Tag Archives: Westport Farmer’s Market

Roundup: Farmers’ Market, 40 Under 40, Much Much More

================================================

Westporters know our Farmers’ Market is the best.

Now it’s official.

American Farmland Trust has recognized WFM as #1 in Connecticut. It’s also #10 in the Northeast — and #26 in the nation.

It’s been a tough year for an organization that prides itself of close interactions between farmers and shoppers. But, notes executive director Lori Cochran-Dougall, “For the first time in our history, we operated 12 months in a row to tackle to challenges presented by the pandemic. We set up a strict, COVID-safe, pre-ordering system that served as a model for others.

“It wasn’t easy, but we felt a duty to our farmers, knew that farmers’ markets would be more critical than ever, and we met the challenge.”

======================================================

Connecticut Magazine’s has just named their annual “40 Under 40” (40 people under 40 years old, doing great things). Three — a full 7.5% of the list — are Westporters.

Congratulations to State Senator Will Haskell (age 24; Staples High School Class of 2014), fashion designer Christian Siriano (35), and sports financier Jordan Kessler (30, Staples ’09).

Click here for writeups on our 3 (and of course the 37 others). (Hat tip: Michael Catarevas)

State Senator Will Haskell

======================================================

The other day, Westport comic/Star 99.9 host Courtney Davis joined 4 top New York City comedians, in a virtual fundraiser. The group raised nearly $2,500 for empowerHER, the non-profit that supports and connects girls and young women who have lost their mothers.

Courtney Davis

=====================================================

The Westport Country Playhouse is still closed. Until it reopens, all we’ve had are memories of our favorite shows.

Starting tomorrow though, there’s more.

The theater launches “From Concept to Curtain,” a virtual documentary series of 30-minute films. They offer free, behind-the-scenes looks at the creative process of putting together a Playhouse production.

The first episode is “In the Heights: Beyond el Barrio” (Thursday, February 4, 12 noon, at the Playhouse’s website and YouTube channel.

Host Marcos Santana — director and choreographer of the Playhouse’s 2019 production of “In the Heights” — performed on Broadway in the Tony Award-winning show.

The set, costume and lighting designers, and the music director, discuss their inspirations, challenges, what they would have done differently, and favorite moments from the show.

More videos will be announced soon.

“In the Heights,” at the Westport Country Playhouse.

======================================================

High school students interested in learning more about the art portfolio submission process for college are invited to a workshop this Sunday (February 7, 12 to 3 p.m.) at MoCA Westport.

The session includes lectures, slide presentations, Q-and-A and individual portfolio reviews (up to 5 samples). The cost is $75. Click here to register. For more information, email liz@mocawestport.org.

=====================================================

The Y’s Women and 597 Westport Avenue Apartments (just over the Norwalk line) have teamed up to contribute food to Mercy Learning Center.

Jane Ferreira — president and CEO of the Center, the wonderful literacy and life skills training center for women in Bridgeport — returns the favor, as Y’s Women’s virtual guest speaker this Monday (February 8, 11:30 a.m.). She’ll talk about MLC’s educational and support services — and how they change the lives of not only their clients and families, but also volunteers and supporters.

Anyone can log on to www.YsWomen.org to view past speakers. And any woman in Fairfield County can join for just $45 a year. Email president Barb Stephen (dynamicr@icloud.com) to learn more.

======================================================

The Unitarian Church has 2 important — and timely — programs this weekend.

On Saturday (February 6, 10 a.m.), they’re sponsoring a virtual program on how to recognize domestic violence in today’s pandemic world,  and what to do about it. The program is open to the public, via Zoom meeting ID 875 7140 7113 (passcode 739121). Questions? Contact events@uuwestport.org or click here.

Meanwhile, the women of the church are launching a series of programs about the history of Black lives in America, and its effects on our country today. “Revealing History: How We Got Here, Why It Matters” begins Sunday (February 7, 10:40 a.m.) with a multi-media event called “Racial Injustice: From Slavery to Mass Incarceration.”

The program includes a speaker from the Equal Justice Initiative, founded by Bryan Stevenson; a musical work with voiceover from Desmond Tutu, and other notable artists and artwork. Click here for the Zoom link (the program begins after the regular Sunday service).

Questions? Email events@uuwestport.org.

======================================================

And finally … today in 1959, “the music died.” That’s Don McLean’s “American Pie” reference to the Iowa plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

Roundup: School Reopening, Seed Exchange, Leadership, More

==================================================

Westport’s elementary and middle school open for full in-person on February 1.

A new Westport Public Schools website offers information on the transition. it includes details on schedules, specials, health and safety, lunch and recess, mitigation and hygiene strategies, classroom cohorts, special education, transportation, technology and more.

Click here for the elementary school page. Click here for the middle school page.

=======================================================

Talented Westport photographer Ted Horowitz posted this photo to his Instagram this morning:

He took the shot years ago at sunrise, in the Lincoln Memorial.

“In the silence of dawn, with golden light reflecting on the statue, the  the sense of gravity and majesty was overwhelming,” he says.

“It was a hopeful moment, as morning light poured in and a  day dawned once again. I felt that this image was appropriate for today, as we seeking relief from the past 4 years, and are hopeful for the new day which is about to begin.”

==========================================================

Next Thursday (January 28) is National Seed Exchange Day.

Stumped for a celebration? Head to the Westport Farmers’ Market. It’s (no coincidence) their annual seed exchange.

People can bring seeds saved from their gardens — or take home a few saved by others.

WFM farmers will donate seeds from their favorite crops for the community to try at home. All seeds except invasive species are welcome, but the market urges people to bring and take home heirloom or organic varieties. (Click here for a list of invasive plants.)

Heirloom seeds are critical to reclaiming the food system. They’re open-pollinated plants passed down from generation to generation, without human intervention or manipulation. They taste better, are more nutritious, and help protect plant diversity.

“Collecting, sharing, and growing seeds saved by our very own shoppers, farmers and vendors – especially heirloom varieties – involves the community personally in the promotion of local food and flora,” says Farmers’ Market executive director Lori Cochran-Dougall.

“This year more than ever we want to seed the year with love and health.”

The seed exchange runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — or until all seeds are shared —  on January 28th at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Avenue.

Experts will be on hand to informally discuss the importance of seed saving.

=======================================================

Yesterday’s mention of Capuli — the new restaurant in the old Westport Pizzeria location across from Bank of America — may have left the impression that it’s a pizza place.

It’s not.

The California-Mediterranean fusion menu — filled with healthy options — includes appetizers like chimichurri shrimp skewers and grilled octopus, and entrees like eggplant polenta Napoleon, pansotti, classic New York steak and California hamburger.

Click here for the mouth-watering lunch and dinner menus.

======================================================

Mike Hayes is a 20-year veteran of the Navy SEALs, with service in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He had defense policy and strategy roles in the Bush and Obama administrations.

He’s got a master’s in public policy from Harvard, and is the author of an inspirational book, “Never Enough.”

Hayes is also a Westporter. And on February 4 (7 p.m.), he’ll share his thoughts on leadership with former Westport Library trustee Maggie Mudd.

He’ll talk about how decisions get made, particularly under duress; crisis management, conflict resolution and more. Leadership lessons are applicable to every walk of life, Mudd notes.

Click here to register for the free virtual program.

Mike Hayes

=======================================================

And finally (and I do mean “finally”) …

Roundup: Farmers’ Market, More


The Westport Farmers’ Market continues its holiday drive for women veterans through Homes for the Brave, this Thursday (10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center, 7 Sylvan Lane). As always, click here to pre-order from the many great vendors.


And finally … Leslie West died last week of a heart attack. He was 75.

The leader and founder of Mountain — he named the trio after himself, because of his large size — may be best known for “Mississippi Queen,” the rock song with the most famous cowbell in music history.

Mountain’s drummer, Corky Laing, was well known in Westport. He was great friends with Gail and Terry Coen, and spent plenty of time at their Soundview Drive home.

Roundup: Old Dominion, Pumpkins, Sports, More


The third time’s the charm.

Of course, so were the first two.

For the third year in a row, Old Dominion was named Vocal Group of the Year, at the Academy of Country Music awards ceremony in Nashville. Lead guitarist for the Nashville-based band is 1997 Staples High School graduate Brad Tursi.

Perhaps the ACM can take a page from international soccer. After a team wins its 3rd World Cup, the trophy is retired.

Why the analogy? In 1996, Tursi led his Staples team to the state final.

His current career is plenty rewarding too. Congratulations, Old Dominion.

Now go out and make it 4 in a row! (Hat tip: Jeff Lea)

Brad Tursi

 

 


Still got pumpkins?

The Westport Farmers’ Market will collect them today, as they open the winter season at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden (7 Sylvan Road South, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Last week at the 2nd annual Pumpkin Composting Collection with Action Waste Solutions, the WFM collected more than 2,000 pounds of pumpkins.

That’s 2,000 pounds of food not added to the waste stream. Some pumpkins went to vendors and Bridgeport Rescue Mission to be cooked and eaten; some went to farm animals.

Whatever could not feed people or animals will be composted.

Last week’s pumpkin haul.


For weeks, it was uncertain whether there would be a high school fall sports season in Connecticut.

There was — though shortened, and without any FCIAC (league) or state tournaments.

The FCIAC was divided into 3 groups. Staples competed in the Central Division, against only 5 opponents: Norwalk, Brien McMahon, Wilton, Danbury and Ridgefield. Teams played home-and-away, back-to-back contests. Those same 6 schools then played a season-ending mini-tournament.

On Tuesday the girls’ volleyball team captured the divisional crown with a 3-0 win over Ridgefield.

The field hockey team fell to Ridgefield 2-1, in the Central final. In the regular season, the Wreckers won twice against the Tigers.

The girls soccer team was set to play for a Central Division trophy of its own this afternoon. They were to face archrival — you guessed it — Ridgefield. Earlier this year, the squads tied twice. The move to all remote learning for Staples through tomorrow has postponed the title match.

Action from Tuesday’s Central Division field hockey final.

(Photos/J.C. Martin)


And finally … happy 75th birthday to Neil Young!

 

Roundup: Kings Highway Bridge, Farmers’ Market, Shark!, More


It’s the project that never ends.

The Kings Highway North Bridge — the one at the light near Canal Street, near several medical office buildings — has been under construction since (it seems) the Truman administration.

Work may last through the Sasha Obama (or Barron Trump) administration.

But it’s important work. The bridge was in dire need of repair or replacement. School buses could no longer legally cross, because of its deteriorated condition.

Last winter, the P&Z explored many options to speed up the process. However, as chair Danielle Dobin notes on Westport Front Porch, work will continue through this winter.

The Frontier telephone lines that go under the sidewalk are being relocated now. Crews will then finish the sheeting, build the footings, set the precast bridge sections, and build the parapet walls (which are designed to evoke the historic design of the old bridge).

If this winter is warm, work could be completed by April or May. Otherwise, it will likely continue through May or June.

Large stones in the abutments beneath the Kings Highway North Bridge may be remnants of a much earlier bridge. (Photo: Wendy Crowther)


Saturday’s Westport Library “Show of Shows” was wonderful. The hour-long program featured tons of local personalities in comedy sketches, humorous shout-outs and musical numbers.

David Pogue MCed the event, and Andrew Wilk produced and directed. It ended with 2 powerful moments: a stirring video created by teens through the library’s media program, and the Staples Orphenians singing “Imagine.”

If you missed the show — or want to see it again — click here.

Who’s that guy stealing wine from 1st Selectman Jim Marpe’s cellar? Find out by watching the Westport Library’s “Show of Shows.”


Wakeman Town Farm’s upcoming offerings are intriguing. Among them: a Little Farmers Parent/Child class, and an Election Day Camp for kids ages 8-12.

Click here to register (search for “WTF”) for programs. Problems? Call 203-341-5152 or email recreation@westportct.gov.

WTF’s holiday pie fundraiser kicks off next week too. To get on the email list for notification, cilck here.


Sighted recently at Compo Beach: a baby shark.

But not in the Sound. This one was displayed on a South Beach picnic table, far from shore.

I’m not sure how it got there. But it sure got my attention.

(Photo/Matthew Levine)


Drivers stopped at the Playhouse Square traffic light often delight in the whimsical, ever-changing costumes worn by the animal sculptures on the Post Road lawn.

This Halloween, the creatures have been joined by a slew of skeletons. Despite COVID, looks like the animal hospital staff are up to their old tricks.

(Photo/Molly Alger)


And finally … Mahalia Jackson was born 109 years ago yesterday. The Queen of Gospel died just 60 years later. But she left a remarkable legacy.

Pic Of The Day #1285

Shopping at the Farmer’s Market (Photo/Lisa Lewin)

Aw, Shoot!

The Westport Farmers’ Market is — like every other public gathering — socially distanced.

But that did not prevent dozens of young photographers from getting up close and personal with the produce and products at our town’s favorite Thursday event.

This year, 8- to 18-year-old entrants in the “Young Shoots” contest had a choice. They could showcase produce, flowers, prepared food — or anything else representative of the Farmers’ Market — at home or at the Imperial Avenue parking lot.

Just as they’ve done constantly over the past 6 months, the young artists demonstrated resiliency, creativity, and spunk.

Plus a great eye.

Awards were presented — socially distanced, of course — at Gilbertie’s Herbs & Garden Center last week.

Alexander Sod won 1st place in the 11-14-year-old category for his photo, “Unraveling.” His shot also captured the overall “People’s Choice” award.

“Unraveling” (Alexander Sod)

The contest is “an incredible way to show both my creativity and my love for food –the taste, its shapes, patterns, and textures you can’t find anywhere except in nature,” he says.

Rose Porosoff placed 2nd in that age group, for “Veins.”

Other winners include:

8-10-year-old:

  • 1st place: Kayla Stanley for “Rinsing Strawberries”
  • 2nd place: Nakul Sethi for “The Sunset Focaccia.

“Rinsing Strawberries” (Kayla Stanley)

15 to 18-year-old

  • 1st place: Morgan Freydl for “Seacoast Mushrooms”
  • 2nd place: Anooshka Sethi for “Sunshine Toast.”

“Seacoast Mushrooms” (Morgan Freydl)

First place was worth $100, plus WFM merchandise. Runners-up  get $50 each plus WFM swag,

Lori Cochran-Dougall, executive director of WFM, says Young Shoots is more than a food photography contest.

“Clearly it encourages creativity in young people. But it also reminds adults that kids see things with a lightness and simplicity that we might miss. To see the world of food through their eyes is refreshing.”

To see all the entries from this year’s contest, click here.

(The 7th annual “Young Shoots” contest and reception were sponsored by the Westport Farmers’ Market, in collaboration with the Drew Friedman Community Arts Center and Artists Collective of Westport.)

Alexander Sod and Westport Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran-Dougall, at the “Young Shoots” awards ceremony.

 

Roundup: Census, Bloodroot, Shorefest, More


As the 2020 census continues, Westport’s self-response rate is 76.2%. That’s well above the rate for the state of Connecticut: 69.4%. (The figures include responses from all known addresses.)

Officials urge anyone who has not completed the census to do so. Census data informs how billions of dollars in federal funds are distributed for health clinics, school lunch programs, disaster recovery initiatives, and other critical programs and services for the next 10 years.

Click here to complete the census response. Click here to see Westport’s response rate. (Hat tip: Peter Gold)


The Westport Farmers’ Market has offered great, healthy food for more than a decade.

Bloodroot has done the same for nearly half a century more.

The Bridgeport feminist vegetarian restaurant/bookstore — opened in the 1970s by Westporters Noel Furie and Selma Miriam, nurtured by ever since and still run by the indefatigable women — is the subject of a new documentary.

“Bloodroot” premieres Sunday, September 20 (7 p.m.). The film will be shown at the Imperial Avenue parking lot — home to the Remarkable Theater and its partner for this showing, the Westport Farmers’ Market.

The film — about feminism as well as food — is an homage to Furie and Miriam, says WFM executive director Lori Cochran-Dougall. They are longtime supporters of the market, and a mentor to its director. Click here for tickets.

Three local restaurants are offering tailgating options for the documentary.

Terrain’s $50 box for 2 people includes tomato salad, kale falafel and blackberry pie. Click here for ordering information.

Manna Toast’s offering ($20 for 2) includes choice of toast, salad, rosemary popcorn and iced tea. Click here to order.

Kawa Ni’s dinner ($60 plus tax and 3% kitchen share, for 2) includes tsukemono, shaved broccoli miso goma, tomato tofu pockets and a bun bowl. Call 203-557-8775 to order by 4 p.m. on September 18.

(Form left): Noel Furie and Selma Miriam, Bloodroot founders.


Speaking of food: Friends of Sherwood Island — members of the organization with that name, and those who merely love Connecticut’s 1st state park, a 236-acre gem hidden right on the Westport coast — are invited to an important fundraiser.

Shorefest on a Roll rolls out Sunday, September 20. Guests will enjoy a rolling tour of the park, accompanied by a podcast describing its fascinating history and its many features — plus a “lobster roll to go” feast.

The event includes a field of whirligigs, exotic kites, disc golf exhibitions, musical performances and model plane flyovers at the park airfield, all while cruising the loop at 10 miles an hour.

The only stop is near the end of the tour to pick up hot or cold lobster roll dinners. The entire loop takes 12 minutes.

Click here for tickets. Proceeds support Friends’ efforts, including the newly renovated Nature Center, tree planting, maintenance of the vast purple martin colony, and the 9/11 Memorial.


Dog-gone it!

The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce held out as long as they could. But the 5th Annual Westport Dog Festival — set for October 4, after being rescheduled from May — has been canceled.

That’s the second major event — following Slice of Saugatuck — shelved by the Chamber, due to the coronavirus.

But they’re running concerts both weekends. Terrapin: The Grateful Dead Experience performs tonight, in a sold-out show. Two other shows are slated for October 2 and 3. Tickets go on sale next week. For more information, click here.


And finally … as we remember 9/11:

Roundup: Art About Town, Senior Center; Young Shoots Farmers, More


Even a pandemic can’t keep local artists down.

The Westport Downtown Merchants Association’s 2nd “Art About Town” project includes works from Artists Collective of Westport members. They’re exhibited in the windows and on the walls of many downtown retails — for viewing and purchase.

Art About Town runs in conjunction with the WDMA’s “Art+ Downtown Thursday Nights.” Galleries stay open from 5 to 8 p.m. So do many of the stores showcasing the “About Town” art.

Bonus feature: Many of the artists are there with their work on Thursdays, chatting with customers. Tomorrow they’ll be at Amy Simon, Pop’TArt, Sorelle, Artistex, Catherine H, Don Memo, Fred Sip & Shop, Franny’s Farmacy, Nic & Zoe, Savannah Bee, Savvy + Grace and West, on Post Road East, Main Street and Church Lane.

In addition Manna Toast offers 1/2 off on bottles of wine (5 to 7 p.m.), and Rye Ridge Deli will stay open till 8. Masks and social distancing are mandatory for Art About Town!


Upcoming Senior Center events:

Bingo: Thursday, August 20 (1:15 to 2 p.m.). Virtual Bingo — with prizes! — is offered the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month. If you don’t have internet, you can call in from home. If you can’t print cards, the Senior Center will help. Pre-registration is required (203-341-5099). There’s also an $8 lunch for Westport residents — delivered (with 4 Bingo cards) to your home.

Pet Chat: Friday, August 21 (10:30 to 11:30 a.m.). Share pet stories; hear guest speakers. Click here for Zoom ID; password is 4C1Q0H.

Summer Concert Series: Friday, August 28, 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.: Pianist Irwin Lebish discusses and plays selections from “The Great American Songbook.” Click here for the Zoom link. Friday, September 4, 1:30 to 2 p.m.: Violinist and Westport native Healther “L’il Mama” Hardy — daughter of Friends board member Judy Hardy — entertains on Facebook Live and Zoom (click here for that link).

Fall Prevention program: (Tuesday, September 1, 10 to 11 a.m.). Carli Lee Spinola — injury prevention coordinator at Norwalk Hospital — teaches how to prevent slips and falls. Click here for the Zoom link.

Labor Day Drive-Thru BBQ and Online Concert: Seniors and guests can order a BBQ lunch to go; pickup is at the Senior Center on Friday, September 4, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Socially distance in the parking lot, and enjoy the meal! $8; ordering deadline is September 1. Call 203-341-5099.

Questions? Call 203-341-5099, or email seniorcenter@westportct.gov.


“Young Shoots” — the Westport Farmers’ Market’s deliciously named youth photo contest — has extended its deadline.

Youngsters ages 8 to 18 have until August 24 to submit photos. This year, because of COVID, they must be taken at home. The goal is to show images of the produce, flowers and prepared foods they and their families buy — and how it looks in their kitchens and dining rooms.

First place winners in each category receive $100; runners-up get $50. All photos will be on display at Sugar & Olives in Norwalk.

Click here to apply; click here for more details. The deadline is August 10.


Last Friday, Ariana Napier delivered 424 pounds of food to Bridgeport Rescue Mission. This brings her Westport’s total donations to 1,819 pounds of food and personal care items donated. In other words: Donors are just 181 pounds away from reaching 1 ton!

BRM continues to provide twice as many meals and three times as many grocery bags as before the pandemic. The most needed items include:

  • Canned beans (all types)
  • Canned vegetables
  • Canned meats (beef stew, chili, etc.)
  • Peanut butter and jelly (plastic)
  • Snacks (granola bars, power bars, etc.)
  • Ramen noodles

Donations can be dropped off at bins in Ariana’s driveway (14 Jennings Court, off Bayberry Lane near Long Lots).


Rebecca Mace reports that the Panera Bread location on Post Road East near the Southport line — shut for several weeks — is once again open.

Yesterday she spotted baked goods on the shelves, someone going in, and a guy eating a salad next to the window.

The Panera Bread near the Southport line.


1968 Staples High School graduate Paul Backalenick has just published his second book. He says, “A good mystery can be a good distraction in these trying times.”

Carrie’s Secret takes place in a psychiatric hospital in the 1980s, as a suburban couple struggles to understand and help their threatened daughter.

The Kindle version of Carrie’s Secrets is just $2.99 on Amazon — and it’s free for Kindle Unlimited member. The paperback is $13.99. Click here for more on Paul Backalenick.


And finally … last night’s Remarkable Theater movie was “The Sting.” In 1973, the film — starring Westport’s own Paul Newman — gave new life to Scott Joplin’s rags.

No Farmer’s Market Today?

Looks like there is no Westport Farmer’s Market today.

A tree blocks the exit to the Imperial Avenue lot. There were no tents set up, no signs out in front, and an email to the Market was not returned as of 10 a.m.

So: not confirmed, but pretty certain.

(Photo/Am Schneider)

Let’s hope we’re not waiting till the cows come home.