana. Juliana. Although Although they they previously previously were were part part owners owners of of Rustica Rustica Ristorante Ristorante in in Chester, Chester, they they longed longed to to have have their their own own place place and and actively actively searched searched for for the the right right piece piece of of property property for for several several years. years. They They found found that that perfect perfect spot spot in in Old Old Saybrook, Saybrook, aa location location that that had had had had aa number number of of


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incarnations, most of them as Asian restaurants with dubious track records. It took dogged persistence from Juliana, but finally the owner agreed to sell the land that had been in his family for decades. Then the hard work began, but these two were no strangers to that kind of commitment. Hard work was inbred in them; it’s how they were raised. Nino and Juliana essentially gutted the existing restaurant, changing almost everything and did it with a lot of help from “wonderful local people who have now become good friends.” It began when they met local businessman, Bart Gullong, at the restaurant in Chester. “We had told him our dream of one day owning our own restaurant,” Juliana says. His reaction was swift. “Do you really want that? Then I want to help you make your dream come true.” Gullong became their major investor, and now Nino and Juliana refer to him as “part of the journey.” Others who were an integral part of that same journey are interior designers, Kristen Joyce and Lynn McGill, who collaborated with Juliana and Nino, creating a space that is Italian-village rustic, filled with a comfortable warmth. Fresh flowers adorn the reception area, “provided every week by one of our customers.” Both Pisanzios were hands-on during the transformation to La Marea. “Nino was here every morning at 6AM, working right along with the construction team,” Juliana remembers. Acting as

his own General Contractor, Nino’s attention to detail is evident from the custom designed tables and chairs to the wood tile flooring, light and airy entrance way, working fireplace, occasional pieces of decorative furniture found both locally and brought over from the families in Italy, and the beautiful paintings that hung in Juliana’s family home in Puglia, a remembrance of her beloved mother.

The menu at La Marea, while primarily “rustic Italian,” cannot be compartmentalized nor labeled. “We have a variety of what customers like;” and like it they do, as upwards of 300 people dine per night on weekends. Reservations are strongly suggested! While most of the pastas, pizzas, salads, and main dishes are stationary, the choices change frequently, reflecting the seasons, what’s fresh, and what strikes Chef Barbi’s fancy and culinary genius.

And then there’s the food! While some of the recipes originated with Juliana’s late mother who “fed all of Italy and taught Italians in Fairfield County how to cook,” Head Chef Antonio Barbi, originally from Naples, has created cuisine from all regions, complemented perfectly by a vast and varied wine list. He is supported by Executive Pizza Chef, Jordi, master of the Valoriani wood burning oven who turns out perfectly cooked pizzas in about two minutes with temperatures soaring as high as 1000 degrees.

Looking throughout at what Nino and Juliana have created at La Marea, seeing their customers enjoying food, raising glasses in happy toasts, laughing, and talking, makes Juliana’s words echo once again, “There was always good food and drink and people and love and laughter. That’s what keeps people together. You have to recognize where you’re from and be grateful for it. That’s what makes you relate to people.”

The bar area, like the dining room, exudes the same kind of warmth with wraparound copper and lighting fixtures that enhance. “It is definitely a dining bar,” Juliana points out, noting that there is no lip to prevent comfortable eating at the bar. La Marea’s head bartender, Jeremy, squeezes their own juices and concocts both unique and classic cocktails. Under Nino’s watchful eye, wines are stored at specific temperatures to maximize their taste, bouquet, and body.

Once again she looks down at the phone that has never left her hand, the images still visible, and quietly says once again to no one in particular, “This is my life!” Make a reservation for lunch or dinner at La Marea Ristorante, 732 Middlesex Turnpike, Old Saybrook (860) 391-8614 www.lamareact.com


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“Fistful of Stars” The Science of storytelling By Anne W. Semmes

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magine being transported out into space floating above the earth, suspended in the cosmos, surrounded by stars. Suddenly you’re propelled into the luminous wonders of the Orion Nebula – all swirling clouds of gas and dust, witnessing the birth, life, and death of a star, all while being treated to a live performance of a 100 voice choir, Metropolitan Opera stars, and 30-piece orchestra!

Her ‘”Fistful of Stars,” a two-time award winner at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, debuted last year with a live performance of the “Hubble Cantata” before 6,000 (constituting the world’s largest communal VR experience) in

Meanwhile, audiences in Connecticut are being overwhelmed by new images from our Solar System as shared by Stratford-based NASA Solar System Ambassador, Andy Poniros. His show-and-tell presentations feature images coming from three ongoing NASA space exploration missions: Dawn, New Horizons, and Cassini, all traveling a bit closer to Earth but also in the Milky Way galaxy.

This is what happens when you view a Virtual Reality (VR) film called “Fistful of Stars” equipped with headgear synched to your app-loaded smartphone - transportingyou in a 360-degree surround in a mere five minutes. You are trillions of miles into the furthest reaches of the Milky Way galaxy via the Hubble Space Telescope, with narration by the booming voice of astrophysicist Dr. Mario Livio: “The atoms in our bodies were forged in nuclear furnaces…We literally are stardust.” The creator of the film is Eliza McNitt of Greenwich whose cutting-edge talent for translating science into breathtaking imagery has her at work as writer-director in this brave new VR medium in New York City. McNitt has audiences awestruck by the ethereal beauty of the universe, a dream of hers since childhood when first seeing those Hubble space images.

seated in specially automated swivel chairs to enhance that 360 degree experience. “People came away with a sense of awe and wonder that they’d been transported to another world,” said McNitt. She herself was “overwhelmed” with her viewers’ responses.

Brooklyn, New York. In March, “Fistful” premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, in a more intimate presentation, sans live performance. McNitt presided over hundreds of viewers taking their places two by two, outfitted with their synchronized Samsung Gear VR headsets, and

“The splendor of these images is just incredible,” said Poniros. “What most people don’t realize is that teams of NASA scientists and image makers put these images together to give us these breathtaking images like we’re near these planets – with many of them color-enhanced.” Poniros is referring to those artists at the NASA Studio at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California using all the colors of the rainbow (steering clear of the color green indicating life) to introduce these new findings in space Like that technicolor vortex on Saturn

Left: Virtual Reality filmmaker Eliza McNitt defines her work as “It’s about discovery and the individual experience.” Photo by Sandy Honig. Above: The 6,000 Brooklyn viewers of Fistful of Stars used Google provided cardboard virtual reality headsets with their app-loaded smart phones to transport them into the universe. Photo by Jill Steinberg.


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sound designers, and scientists. It goes beyond storytelling. It’s about discovery and the individual experience.” Her “Hubble Cantata” came together when the composer of the Cantata, Paola Prestini, requested she put together some “innovative visuals” for viewers to experience “floating in the cosmos.” McNitt’s narrative would tell the story of “the cosmic connection between humans and the stars,” featuring that iconic color-fused image of the Orion Nebula from the Hubble Space Telescope, as “a nursery for star birth.” Poniros points to the Hubble Space Telescope, launched over 25 years ago and no bigger than a school bus, still whirling around Earth at some 17,000 mph, directly pointing to areas in the Solar System worthy for the NASA missions to explore.

identified as a hurricane and dubbed “Rose” just one of the images brought from a near billion miles away by the Cassini spacecraft. Saturn, that gas giant of a planet - second only to Jupiter in size in our Solar System - has 60 moons counted thus far. One of those moons, Enceladus, seen through Saturn’s famous rings, has a newly discovered ocean.

Greenwich High School, she wished to tell the story of the deadly Honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder. She chose the medium of film, won the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering’s Gerber Medal – the state’s highest award for student science, and saw her film. “Requiem for the Honeybee” broadcast nationwide by C-Span.

“The Cassini spacecraft came within 17 miles of Enceladus,” said Poniros. “This little moon of Enceladus, only 300 miles across, is so dynamic! It’s a very cold place, but it has these saltwater geysers spraying out that are continually adding to the outermost E-ring around Saturn. Finding these geysers and a salt water ocean on Enceladus was absolutely amazing. The energy that shoots these geysers into space could fuel 15 coal burning plants. If we could send a mission to Enceladus we’d have all the energy we need to complete the mission.”

Ever since, McNitt’s film work has been on a prize-winning track. But VR film making was a definite step-up. “It’s the enormity of collaboration,” she said, “involving artists, filmmakers,

A joint observing campaign between the Hubble Space Telescope and NASA's Cassini spacecraft currently in orbit around Saturn, has brought imagery of another of Saturn’s six moons – Titan. What is seen again, said Poniros, is the dynamism found in space. “Titan has a similar atmosphere to early Earth, with rocky dried up river beds. Where did that fluid go? It’s the only place in the Solar System to have a fluid system. It also has seasonal lakes, a possible hidden ocean, and an ice volcano. It has the building blocks of life, dunes of hydrocarbons. Building blocks of life are found all over the Solar System!” Not too big a leap to believe there is intelligent

Poniros has one foot in space as an amateur astronomer, another as longtime volunteer for NASA; and for the last 20 years one of NASA’s estimated 500 Solar System Ambassadors. He’s a frequent broadcaster on NASA programs on Connecticut radio station WPKN, 89.5 FM when not presenting before museums and astronomy enthusiasts. “When I look at the detail and splendor of these NASA images,” he said, “I feel compelled to show them to everyone. These are worlds that we had no idea what they actually looked like.” McNitt’s embrace of the universe through film came via the honeybee. As a science student at Top: NASA Solar System Ambassador Andy Poniros at the controls of the Space Shuttle “Discovery” at Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photo by Tony Achilles. Above: Eliza McNitt’s film Fistful of Stars was shown two-by- two at the South by Southwest Film Festival in special chairs aided by the Arup Sound system. Contributed photo. Background Image: The Orion Nebula as featured in Eliza McNitt’s film Fistful of Stars is a virtual nursery of new stars. Image by Hubble Space Telescope.


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“A lot of people are upset that Pluto has been reclassified as a dwarf planet. As we continue to explore, we continue to redefine objects in our Solar System. Pluto is part of an exciting third zone of the Solar System we’re just beginning to explore,” said Andy Poniros. NASA photo.


27 life to be found out there believes Poniros. “There are billions of stars in each galaxy, and more than a billon other galaxies that we know of. We’ve found that almost every star we look at has planets revolving around it. So, for us to say we’re the only intelligent life in the universe is pretty unlikely.” So mused Winston Churchill in a newly unearthed essay he wrote over 75 years ago discovered by McNitt’s “Fistful of Stars’” distinguished narrator and astrophysicist, Livior. He shares in a recent issue of Nature magazine how Churchill in his essay, Are We Alone in the The “Pale Blue Dot” photograph of Earth was taken in 1990 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, from a distance of 3.7 billion miles. It was famed astronomer, Carl Sagan who requested from NASA that Voyager 1 upon completion of its primary mission and leaving the Solar System, should turn its camera around and take one last photograph of Earth across that great expanse of space.

Eliza McNitt’s Fistful of Stars premiered at the Hot Docs Film Festival in Toronto, Canada in April, with a similar synchronized paired viewing. On May 25, McNitt’s Fistful of Stars will be presented once again with an hour-long live performance of the Hubble Cantata, for an audience of 2,500 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In June, Fistful of Stars will be available for home viewing via a Samsung Gear VR headset and a smart phone equipped with Viceland’s “Beyond the Frame” app. Visit Eliza on the web at: http://www.elizamcnitt.com

Universe “muses presciently about the search for extraterrestrial life.” Churchill’s thinking boils down to where there’s water, there’s life. “The presence of water in liquid form still guides our searches for extraterrestrial life,” writes Livio, “on Mars, on the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, or on extra solar planets (beyond our Solar System).” And, Livio continues, “As well as being essential for the emergence of life on Earth, water is abundant in the cosmos.” There’s no doubt that film maker Eliza McNitt whose mantra is “science is storytelling,” will continue to exercise her gifts for telling stories about the cosmos in VR. She sees VR as a “tool for empathy (more than one viewer of “Fistful” has been brought to tears.),” and as a way to connect viewers in “a new form of storytelling.” Indeed, her next VR project – “Pale Blue Dot” is to be an interactive film. “It’s an exploration of our future amongst the stars, where the viewer plays a role in the story,” said McNitt. “You have a deeper sense of immersion when you interact with the story.” Top: This image of the Orion Nebula that inspired Eliza McNitt’s virtual reality film Fistful of Stars was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Center: Two of Saturn’s moons, Epimetheus and Titan in the distance are seen through the rings of Saturn. NASA photo. Bottom: The salt water geysers spewing from the surface of the moon Enceladus are seen coming from the false blue colored vents. NASA photo.


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Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater: Acting, for the Future By Charmagne Eckert

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here’s nothing like the magic of theater; that moment when the lights dim, the air becomes electric with palpable anticipation, and the curtain opens to reveal another world where, for a few hours, audience and performers alike are transported to a reality far from their day to day existence. It is this goose-bumpproducing experience, with its power to entertain, inspire, provoke and even transform us that we all know and love about the theatrical experience. Sharing this legacy with eager young people is what Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater has been doing so effectively for over forty years. That participating in a theatrical venture is loads of fun is no secret, but the magic for the thousands of young people who have participated in the circus and dramatic arts programs offered by the playhouse since 1975 runs much deeper. “There is a particular alchemy [that happens], between the safe space, the creativity, and the acceptance of whoever [the young people] are that leads to the joy of being

empowered. To be able to engage with a story, become another character; to be celebrated for coming up with a creative way to get three jokes into a routine – our students are given access to that magical thing they might have watched from the audience, and now they are being included in that with their peers and with teaching artists who they adore, and with audience members of all ages,” explains Artistic Director, Kristen Palmer. It is these qualities of enhanced confidence, creative integrity and an awareness of the similarities and unique attributes of others that are the embodiment of the three-fold mission of Oddfellows: Artistic excellence, Social justice, and Youth development. The classes and performance possibilities offered provide the framework for ‘community creativity;’ an

experiential collaborative process, which encourages the capacity for young people to develop confidence, self knowledge and to be able to effectively connect with people. A vintage redbrick building on Middletown’s Washington Street, with an arched marble proscenium over the entry door and particolored marquis, is home to Oddfellows Playhouse. The facility provides a 110-seat theater with a professionally equipped light and sound booth, classroom and rehearsal spaces, and a technical shop for the crafting of sets and props. Classes and programs offered by Oddfellows are designed to foster a cooperative, adventurous spirit in youths ranging in age from 3 year old preschoolers, to


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Oddfellows Playhouse - 40th Anniversary Celebration

photo by Matthew Kabel

high school seniors. The youngest are engaged with song, movement and group games designed to support each child’s creative confidence and collaborative capabilities. Older students have the opportunity to explore ensemble work, improvisation, cabaret workshop, and the ever-popular circus training courses available for beginners as well as more advanced aspiring circus performers. The Jr. and Teen Companies take on full productions ranging from Shakespeare to original pieces by distinguished contemporary playwrights – all of which are selected to illuminate a rich variety

of human encounters and that have some element that the young performers can connect to their own life experience. Company participants go through the full theatrical process from open workshops and auditions before each production, to rehearsals, performance, and post-production reflection on the experience.

Oddfellows, there is the very pragmatic opportunity to develop practical expertise that students can potentially apply to future careers – whether in the theater or elsewhere. Administrative skills, carpentry and building, set, costume, and lighting design are but a few

There is no exclusion at Oddfellows, and any young actor who commits to the production is cast in a role. Those interested in backstage opportunities are also welcomed, and regardless of whether a role in front of or behind the scenes is chosen, a supportive, creative and welcoming environment is ensured by the professional theater artist/educators who mentor the student actors and technicians. All the programs offered are open to any young person who wishes to explore ‘hands on’ the world of theater and, with a robust scholarship program, it is the policy of Oddfellows Playhouse that no interested student will ever be turned away for the inability to pay. Beyond the rich personal growth supported by the programs offered at

areas where there is opportunity to learn skills that might apply – not only within professions related to stage, event, and film production – but to other vocations as well. As Palmer


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explains, “If you know how to bring an event to life artistically and technically you have a set of skills that you can make a living at and you can also make a huge impact with your ideas, towards any change you might like to see in the world. For some kids connecting their creative work to a practical outlet is a really significant moment that can lead to a career or educational path that can serve them throughout their life. Often realizing that those things are just skills that anyone can learn, is tremendously empowering.” As an independent, nonprofit community art space, Oddfellows Playhouse offers an open venue where young people can participate fully in something that develops their confidence, self-knowledge and skills including empathy, communication, social and emotional intelli-

gence, awareness of differences, and the ability to relate with people. “When a young person gets the opportunity to contribute and be valued on their own terms, that process lets them turn around and contribute back [to society] on their own terms, within all of their communities. And it’s that connection with people; the sharing, respect, and mutual support, that is the real magic,” says Palmer. For over 40 years Oddfellows Playhouse has flourished as a direct result of the continuous involvement of the community; through financial support, volunteering, board membership, and committee work. There are opportunities for internships and apprenticeships for young people interested in gaining experience in performing, technical elements, art education, circus training, and work in non-profits. And of course all children and youth are enthusiastically welcomed to come and experience first hand the joy and wonder of the theatrical experience. “I would encourage anyone who values the arts, our young people, and our mission, to get involved in any way – come out to support the events,

see what we do. Come an experience the sheer joy of these wonderful kids. It really is infectious!” invites Palmer. Registration is open for the Summer Circus program as well as a variety of Classes in acting and performance. Be sure to check the website for upcoming productions. For more information about Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theater go to: http://oddfellows.org Oddfellows Playhouse is located at: 128 Washington Street, Middletown, CT 06457 Phone: (860) 347-6143 info@oddfellows.org


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Down By the BAY

Niantic's Little Red Barn for Artistic Youth by Sarah Crisp

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f, as Lailah Gifty Akita says, "We only radiate the inner self," Sophia and Bill Brubaker must have been born artists. They continue to radiate their true passion for art education with insight, exuberance, and purpose.

On their 25th wedding anniversary, they quite literally ran around The Louvre on what Bill describes as an ‘Art March'… Sophia's bucket list of the most iconic pieces of art that Paris could offer, researched and planned in just two days after Bill surprised her with tickets to

Paris. “Instead of the lunch I had anticipated at a beautiful little Parisian bistro, we ate cafeteria sandwiches as fast as we could!” A love of art is universal and clearly transcends the barrier of language. “I couldn't speak more than a few words of French; and I am sure it wouldn't be allowed now, but I was able to charm the guard into allowing us to stay in the final gallery just a few minutes past closing time." Bill beams – it would seem that Sophia got to cross one last statue off her list; and Bill’s surprise made up for the twenty-five-year delay in their honeymoon plans, due to a last minute change in his orders at the Coast Guard Academy.

them, from Minnesota to Alaska and from kindergarten thru high school. "I've seen the best of programs … and the worst," she says with a smile.

In 2003 Sophia found herself at a turning point in her life. She had earned her BA in studio art at Wesleyan University and certification to teach art in grades K-12. She had spent her career making the best of art rooms (or mobile art carts) wherever Bill's Coast Guard career took

Now Sophia faced a choice: Continue to fight for art to have equal standing in the time and resource-squeezed curriculum of most public schools, or try something different. With a small inheritance from Bill's mother, the Brubakers converted a barn on their property

When Bill's career brought them back to Sophia's native Niantic, she enrolled in a graduate program at the Rhode Island School of Design. Her peers in that program were a vibrant mix of museum educators, teachers, and community arts educators. They infused her with a diversity of perspectives and inspired her to develop her own vision of a Community Arts Education Program.


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ent. Most sessions are two hours, enabling them to learn a new concept, practice, “make happy mistakes,” learn from their findings, try again, and succeed at a new skill.

into a light and inviting studio; and so, the Barn for Artistic Youth (BAY) was born. The philosophy behind the BAY is to offer a continuity of art education with excellent resources through a program that gives students dedicated time to explore their tal-

"Art is critical to a child's growth: fine motor skill development and concentration, creativity leading to ‘out of the box' problem solving, and the ability to process the world around them and ‘verbalize' sometimes confusing or scary emotions or situations.” Bill still talks fondly of his time in private art classes as a five year old growing up in Idaho, a state that offered no public kindergarten at that time. “Through those classes he had the time and freedom to explore and learn; and that is what we wanted to recreate here," explains Sophia. From Pre-K thru high school, mommy/daddy

and me, and adults, 60-80 students a year take age-appropriate classes which combine sequential learning and development of hands-on skills with a historical, cultural, and increasingly digital perspective. Younger students not only learn the basics and absorb "spoonfuls of art history," they become knowledgeable in their use of supplies and relish taking care of their equipment. They are as likely to find inspiration in the display units filled with large format Andy Warhol and Van Gough, as they are in a treasure-filled library cart of coffee table books on artists from Cezanne to Skoglund. A collection of stuffed ducks and decoys provides inspiration for their students' annual entries into the Junior Federal Duck-Stamp Competition: to design a stamp that mimics the one issued by


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music and to sport. Nobody would expect a high school flutist to make first flute in wind ensemble without having had a continuum of lessons through school and private music classes. "Why should art be different? In middle schools the art program is often one or two six-week rotations sandwiched between computing, life skills, and health. How can we expect artists to step straight back into the studio in high school with the confidence to produce their very best work?" Despite limitations imposed upon art programs in public schools, the Brubakers value their close connections with school educators, providing the additional support students may need to successfully apply to the top art and design schools in the country. "We know that students will compare themselves to their peers, and that can work in a positive or a negative way. By giving our students the time and space to learn outside of their normal peer group, we can help boost their confidence and thereby raise the bar for art in all educational settings."

the United States federal government that must be purchased prior to hunting for migratory waterfowl, such as ducks and geese. "Although we’ve had winning entries at many levels, we have yet to win ‘Best of Show.’ But I know we will," says Sophia as she leafs through a box of last year's entries complete with ribbons of commendation.

Like an artistic equivalent of the slow-cooking movement, the barn is also a haven for artists of all ages to experiment in an unrushed, supportive, and non-judgmental space. "We sometimes find that our students have lost confidence, perhaps returning to art in high school having last practiced for only a few trimesters in middle school." They liken art to

BAY is truly a family affair. Along with their daughter Kathryn, an art teacher at St. John's School in Old Saybrook and former student Justine Buckley, both BFA graduates of Lyme Academy College of Fine Art, they offer summer camps and year-round classes to students of all ages. Allie Dearie, a graphic design and digital imaging graduate from Highpoint University in North Carolina is a recent addition to the BAY family. After he retired from a career in the Coast Guard, Bill also headed off to RISD to pursue studies specializing in 2-D Portfolio Photography. Over time, this has provided an invaluable


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recommendations. "It's just like college sports – we are supporting our students through the college recruitment process in the same way a basketball or soccer coach supports their players." And for some students, the financial reward of being recruited to art school is just as substantial. To round off the holistic nature of their program, Bill teaches his students to create their own stretchers and mats in his workshop below the studio. He continues to teach law at Avery Point and encourages BAY seniors to become familiar with the basic laws of copyright and artistic royalties and take pride in the ownership of their intellectual property. Some prefer rules and order – they tend to go into industrial, digital, and graphic arts. Others prefer the pull of a free-flowing career in sculpture or painting. We look through a pile of senior portfolio DVDs while the Brubakers talk about each student, as would proud grandparents: where they came from, where they went, and where their artistic passion lay. Bill talks of one student who studied industrial design at Rochester Institute of Technology. Having won a national shoe design competition, he went on to work for Reebok; another decided late in his high school career that he wanted to do architecture but had no portfolio and few basic drawing skills. The DVD chronicles his journey from enthusiastic wannabe to accepted architecture major at Roger Williams University.

additional service to the BAY's senior students and their parents. "Most parents do not know where to start to help their child when it comes to applying to art schools." smiles Sophia. “Students travel to the BAY from Mystic and Madison, New London, and Norwich. Our catchment area is

basically as far as a parent's tolerance for driving." In return, the Brubakers bring college admissions officers to the barn, support students and parents through National Portfolio Day, and facilitate entries into Scholastic Art competitions. Additionally they help curate, print, and mat, then digitize and upload, award-winning portfolios and write college

As I leave I look back at the little red barn; if a building can radiate its inner-self, then the BAY is a veritable colony of artists in the making. AY are currently taking registrations for a range of summer programs and for the 2017/2018 academic year. To enroll in a BAY class, call the BAY’s director, Sophia at 860-691-0555, email her: barn4art@gmail.com or visit the BAY's website: http://www.barn4art.com.


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Filling the “Gap” Learning to be a Fromager at Cato Corner Farm Photos and profile by Caryn B. Davis

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aklea Elfstrom is taking a gap year. It’s that sweet period after high school, prior to college, where a time out is taken for the purpose of self exploration before having to declare a major and deciding what to be for the rest of your life. Many young people opt to travel; some go backpacking, while others elect to volunteer abroad building orphanages in India, teaching English in Japan. But instead of traveling oversees or learning how to surf like many of her friends, Oaklea decide to stay close to her Haddam home to learn the art of cheese production. “I have been lucky in my life to travel because of my father’s company. So when considering

my gap year, I thought it would be an amazing opportunity to find a way to give back to my community and learn a trade that a lot of people don’t know how to do anymore,” says Elfstrom. She set her sights on Cato Corner Farm in Colchester; and after dropping off an application, was given a job. The farm began making hand crafted cheese in 1997 as a way of having a value-added product to help support it. Liz MacAlister, who co-owns the farm with her son Mark Gillman, originally kept goats, sheep, chickens, and a few cows when she established the farm in the 1970s, but it was not sustainable. She began making cheese with her 13 Jersey cows, which has since grown to 45 bovines.

Gillman entered into the family business in 1999. He was teaching seventh grade English in Baltimore but decided to try making cheese one summer and never looked back. “We all have to eat, so you might as well eat well and have food produced in a manner you feel good about. It is very rewarding to create something by hand we are proud of,” he says. He now manages the cheese making side of the business while MacAlister tends to the


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farm and the breeding of animals, ensuring the stock remains healthy with genetic traits that are optimal for producing quality milk, which leads to quality cheese. “It starts with the cows in the field and what they eat. Our cows spend twelve hours in the paddock in the warmer months and mainly eat a grass-based diet. We work with a nutritionist and add a little grain to complement whatever they are getting from the fresh grass and local hay. The cows are milked twice day and give us good milk. We use about one gallon of raw milk in sixteen ounces of cheese,” says Gillman. Cato Corner Farm yields about 1000 pounds of cheese per week in twelve different varieties that are sold at farmers’ markets, in retail stores, and to restaurants from Boston to New

York. Elfstrom does a little bit of everything from manning the farmers’markets, to putting together wholesale orders, to the actual production. This translates into long days and physically demanding labor. (For example, just stirring the curds can take anywhere from 40 minutes to several hours depending upon the type of cheese being made). But Elfstrom is not deterred. This is exactly what she signed up for. She learned to value hard work at a young age by picking up pruning clippings on her family’s vineyard. At 15, she built an aquaponic gardening system in her backyard and in high school, worked on a documentary about young people who were choosing careers in farming over banking or Wall Street. Spending time working on the documentary really cemented her passion for sustainable agriculture. “It opened my eyes to this group of

smart, technologically savvy Millennials who decided farming was important to them,” says Elfstrom. “One farm we visited was a cheese farm. I watched the cheese making process

and fell in love with the idea of creating something with your hands that is alive. Cheese is a living thing. That’s why you don’t want to freeze it because it can’t keep growing and living.” Elfstrom’s reverence for nature was developed early on. Her parents strongly encouraged this by insisting she and her sister Petra play outside everyday. Compared to may of her peers who spend hours posting every moment


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a super creamy texture that’s ideal for our semi-soft cheeses,” says Gillman. Nothing gets wasted. The cheese making produces about 85-90 pounds of unused whey that does not make it into the product but contains loads of protein and nutrients that are feed back to the cows. “It’s an excellent way to recycle a waste product, and the cows love it,” notes Gillman. While Elfstrom will attend Bates College in Maine next year with an undeclared major, she think the skills she learned this year can be parlayed into any profession.

attention to detail, Gillman attributes the flavor to their healthy, happy cows. Every batch comes out a little different depending upon the season and on what the cows are eating.

of their lives on Instagram or Twitter, Elfstrom still favors the great outdoors to cyberspace and cell phones and prefers face time with friends rather than Facebook. “I’ve been trying to figure myself out before I go to college, which I think is the whole point of a gap year. Part of that was a desire to reconnect with nature,” Elfstrom reflects. “I think it’s awesome the movement of young people who want to be outside hiking and backpacking. I love that and want to do that, but I don’t feel the need when I am on top of a mountain to post a picture of it or Snapchat about it. I want to take that in for myself. It makes no sense to me, but at the same time I get it. I know that social pressure and the need to show the world I am having a good time, but it seems fake.” Elfstrom grew up eating Cato Corner Farm cheeses and admits she’s biased when it comes to how amazing she thinks it tastes, but it’s not her imagination. While their award winning cheeses are crafted with great care, skill, and

“Our cheese starts with our cows and the pastures they graze. If you taste our cheeses throughout the year, you will be able to appreciate the changes that come from changes in the cows’ diet. I love the sweet, grassy flavors and the gorgeous yellow color that the pasture milk brings to our aged cheeses in particular. In the winter we feed local hay, and the cows produce a lower volume but much richer milk. This makes for

“I know how to make cheese. While that may not directly get me an internship at a government environmental planning office, the other skills I have learned absolutely will, like hard work. If you slack off, everyone has to pick up your slack. Persistence - if you show up at someone’s workplace enough they might give you a job. And people skills. I sell cheese at Union Square in New York City and interact with a whole range of people. I have to be able to have coherent discussions. I am inherently shy, so if I hadn’t taken this gap year and started making cheese, I might not have cultivated that skill.” says Elfstrom. For more information log onto www.catocornerfarm.com.


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Race4Chase “Taking the High Road” A Little Boy and his Legacy by Chris Pagliucos

“When the heart weeps for what it has lost, the soul laughs for what it has found.” ...old Sufi aphorism

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n the aftermath of that awful day at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Rebecca and Stephen Kowalski, parents of victim Chase Kowalski, sought to turn tragedy into triumph through the creation of the CMAK (Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski) Foundation to inspire healing and strengthen communities. The foundation’s hallmark program is the Race4Chase children’s camp and triathlon held each summer, and the Valley Shore YMCA in Westbrook is host to a camp truly worthy of Chase’s spirit and memory. Each year across three states, nineteen YMCAs host free six week triathlon camps for kids between the ages of six and twelve. The Kowalskis were initially inspired by Chase’s enjoyment of the triathlon and sought to use the sport as a means to strengthen

families and communities. The Valley Shore YMCA is already home to a thriving adult triathlon club; and director Chris Pallatto and Tony Sharillo, Director of Health and Wellness, quickly recognized the natural fit the Race4Chase camp could be to the YMCA’s mission and culture. It turns out, the triathlon not only aligned with Chase’s interests, but also serves uniquely as the basis for a children’s camp. The three sports can certainly stand on their own - after all, what child does not like to swim, bike, or run? But putting them all together adds a complexity that is challenging to even a 50 year old child. “Our athletes arrive with all different ages, sizes,

abilities, and maturity. No one can honestly approach all three sports - the swim, the bike, and the run - with total confidence at any given time. It has a humbling effect for everyone,” Lead Coach Megan Pennington explains. Some children arrive on training wheels or are afraid to float in water, while others can already run a sub 7-minute mile. As the athletes learn of each other’s goals, a mutual respect often develops. That sense of each athlete having their own goal and their own journey tends to equalize the six and twelve year old. The six year old admires the twelve year old’s strength, and the twelve year old certainly recognizes the accomplishment of a teammate who


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learned to ride on two wheels to complete a triathlon. One would be hard pressed to find more passionate and dedicated coaches than those leading the charge at the Valley Shore YMCA. Coaches Megan Pennington and Meghan Pagliuco (Coach Pags) each have accomplished triathlon resumes respectively, and in 2016 they were joined by swim coach Dana Sherwonit. The summer is an optimal training and racing time for triathletes in New England; and the fact that the campers can see that the coaches are competing and going through many of the same trials, makes for an authentic relationship between them. Some believe that triathlons are primarily an individual sport considering there is no team scoring; but again, by its very nature, the sport actually fosters a surprisingly strong sense of team and camaraderie amongst the athletes.

While most days feature indoor swimming, the run and bike have to be completed out in the elements, which over the summer, can mean blazing sun, sweltering humidity, and hard rain. It’s not easy for anyone, never mind kids, to remain motivated. The young athletes are paired or grouped differently each day so they grow to rally around each other in a multitude of ways. “We teach the kids not to celebrate the day until every group and athlete has finished so they learn early on to cheer others and contribute to their fellow campers and coaches,” Coach Pags explains. Only so much time can be spent on physical exertion, which leaves space for games and other social activities in the daily schedule. One point of emphasis among the coaches is on maintaining a healthy attitude in the face of adversity. A team mantra of sorts that has grown popular among the athletes is,

“Slam the door shut! I can do this!” when experiencing doubt or difficulty. During downtime, eating lunch under a shady tree after a workout, or sharing journal entries in small groups, often results in the kids forging new and unexpected relationships over the duration of the camp. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Valley Shore’s version of the camp is just how deeply involved the Shoreline community has been from the start. The camp features weekly guest speakers which have included members of the UConn Triathlon Club, professional cyclists, physical therapists, and more. Topics vary, but the speakers each bring amazing stories and


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we come together and grow. Then suddenly, we all go our separate ways to hopefully apply some of the things we have learned in our separate lives...it is both a proud and emotional moment,” Coach Pags reflects. activities from their wide range of experiences. The Valley Shore YMCA’s adult tri-club has nearly 75 members; and many volunteer days to be with the kids, creating a community feel rather than topdown coach instruction. Most weeks also feature a field trip to a local park, most often Cedar Lake in Chester, to practice open water swimming or Town Park in Old Saybrook for mountain biking. “Despite the fact that we as coaches try to methodically plan each day for the kids, looking back each year feels like a whirlwind. The kids come from different towns, the speakers each bring their surprises. With the Tri-Club volunteers so much instruction occurs without us even knowing. Each session really takes on a life and energy of its own,” Coach Pags explains. Upon the arrival of the culminating triathlon in early August, the race strangely feels almost

The Kowalskis write of their son, “That was the thing about Chase; he always did a great job, he took the high road and was thoughtful of others, but also would be determined to get what he wanted.” The coaches and shoreline community at Valley Shore YMCA are insuring that Chase’s values and determined spirit continue to be fostered in the children of the Connecticut Shoreline.

beside the point for Coach Pennington. “By that point our athletes don’t ask about nerves or what they should be doing - they know. They just want to honor their effort and training of the previous six weeks. They want to prove they had done it right.” Some kids learned to tie their shoes to make it through transitions faster, while others learned pacing techniques to balance their effort. Each athlete works through their own mental and physical challenges. “We work with thirty-five athletes; and by the end, we have thirty-five different journeys that in most cases come to fruition. It is really a window in the year where

“You never completely get over the loss. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. But you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly – that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.” ...Anne Lamott


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66 everywhere. Like baby in his baby shoes, Tern is going for a walk. The way some kids do. Without holding onto a hand. Without looking back.

Baby Has New Shoes

Common Tern, Falkner Island Photos and editorial © Mark Seth Lender Falkner Island, just off the Connecticut shore, is only 4 ½ acres but has an outsized importance as one of largest tern colonies in the East. The island is part of the Stewart McKinney Wildlife Reserve and the US Fish and Wildlife Service goes to great lengths to protect the terns who nest there, keeping people, their pets, and invasive predators away. But as it turns out, tern parents have more than a little in common with parents

But there are no shoes! His little feet are webbed like his Mom and Pops (bright orange-red and not quite steady as he walks). He is heading out all by himself. And does not pause and will not stop. The stubs that will be wings wheel and shy like little arms. He hops, over the flotsam of green seaweed. He drops, into the jangle of dried reeds, and crosses the tideline. All dandelion fluff round as a puffball soft as fleece, small enough to fit in the pocket of your blouse, there he goes! Along the reach of rustling pebbles and slipper shells, off to dip his new toes in the little waves that wash up on the beach. Meanwhile, Mom and Pops don’t like any of this. They leave the nest and close upon his unsteady heels, flapping and whistling and calling him back, “Wait up, kid, you’re gonna hurt yourself! You’re not ship-shape, your tail’s out of trim. You can’t get out if you fall in!” Mom lands on a rock that towers over him.

Pop cries out from the shore, “Whatcha thinkya doin out there!” Threats and entreaties Kid Tern ignores as he touches, and tastes, where the ocean gently roars. We’ve all been there. That time of life. We knew better than anyone; anyone put there to tell us no. Our Yes was so much stronger than that. We were sure. We had no fear.


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Field Note: Baby Has New Shoes Falkner Island is the place not to visit. The US Fish and Wildlife Service goes to great lengths to maintain the colonies tern who nest there, the most important part of which is making sure the birds are not disturbed. All terns but especially the Roseates, are facing major problems, including a dearth of nesting sites due to human encroachment and the pets and other animals (garbaging rats and raccoons for example) that tend to accompany us. So if you’re planning to cruise out that way in your watercraft, please keep your distance! Terns are also greatly harmed by warming water, a direct consequence of our burning of fossil fuels. Warming drives the small fish terns eat deeper into the water column. When fish school too deep, they are harder - or impossible – for terns to catch. This effect

harms terns everywhere, including in the Arctic and Antarctic. It is especially bad for the endangered Roseate terns of Falkner Island who are small and light and therefore cannot dive as effectively as the larger, heavier common terns. Watch for terns fishing offshore beginning in early May. They have similar coloration to herring gulls but they are much smaller, dive frequently, and often hover before they dive. By June large numbers of terns of all species will be setting up their nests and once chicks hatch, there is a constant parade of parents returning with fish in their beaks to feed their young. Meanwhile, the human guardians of the terns have survival problems of their own. When the USFWS crew ferried me out to the island for this story, the outboard motor quit three times. We were all right. The sea was calm that day. But if the weather turns and you are caught dead in the water in a 19 foot antique, it can

mean your life. The rangers at USFWS are dedicated, all of them young and their careers and their lives ahead of them, and this happens to them all the time. A new outboard is only $7000, and the government will not provide the funds. They need another boat too, and they aren’t getting that either. Get in touch with me if you’d like to help, MSL (at) MarkSethLender (dot) com. All contributions appreciated. Donate $500 or more and receive an autographed print of one of my tern photos (Giclee process, archival paper, 100 year inks). - Mark Mark Seth Lender is a producer for wildlife content at Living on Earth ( LOE.org ), the only program on US Public Radio exclusively dedicated to wildlife and environmental reporting. Mark is known as Living on Earth’s Explorer in Residence. His fieldwork has taken him to all 7 continents. When not out swimming with beluga whales, tracking lions, or discussing dietary restrictions with polar bears (“No the Human is not on the menu"), Mark is at home on the Connecticut shore. In 2015 Mark Seth Lender was elected to membership in the Explorers Club.


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An Agent is a lot like a television news anchor . . . Knowledgeable, Prepared and Organized. Let Janet get you to the closing table. Introducing 96 Scotland Road, Madison Traditional Colonial just one mile from Madison Town Center. Offered at $929,000

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According to Deer Creek, The Stag’s bold flavor pairs well with hard ciders, stouts and amber beers. Recommended wines include pinot noirs and red zinfandels. Food pairings include cashews, dried cranberries, pistachios and pumpernickels.

Paul Partica, The Cheese Shop, Centerbrook CT

The Stag A few months back, I received a sample of The Stag from one of my venders. I have been somewhat disappointed with cheddars as of late, so I was not particularly excited to taste it. I am so glad I did.

Deer Creek makes many other cheeses that I have yet to try. Among them are Imperial Buck, Vat 17 World Cheddar, The Fawn, Private Reserve 5-year, The Blue Jay, Rattlesnake and The Robin and The Doe. I look forward to tasting all of them. A Little Cheddar History The original cheddar was born in England. The name originates from the region it was first made in – Cheddar, England – but also from how the curd is cut. The process of “cheddaring” is the repeated cutting and piling of the curd to remove its whey and cut it into fine pieces.

At this initial taste, I found myself thinking of the Disney movie “Ratatouille.” Do you remember the scene where the food critic tastes the peasant dish ratatouille and flashes back? At that moment, he recalls how he had so enjoyed that dish as a young boy. That was me, when I tasted The Stag. I flashed back to great cheddars without the bitterness, sour finishes and vague sulfur odor I have become accustomed to encountering. This cheddar did not bite back.

Made with either raw or pasteurized milk, cheddars fall into two basic types: farmhouse and factory. Farmhouse cheddars are made in much smaller production then factory types. Cheddars are almost always made in round shapes and wrapped in cheese cloth. They will vary in age, and the older, the sharper. Taste these cheeses before you buy them; they can vary tremendously. You will not usually find good farm cheddar pre-packaged. Look for cheese cloth on the rind as the determinant.

Why am I disappointed with cheddars these days? It appears that some of the old tried-and-true methods of producing cheese have given way to modern methods, enabling faster production and increased poundage. The most important element given up seems to be flavor.

Factory cheddars are most common throughout the world. Unfortunately, quality will vary greatly. Usually the less superior cheeses are processed into slices and cold-pack cheeses, such as port wine cheddar.

In recent years, cheddars made in 40-pound flats and aged for three years, in some cases, have been replaced by 1,000-pound cheeses that are aged in stainless steel for only one year. My question is simple. All cheese ripens from the outside in, so how does a 1,000-pound cheese age properly in one year when it typically takes three years for a 40-pound flat to age? The answer is, it does not. Warmer temperatures will ripen cheese faster, but the result is usually a little bitter in taste, with a disappointing finish. I received many of these cheeses in the past. When I opened them, the sulfur odor was so strong I needed to air the cheese for several hours, and sometimes overnight. I stopped carrying those cheddars. It appears that in some markets, colorful packaging and sophisticated marketing may be all that is needed to sell a cheese. Regardless of the degree of sharpness, I like a cheddar with no bitterness and no biting back at the finish. As much as I enjoy a sharp flavor, I will settle for a little less so, as long as a good quality taste is present. This brings me to The Stag. I was sold on this cheese even before I learned it was a Gold Medal award winner. In addition to earning Gold and Bronze International Cheese awards in 2014 and 2015, it also won first place with the American Cheese Society in 2013 and 2014. Deer Creek Cheese is distributed by The Artisan Cheese Exchange in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and made with pasteurized milk. This cheese will also develop a slight crystalline crunch, which is very popular with many of our customers.

The evolution of cheddar places it in both Canada and the United States. Canadian cheddars are most similar to farm varietals. We make both types in the United States. New York was first the largest producer of cheddar, but Wisconsin took over that role as the population moved west. For many years, it was common to find yellow cheddars. In fact, when I first started in the specialty food business, about 45 years ago, most of the cheddars we sold were yellow in color. But cheese is naturally a white hue. Colored cheeses are fading in today’s market since natural products are in now in high demand with mainstream consumers. There are many reasons for poor, bitter-tasting cheddars. For one, the milk may have been a little bitter to begin with. More commonly, forced curing calls for ripening at warmer temperatures. Lastly, there is a marked difference in taste between raw and pasteurized milk cheeses. Today you will find vast quantities of cheddar made with either. In my opinion, raw milk makes for superior-tasting cheddars, but there are exceptions. The Stag is one of them. This a great pasteurized milk cheese with a smooth finish and consistency in both taste and cheese production methods. I find myself eating more cheddar than I used to. Paul Partica, The Cheese Shop www.cheeseshopcenterbrook.com

ofCenterbrook

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Lower Connecticut River Valley Up and Coming Winery Hotspot By Kevin Staehly O perations Manager and Assistant Winemaker, Staehly Farm Winery, East Haddam, CT

The The banks of the Connecticut River have long been known for their fertile, floodplain soils and high rock ledges. The soft, easy-to-manage soils were most famously noted by James Clark Walkley in the 1840s when he traced out the 44-mile line that would become the trackpath of the Connecticut Valley Railroad. But along the eastern bank, opposite from where the train still runs today, a new purpose is being given to the land. Although it has long been known as a prime agricultural area, most notably for tobacco, farmers are discovering new ways to use the land. One in particular is for wine grapes. I n the span of just a decade, the Lower Connecticut River Valley has blossomed into a wine lover ’s resort with five wineries dotting 30 miles of river shoreline. And that number is sure to expand in the coming years, given the the quality of the wines being produced. While not all of the wineries reside o n the banks of the river, none are more than a mile or two from the Connecticut’s present location. That means that each is the benefactor of the build-up of tremendously high-quality soils that have floated down from as far away as Canada over the last several hundred years. This unique accumulation of soils from all over the Northeast gives the region a distinct terroir; one which can be found in the grapes produced by three of the local growers at Sunset Hill Vineyard (Lyme, CT), Arrigoni Winery (Portland, CT), and Priam Vineyards (Colchester, CT). With its relatively cool climate and temperate seasons courtesy of Long Island Sound, the region has found its niche with white grape varieties such as Chardonnay, Riesling, and Cayuga. Each of the wineries has made its own place with their grapes; Sunset most notably for its Chardonnay and Priam for its Riesling.


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Along Along with Arrigoni Winery’s grape wines there is also an offering of non-grape fruit fruit wines. The winery is one of two along the river that features wines made from fruit other than grape. Both Staehly Farm Winery (East Haddam, CT) and Arrigoni have crafted non-traditional yet remarkable wines from fruit that are also the benefit of the fertile Connecticut River soils. The rock l edges of the region running south from Portland-Cobalt to Hadlyme, combined with the sediment-depositing nature of the glacial period, have made for fertile, gentle slopes perfect for apple orchards. Staehly Farm Winery, with its several notable apple wines, sources entirely from an orchard planted on such a ledge.

Connecticut Winners at 2017 Finger Lakes In ternational Wine Competition

Finally, moving to the west side of the river, Chamard Vineyards (Clinton, CT) is nestled in the soils built up by the mouth of the Connecticut and its halocline with Long Island Sound. Here, the vineyard is more subject to the whims of the ocean than the river, but nonetheless the river still has its influences. The vineyard is one of the few in the area to experiment with red grape varietals such as Merlot, the other being Priam with its Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Silver Medal Winner - Westwind Hopkins Vineyard, New Preston, CT Estate-grown Estate-grown Cayuga grapes create a refreshing, semi-sweet w hite wine. Notes of golden fruit mingle with a citrusy crispness.

Whether starting in the north and working south, or in reverse, spending the the afternoon following the meandering of the Connecticut River while enjoying quality wines is quite the treat. With this being the starting point for this wine region, the future is certainly looking bright. All wineries are members of the Connecticut Passport to Farm Wineries program program and are open May through October with select hours. Please visit winery websites or call ahead for current hours, as they are subject to change.

Gold Medal Winner - Harvest Blend Staehly Farm Winery, East Haddam, CT A unique blend of apple wine, currant wine, and select spices spices makes makes this a wonderful red for both everyday and special occasions. A light pepperiness blends with tartness from the currants that is mellowed out by the sweetness of a triple-blend of apple varieties.

Bronze Medal Winner - Amazing Grace Bishops Orchard & Winery, Guilford, CT A blend of apple wine and cranberry wine that makes for a pleasing pleasing contrast of sweet and tart. Clean and crisp with just e nough sweetness to bring out the flavor of the heritage apples. ** Full award list available online at www.fliwc-cgd.com **


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Month of June Mystic Celebrating Earth's Beauty: Inspirations from Land and Sea runs through the month of June. The exhibit includes work from nationally and regionally acclaimed artists working in a wide variety of styles and media including Ralph Acosta, Sunil Howlader, S. Chandler Kissell, Domine Vescera Ragosta, Serena Bates, Jillian Barber, Lee Chabot, Sheila Barbone, Susan Shaw, Craig Masten, Lori Rembetski, Christopher Zhang, Serena Bates, Jillian Barber, Robert Pillsbury, Edeltraud Huller, Mark Patnode, Amy Hannum, Frauke Klatt, Sarah Stifler Lucas, James Magner, James Grabowski, Kim Muller-Thym, Amy Foster, Barbara Maiser, Sharon Way-Howard, Patt Baldino, Jack Garver, Tom Jennerwein, Susan Van Winkle, Robert Noreika, Charles Liguori, James Grabowski, Rita Dawley, Carol Dunn, David Madacsi, Julia Pavone, Robert Scutt, Howrd Park, Estelle Laschever, Donna Gilberto, David Witbeck, Liz McGee, Amy Foster, John Malenda, John Fazzino, John Starinovich, John Buscaglia, Dan Arpin and Del-Bourree Bach, whose painting "The Sea is Always Home" is shown here. Nature and our relationship with it's boundless beauty has been the inspiration for so much great art and each of these artists has a unique way of expressing that inspiration, whether on canvas or paper, in clay or bronze, with wax or steel, ink or found objects. Our June hours are Mon, Thurs, Fri and Sat 11-6 and Sundays 12-6, with weekly Meet the Artists Sunday Salons from 3-6PM. Come enjoy wine and light refreshments while sharing your passion for art with collectors, artists and friends, a Mystic tradition for over 12 years. Courtyard Gallery, 12 Water Street B3, Mystic, CT 860-536-5059 and courtyardgallerymystic.com.

June 2 Mystic Curated FIRST FRIDAY EVENT 5:007:00pm. Visiting Artist Samuel Austin, Live Music & Bubbly. First Friday Event featuring Samuel Austin, watercolor & ballpoint pen artist. Working with gesso, sumi ink and ballpoint pen, Sam represents the world as he observes it. He finds magic in the messy and imperfect way of life and his style supports this view, employing techniques to capture chaos and the beauty reflected in honesty, humility and frugality. Teasing out an emotional image with a very limited palette of watercolor pigment, gesso and ballpoint pen, Austin incorporates 20-60 layers in each painting. Hidden messages & images, song lyrics and poetry are often embedded in his incredibly detailed work. Born in 1962, Sam is an award-winning & published Architect, loving family man, passionate environmentalist, animal lover and musician from Boulder, CO. CURATED Fine Art & Luxury Goods, 29 W. Main Street, Mystic, CT 06355. (800)249-0129 www.curated.world  pam@curated.world

JUNE EVENTS

June 1 – August 31 Westbrook Selected works from the Madison Art Society at the Valentine H. Zahn Community Gallery located at Middlesex Hospital Shoreline Medical Center. Meet the artists at an opening reception to be held on Thursday, June 1 from 6 – 8 p.m. The Gallery is open during regular business hours and is located at 250 Flat Rock Place, Westbrook, CT. For more information, contact Middlesex Hospital at 860-358-6200 or zahngallery@midhosp.org.

June 1 - 25 Ivoryton Million Dollar Quartet. Great Balls of Fire! On December 4, 1956, an auspicious twist of fate brought together Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley at the Sun Records’ storefront recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee. Million Dollar Quartet brings that legendary night to life, featuring a score of rock hits including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “That’s All Right,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hound Dog” and more. This thrilling musical brings you inside that legendary recording studio with four major talents who came together as a red-hot rock ‘n’ roll band for one unforgettable night. Get your Blue Suede Shoes ready for this 1950’s rockin’ sensation! Original Concept and Direction by Floyd Mutrux. Inspired by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. Additional matinee performances: Saturday, June 10th at 2pm and Saturday, June 24th at 2pm 103 Main Street Ivoryton, CT 06442


JUNE EVENTS

June 9 - 17 Westbrook Annual Juried Show The Art Guild of Middletown is proud to announce its Annual Juried Exhibit at Wesleyan University’s Zilkha Gallery, Middletown, CT, June 9-17, 2017. All artists are invited to submit original work in any medium except photography. Award-winning artist Shauna Shane will jury entries and judge for awards. The gala opening reception and awards ceremony is Friday, June 9 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. and gallery hours are Saturday, June 10 through Saturday, June 17 from 1:00-4:00 p.m. daily. Receiving is Monday, June 5 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 noon and 5:00-7:00 p.m.; the entry fee for members is $25 for the first piece/$5 for the second piece; for nonmembers, $30/$5. A prospectus is available at the Guild’s website: www.middletownartguild.org.

June 22 Chester Please join us at the Leif Nilsson Spring Street Studio & Gallery at 1 Spring Street in Chester Center for a Concert in the Garden on Thursday, June 22, 2017 7pm - 9pm with Plywood Cowboy. Formed in 2015 in the Connecticut River Valley, Plywood Cowboy is poised to rewrite the American Songbook. "With great harmonies, clever songs & tasty guitar pickin', Plywood Cowboy is one of the best new bands on the Americana scene." - Chris Bergson, NY Blues Hall of Fame Inductee. Bottle fed on roots music, multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter Steve Dedman and his band strike deep at the soul of American music with songs about hound dogs, heart strings, and the vice of the bottle. Follow the herd with Plywood Cowboy on the path to release their debut album and enjoy the sounds of “incredible, toe-tapping, quality Americana music” - Ibby Carothers, iCRV Radio.http://www.plywoodcowboy.com/. Concerts are now outside in the amphitheater weather permitting, and in the gallery otherwise. $20 donation - BYOB and picnic – Sorry no pets. GATES OPEN Half Hour before the show. For more info log onto nilssonstudio.com or call 860-526-2077.

June 22 - 29 Chester "Deathless" - Meet the Cast. Goodspeed Musicals - The Terris Theatre. A lively discussion with the cast of Deathless after the Thursday, June 22 and 29 at the 7:30 p.m. performance. The Serling family is taking its annual road trip to Niagara Falls, but this time they’re saying goodbye to Mom. Along the way, memories of past trips, old wounds and family secrets are navigated in a not-toodistant future where no one dies of disease. For daughter Hayley, the journey means facing the big questions of life and death. Travel with unforgettable characters on the brink of discovering that living forever may not be as wonderful as it sounds. A funny, bittersweet, breathtaking new musical you simply must see. The Terris Theatre 33 North Main St.Chester, CT 06412

June 28 to September 9 Madison Visions of Land and Sea. Sailing vessels racing, a catboat at dawn, boats docked in a harbor, luminous tidewater marshes, lobster cookouts, gulls, shorebirds and sandy beaches evoke perfect summer memories and beautiful places at Susan Powell Fine Art’s summer invitational, Visions of Land and Sea. The exhibition, featuring approximately 75 works by 25 award-winning artists, takes place at the Madison, Connecticut gallery from June 28 through September 9. Paintings by Del-Bourree Bach, Peter Bergeron, David Dunlop, John Falato, Bill Farnsworth, Vincent Giarrano, Curtis Hanson, Neal Hughes, Susan Jositas, James Magner, Leonard Mizerek, Deborah Quinn-Munson, Polly Seip and George Van Hook, among others, reveal the charm of the Connecticut and New England shore. “Art that speaks to you and brings an emotional response is art you will want to live with and enjoy for years to come. We have many talented artists who have been painting for over 30 years. Join us, discover a new artist, or a new work by a cherished favorite, in this exciting show,” says owner, Susan Powell. Opening Reception: Thursday, July 6, 5-8 pm Summer Reception: Thursday, July 20, 5-8 pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday from 11-5, and anytime by appointment. For more information, call (203) 318-0616, visit www.susanpowellfineart.com to see works in the show. Susan Powell Fine Art is located at 679 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 06443


Profile for Ink Magazine

Ink Magazine - June 2017  

Connecticut's Premier Art, Culture, and Lifestyle Magazine.

Ink Magazine - June 2017  

Connecticut's Premier Art, Culture, and Lifestyle Magazine.