Crow Vineyard and Winery Offers Winter Wine Seminar Series

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Crow Vineyard and Winery, an authentic farm winery, vineyard and farmstay B&B, will hold its Winter Wine Seminar Series from 2pm to 4pm on January 21st, February 4th, March 25th and April 22nd. Each session will offer participants a chance to learn all about the world of wine from Winemaker, Michael Zollo, Vineyard Manager, Brandon Hoy, and Owners, Roy and Judy Crow. To register for one or all of the seminars, visit crowvineyardandwinery.com/events.

The Wine Seminar Series is a unique opportunity for the local community to join in one of the Crow’s’ many efforts to promote education in an unforgettable atmosphere. Since opening the farm to the public, the Crow’s continue their vision to share with visitors the opportunity to experience the farm, vineyard, winery and B&B firsthand. Throughout the year Crow Vineyard and Winery offers a number of events to take part in, as well as opportunities to volunteer during harvest season.

Winemaker Michael Zollo and Vineyard Manager Brandon Hoy offer an opportunity for participants to learn about grapes grown and wine created at Crow Vineyard & Winery.

This winter, join Crow Vineyard and Winery at one or all of their Wine Seminar Series sessions to learn more about the different aspects of the wine world. Sessions offered include:

Session 1: The Basics of Wine Tasting and Palate Tasting will help you train your palate into identifying and articulating flavors like a pro. You will learn tools and techniques to practice every time you enjoy a glass of wine.

Session 2: Pairing Food & Wine, learn the art of pairing food and wine through guided tastings and presentation.

Session 3: Grapes to Glass, great wine begins in the vineyard and ends in the winery. During this session you will spend time in the vineyard to learn techniques for premium grape growing on the Eastern Shore. Then you will spend time in the winery to explore winemaking techniques and be guided through a tasting.

Session 4: The Art and Science of Blending Wines, in this session you will work side-by-side with the winemaker to see the process of blending wines. You will also sample some of Crow’s future wines.

Each seminar is designed to help participants learn a little more about wine, their taste preferences and the process from vine to wine. Wine tastings and light appetizers will also be a part of each session.

All sessions will be held at Crow Vineyard & Winery, 12441 Vansants Corner Road, Kennedyville, Maryland

Cost: $25 per person for session 1-3, $20 for Wine Club Members

Session 4 will be $30 per person, $25 for Wine Club Members

Located in the rural heart of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Crow Vineyard & Winery is Kent County’s first winery. Family owned and operated, they embrace the heritage and traditions of Crow Farm and their wines embody the simple elegance of a working pastoral landscape. The Tasting Room is open 7 days a week from 12-5pm.  The family also runs a farmstay B&B and sells all-natural grass-fed beef. For more information visit crowvineyardandwinery.com or call 302-304-0551.

Mid-Shore Food Notes: Yelp Says Marlena’s in Middletown is one of the Top New Restaurants in US

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The Spy was taken by surprise this morning when it was noted that Buzzfeed used Yelp’s Top USA list to highlight that Marlena’s Mediterranean Deli in Middletown, DE. was to become a destination restaurant.  Yelp determined Marlena’s standing by using an algorithm that takes into account the number of reviews and star ratings for every new restaurant.

We are eager to hear from Spy readers if they agree with this assessment. In the meantime, you can find Marlena’s on 10 West Main Street in downtown Middletown.

Farewell to Colchester Farm CSA

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A sample of Colchester Farm produce from the CFCSA website

Colchester Farm CSA has ended operations after 15 years of serving Kent County residents locally grown produce. The community supported farm, located near Galena, provided vegetables, herbs, flowers and fruits to some 200 shareholders as well as to customers at the Chestertown and Lewes, Delaware farmers markets.

In a letter to shareholders Sept. 17, Colchester board president Marcia Landskroener wrote, “A ‘perfect storm’ of circumstances has compelled the board of directors of Colchester Farm CSA to dissolve the organization at the end of this year.” She said the two key issues were a decision by farm manager Theresa Mycek to pursue other opportunities and a decision by the new farm owner to move his family to the farm.

Theresa Mycek

Landskroener’s letter praised Mycek’s “sheer will and determination” for making Colchester a success despite the hard work and vicissitudes of running an organic farm. She was ”the face of Colchester Farm, staffing our stand at the Chestertown Farmers’ Market with a ready smile and encouragement to try that unusual vegetable.” Landskroener wrote.

Owen McCoy, manager of the Chestertown farmers market, said he heard the property had changed hands about five years ago. The new owner had been willing to allow Colchester to continue farming its portion of the larger property, about 15 acres, but the agreement was on a year-to-year basis. Finally, this year, the owner decided to move his family to one of the buildings on the property, contributing to the termination of the agreement.

As the farm’s website states, Colchester Farm CSA began some 15 years ago, when Charlotte Staelin, who then owned Colchester Farm, and Andy Andrews of the American Farmland Trust spoke casually about how a community supported agriculture project would be great for Kent County. Without much planning, they asked some 29 friends or relatives, to contribute $100 each in return for pesticide-free vegetables, giving them a share of what came up every week all summer long. Colchester Farm Community Supported Agriculture was set up on a 10-acre plot carved out of the larger Colchester Farm.

The operation grew more rapidly than expected, and by 2006 Colchester Farm CSA had a full Board of Directors and began accepting tax-deductible donations for its educational work. Also in that year, Theresa Mycek took over the management of CFCSA from Andy Andrews; and the farm built an unheated greenhouse, to extend its growing season.

With its non-profit status, CFCSA was also able to secure small grants from both the Maryland Environmental Trust and the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, one for designing educational materials and one for collecting and printing oral histories of Colchester Farm and its surrounding neighbors in Georgetown. The last several years, CFCSA operated with a staff of one full-time year-round manager and four seasonal interns.

Landskroener, in her letter to sponsors, said the farm would donate its remaining assets to Future Harvest – Chesapeake Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, “This non-profit organization is a wonderful resource for young farmers just starting out, providing education, networking, and advocacy to help build a sustainable Chesapeake foodshed,” she wrote. Also, Colchester donated proceeds of its final Oktoberfest, held at the end of September, to the Victory Garden at Chestertown Middle School, Kent County High School’s Culinary Arts Program, and the Sassafras Environmental Education Program.

 

 

 

 

All Welcome at the Community Feast!

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Brandon, David Ryan (pastor both First United Methodist Church & Christ United Methodist Church), Cheryl Hoopes (coordinator for the weekly dinners)

Have you been to the Monday Community Dinner at First United Methodist Church in Chestertown? You’re invited. You’re missing a real treat if you haven’t been yet.  The food is quite good.  It’s all fresh and prepared that afternoon by community volunteers. And it’s free, yes, that’s right, free – though donations are accepted.

The church is the big red brick one on the hill with white trim and columns and a tall steeple.  There’s lots of convenient parking on Park, Mill, or Calvert Streets.  Use the side entrance to the church and come down the stairs to the basement.  Tables will be already setup with napkins and silverware.  They use real plates and utensils – no paper unless you request one of the take-out boxes, which are recyclable.  Dinner is served starting at 5:30. Reservations are not needed but we recommend you get there by at least 6 p.m. to avoid having any of your favorite items run out.

First United Church – facing High St. on the corner of Mill Street.   For the community dinner go in the side door on Mill St. then down stairs on the right

Begun by the Rev. David Ryan in September 2016, the Monday dinners regularly serve between 75 and 100 community members, most of them regulars. The cafeteria-style meals feature a generous choice of main courses, desserts, and beverages. There is a dinner every Monday, even if it’s a holiday, Ryan said.

The church kitchen is spacious and Spic-and-Span clean.

Voluntary donations help support the meal, which Ryan estimates costs $2 to $3 a serving. Even many of the low-income diners chip in a dollar or two, while others sometimes donate as much as they’d pay in a restaurant. And the “customers” represent all ages and income levels. Ryan said the donations jar typically yields $75-150 toward the cost of the meal.

150 ears of “cooler corn” with a crockpot of melted butter to dip them in. Picked that day and donated by Redman Farms

Much of the food is donated to the church from local farms and gardens, restaurants, and grocery stores. The first time we went, J.R.’s Lemon Leaf Café provided mashed potatoes while some of the vegetables came from the Kent County Middle School garden, and Redman Farms had donated 150 ears of corn on the cob.

The corn, by the way, was “cooler corn.”  We had seen coolers full of corn at picnics and reunions before but had never realized it had a recipe.  We just thought that corn was cooked in the regular way on the stove then put in the cooler.  But no, it turns out you cook the corn right in the cooler!  Who knew?  You just fill a clean hard-sided cooler (no styrofoam, please) with corn.  Pour in boiling water.  Close the cooler.  Load it in the car.  By the time you get to the party, the corn is ready. And the cooler will keep it warm for hours.  A quick Google search will reveal lots of recipes, reviews, and discussions of cooler corn.  Ours was delicious!

During the school year, the Washington College dining hall donates surplus food. Restaurants and schools often donate food that was prepared but not served.  In most cases, the food would have been thrown out if not for the church dinner.  College students also help with the preparation and serving when classes are in session. Emmanuel Episcopal Church and the Presbyterian Church of Chestertown also help with preparation, especially when Pastor Ryan is out of town. Other volunteers set tables, work the cafeteria-style serving line, wash dishes, and make sure everything runs smoothly.  All were clearly having a good time.

This family had four generations with them at the dinner.

David Ryan, pastor of the two Methodist churches, cooks and helps with cleanup, too.

Preparation begins early in the afternoon, around 1:00 pm when Pastor Ryan and parishioner Cheryl Hoopes arrive.  They begin the prep and setup, see what is in the pantry and do all the other things included in planning and preparing a dinner for a hundred people.  Ryan joins in the cooking. Cheryl Hoopes, who coordinates volunteers, said that Ryan’s previous parish also had a regular dinner, but the church women wouldn’t allow him to help with the cooking. One of the reasons he started one in Chestertown was so he could get in the kitchen!  And he’s a good cook.  Just ask his wife!

Recent menus have included roast pork, stuffed peppers, corn on the cob, sauerkraut, mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, applesauce, with a selection of cookies, cupcakes, and pies for dessert. Beverages included water and iced tea.

There is a  long dessert table each week.  And next to the dessert table is the take-home table with bread and vegetables and other items that anyone may pick up as you leave.  Some are from people’s gardens; others are items near their expiration dates donated by groceries or bakeries. If you prefer, you can get your meal in a recyclable take away box. The recyclable boxes, Ryan said, are a little more expensive than the more common styrofoam boxes, but he felt that being environmentally responsible was more important than saving a few cents. Only a few people opt to just get a takeaway box and leave right away.  Some eat at the church then fill up a box for a family member at home.

While many people sit with friends or family members — there are three- and four-generation families who come regularly — it’s also a good place to make new acquaintances. One volunteer brings his four grandchildren – all under the age of 10 – and the kids help on the clean-up crew. Ryan said the dinner has been an opportunity to meet many people who aren’t members of his congregation, including many from the immediate neighborhood of the church. Now many of them stop and talk to him on the street.

Come and join in.  Any Monday at 5:30 pm.  Perhaps you’ll become a regular or a volunteer, too.  Tell ’em the Spy sent you!

Photos by Peter Heck and Jane Jewell

                                                                         Some of the “regulars.”

Cans bought or donated and ready to go.

Cupboards and drawers are all carefully labeled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take-Home Tables

Take-Home Table – Vegetables, often grown in local gardens and assorted other food items often donated by local groceries and bakeries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help Save the Bay at Chesapeake College’s Bay Fest 2017

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Committed to saving the Bay?

Come to Chesapeake College, 1000 College Circle, Wye Mills, from 4 to 9 p.m. July 22 and be a part of the 2017 Bay Fest, a one-night event to raise awareness and educate the public on ways to support a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay. Admission is free, and the event will take place rain or shine. Refreshments will be available.

Chesapeake College’s resident theatrical group, The Peake Players, will present environmentally-themed stories including comic sketches about oysters, otters, mermaids, and a special hospital for fish.

The Peake Players are committed to creating performances that reflect Maryland’s unique local cultures and serve the needs of Maryland’s communities. They are directed by Dr. Robert C. Thompson, a professional director and playwright who has staged work in major cities in the US, Canada, Scotland, and China.

There will also be live music by lAmpersand, a string band based out of Annapolis.

If you’re in the mood for games, there’ll be  a death-defying obstacle course, crazy difficult duck pond, even crazier fishing pond, and corn hole. Or you can learn how to protect the bay from dangerous run-off on the thrilling drainage tour!

Crafts on display will include a trash mosaic, face painting, and oyster shell painting. There will also be an art exhibit featuring crabs, watermen, and muskrats all by local students and artists.

Bay Fest 2017 is sponsored by The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Riverkeepers Association and Chesapeake College.

For more information or to volunteer, visit facebook.com/chesapeaketheatre or email rthompson@chesapeake.edu.

Inside the Sprout Kitchen: The Milkman Cometh

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Editor’s Note: The Spy is pleased to continue our special food coverage by partnering with Sprout’s Kitchen on a series of educational programs related to food and the special backstories of  their ingredients and partnership with local producers. Sprouts’ owners, Emily and Ryan Groll, the two entrepreneurs behind the Mid-Shore’s innovative food delivery service using locally sourced products, have strong opinions and experience in what makes food so special.

First up for Sprout’s Kitchen when they started a year ago was finding the right milk guy. For most culinary enterprises the need to purchase milk is simply a matter of checking off how many gallons they need on their food distributors order forms. In most cases, they have no idea where that milk comes from, what the conditions of of dairy farm is or how well the animals are treated.

That was not good enough for Sprout’s Kitchen. Owners Emily and Ryan Groll, had made it part of their mission to find and develop a long-term relationship with a local farm who shared their high standards for their milk, yogurt and butter. That’s when Nice Farms Creamery came into the picture.

Located a few miles from Federalsburg, Nice Farms is now on its third generation of family farmers who have bred their 40 dairy cows specifically for grazing. maintain annual and perennial pastures, supplementing the cows diet with quality hay, hydroponic fodder, and almost zero grain.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For information about the Sprout’s Kitchen and their meal plans please go here

 

The All Seasons Garden Club Show on May 23

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The All Seasons Garden Club (ASGC) will hold its biennial flower show on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, from noon until 3:00 PM in Wesley Hall of the Heron Point Retirement Community, 501 East Campus Avenue, Chestertown.  Attendance is free and open to the public.

2015 Blue Ribbon-winning entry, Best in Show, “Mothers Day” arrangement by Holly Boulanger.

The theme for the 2017 show is America the Beautiful.  Floral arrangements in five Design Classes will be presented. Each entry will satisfy rules of a specific design category and reflect one of the following lines chosen from the popular and patriotic anthem:  “For Spacious Skies”; “For Purple Mountain Majesties”;  “Above the Fruited Plain”; “From Sea to Shining Sea”; and “For Patriot Dream”.

In addition to the five Design Classes, there will be entries in as many as eighteen Horticultural Classes, which include dish gardens; window boxes; terraria; as well as individuals specimens of bulbs, evergreens, Columbine, Hosta, Lily, Peony, Rose, Iris, Baptisia, and Sedum.

The All Seasons Garden Club was organized in 1985 and draws most of its members from Kent and Queen Anne’s counties. The ASGC is pleased to have its 2017 show open to participation by members of garden clubs in the two county area.

Flyers describing the Design Classes for the show as well as other aspects of the judging are available by emailing Frank Creegan at fcreegan2@washcoll.edu.

Chestertown’s “Taste of the Town” Celebrates 10th Anniversary

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Taste of the Town celebrated its 10th anniversary on May 7.  From noon to 3:00 pm, Fountain Park was filled with guests enjoying samples from 18 local vendors.  There were food and drinks from an even dozen restaurants plus four wineries and one brewery.  This is the first year that the vineyards and brewery participated – a welcome addition to a popular Chestertown tradition.

Co-chairs Tara Holste and Andy Goddard did a great job organizing the event.  About 250 people from all over the region filled the tent in Fountain Park.   The tent even had a large sunlight section in its roof. Attendees voted for their favorites in three categories:

Attendees voted for their favorites in three categories: Most Creative – Best Use of Local Ingredients – Most Flavorful.  Ballots are currently being tabulated.  So stay tuned for the results of these People’s Choice awards.

The Whistle Stop Winery was one of five wineries at the event.  Also present were the Clovelly Vineyards, Crow Vineyard & Winery, Dove Valley Winery, and Olney Winery.  Beer lovers got to sample the wares from the Bull and Goat Brewery.

Lockbriar Farms ice cream was very popular!

Fish Whistle – Jeff Carroll and one of his cooks prepare Clovelly Beef Sliders.

Participating restaurants were Barbara’s On the Bay, Chester River Yacht & Country Club, Evergrain Bakery, Figg’s Ordinary, Fish Whistle, The Kitchen at the Imperial, Lemon Leaf Cafe, Little Village Bakery, Lockbriar Farms, Luisa’s Cucina Italiana, O’Connor’s Irish Pub and Procollino’s Italian Eatery. Serving wines were Clovelly Vineyards, Crow Vineyard & Winery, Dove Valley Winery, Olney Winery and Whistle Stop Winery. Beer drinkers could sample the products of Bull & Goat Brewery.

Figg’s Ordinary serves gluten-free goodies – flatbread with assorted toppings.

There were over 20 raffle prizes that covered a wide range of items, including gift certificates to many restaurants and local stores, two tickets to any Garfield Center for the Arts production, a hanging basket from Unity Church Hill Nursery, and a jar of goodies from Gabriel’s of Chestertown.

Taste of the Town is presented by the Downtown Chestertown Association with the help of many volunteers and generous sponsors.  Tech support was provided by Butch Clark. For more information see Taste of Chestertown,   Downtown Chestertown Association (DCA),  Chestertown.com

Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners Announce Bay-Wise Landscape Consultations

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Homes on the Eastern Shore are within a half mile of a stream or other waterway flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Creating an attractive yard is important to all of us, but how we do it can make a huge difference in property value and environmental impact. We all contribute–knowingly or unknowingly—to run-off, seepage, and airborne pollutants that affect the health of the Bay. Critical awareness of the environmental effect of our landscape choices and practices underlies the University of Maryland Extension Bay-Wise Master Gardener program.

pictured L-R: Master Gardener Jane Smith, Master Gardener Cindy Riegel, homeowner Laura Rocco, Master Gardener Betty McAtee, and Master Gardener Joyce Anderson.

The Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners’ Bay-Wise program kicks off the 2017 season of Bay-Wise landscape consultations. Master Gardeners, are volunteers who are trained by the University of Maryland Extension, will come to your home or business to evaluate your property. They can answer landscape and gardening questions and offer advice on sound environmental practices. This is a free service sponsored through the University of Maryland’s Extension office. Home owners and businesses are encouraged to schedule a consultation.

Call or email the University of Maryland Extension Queen Anne’s County Master Gardener Coordinator, Rachel Rhodes, at 410-758-0166 or rjrhodes@umd.edu to initiate a consultation on your property. A Bay-Wise trained Master Gardener will then contact you to arrange a convenient date and time to meet with you at your property. A consultation usually takes about one to two hours, depending on the size and complexity of your yard. Consultations focus on practices of healthy lawn maintenance, storm water management, insect and disease control, composting waste, and selecting native plants and trees that enhance your property with minimum upkeep.  You are welcome to request advice about flower, fruit, and vegetable beds that beautify your yard and provide friendly habitat for wildlife like songbirds, butterflies, bees, and humming birds.

Complimentary Bay-Wise signs are given homeowners and businesses that demonstrate sound Bay-Wise practices. The University of Maryland Extension Master Gardeners hope to reach even more homeowners this season. Advice on improving your landscape, while helping the environment and saving time and money, is only a phone call away.  For further information on the Bay-Wise Program and other environmentally sound practices, please visit www.extension.umd.edu/baywise or see us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/QueenAnnesCountyMasterGardeners

University of Maryland Extension programs are open to all people and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.