Category Archives: Environment

Westport Favorite Is Farmer Of The Year

The Westport Farmers’ Market is proud of its many vendors. They sell honey, ice cream, tamales and pizza, along with the usual (and delicious) fruits, vegetables and meats.

Today they’re particularly proud of one.

Patti Popp has just been named 2017 Farmer of the Year.

That’s not some silly online poll. The honor comes from the Farmers’ Almanac and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Popp is one of 3 outstanding farmers or ranchers throughout the country — and the only woman. All were chosen for their support of the farming tradition; innovation in agriculture; community involvement, and inspiration as an agricultural leader.

Popp grows produce, and raises chickens and pigs, at Sport Hill Farm in Easton. She operates a community-supported agriculture program, and a retail store sellling locally grown and crafted goods.

Patti Popp and friends.

In the summer Sport Hill Farm sponsors a children’s camp. She hosts other events throughout the year, including farm-to-table dinners and workshops.

Popp calls herself an “accidental farmer.” In 2000 she and her husband purchased a home with enough property to grow vegetables and raise chickens.

They learned to farm by trial and error — reading books, and asking questions of other farmers.

Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran-Dougall says, “Not only does Patti grow some of the choicest food in the area, she gives of herself to the community in an unparalleled way.

“We always count on Patti to dig in when we need anything — from offering fresh food, to partnering with local chefs, to volunteering for events that help folks make a connection between the farm and our food system.”

You can see the national Farmer of the Year at the Westport market on Imperial Avenue every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., now through November 9.

Pics Of The Day #151

Wakeman Town Farm threw an open house this evening. A crowd of over 200 welcomed farmer Corey Thomas, and enjoyed the renovated facility — including the new Tim’s Kitchen, behind the sliding glass doors.

Animals were on their best behavior …

… while a string group entertained the guests. (Photos/Charlie Colasurdo)

Aw, Shoot!

Keep your eye on Josh  Suggs and Samantha Henske.

Thanks to their own keen eyes, both were double winners in the 3rd annual Young Shoots student digital photography contest.

The joint effort of the Westport Arts Center and Westport Farmers’ Market shows off local talent — and the color and vibrancy of local farms.

Over 70 photos were submitted by youngsters ages 8 to 18, from across Fairfield County. Subject matter ranged from rhubarb to honey bees.

Suggs won the age 11-14 competition (judged by photography and food experts) for “Back to Our Roots,” and the Fan Favorite (selected by the public) for “Apple of My Eye.”

Josh Suggs’ “Back to Our Roots.”

Henske picked up 1st place in age 8-10 for “A Bouquet of Lettuce,” and the Fan Favorite prize for “One in a Million.”

Samantha Henske’s Bouquet of Lettuce

The age 15-18 category winner was “Happy Rhubarb” by Lili Dowell. The Fan Favorite was Sarah Maybruck’s “Colorful Beginnings.”

Lili Dowell’s “Happy Rhubarb.”

All were honored last night at Sugar & Olives. First-place winners earned $100, and the co-lead of a photo shoot at The Whelk with chef Bill Taibe.

Second place winners Samantha Sandrew, Olivia Toth and Claire Langdon received $50 each.

Fan Favorites got a 1-year membership to the Arts Center, and a Farmers’ Market t-shirt.

First place winners (from left) Lili Dowell, Samantha Henske and Josh Suggs, with Bill Taibe. (Photo/Adriana Reis)

Dumping On Drivers

The Sherwood Island transfer station — aka “the dump” — is many things.

It’s a place to dispose of unwanted stuff — furniture, electronics, yard waste — in an environmentally sound way.

It’s a place to meet other Westporters. It’s a place for politicians to troll for votes.

It’s also become a place where the informal rules of social conduct are being, well, trashed.

Alert “06880” reader Steve Axthelm writes of this recent trend:

Instead of taking the next available space and keeping the line moving quickly on Saturdays, some drivers now ignore multiple available spots. They block the lane, waiting for the “perfect” spot.

Maybe we should have a reservation system, so you can be sure to cozy up to the metal dumping area, or save those 10 steps when recycling your cardboard.

But think how much time you save, on your way to your entitled parking spot at Starbucks!

Drivers wait for the “perfect” spot, instead of pulling in to the first available one. (Photo/Steve Axthelm)

Pic Of The Day #147

Two of Westport’s favorite musicians — former Staples High School choral director Alice Lipson and drummer Drew McKeon — share a moment (and hair) at last night’s “Voices: A Concert for Unity.” The event at the Levitt Pavilion was a benefit for the Anti-Defamation League. Drew — who tours internationally with Michael Bolton — backed fellow Staples grad Alisan Porter at the concert.

Party In The Parking Lot Postponed

With Westporters worried about friends and family affected by recent hurricanes — and possible bad weather in the forecast — this Thursday’s Westport Farmers’ Market fundraiser has been postponed.

Party in the Parking Lot — scheduled for this Thursday (September 14) — is now set for Wednesday evening, October 4.

Participating chefs include Bill Taibe, Brian Lewis, Christian Petroni, Christine Cote, Jessica Bengston, Kevin Lalli and Matt Stanczak.

Click here for tickets and more information.

The entrance to the Westport Farmers’ Market, on Imperial Avenue, where the October 4 party takes place.

 

Pic Of The Day #141

Teen volunteers at Wakeman Town Farm

[OPINION] Suggs To RTM: Vote “No” On Coyote Trapping Law

Early this morning, John Suggs — an RTM member and independent candidate for 1st selectman — sent out this email. He says he has already received 150 responses. He writes:

Tonight (Tuesday, September 5, 7:30 p.m., Town Hall), Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) will vote on a proposed ordinance that would, for the first time in almost 50 years, permit the trapping and killing of coyotes in Westport.

This has come about because of a citizen-led initiative in response to fellow town residents who have tragically lost their beloved pets to coyotes. I’m deeply sympathetic to them. No one should have to live through such a trauma. As a parent and a dog owner myself, I am also committed to finding solutions to help keep our children and pets safe from attack.

However, when I step back and analyze the bigger picture, I remain opposed to the practice this ordinance would sanction.

The unintended consequences of this ordinance means all wild and domestic animals can be maimed and injured. In fact, research shows, on average, 5 out of 7 animals caught in foothold traps proposed by this new ordinance are so-called “non-target animals” — including dogs, cats, owls, hawks and eagles. Animals that become ensnared in these traps struggle for hours or days to free themselves; dislocated joints, broken teeth and, of course, self-amputated limbs are all part of this painful outcome.

There are environmentally friendly, science-based protocols for dealing with coyote conflicts. These sustainable, humane and effective measures include: reducing and/or removing food attractants, ensuring pets are not left outside unattended, hazing habituated coyotes with loud noises, spraying water and/or throwing objects to deter them from closer contact.

I invite everyone to educate themselves about these proven, cruelty-free strategies other communities have successfully employed, as well as the unintentional consequences of foothold traps. For a superb resource please click here.

Whether you agree with Suggs or not, you can email all RTM members at once: RTMMailingList@westportct.gov. You can also click “Comments” below. Please be sure to use your full, real name.  Tonight’s hearing will be televised live on Channel 79 (Cablevision) and Channel 99 (Frontier), and livestreamed here

Photo Challenge #140

Every Westporter has his or her favorite town park.

And nearly every one was guessed, in last week’s photo challenge.

The correct answer to Seth Schachter’s image was H. Smith Richardson Wildlife Preserve. That’s the 74-acre Connecticut Audubon Society gem tucked away near Southport.

The photo (click here) was taken on a path leading to the back — the northeast corner of Greens Farms Academy.

Only Alexandra Wiberg and John Hartwell correctly identified the park as H. Smith Richardson — not Winslow, Grace Salmon, Paul Newman, Edna Haskins, Hilla von Rebay or the Nature Center.

Of course, they’re all worth visiting.

Now it’s on to this week’s photo challenge. If you recognize it, click “Comments” below. As always, back stories and/or more info is always welcome.

Pic Of The Day #135

Gulls in flight over Ned Dimes Marina (Photo/Larry Untermeyer)