Local Farms Are Planning Crops, Signing up CSA Shareholders for Summer Season

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The New England landscape may appear cold and desolate, but small farmers across the region are growing seedlings in hoop houses and planning summer harvests.  As a means of obtaining “seed” money, many of these farms set up CSA –Community Supported Agriculture — programs that allow customers to invest in a share of the business in advance of the growing season. Farmers then use the invested money in the winter and early spring months to buy seeds, supplies and equipment. In exchange for sharing the upfront costs, shareholders later receive produce during the summer and fall months.  Now is the

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Irish Soda Bread… the Quickest of Quick Breads (and One of the Best)

Irish soda bread, like most recipes attributed by Americans to Ireland, has lean bones — in this case just flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. It’s a quick bread of the sort that became popular in the mid-19th century in America with the commercial availability baking soda and when half of all immigrants to the United States came from Ireland, many fleeing the potato famines that cost the lives of perhaps a million people. And like most things American, this austerity is supplemented with modest luxury, here dried fruit and caraway. The dough comes together in a less than 10

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Old Saybrook High School Drama Club Stages “Thoroughly Modern Millie” Opening March 12

OLD SAYBROOK — Old Saybrook Senior High School students have been practicing their tap dancing and hair bobs for a production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” a musical set in the Jazz Age, opening March 12. “The story itself is pretty traditional musical theater… naive young girl comes to New York hoping to find a man and her goal is to marry the boss,” said director Lenore Grunko, an adjunct theater lecturer at Eastern Connecticut State University. “And then there’s a subplot that gets very convoluted where she’s staying in a hotel with a hotel owner who’s running a white slavery ring

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HannaH’s Field Warms up Essex with Rasta Folk Performance at Earth & Fire

ESSEX — On the eve of a February leap year, with the barest sliver of a moon hanging in the chill night sky, HannaH’s Field from Farmington gave an intimate studio performance at The Earth & Fire Art Studio & Gallery in Essex, CT. The space is located right on Main Street in Essex and serves as a community gathering place for art and artists of all kinds. Visual art, photography, woodworking, ceramics, jewelry are all displayed. Julie Tigner Bonilla, artist and owner, said this is exactly why she created the studio. “I wanted a place for people to be

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New London Artist Kat Murphy Lights Up Downtown

NEW LONDON — Thursday was too windy for artist Kat Murphy to place her “pop-up shop” sandwich board out on the sidewalk, but for the last month that’s what she’s done when she’s in her studio. “Just having the sign out, I’ve had people say they say they see it and they drove over,” said Murphy, of opening her combination gallery and workspace at 94 Golden Street in New London to the public.  With its tall windows, Murphy’s studio is a presence on the street and in the neighborhood — and people are noticing.  “I have a timer on the

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With Stores Opening in Darien and South Windsor, Pasta Vita Feeds Families, Fosters Community

OLD SAYBROOK — In 1992, Rich Cersosimo, a new IBM retiree, and Lou Castanho , a chef just four years out of culinary school decided to work together to make and sell wholesale ravioli. They named their venture Pasta Vita. Four years later, they began catering to the retail market and Cersosimo and Castanho haven’t looked back. “We were producing all this pasta in Old Saybrook and yet loading it on trucks, shipping it away and we couldn’t feed any of the people here,” Castanho said. “We had people coming to the back door and asking for dishes to take

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Jane Eyre, Williamson’s “Best Piece of Theater” at Hartford Stage

Creating a stage adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s “Jane Eyre” has been a passion project for Hartford Stage’s Associate Artistic Director Elizabeth Williamson and with a final product now on stage, adapted and directed by her, it is evident that her efforts and dedication to it has paid off. This is the best piece of theater that Williamson has directed at Hartford Stage.  Her work as an adaptor of the novel is great. The language is adapted with care, the key characters are properly developed, and it isn’t overly long for an adaptation of a book that is almost 600 pages.

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Benny Benack Plays for Love at the Side Door

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OLD LYME — Benny Benack III sang all the sweetheart songs you could wish for on a Valentine’s Day engagement at the Side Door in Old Lyme. He announced, “We’ll fit in as much Great American Songbook as we can here tonight!” With Sinatra-inspired vocals and a great band of friends and contemporaries, he delivered standards like “My Funny Valentine,” “Unforgettable” and “Home is Where the Heart Is” to an audience of Valentine’s couples. Several of his own song compositions followed this swinging nostalgic mode – “Irrepressible,” as well as the up-tempo “A Lot of Livin’ to Do,” the title

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Yale’s Paul Berry Continues Popular Lecture Series on Basic Building Blocks of Beethoven

OLD LYME — “If you asked people to name one composer representative of the summit of western notated tradition, many would choose Beethoven,” according to Yale School of Music Professor Paul Berry. More the reason to take apart the idea of Beethoven as the towering genius — a notion that can overshadow the listener experience of the music, explained Berry about his upcoming lecture, the second in a three-lecture series, examining musical phrases in Beethoven’s work as well as the relationship between his biography and music.   Berry’s lectures complement the 29th season of Musical Masterworks, which will include all of

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“Ambitious” Show of Pre-Raphaelite Rebellion opens at Yale Center for British Art

An ambitious exhibition, “Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement,” opened Thursday at Yale Center for British Art. The show encompasses three generations of artists over the course of fifty years with drawings, paintings and objets d’art on loan from Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses the most comprehensive collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. The presentation is elegant and is divided into four parts: The First Industrial Nation; The Pre-Raphaelite Avant-Garde; Secular Ministry; and Utopias for a New Century. In the mid-19th century, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, kickstarted with philosophical support from eminent critic

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