Maryland 3.0: Screaming and Shaking at Justine’s with Tyler Heim

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There is something rather extraordinary about a small town ice cream parlor. It inevitably strikes a nerve of memory and nostalgia for many Americans as they recall their families special trips in the early evening of summer to the local stand on Main Street.

And one of those very special places is Justine’s Ice Cream Parlour in St. Michaels.

Known for having the longest lines in town during the summer months, including those eager to visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Justine’s over the last 30 years has become on those iconic snapshots of life on the Eastern Shore.

But behind the counter is another great American story of young entrepreneurs taking the concept of the summer ice cream place to an entirely different level. And that was the motivation behind the Spy’s recent interview with ice cream maker Tyler Heim,who, along with his brother, Jared, has been managing Justine’s for the store’s owner (and aunt) Kathleen Lash over the last few years.

When we talked to Tyler last week in the store last week, Tyler gave us an excellent overview of the world of local ice cream, the art of milkshake making, and plans to scale up the Justine brand in the years ahead.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information on Justine’s please go here. Maryland 3.0 is an ongoing Spy series on entrepreneurship on the Mid-Shore. 

Spy Profiles: Chesapeake Harvest with Deena Deese Kilmon

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There seems to be a good bit of nostalgia about the traditional family farm on the Eastern Shore as of late.  Going back centuries, the idea of a self-sufficient, agricultural enterprise that’s focused on locally grown produce has had a minor renaissance as consumers continue to seek out healthy alternatives to commercial grown “fresh” fruit and vegetable sections.

That’s the good news. The not so good news is that in order for those local farmers to be competitive they are increasingly asked to certify their agricultural practices in order to qualify in the wholesale and retail markets.

This is not an easy undertaking. And that is why the work of the Chesapeake Harvest project formed by the Easton Economic Development Corporation is so critical to this important transition.

With the help of a federal grant, Chesapeake Harvest has made it its goal to work with 30 of these family farmers over the next three years to prepare them for USDA gap certification, the most common and well respected endorsement, while at the same time branding and marketing the notion of being “Bay-friendly” through the adoption of these production conservation standards.

Leading this marketing and outreach effort for Chesapeake Harvest is Deena Deese Kilmon who has not only had the invaluable background of coming from a family farm background, spent time in the wholesale food world but also owned restaurant in St. Michaels before joining the organization.

We caught up with Deena in Kent County a few weeks ago before she and her team of volunteers worked with the local farmer to do a risk assessment of that farm’s practices and make recommendations that will move that farm into a gap certified agricultural center.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about Chesapeake Harvest please go here

Maryland 3.0: Sprouts Starts to Take Over the Eastern Shore

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Just so you know….perhaps one of the most significant “foodie” experiments in the country is taking place on the Mid-Shore.

A young couple, primarily trained in nutritional science and fitness, decide to escape the rat race of the Western Shore and relocate to Trappe to start a food delivery business dedicated to high quality prepared meals with locally sourced produce and meat.

The concept was simple. Rather than send clients the raw materials to make a nutritious meal (think Blue Apron), Sprout owners Ryan and Emily Groll would take it to the next level and actually cook the meals for its customers.

Sprout would do all the work. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even a snack, Ryan and Emily identify local farmers within a 200-mile range that produce some of the most exquisite examples of fruit, vegetables, chicken, pork, or beef in the region to produce meals that could be left at your doorstep twice a week.

Fast-forward one year later Sprouts has become an increasingly important provider on the entire Eastern Shore as well is in Annapolis. With Ryan’s mother in Chestertown, the couple continues to seek a local partner to help as a delivery station, which they call a “Sproutlet,” but they hope to cover the entire Mid-Shore within the next two years.

The Spy spent some quality time with Ryan in his portable kitchen in Trappe to discuss the couple’s courage and conviction it took to start a business of this kind and their aspirations over the next few years.

This video is approximately four minutes in length. For more information about Sprouts please go here

Mid-Shore Food Culture: Psst….The Bartlett Pear is Totally Open for Business

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The Bartlett Pear has been one of those special gifts that a small community rarely is the recipient of. A beautiful historic downtown building is reactivated by a “from here” young couple who converts it to a first class boutique hotel and dining venue.

After years being mentored by some of the top chefs in America, Alice and Jordan Lloyd returned to their native home of Easton in 2009 to develop their own vision of what hospitality means regarding food and lodging. And throughout a particularly painful economic recession, the Bartlett Pear persevered by offering locally-sourced culinary delights from the morning until the late hours of the night.

But even with that remarkable track record, the “BP” has had to reset its business model to more accurately calibrate what the owners do and when they do it with the realities of being a young family with two children.

The result of this hard-nosed evaluation led to a different approach for the current Bartlett Pear. Jordan, at the height of his earning power as a chef, decided to commute to DC during the week and return to the extremely high-end dining scene there while Alice would operate the hotel and bakery.

The Spy had a brief chat with Alice about these changes as well as her gratitude for the Pear’s very loyal patrons for quickly adapting to its pivots over the last nine years.

This video is approximately one minute in length. For more information about the Bartlett Pear please go here

Museum of African American History Director Visits Sumner Hall

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Dr. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Director talks at Sumner Hall roundtable.

Dr. Lonnie Bunch III, founding director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Director discusses locally produced exhibitions to be shown along with the upcoming Smithsonian exhibit “The Way We Worked”.

It’s not often one gets to visit with the founding director of one of the country’s most prestigious museums, let alone be cheered on and counseled for one’s endeavors.

And yet, Friday, Sumner Hall hosted a roundtable discussion with National Museum of African American History and Culture Director Lonnie Bunch III to talk about Chestertown’s participation with the March arrival of the Smithsonian’s “The Way We Worked” traveling exhibition.

The photographic exhibition was adapted from an original project created by the National Archives and offers a lens into the shared experience of work, the history of its changes and how work shaped the American experience. By honoring the history of work as the backbone of society nationally and in Kent County, the exhibitions seek to portray commonality and the unifying experiences of life.

The traveling exhibition exploring the history of work in Kent County are sponsored by Maryland Humanities and Smithsonian and the participation is cosponsored by Sumner Hall and Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.

Bunch, who visited C.V. Starr Center three years ago has taken a shine to Chestertown. It was during that visit the historian and museum director became interested in the restoration of Sumner Hall and its development into a masterpiece of cultural preservation and learning center. “A museum is a constructed space. This is a sacred space,” he said, noting that the 100-year-old structure embodied the spirit of preserving and curating history.

Dr. Lonnie Bunch III

Dr. Lonnie Bunch III

“How humbled I am to be here,” Bunch said. “It is my hope that a museum is a safe place that people trust, and what you have done here is the best of what this could be—to focus not on what divides us, but what brings us together.”

Bunch spent an hour at the Sumner Hall roundtable listening to and answering questions from student interns, high school teachers, and volunteers involved with researching and creating the regional exhibits that will complement the traveling exhibit. Downtown Chestertown Association, RiverArts, Kent County Historical Society, Sultana Education Foundation, the town of Chestertown, Kent County Public Schools and other local organizations will be contributing to the three-week event.

Bunch praised the direction the individual groups were taking. “In essence, what you have done is to recognize the most important thing a community can do: remember. By remembering you honor the past and help shape the future.”

When asked for his recommendation about how a film-maker could contribute to telling the story of Kent’s past, Bunch said, “start with the present and work your way back because that allows people to see the continuity righty in front of them.”

Bunch, who was appointed as founding director of the Smithsonian’s new museum in 2005, implores museums and historical preservationists to take the long view of their mission to educate. “The key is to figure out how this ripples long after. You have lots of effort and people working together, but the question is what are the things you are going to do that will allow this to live forever.

Sumner Hall and its partner, Washington College’s C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, will host the traveling exhibit along with locally produced exhibitions showcasing research on “The Black Labor Experience in Kent County” from March 31 to May 20.

Smithsonian “The Way We Worked Introduction” introduction

“Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain
Must bring back our mighty dream again.”

-Langston Hughes, “Let America Be America Again,” 1938

To find out more about Charles Sumner Hall and the “The Way We Worked” exhibition go here.

 

 

Design for You: Thoughts on Architect David Morton by Pamela Heyne

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It was always a treat going to dinner at Presqu’ile, the 1820 historic home of Anne Morton Kimberly. Proceeding down the long tree lined drive was a dramatic beginning. Then our cheerful, stylish hostess would greet us, often introducing us to new friends. Sometimes her daughter Babes and Babes’ husband Tom would be guests when they were not traveling. Dinner was usually in the formal dining room, or for more intimate occasions, in a cozy nook off the kitchen.

After dinner we would often sit in the library and continue chatting. A full length portrait of Anne’s son, and Babes’ brother, David Morton graced a wall in an anteroom. The picture showed him standing on a hill, smiling, as he gazed in the distance. David was tall and handsome, resembling his dad, 6’7 Congressman and cabinet official Rogers Morton. David had died in 2003.

I had known David much earlier, long before I moved to the shore and met Anne and Babes. David and I were classmates at Yale School of Architecture. David was a talented and brilliant fellow. I recall a handful of us gathered in his apartment as David explained to us some engineering complexities, and exactly how air conditioning worked! He had a patrician confidence, not surprising since he had spent his teen years at Presqu’ile, attended the Country School, and came from a prominent family. Yet he had a zany side too. His New Haven apartment could only be described as quirky. It sported a black hallway with a giant stuffed toy jolly green giant suspended from the ceiling.

A few years later after graduating from Yale I took a trip to New York with another classmate from New Haven, Tom Welch. We stayed at David’s home in Brooklyn. Its previous incarnation was a toilet seat factory but David was transforming it into a chic series of loft apartments. He had a grand piano in one of the rooms. Leaning next to the piano was a cane. I made conversation about the cane. Turns out it was a gift from Leonard Bernstein.

 8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

8 Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn New York

The building was next to the Brooklyn bridge. As we had dinner we gazed out the wide windows as car headlights slipped across the bridge, and the lights of Manhattan glistened on the water. One felt suspended in a kinetic, magical world.

David had a lifelong partner, Tom Cordell, an architect turned artist, of whom Anne was most fond. After David’s death Tom would accompany Anne on trips and was frequent a dinner guest at Presqu’ile. Tom is still alive, and his work is handled by Fischbach Gallery in New York.Anne, who grew up in privilege in Kentucky, had a remarkable openness of mind. Though her husband was a prominent Republican, she hosted a fundraiser at Presqu’ile for Democrat Frank Kratovil and said she “enjoyed her new Democratic friends.”

David grew up in beautiful surroundings and himself created beautiful surroundings. He saw the potential in Brooklyn factory buildings before it was fashionable. Eventually settling in California, he designed homes throughout the US. One of his designs is a spectacular sliver of a house perched on a ridge in Hilo, Hawaii. Now a vacation rental, called “The Falls at Reed’s Island” it is listed in the Frommer guide as one of the “top 15 rooms with a view”.

A few years after David’s death I saw that one of his home designs appeared in Architectural Digest. I took the magazine to Anne and left it with her. She was pleased to see it, but also, really unable to speak. We both realized that a talented person left the earth way too soon.

A while back, on a speaking trip to Chicago, I visited again with old friend Tom Welch. I learned with great sadness that he, a gay man, had been beaten up on the street. In David Morton’s 2003 NYT obituary Tom Cordell was listed as a partner. Now, in Babes’ 2017 obituary, Tom Cordell is listed as a surviving brother-in-law. That little detail said a great deal and pleased me.

Pamela Heyne is head of Heyne Design in Saint Michaels and author of In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child.

Mid-Shore Culture: Revisiting the President’s Mother with Martha Sexton

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Washington College’s Patrick Henry Writing Fellow, Martha Sexton, has built a remarkable career in bringing to light the real lives of this country’s most misunderstood women throughout her distinguished scholarship. With books as diverse as Little Women author Louisa May Alcott to the Hollywood sex symbol Jayne Mansfield, Sexton has used her unique skills to uncover far more realistic, more nuanced, and perhaps a more sympathetic understanding of their motives and character.

During this special week that combines Presidents’ Day, George Washington’s Birthday, and, of course, Washington College’s special convocation celebrating its namesake, it seemed appropriate for the Spy to catch up with Martha, who recently authored a forthcoming biography of the first president’s mother, Mary Bell Washington.

In The Widow Washington, Sexton pushes back on the sometimes dismissive or derogatory treatment of Mary Washington by many famed biographers of Washington as well as brings to light the simple hard realities that faced elderly widows in the 18th Century.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. For more information about the College’s C.V. Starr Center Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship please go here.

Design For You: The Home Elevator by Pamela Heyne

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Have you ever considered installing an elevator in your home? Now that more of us are living longer and staying in our homes as long as possible, this technology does add value to the home, despite the total price tag of between $30,000 and $35,000. According to realtor Elizabeth Foulds, “This helps for re-sale when otherwise the buyer may only be looking at single level homes.” There are two basic approaches: the more traditional elevator with a shaft, and the cylindrical futuristic looking pneumatic elevator.

Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 7.42.06 AMI recently spoke to an expert in the field, Merl Beil, currently with Delaware elevator. He agreed that people should not go for a minimum size elevator, but one that can accommodate a wheelchair. That cab size would have an inside dimension of 3’ wide and 4’ deep. 5’x5’ is the basic inside dimension required for a shaft. This requires a reinforced concrete floor under it, 1’ below the main floor level in the house. In the shaft are pullies and a piston that move the car. Additionally a machine room is needed; it can be as small as 4’ x 4’ and is best if it is as close to the main elevator shaft as possible.

I also spoke to Brent Garner, manager, Talbot County office of Permits and Inspections to get his take on home elevators. He said that in the year since he has been working for the county he has not issued any permits for one. However, he used to work as a builder and installed “a beautiful one” he said. He had installed a window both in the elevator cab and in the shaft, so that when the cab reached the second floor, a lovely view appeared. A mural was installed of the same view on the ground floor, in the shaft itself, so that when the cab was on that level, the window did not look out onto a blank wall. There are many aesthetic options for these elevators. Want different door arrangements or an all glass shaft? No problem. Screen Shot 2017-02-10 at 7.42.41 AM

I specified a home elevator for a traditional townhouse in Georgetown, DC. It featured an exterior elegantly paneled door. These elevators will have two doors, an outside door and then in the moving cab itself, some sort of folding door. The solid sliding doors we see in commercial elevators are rarely specified for residential elevators, because a much wider shaft would be required.

Closing the interior door is mandatory, or else the elevator will not move. Obviously this is a safety feature. However, Merl said many times he would get calls from people complaining the elevator would not work. He would ask, “Did you close the gate?” Invariably the answer was, “Well, uh…no.”

The cylindrical pneumatic elevator is appealing to me, and I have considered it for my own home. This type of elevator operates without cables, but because of variations in air pressure, and has a secondary braking system. A Pneumatic Vacuum Elevator, PVE, unit from Miami Florida has three sizes, 2’6”, 3’1” and 4’4” outside diameter. The largest unit is appropriate for wheelchairs. One must deduct about 7.5” from the outside diameter to get the inside clearance. These don’t require pulleys and a machine room.

There is also a small, shaftless elevator recently introduced to the market, that can be installed in the corner of a living room. It is too small for wheelchair use, and, to my mind, has little appeal aesthetically. However, it is another option to the stair lift.

Pamela Heyne, AIA is head of Heyne Design and author of In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child. She will give a slide talk about her book Saturday, Feb. 11 at 3:30 at the Book Plate, 112 s. Cross Street, Chestertown. Light refreshments. pam@heynedesign.com

4-H Coming Events for February

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Volunteers needed in 4-H: Looking for volunteers as Kent County Fair 4-H Division chairpersons, judges and much more! Call the Extension Office if interested, 410-778-1661. The University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources programs are open to all 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.

February 2017

February 4-H Have Heart a Food Drive Challenge (All food delivered and weighed at Achievement!!!)
4           4-H Senior Portfolio Interviews, Eastern Shore, 9:30 am, Q.A. Extension Office, Centreville (2 Kent 4-H’ers)
6, 16, 23, 28 Kent County 4-H Dairy Bowl Practices, 7:00 pm, Hill Farm, Kennedyville
7           4-H Senior Portfolio Interviews, 4:00 – 7:30 pm, MD 4-H Center, College Park (3 Kent 4-H’ers  interviewing)
11         4-H Club Officer Training, 10:00 – 12:00, Extension Office – All club officers should attend!
12        Kent Clover Kids Program, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Running W Kennel, Worton. Dog Care and Grooming
15        DEADLINE: Achievement youth job sign-up and deadline to submit 2016 photos! UME 4-H Volunteer Training, 6:30 pm, Extension Office
18-20 MD State 4-H Council Retreat, Annapolis
20        President’s Day Holiday ~ Extension Office Closed
21         Ag Center Board of Directors Mtg., 7:00 pm, Extension Office
25        Healthy Living 4-H Ambassador Training-QA 4-H Park, 10 am – 2 pm, Lunch provided

Kent County 4-H Club Meeting Dates

Scheduled Club Meetings (Subject to Change!)

Bits & Bridle Horse Club – 3rd Saturday, 1:00, Running W Kennels
Kent 4-H Triple Shots Shooting Sports – Shotgun – 2nd Sunday, Noon, Kent Gun Club, Archery, 1st and 3rd Sundays, 2pm, Cypress Creek Archery, Millington, Rifle, 2nd and 4th Sundays, 2-4pm, Kent Ag Center Rifle Range, Tolchester
Business meeting held the 1st Wednesday of every month, EXCEPT: January and July. 6:30pm at the UMD Extension Office
Junior Dairy Associates – 3rd Friday monthly, 7pm, Kennedyville United Methodist Church
Kent Clover Calf – 2nd Wednesday, 7pm, Kennedyville United Methodist Church
Kent Fuzzy Tails & Shiny Scales – 4th Thursday monthly, 6:30pm, Presbyterian Church of Chestertown
Kent Puppy Pals Dog Club – Practice 3rd and 4th Wednesdays, 6:30pm, Winter: Radcliffe Creek School, Summer: Running W. Kennels, Worton. Monthly business meeting, 2nd Monday, Running W Kennels, 6:30pm