Sweet success
Jun22

Sweet success

Sweet success: With their goats’-milk caramels, Townshend farmers find their niche in the marketplace of locally produced speciality foods It’s no wonder Big Picture Farm’s silky caramels won the specialty food industry’s equivalent of the Academy Awards last year, and the awards keep coming: Pop one in your mouth — savor it — and you’ll understand that this is no ordinary caramel. Handcrafted from goat’s milk on a rugged, hill farm high above the village of Townshend, the super-creamy treats have brought farmers Louisa Conrad and Lucas Farrell swift success in an enterprise they launched barely three years ago. Conrad and Farrell met in 2000 at Middlebury College, graduated with bachelor degrees — he in art, she in English — and veered off for grad school: Montana and California, respectively. They returned to Vermont in 2008 and married in 2010. Farrell found work at Middlebury as an adjunct professor, and Conrad taught art after-school art, but those opportunities dried up with the faltering economy. As Conrad explains, the art market had collapsed. So they went to work at Blue Ledge Farm in Salisbury, making goat cheese. “We loved the rhythm and life of it there,” Conrad says. And they fell in love with goats. “We knew we wanted [them],” she says. They soon went to work at Peaked Mountain Farm in Townshend, where they gained more experience with goats and cheese-making, and bought a starter herd of three. Not a big stretch for them, as it turned out, as most of their friends were farming: “Starting new types of farms and doing exciting things in terms of food,” Conrad says. As the couple’s herd grew, and with so many others’ artisanal cheeses well represented in the marketplace, they looked for something they could make beyond cheese: a gift item that leveraged the best of their artistic skills, and the natural talents of their lovely goats. It was Conrad who proposed caramels. She’d been inspired by an English toffee she remembered sweetly from childhood. The pair went to work experimenting and taste-testing at the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market, and unveiled their first product: a creamy sea-salt and bourbon vanilla caramel. “It took a long time to get it right,” Farrell said. Well, right is an understatement. They got it right to the tune of winning the prestigious sofi Award for Outstanding Confection, bestowed by the Specialty Food Association at the Fancy Food Show in Washington, D.C., in 2012. It’s a big deal. Between the Winter Show in San Francisco and the Summer Show in New York City, Specialty Food Association events bring in more than 40,000 attendees from more than 80...

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Spotlight: Manchester Antique and Classic Car Show
Jun22

Spotlight: Manchester Antique and Classic Car Show

Spotlight: Manchester Antique and Classic Car Show The premier annual antique and classic car show puts Manchester and the Mountains back in gear for the 27th year of the best antique and classic cars, food vendors, and flea market experience to be had. Thousands of spectators and hundreds of car collectors will turn out to enjoy this exciting array of vintage vehicles. It’s a family event offering activities for all ages: great food, silent auctions, 50/50 raffles, tractor rides, and strolls on the show field. This year the featured marques are Ford and Land Rover. Tailgate competition — and judging for the best of the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70, and ’80s — take place on Sunday. Motor...

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Creative careers: Tucked in the hills of Southern Vermont, Brattleboro-West Arts members make beautiful art and live rich lives
Jun22

Creative careers: Tucked in the hills of Southern Vermont, Brattleboro-West Arts members make beautiful art and live rich lives

Creative careers: Tucked in the hills of Southern Vermont, Brattleboro-West Arts members make beautiful art and live rich lives By Chris Lann West Brattleboro basket maker Jackie Abrams’ studio shelves are filled with sculptural woven baskets. The body of her own creative work sits side by side with pieces that exemplify the traditional techniques she teaches. Walls and doors are covered with photos of people she’s met and taught in her travels around the world. As much as in her vessels, Abrams has woven a career of colorful strands, fitting art and teaching to good purpose. “I have a really rich life,” she says. Abrams is a member of Brattleboro-West Arts, a group of nearly three dozen artists who create their art and make their homes in and around the watershed of the Whetstone Brook in West Brattleboro, Marlboro, and Dummerston. Spreading awareness of the local arts is a key component of BWA’s mission. Marta Bernbaum, another BWA member, clearly agrees: “For me, glass making is an addiction. It’s something I’m excited about, and I love getting other people excited about it,” she says. Bernbaum has taught workshops throughout New England for about 12 years, and is gearing up to offer classes in the West Brattleboro glass studio she shares with her husband, Josh Bernbaum. “(Glass is) alchemistic at times and magic, and it’s like nothing else they’ve experienced,” she says of her students. “There’s this ‘wow’ moment for them.” And that “wow” can launch a creative career. Bernbaum recalls asking a class, “Who wants to sculpt?” Only one student, Joe Peters, raised his hand, but eagerly. Bernbaum remembers he jumped in with gusto, experimenting with creating a praying mantis in glass. “That caught him so passionately that he started putting in 18 hours a day,” Bernbaum says. “He’s now top of the line,” teaching classes himself at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and exhibiting his glass creatures nationally. Naomi Lindenfeld, another BWA member and the ceramics teacher at The Putney School for the past 15 years, also knows the satisfaction of seeing her students succeed. Students of hers have won honors in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards three years running — and their accomplishments certainly won’t end there. After taking his first ceramics class with Lindenfeld and graduating from The Putney School in 2003, Joey Foster Ellis went on to become the first American to graduate from China’s Central Academy of Fine Arts. Now, at 28, he sees his functional sculptures commissioned by the likes of Greenpeace; he was named a TEDGlobal Fellow; and his works have exhibited at the Smithsonian American Art Museum and have...

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Workshops, Classes & Artist Residencies

Workshops, Classes & Artist Residencies Brattleboro Museum & Art Center 10 Vernon St., Brattleboro 11a-5p (Closed Tuesdays) brattleboromuseum.org, 802-257-0124 July 8-10: Summer Education Institute: Approaching Literacy through Images. Carving Studio and Sculpture Center 636 Marble St., Rutland carvingstudio.org, 802-438-2097 June 1-7: A Stone Sculptor’s Dream Vacation. June 7-9: What a Relief! with Tim de Christopher. June 10-14: Steel Sculpture with Joseph Montrov. June 17-21: Carving in Stone with James Zingarelli. June 24-28: Cold-Cast Sculpture with R. Elliott Katz. June 24-28: Sculpture in Stone with Carlos Dorrien. June 28-30: Kinetics, Robotics, and the Interactive Environment with James Durrett. June 29-30: Flint Knapping with Brad Salon. July 1-6: In the Jungle (ages 7-10) with Zoe Marr. July 6-7: Slate Lettering and Relief Carving Weekend with Frank Anjo. July 8-12: Stone Carving: Making Big Rocks Smaller — with Style with Frank Anjo. July 15-19: Bronze Casting with Glenn Campbell. July 19-21: Welded Steel Assemblies with John Tidd. July 20-21: Introductory Stone Carving Weekend with Ryder Ownes. July 22-26: Granite Sculpture with Gary Haven Smith. July 22-26: The Figure and Portrait in Clay with Christopher Gowell. July 29-Aug 2: Your Portrait in Marble with Steve Shaheen. Aug 5-9: Lightweight Armature for Mosaic Sculpture with Lizz Van Saun. Aug 8-11: Carve Animals and other Forms in Stone with Bill Nuff. Aug 10-11: The Art of Carving Limestone with Tim de Christopher. Aug 10-11: Striking an Arch Between Place and Artist, Technique and Language, with Meghan Rigali. Aug 10-11: Papier-mâché Sculpture with Anne Brisson. Aug 12-16: Architectural Carving with Allen Williams. Aug 19-23: Carving Wild Stones with Rick Rothrock. Fire Works Studio 38 Harlow St., The Sprinkler Factory, Worcester, Mass. thefireworksinc.net, 508-752-0444 June 22: Todd Wahlstrom and Aysha Peltz host a workshop for potters and pottery enthusiasts. Fletcher Farm 611 Route 103 S., Ludlow fletcherfarm.org, 802-228-8770 Summer: Workshops galore! See website. Gallery at the VAULT 68 Main St., Springfield galleryvault.org, 802-885-7111 June 29: Nightscapes in Pastel, with instructor Robert Carsten. July 8-12: Make a Circus Movie (ages 8 and up). July 22-26: Cartoon Camp II (ages 8 and up). July 29-Aug 2: Caroon Workshop (ages 10 and up). July 29-Aug 2: Young Adult Cartooning Workshop (ages 14 and up). InView Center for the Arts at Landgrove Inn 132 Landgrove Road, Landgrove landgroveinn.com, 802-824-6673 June 10-14: Portraits and Figures in Transparent Watercolor. June 14-16: The Art of Argentine Tango. June 17-21: Vermont in Watercolors. June 24-28: Painting Light and Color with Painting Knives. July 7-12: Look Again! Manuscript Writing for Children. July 18-20: Painting the Essence: Workshop in Oils. July 22-25: Vermont in Watercolor. July 21-26: Jump-Start Your Story: Writing for Children Manuscript Writing. July 29-31:...

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Spotlight: Plein Air Vermont 2013
Jun22

Spotlight: Plein Air Vermont 2013

Plein Air Vermont 2013 Vermont’s southwestern corner combines all of the Green Mountain State’s quintessential attractions: majestic mountains, rolling farmland, meandering waterways, and quaint town and village squares with buildings on the National Historic Register. Can you paint it? This fourth annual event, painting in the open, without aid of photography — “en plein air” — will provide selected artists with four days of plein air painting, an expanded geographic area, and exciting designated sites across the shires. The main competition offers 11 prizes totaling more than $6,000 in cash, merchandise, and purchase awards; a quick draw challenge offers nine prizes totaling $1,200 in cash and merchandise. Open to participating artists and the general public of all ages. See website for details. The schedule: Sept. 3: Artists’ arrival and reception. Sept. 4-6: Artists paint. Sept. 6: Charles Reid painting demo at SVAC. Sept. 7: Artists paint in designated areas; quick draw competition. Plein Air Vermont joins the Downtown Bennington First Friday Arts celebration with an exhibit of Plein Air paintings at the Bennington Arts Guild. Sept. 8: Grand exhibition, sale, and...

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Beer Observed: What pairs well with beer?: Don’t let the wine lovers have all the fun this summer — find a great brew to go with that special meal
Jun22

Beer Observed: What pairs well with beer?: Don’t let the wine lovers have all the fun this summer — find a great brew to go with that special meal

Beer Observed: What pairs well with beer? Don’t let the wine lovers have all the fun this summer — find a great brew to go with that special meal By Marty Rambsberg The right wine with the right food makes the meal. But what pairs well with beer? Sure, beer buddies up with popcorn, pretzels, and pizza, but what of things that don’t start with “p”? Salad, say, or sole meunière, or a nice grilled salmon? Craft brewers have put a fair bit of thought into this, and tell us that many of the beers they produce are ready to move out of the pub and onto their rightful place of honor at the dinner table. And there is an art form to the pairing. Beer’s great range of tastes, weights, and richness comes from four basic ingredients: water, malted grain, hops, and yeast. From there, in varying combinations, spring everything we love about Pilsners, Belgian dark ales, India pale ales, imperial stouts, and all the rest. Let’s take a quick look at these four ingredients, and then I’ll give you an equal number of can’t-miss pairing tips to match: Water No surprise there: up to 97 percent of a brew is the H2O, but that water’s not a silent partner. Minerals in water impart flavors and other properties that inform the final product. Take the ales from Burton-on-Trent in England: these taste hoppier than those brewed in London, and water analysis tells us why: Burton-on-Trent’s water boasts a higher sulfate content, bringing out the hops.  Malted grain Malted grain provides lots of any beer’s flavor, not to mention the sugars needed for fermentation. Grain, especially barley, but also wheat and rye, are steeped in water, which softens the kernels and essentially releases the starches. Then the grain is kiln-dried, and that’s what converts the starches to sugars. The temperature at which the grain is dried yields different types of malts, which in turn affect the beer’s color, aroma, and flavor. Grains dried cooler yield lighter and more delicately aromatic malts. Turn up the heat and you’re cooking with dark malts that impart flavors from sweet caramel to roasted coffee or chocolate. Hops Hops, perennials within the family that includes cannabis, are an aromatic addition that pull their weight in a brew. Originally added to balance a bitterness against malt’s sugars, they also brings essential oils that contribute mightily to beer’s aromas and flavors. Plenty of hop varietals abound, each with an aromatic identity — from fruit to grass to resin to spice. Yeast Now we’re cooking. Yeast is critical to fermentation, converting the sugars in the malt to...

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Farm tour

A six-month farm tour and culinary workshop series, “Real Farms, Real Food, Real Rutland,” aims to provide residents with greater access to local farms and local food. According to Elizabeth Theriault of Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, which is organizing the events, the program runs through September and promises fun, hands-on events for all ages. “Uncover some of the mysteries of how your food gets from the farm to your plate while sampling some of the freshest foods you’ll ever taste,” Theriault says. Better still, free transportation to all farm tours is provided. Upcoming dates include: June 29, Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services, 35 Mill Pond Rd., Wells, 10a-noon. Call 802-645-9346, visit greenworksvermont.org/members, or write secondnaturevt@gmail.com. Aug 10, Wellsmere Farm, 199 Route 30, Wells, 10a-1p. Call 802-645-0934 or write mmorey1025@yahoo.com. On tap: canning and preserving root...

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Spotlight: Real Farms, Real Food
Jun22

Spotlight: Real Farms, Real Food

Spotlight: Real Farms, Real Food Promising that “the public gets to see where everything begins and can trace the path from seed to fork,” Rutland Area Farm and Food Link is highlighting Rutland County and its agriculture to provide residents with greater access to local farms and local food. With this in mind, a six-month/six-farm tour with culinary workshops, “Real Farms, Real Food, Real Rutland,” was born, paid for through a Specialty Crop Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dig in and enjoy on these two tour dates: June 29: Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services, 35 Mill Pond Rd., Wells, 10a-noon (802-645-9346, greenworksvermont.org/members, secondnaturevt@gmail.com). Tour-goers will learn about culinary and medicinal herbs from farm owners Ellen Malona and Richard Strange, who, for 14 years, have provided landscape and garden design, installation, and maintenance using all-organic and sustainable practices. August 10: Wellsmere Farm, 199 Vt. Rte. 30, Wells, 10a-1p (802-645-0934, mmorey1025@yahoo.com). The subject is canning and preserving root vegetables. August is a time of abundance. This 250-acre farm boasts a petting zoo — and ledges where peregrine falcons nest. The farmers boil their own maple syrup and sell alpaca products and all-natural soaps. Learn from the Bates family how to prepare and keep fresh produce, even when buying in bulk, and how to do it on a tight budget. Make sure to visit the kitchen, where canning and processing take place, and pop into the newly built root...

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Calendar: Day to Day

June 1: West River Trail Run, 11.5 miles, starts South Londonderry, vermontvacation.com. 1: Artist Panel: Art and the Mystery of Life, Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts, Chester, 7p, vtica.org. 5-9: Slow Living Summit, conference focused on developing supportive communities, all day, slowlivingsummit.org. 6-9: Roots on the River Music Festival, Bellows Falls, rootsontheriver.com. 7: Brattleboro Gallery Walk, 5:30p, gallerywalk.org. 7: First Friday events in Bennington, betterbennington.com. 7-9: Strolling of the Heifers Weekend. 10a on June 8 Heifers stroll down Main Street in Brattleboro. Following the parade will be an all-day Slow Living Expo. Weekend features bicycle tours, street festival, farmer’s breakfast, more, strollingoftheheifers.com. 8-9: 27th Manchester Antique & Classic Car Show, fun for the whole family, Dorr Farm, 8a-3p daily, visitmanchestervt.com. 9: Tour de Heifer Cycling Tours, Southeastern Vermont, strollingoftheheifers.com. 9-10: Vermont Days, free admission to all state-owned historic sites and day-use sites in the state, historicsites.vermont.gov. 13-17: Vietnam Veterans Memorial Moving Wall, Mount Snow’s Howe Farm, Route 100, visitvermont.com. 14: Jazz Series: Mo Jazz Redo, at Wilmington’s Mo Jazz Café, 8p, visitvermont.com. 14: Art and Symbols with Ami Ronnberg, VTica, Chester, 7p, vtica.org. 15: Pitchin’ for Families Bean Bag Tournament, West River Park, Brattleboro, fundraiser for Northeastern Family Institute, for more write LydiaMahan@nafi.com. 20-23: Wanderlust festival of yoga, music and more, all day, stratton.com. 21: Dairy Day, with celebrations at the Bellows Falls Farmers Market, all day, vermonttravelplanner.com. 21: Summer Solstice Street Fest, Main Street in Manchester, 6-9p, visitmanchestervt.com. 22: Bennington Community Natural Health and Food Show, 9a-5p, First Baptist Church, betterbennington.com. 22: Burlington Wine and Food Festival, Waterfront Park, burlingtonwineandfoodfestival.com. 22: Believer in Waitsfield Burlington Ensemble concert, Waitsfield, 7p, burlingtonensemble.com. 22-23: Music in the Meadow Race for the Cure Benefit, Motel in the Meadow, Chester, chestervermont.org. 22-23: Grafton Food Festival, Grafton Inn, graftonfoodfestival.com. 28-Oct. 20: “Red Grooms: What’s the Ruckus?” exhibit, Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, brattleboromuseum.org. 29: Okemo Bicycle Hill Climb at Okemo Mountain Resort, all day, Ludlow, okemo.com. 28-July 1: Hills Alive!, world-class stage productions, concerts, play readings, and more, throughout Southern Vermont, visitmanchestervt.com. 29: North Hill, New Plants, New Voices, 18th annual summer symposium on new plants, ideas, and upcoming generation of gardeners, all day, Mount Snow, West Dover, northhillgarden.com. 29: Culinary and Medicinal Herbs class from Second Nature Herb Farm and Horticultural Services, 10a-noon, Wells, 802-645-9346. 29-30: Westminster Garden Tour, 10a-3p each day. Features gardens of Mary and Gordon Hayward, nationally known garden designer, writer, lecturer. Four other Westminster gardens on the tour, westminstercares.org. July All month: Midnight Madness in Bennington, betterbennington.com. TBA: High-bush blueberry picking, grass fed beef, pork, maple syrup, organic seedlings and vegetables for sale, Two Dog Farm, Danby, twodogfarmvt.com. 1,...

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A group effort
Jun22

A group effort

Chester looks to promote itself as an ‘arts destination’   Arts- and culture-related organizations and businesses in Chester have strong allies in several of their neighbors who’ve banded together to promote the town as a top arts and culture draw. ArtUp!, a collaborative launched here in the fall of 2012, is working toward leveraging Chester’s strengths as a top arts destination, and giving Brattleboro and Burlington a run for their money among visitors making travel plans. ArtUp!’s founding members are Abby Raeder and Robert Sarly of the Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts [Vtica.org], Jessie and Michael Alon of DaVallia Arts and Accents [thedavallia.com], and Katherine Henry and Harry Hudson of Atelier Annex [atelierannex.com]. According to Sarly, Chester has always been a vibrant community, and it’s unfortunate that travelers often see only a small portion of the town when traveling Route 103 through the historic Stone Village. “Just {1/4} mile off Route 103 lies Chester’s second historic district, the Village Green. If you’ve been to the Village Green, you know why Chester’s slogan is, ’The Vermont you’ve been hoping to find,’” Sarly said. ArtUp! notes that Vermont ranks in the top 10 for the number of visual artists per capita — boasting an estimated 750 contemporary artists — and Chester is home to more independent galleries than any of nearby 14 towns, including Manchester, Grafton, Bellows Falls, and Ludlow. “We don’t have to get these people (artists) here; they’re already here,” Sarly says. ArtUp!’s founders created a brochure to help residents and tourists more reliably find fine arts and crafts happenings in Chester. They also worked up an advertising budget and are sharing costs to attract visitors to town and Chester’s arts...

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Calendar: Garden Tours

Bennington Arts Guild 103 South St., Bennington benningtonartsguild.org, 802-447-0388 Thru June 3: New Works by BAG members show. June 7-July 1: Zentangle-inspired art in 2D & 3D. July 29: Contemporary ceramics & stoneware. Aug 2-Sept 2: Group show featuring exquisite glass works, jewelry and other items fashioned from recycled zippers and vintage fabrics and...

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Photo: Best Little Quilt Show

Our nationally and internationally award-winning quilters have shown their works in major shows and museums, and have had attention lavished on them in the glossies. Now, as the quilt show moves from Jamaica to Brattleboro for the first time, you can enjoy this rare opportunity to admire these exciting works during Strolling of the Heifers weekend.

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