Spy Reconnaissance: Eastern Shore Food Hub with President Cleo Braver

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The idea of a food hub has been an active one for over seven years for Eastern Shore Food Hub’s president Cleo Braver. A center for aggregating locally grown crops from local farms at competitive costs with larger producers in the Mid-Atlantic, it has always been kind of a no-brainer for her with the Delmarva with its abundance of agriculture.

And it has been that kind of long term commitment that continues to motivate Braver in the face of losing a few allies in the November election in her efforts to create a food hub center in Easton and training farm in Kent County. With now over 300 food hubs successfully operating throughout the country, Braver remains optimistic that as more residents of the Mid-Shore hear about the program, it will be embraced as an essential part of the farming community.

In her Spy interview, Cleo talks about the importance of re-creating a regionalization of produce, the general business model of a food hub, the primary elements of the Food Hub’s programs, and her hopes for moving forward with the town of Easton in 2015 to build the Hub’s center.

This video is ten minutes in length

Mid-Shore Lives: Moorhead Vermilye and Philanthropy

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For reasons Moorhead Vermilye can’t truly explain, he became a very active civic leader in Talbot County as a very young man. Named as chair of the Easton Hospital board in his mid-thirties, Moorhead would find himself leading countless community causes, including the United Way and the formation of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation for the next several decades. As a result, the former head of the Talbot Bank has had a first row seat to the growth of philanthropy on the Eastern Shore over the last fifty years.

In the first in a series on Mid-Shore Lives, the Spy recently interviewed Moorhead to talk about philanthropy on the Shore and the genesis behind the founding of the Mid-Shore Community Foundation. He also reminisces about the small town nature of Eastern Shore business life, the growing social needs of the community, and the serious demands for more Mid-Shore private giving in the future.

This video is approximately eight minutes in length

The Importance of Julia Child’s Kitchen and Mirrors with Architect Pamela Heyne

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St. Michaels architect Pamela Heyne believes her first link to Talbot County was through her friend David Morton, son of Eastern Shore hero Rogers Morton, when they were both at Yale School of Architecture together in the late 1960s. She had fond memories of the area, but it never occurred to her that she and her husband would one day be living on Mount Misery Road. That was until they decided to adopt two girls when they were seven and nine years old.

It has now been over ten years since they made the decision to trade in the urban life of Georgetown for a rural one for the girls teen years. But that has not stopped Pam as both an architect and author.

Even with an extraordinary client list, with the likes of the late Ben Bradlee, Oberlin College, and quite a few closer to home, it is her work in relation to kitchen design and the use of mirrors in residential houses that has lead her to collaborations with Julia Child and making presentations to executives of Saint Gobain, the glass & mirror company founded by Louis XIV.

In her Spy interview, Pam talks about she learned from Julia Child, her bias in kitchen design, not only in terms of design and function, but its impact of family life and what role it plays now in the American home.

This video is approximately five minutes in length

Cool Outdoor Stuff: The Chesapeake’s World of Clams

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With all the concerns recently related to the health of the Chesapeake Bay’s crab and oyster populations, the Upper Bay’s clams sometimes gets lost in the conversation. While it is important to note that these brackish water clams has no economic impact to speak off, due to the fact that it can only tolerate low levels of salt and therefore is not present bay wide, they are cool nonetheless.

In this latest installment of the Spy’s Cool Outdoor Stuff, Captain Andy McCown from Echo Hill Outdoor School puts the spotlight on the clam world found in the Upper Chesapeake the the wonders found in its survival skills.

This video is approximately five minutes in length. Gibson Anthony is our videographer

Karen Emerson: Keeping History Alive at the Historical Society of Kent County

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The Spy recently caught up with Karen Emerson, the new executive director at the Historical Society of Kent County.

Emerson discusses the upcoming Halloween Ghost Walk (Friday the 24th) sponsored by the Society, how the move from the Geddes-Piper House to the Bordley Building on High Street has included the transfer of the organization’s library, the possibility of having to sell the Geddes-Piper House, success of recent fund raising efforts, and an appeal for volunteers, and her hopes for the future.

She also hopes to enhance the Society’s African American, women and Hispanic history sections, remarking that much local history will be lost unless a continued effort is made by volunteers and researchers.

Spy Chat: Kristen Greenaway on Taking the Helm at CBMM

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Very few nonprofit leadership roles on the Eastern Shore can match the extraordinary duties and responsibilities of the Executive Director of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. And very few of these institutions have had more curiosity about their new leader coming to town than CBMM’s newly-appointed Kristen Greenaway.

The Spy found out pretty quickly during our chat last week in Ms. Greenaway’s office why this kiwi buzz was circulating through the Mid-Shore.

A native New Zealander, Kristen Greenaway comes to the Eastern Shore in an almost story book way. With nonprofit executive positions with Cambridge University, the Sally Ride Foundation, and Duke University, CBMM’s new leader found exceptional executive opportunities in remarkably different landscapes in the world, but the glue keeping this sojourn together was her love and passion for boats.

In her first Spy interview, Kristen links the past with her recent appointment at the museum, and offers a “hit the ground running” priority list that seems like a locomotive leaving the station.

Upward Bound 50 Years Later with Eastern Shore’s Stan Salett

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A few months ago, in a large conference room at the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., there was a small celebration of the 50th anniversary of one of the federal government’s most popular and productive social programs. Conceived during President Lyndon Johnson’s epic war on poverty in 1964, the Upward Bound program has since then provided critical support for over 2 million students coming from low-income families throughout the United States.

Partnering with institutions of higher education, Upward Bound provides critical pre-college preparation in math, science, literature, and foreign languages through tutoring, mentoring, work-study programs, and counseling services to kids (and now war veterans) to help them not only get into college but graduate as well.

It is also one of the few programs where there remains extraordinary bipartisan support for a federal education program. A rare accomplishment in Washington these days.

Upward Bound was the brainchild of education expert and Eastern Shore weekender Stan Salett. A mid-level appointee brought into the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Salett was asked to conceptualize a program that would directly involve colleges and universities in reducing long-term poverty through education opportunity. Salett’s memorandum was quickly embraced by Sargent Shriver, LBJ’s War on Poverty director, and the rest, as they say, is history.

The Spy caught up with Stan last week in his kitchen to reminisce about the origins of Upward Bound and the necessity of continuing to give a critical leg up to those who seek an education.

This video is approximately six minutes in length

Elaine Bowman and Her Village House Ready to Pass the Torch

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For three decades, Elaine Bowman and her Village House gift shop on South Cross Street have been a vital retail presence in downtown Chestertown.

Village House, widely known for its beautiful needlepoint pillows and classic home interior accessories, has not only survived the ups and downs of a turbulent economy, but thrived with the help of e-commerce tools, a dedicated staff, and good old-fashioned insight into the changing rhythms of retail styles.

Bowman’s enthusiasm for Chestertown’s future keeps her actively involved with community committees and, she admits, writing many an email to the Mayor’s Office suggesting ways to enhance the town.

After 31 years, Bowman wants more time to enjoy her grandchildren – four of them – with two more on the way—and to do some world class traveling.

She says she will miss the downtown business but feels it’s time to pass it along to the right buyer, someone with enthusiasm and adept at understanding the special niche Village House has carved out in the retail world.

The Spy recently caught up with Elaine and asked her about the shop’s origins, her vision of Chestertown’s future and observations on business in a small town:

Eastern Shore: The New Wine Country

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Wine Country and Eastern Shore of Maryland are yet to be synonymous phrases.

That could change as new vineyards are established across the Shore from Berlin to Rising Sun—and both new and older vineyards collect prestigious awards along the way.

Of the more than 60 wineries in Maryland—with $30 million annually in sales according to recent studies— 14 of them are part of the developing Chesapeake Wine Trail on the Eastern Shore.

Six wine trails now lace Maryland’s countryside and the Chesapeake Wine Trail on the Eastern Shore is poised to play a significant part in the new Vintage Atlantic Wine Region, along with Delaware, Pennsylvania, and southern New Jersey.

At the September 18 launch party for the new wine region, held at Harvest Ridge Winery in Marydel, Delaware, winery owner Chuck Nunan expressed his enthusiasm saying, “This is a really an exciting time for wine growing on the Eastern Shore. 55 wineries and vineyards are coming together to create tourist destinations points. We’re at the place Napa Valley was in the 60’s, and each of these wineries directly benefits their local communities. One out of 18 jobs in this country is related to tourism.”

vineyard

Lotte Bowie and her husband Walter took an early interest in Chesapeake region wineries. Connecting with the wine industry through their Loblolly Productions, a design and marketing firm in Still Pond, Maryland, they have become instrumental with branding and marketing Eastern Shore wineries and vineyards. Their online information portal, www.shorevines.com, showcases the growth and potential of vineyards and wineries on the Eastern Shore and offers detailed articles and in-depth video interviews about how to start and manage a winery.

“There are five wineries within 20 minutes of Chestertown: Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville, Salisa Winery and Clovelly Vineyards in Chestertown, Cassinelli Winery and Vineyards in Church Hill and Tilmon’s Island Winery in Sudlersville. We want locals to know about this group also because it is becoming an important part of our local economic health,” Bowie says.

Doris Mason, Executive Director of Upper Shore Regional Council, sees the Wine Trail and Chesapeake Wine County concept as a vibrant economic force. The USRC, charged with fostering economic and social development of Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, supports the shoreVines initiative

“Not only is there an economic impact through employment, but also there are other arteries that go with supporting vineyards and wineries—restaurants, bed and breakfasts, hotels, even conversations about upcoming distilleries and breweries—that all play into networking and developing a larger tourist industry,” Mason says.

Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville.

Crow Vineyard and Winery in Kennedyville.

And the wine? People are taking notice.

Wine enthusiasts and judges are giving a hearty thumbs-up and handing out top-flight awards to Shore wineries.

Bordeleau Vineyards, near Salisbury, just won the Shore’s 1st Governor’s Cup Best in Show for their 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Amarone and many other Eastern Shore wineries  have won accolades as well, including Crow Vineyard and Winery Best in Class for their 2012 Barbera Rosé and gold for their 2012 Vidal Blanc, and Clovelly Vineyard’s silver for their 2013 Rosé and Vidal Blanc.

So much for the “Eastern Shore can’t make quality wine theory.”

“Our wines are phenomenal and the impact on the community is immense. It’s only just begun,” Chuck Nunan said at the Harvest Ridge ceremony for the Vintage Atlantic Wine Region.

In the following video, Lotte Bowie and Doris Mason talk about wineries and vineyards, the growth of the industry on the Eastern Shore, and the bright outlook for the Eastern Shore of Maryland as… Wine Country.

 

 

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Map and Crow Vineyard photo by Lotte Bowie, loblolly.biz

Links:

Vintage Atlantic Wine Region

ShoreVines

Maryland Wine

Chesapeake Wine Country