People

Singing Out Against Hunger 2016 Series

Founded in 2003, Singing Out Against Hunger was created to provide nutritious food for our neighbors in need and to raise awareness of their ongoing plight.  In cooperation with local merchants, volunteer musicians, and civic-minded people, Singing Out Against Hunger raises thousands of dollars each year through free musical events, raffles, and donations.  “We believe that self-expression, through music and the arts, a volunteer spirit, and the talents of individuals will help to rid the East Bay communities of hunger”.

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Since their inception, SOAH has raised more than $165,000 and has provided over 100,000 pounds of food to community food banks and suppliers. Their impact has aided over 3,500 households and over 5,000 individuals in the East Bay area.

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Each year, Singing Out hosts free, local concerts for the enjoyment of the community, while raising money and showcasing local merchants & musicians. This year, SOAH will be hosting their free concert series at Evelyn’s Drive-In, as well as events at The Sakonnet Collective, Coastal Roasters, Art Cafe and South Shore Beach just to name a few venues. “You may think that food insecurity isn’t a factor in the neighborhood that you live in, yet 1 in 6 children are living in poverty right here in Rhode Island”. Hunger affects the old, the young, single individuals & family’s alike. Come support this grassroots organization, enjoy an afternoon of fun, all for an amazing cause!

Upcoming+EventsFor all event info, and more information on volunteering, hosting an event, or seeing what they are all about, visit their website at www.singingoutagainsthunger.org and follow them on Facebook & Instagram.

Sakonnet Collective Concert Series– Saturday, June 11, 2016- 
The Art Cafe Concert Series-

Evelyn’s Drive-In Concert Series-

Evelyn’s Drive-In Concert Series-

Coastal Roasters Concert Series-

South Shore Beach Concert Series-

Evelyn’s Drive-In Concert Series-

Sandywoods Concert Series-

 

Hitting the Trail on the FarmCoast: Cornell Farm

We’ve all seen a friend or two post beautiful photos clambering up suspension bridges, walking down the boardwalks, or sitting on one of the many perfectly placed benches, but few the name where those photos were taken, the story behind the land, or what to really expect when visiting Cornell Farm.  Cornell Farm is a property that came to being in 2009 when The Trustees of the Reservations and the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust worked in partnership to acquire and preserve the property for conservation and public access.  Before preservation, the land had been owned by its namesake, the Cornell family, and had most recently served as a dairy farm, and the remnants of the Farm stretch throughout the property.

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The property contains marvelous woodlands, and stunning scenic views over its wetlands and salt marshes as part of the Little River watershed.  Cornell Farm is joined with the DNRT property Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve and the Dartmouth Town owned “McBratney” Property to create an over 500 acre Conservation Area with miles of trails stretching throughout the property.

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“But how do I get to the cool stuff?” you may be asking.  Well, to enter directly onto the Frank Knowles-Little River Reserve, there is a parking area and trail head on Potomska Road in South Dartmouth, just before getting to the Lloyd Center for the Environment. Be prepared however, to get to those spectacular bridges and board walks that you see here, you’ll be walking for at least a mile, with some climbs over the remnants of stone walls.  During the wetter and warmer times of the year, you may have to traverse some very soft ground, and if your looking to spend some serious time out there, Bean Boots might be warranted.  That’s not to say the walk isn’t worth it.  The trails from this entrance are much more numerous (always take a map), with great forested views, old home and farmsteads (some seen here), and small bridges and brooks.  Starting from Potomska Road is just the more adventurous path.

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            The easier walk, while offering some of the best views in the Reserves is the entrance through Cornell Farm, off of Smith Neck Road.  While the long boardwalks are technically on the DNRT property, they are much easing and seemingly quicker to get to this way.  The trails are well established, at a smaller grade, and well-groomed, if only a little muddy (you may have to put the Bean Boots to use if it rains, but otherwise you should be fine), but thankfully boards are stretched over the largest puddles.

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As you can see, the views alone are worth any amount of walking on these properties.  And while you can’t hear them, its a wonderful place to birdwatch, as you see plenty of foul, shore and song birds, and maybe a bird-of-prey, but often with the attention that the landscape demands, you’ll hear them first.

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            Before embarking please remember that dogs must be on leash at all times, and all waste (yours included) must be taken with you.  Remember to use bug spray, especially in the warmer months, and always look out for ticks while walking the property.  Finally, on the “McBratney” Property and when permitted specially by the Trustees on Cornell Farm, hunting is permitted in season, so dress accordingly with 500 square inches of blaze orange.

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            Finally, what should you do once you get off the trail, now that you’re a little warm from the walk.  Well the added bonus of parking and entering from Cornell Farm, you can stop by Salvador’s Ice Cream, located less than 2 minutes to the south on Smith Neck Road.  Open in the summer season from 11:30AM-9:00PM daily, and cash only, who doesn’t want to stop and get ice cram from a giant milk jug? Overall, the trip to Cornell Farm in South Dartmouth is worth the views, and maybe some ice cream when you’ve worked hard to get them.

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More information about the Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust visit dnrt.org

Written by: Scott Mason

Photography by: Scott Mason

to see more of his work @scottarthurmason

*want to be a Farmcoast Blog contributor? Email us at info@farmcoast.com

Look Who’s New on the FarmCoast

A host of new members have jumped on the sustainably-minded bandwagon we call the FarmCoast, a beautiful stretch of land that sits on the coastal border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Farmcoast, as the name implies, is a community graciously dependent on its land, but farms are not all you will find here. Food caught fresh and sustainably sourced, clothing hand-made and fair-trade, art in many accomplished forms, and people who appreciate these precious modern amenities are all scattered across the FarmCoast landscape. If you haven’t been to this region of New England yet, now’s the perfect time. Here are some of 2014’s newest members. Welcome aboard!

The Local Bouquet

The local bouquet is a full service “field to vase” floral design studio using domestic and locally grown flowers and offering gorgeous event assortments, flower subscriptions, and workshops. Visit their website to learn more about Mary-Kate and Maureen or to order your own FarmCoast blooms.

Simmons Cafe and Market

You will find some flowers from the local bouquet stocked in the new Simmons Cafe and Market, a historic, lively café and marketplace that features natural and organic foods, local products, healthy meals, art, music, and wifi. Simmons Cafe is located at 78A Crandall Rd in Little Compton, RI.

Shop-Isa

An artist gallery and artisan boutique overlooking the Sakonnet River, Shop-Isa features a blossoming assortment of fair-trade and handmade goods. You will find everything from soaps and jewelry, to photography and up-cycled home vintage accessories. Find Shop Isa at 1793 Main Rd. Tiverton,RI and online at shopisa.tumblr.com.

Katherine Lovell Studio and Gallery

Previously part of the Mill Pond Shops, Katherine Lovell will be joining the FarmCoast and the lively arts community in Tiverton Four Corners in a new location at 3895 Main Road in Tiverton. Don’t miss her grand opening on June 14th to see wonderful, nature-inspired works of art! To learn more about her paintings visit klovell.com.

Acacia Cafe-Food Truck

Acacia Cafe is the tastiest new FarmCoast member, a Food Truck, serving up a mouthwatering menu and traveling throughout Rhode Island and the southcoast of Massachusetts at regular locations and special events. All their ingredients are locally grown and sourced, all natural and organic whenever possible. They will be guests of honor at the Tiverton Four Corners Food Truck Concert Series this summer, don’t miss it! For more information on their food, locations, and menu visit them online at acaciacafe.com.

Sakonnet Collective

A new member with a new location in Tiverton Four Corners, this colorful art gallery and studio brings excitement and enthusiasm along with fine furniture, sculptures, mixed media art, ceramics, and jewelry crafted by local and resident artists as well as visiting artists. Stop by their new location at 3842 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI for their Grand Opening on June 14th or visit them online at thesakonnetcollective.com.


Tess & Carlos

 
An urban upscale boutique comes to the village of Four Corners! Tess and Carlos is well-known for their high-quality, European-style women’s clothing and accessories. They have stores in and around the Boston metropolitan area and now right here on the FarmCoast. Read all about their new boutique on the Discover Rhode Island Style Blog!

For a full listing of all FarmCoast Members, visit our website at www.farmcoast.com.

A Day at the Spa

Whether you spend your summer days in the backyard, beach, or in the office, everyone deserves a little pampering this time of year. So when you discover this sophisticated day spa amidst the gorgeous seaside landscape of FarmCoast, you’ll know you’ve found the ultimate summertime indulgence. Although FarmCoast is dotted with elegance –from whispering natural habitats to upscale art galleries— Karyne and Company’s unique charm lies in the offering to relax both muscles and mind with expertise and glamour, a tempting luxury that’s hard to pass up.

Opened only in November of 2011 at 368 Elm Street, Karyne and Company Day Spa is a relatively new member of historic Padanaram Village and the FarmCoast. Once a South Dartmouth ship port, Padanaram can be traced back to it’s original purchase from the Wampanoag Indian tribe  in 1652 and now exists as a small-scale modern marketplace. The waterfront village is home to eateries, galleries, boutique shopping, and a bustling summer population. And it was Karyne who realized the village needed somewhere to put their feet up.

“I wanted to create a peaceful, zen place, but also one that was modern and comfortable,” she says. Karyne Hubert is owner and operator of the beautifully located spa and a Dartmouth resident herself who admittedly takes the back roads to work just for the views. If you ask her the secret to why clients always return she will tell you, “it’s the customer service.” A hand-picked, expertly-trained staff pride themselves on high standards, deep body awareness, and a keen ability to read their clients needs.  Not just anyone can work here, but everyone is welcome to reap the benefits of this bright and sunny village spa.

Karyne and Company’s services include nail care, sports and body massage, facials, spray tanning, skincare consultation and application, and full body waxing. Karyne chooses results-proven products for skincare and she and her staff always recommend SPF. Your summer self will love this place.

Karyne and Company is open Tuesday through Saturday year round; appointments are recommended and walk-ins are always welcome.

For more information about Karyne and Company and for special deals and last minute spa availability please visit them on Facebook.

ANNOUNCING “QUARTET” at GALLERY4

Solo exhibitions can unearth the unbound essence of an artist –their process, foundation, nourishment, and growth– with intensity and valor. While this earnest presentation of art is often liberating, a selective group exhibition can likewise illuminate new waves of understanding. So is the case with a new foursome exhibition at Gallery4 on Main Rd. in Tiverton Four Corners where Turkish slippers, fine jewelry, and wall-sized canvases flourish together side-by-side. Here four prominent south coast-area women have been chosen to exhibit their work in a showing titled, “Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance,” which will run through August 12th, exposing not only the depth of each female artist, but the “harmony and dissonance” between them.

The works of Jane Tuckerman, Gayle Wells Mandle, Susan Strauss, and Sarah Benham adorn eager white walls filling the gallery with familiar excitement and a new sense of importance. The four women who live as neighbors along the south coast have now come together in a poignant display of their experiences apart, in separate corners of the world.

“It’s a clever name,” says Sarah Benham reflecting on the title amidst a backdrop of opening-night attendees and her bold, figurative oil paintings. Showing are both early and late works by Benham who likens her process to a lucid puzzle, “it’s about finding a solution” she says. Inspired by the simple pleasures of life, Benham has spiraled through style and medium during her honored career as an artist, always considering the wise words of a friend: “to always be astonished by what you do. And I am astonished” she says. There are many ways to be astonished by Benham’s paintings. First it’s the figures that grab you, then the density and depth of the scene. They are faceless jolts of color and mood awakening the senses and mesmerizing in their perfection.

The exhibit, orchestrated by gallery owners Bob Smith, Elaine Hill, and Alix Cambell struck a chord of enthusiasm in the community with over 150 people gathering last Sunday for the opening reception. The works handpicked and juxtaposed in the four-room gallery gave enough space for each artist to breathe while infusing one another with vibrancy and contrast.

Tucked away in one nook of the gallery last Sunday was Susan Strauss whose landscapes and floral masterpieces float effortlessly on the walls as if growing there on their own. A master of decorative arts, Strauss is a fresh face in the gallery, yet her plein air paintings are exuberantly lived in. Their immediate transparency morphs into luminous and muddled movement the longer you let them in, drawing forth intellect, grace, and wonder. Strauss describes a satisfying fluidity to her path of “pushing back and painting over, pushing back and painting over,” and eventually pulling forward her work into a new dimension. That is when she knows her work is complete.

Neighboring Strauss was artist Gayle Wells Mandle present at the opening with husband Roger Mandle, former president of the Rhode Island School of Design. The couple spent time in Qatar, inspiring Gayle’s striking selection of collaged fragments from this land of wealth and discord, elegantly blended with color, texture, and cultural artifacts in a rousing display of gender clash and blunt symbolism. Fascinating is how she recreates a history of travel, human rights, and cultural tribulation while still speculating on the future of this oil-saturated part of our world. Gayle’s work is piercing as she pieces together parts of humanity we might choose to ignore, extracting for the viewer something imperative to consider.

Lastly, former chairman of photography at Harvard University, Jane Tuckerman, took the right wing of the gallery with chilling mixed-media photographs of her lifelong study in the mystical world of death rituals. Since 1984 she’s been returning to Benares, India, the last existing site of cremation ceremonies and one of the world’s most sacred spiritual hubs. Here she began capturing religious rituals, rights of passage, and celebrations with vigor through film and photograph. With an anthropological twist, her layered photographs peer with sharp eyes into a world frightfully unknown. Astounding is the way she shapes darkness into something primitive and eloquent. Her work puts forth a magnetic pull of emotion into the descending layers of each photograph.

Even still, Tuckerman emphasizes, with deep understanding, connections within humanity; “We’re all so displaced and haunted by memories—memories become our own special ghosts.” Growing up in rural Westport spawned an obsession with the energy and history of a land; “Westport has this extraordinary connection to this history, Indians, colonists, pre-historic people…It’s about connection to the land, something our culture is loosing,” says Tuckerman. “There’s something very primal about art. Artists connect with each other and with a greater world. I’m appreciative and in awe of Gallery4 for their foresight and sensitivity to this exhibit and the world of art.” she says.

A fondness for the quest, the solution, and the layers of aesthetic, social, and spiritual life give harmony to these four women. But the beauty is in the dissonance.

Quartet: Harmony and Dissonance is open for viewing Monday-Saturday 10-5 and Sunday 12-5 at 3848 Main Rd, Tiverton, RI. For more information about this exhibit visit www.gallery4tiverton.com

Kelly Milukas Color Craving

Those who are drawn to artist Kelly Milukas’ paintings might describe their attraction more like a craving. A craving for color…for velocity, vibrancy, and voluptuousness. Her pastel-layered watercolor paintings offer just this, a very tempting and vivid description of country life most can only find in their dreams– or on a Kelly Milukas canvas if they happen to stop by her Tiverton, Rhode Island studio.

Inspired by  the multi-dimentionality of life, she describes the work of being an artist as “soul-touching…it’s hard to get away from the vibrancy.” Her popular paintings are composed of under-layers of watercolor blanketed by rich pastels creating candy coated, highly coveted masterpieces.

After studying sculpture in Portland, Maine, Kelly met her now husband and settled into their Tiverton home. It wasn’t long before the old shed was converted into a contemporary art studio and sanctuary for her growing passion for painting. Now Kelly is a celebrity around town, best known for her charismatic cow paintings and kaleidoscopic collection of scenery from her various travels. “My imagery is a visually charged interpretation of the experience,” says Kelly. And their presence is electric.

While making art started has always been a passion, it recently unfolded into an unexpected adventure for Kelly. When a friend confronted her with the challenge of capturing regenerative medicine through photographs, Kelly’s natural curiosity was hooked. She took a break from painting to explore this uncharted artistic territory and –as it turns out– the highly symbolic world of stem cells. “Her works incorporate the broad symbolism and subject of key, locks, and mysteries to visually communicate the body’s ability to heal itself,” according to a statement by the Regenerative Medicine Foundation. Moving from cows and brushes to keys and locks proved satisfying and invigorating for Kelly; the inspiring results of her photographic journey are on display at the Bow House Studio.

Along with this recent partnership, Kelly is also the proud president of the South Coast Artists, a cooperative non-profit organization comprised of roughly 100 members dedicated to celebrating the rich arts community of the south coast. For two weekends every summer, the members of the SCA open their doors to visitors from all over New England as part of the South Coast Artist Tour, showcasing a rich display of talented work. This year the tour will take place July 21st and 22nd as well as August 18th and 19th. Each year the organization expands to include more artists and visitors from the area; according to Kelly, part of the SCA’s vision is bringing the arts to children of all ages, for free, with hands on demonstrations and interactive family tours. Kelly herself welcomes a whopping 400+ visitors to the Bow House Studio each weekend, a testament to her fascinating and energetic accomplishments and enthusiastic following.

As the 2012 South Coast Artists Tour approaches, Kelly is now busy preparing for the rush, shifting mediums once again. “Getting back to painting has changed my vision,” says Kelly. “Dealing with layers and textures and pushing contrast…” These elements of photography, she says, have transformed her paintings and understanding of the artistic process.

The beautiful Tiverton studio is a must-stop if you plan to do the SCA Tour this year; you can expect custom framing by Kelly at the studio, and a healthy glimpse of the life of a very multi-dimensional artist. Despite the hustle and bustle of meetings and gallery events Kelly always has time to paint; perhaps it’s her energetic personality, or love for colors, or maybe a craving she just can’t ignore. Either way her work is in a fantastical world all its own.

For more information on the work of Kelly Milukas visit www.kellymilukas.com 

At Home in The Cottage

Customers that walk in to the sunlit Cottage are usually greeted by the small and friendly Pesos, a champagne-colored terrier rescued from Mexico who has made a comfortable home in the only fine home furnishings boutique around. And it’s no wonder he likes it here. The Cottage in Tiverton Four Corners is a modern lifestyle haven featuring two floors of soft, classic, and bold colors and fabrics, lovely floral scents, fresh wood accents and elegent music for inspirational browsing. While Pesos spends his time lounging amidst the tasteful décor, store owner Nancy Heminway and her partners Ivy and Linda are busy prettying the shop to perfection.

Nancy, Ivy, and Linda have been working together for over 15 years, and The Cottage has been a local staple for even longer, but even if you’re a regular customer here you will never see the same display twice. These three women make daily styling changes to the windowsills, table-tops, and furniture sets in store in order to keep up with a high demand for their goods, and provide customers with a fresh perspective each time they visit.  “We take care of the merchandise.”

Personal attention to the pristine details make shopping at this home furnishings boutique feel something like a guilty pleasure, but it can be a treat for your wallet too; we’re competitive in prices, says Nancy. The store mostly carries high-end and luxury products, but their quality and value are assuredly the best you will find, not to mention the sale room. Names like Mitchell Gold and Lee Industries, Simon Pierce, and Bella Notte line the shelves, and most everything they carry is American-made. The Cottage also specializes in exclusive imports, like the Florence-made fragrance line Officina Profumo. One of the most unique traits of this store can be found behind the well-placed scenes: Everything, including furniture, is stocked, which means whatever you see in- store can be taken home with that same day. A wonderfully gratifying perk for shoppers.

Customer satisfaction and innovative design are part of Nancy’s roots. Before opening The Cottage she worked for Design Research, the Boston-based lifestyle retailer known most noteably as the first home for modern American design. DR introduced lifestyle stores to the world of retail with popular brands like Merimekko and Alvar Aalto. Trading in the big name for the small boutique life has proven rewarding for Nancy and her team. They gracefully weave together an intelligent eye for design, expertise in elegant home fashion, and the gentle pace of the Tiverton countryside. The Cottage carries everything for the home from cookbooks to dish soap, rugs, to popular local art work. They also offer in-home design services as well as merchandise loans to ensure every product is the right fit.

Award winning and stunning the The Cottage blissfully remains the closest thing to home as you will find while out shopping….for person and pooch alike.

All in a Day’s Roast

It’s just about 4 in the afternoon, the sun is winding its way down behind the Sakonnet river, illuminating drifting boats and choppy waters in a golden yellow, while the god-given smell of roasting coffee is warning people like fog horns of a freshly roasted round of coffee beans. This is the inhalable story of Coastal Roasters…

A small coffee shop with a sturdy foundation, Coastal Roasters was founded in 2002 by Donald Machado and his partner Lisa when they decided to purchase the small surf shop overlooking the Sakonnet River. Before then, Donald knew only a little about coffee, spending his free time  “home-roasting” for friends and family using a popcorn popper and zest for good quality. When the itch to broaden his horizons became too much to bear, the couple bought the Tiverton property, fixed it up a little, and started a business selling wholesale coffee beans. Thankfully, Donald invested in something a little bigger than a popcorn maker for Coastal Roasters, which quickly evolved into the area’s most visited cafe, as the smell of coffee crept into the heart of the coastal town. “I underestimated how many people are interested in quality coffee,” said Donald, but that was what he knew then.

Now Coastal Roasters is a mega coffee gathering place, roasting daily, over 50,000lbs of coffee a year and featuring over 20 unique blends of bean. “We don’t do a lot of tutti frutti stuff,” says Donald, “we try to stick to just coffee.” And good coffee besides; 70% of their beans are organic or Fair Trade and all of it brewed with respect for the environment and the farmers that grow the beans. Concentrating on quality and sustainable production has given the shop a cultured reputation for “being green,” drawing in true coffee lovers for miles and miles.

“We have to be at the right place doing the right thing, at the right time, which is kind of a niche,” says Donald who sources, roasts, and packages the beans. The beans themselves arrive from mostly small farms in exotic locations all over the world, and although they honor basic regional coffee blends, Coastal Roasters has expanded their inventory over the years to meet customer needs. Teas, smoothies, frozen drinks, and nearby bakery selections are on the menu, as well as custom blends like Wild Wetamoo, Fort Baron, Coastal Gold, and Old Stone Bridge. Keeping in local is all part of the plan.

Coastal Roasters has also become part of a larger campaign for educating the masses, not just about coffee, but community values that extend beyond the roaster. They sponsor a range of fund and awareness-raising events like Singing Out Against Hunger, which raised over 60,000 last year, in conjunction with Evelyn’s Drive In, for providing healthy meals to local families in need. Other beneficiaries include the Little Compton Community Center, Allen’s Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, Dartmouth Natural Resources Trust, Sakonnet Growers Market, and the Tiverton Four Corners Arts Center.

The most gratifying ambition of Coastal Roasters is their mission to educate about coffee: where it comes from and what it supposed to taste like. “Some people don’t realize beans need to be roasted,” says Donald. There’s a whole world of coffee out there, beyond the bag. If you want to know the secret to the Coastal Roasters taste, it’s in the roasting. They roast in small batches, and often. And oh, what a delicious smell…

As all good businesses do, Coastal Roasters has continued to expand, these days, through the main roads of cyber space. Online coffee sales are a new vessel for acquiring fresh beans, and Coastal Roasters recently launched online ordering on their website. Donald has seen immediately the benefits of reaching a larger demographic, sending off to customers from Florida to the West coast. Perhaps more exciting for the consumer is Coastal Roaster’s Coffee of the Month Club, an impeccably convenient way to familiarize yourself with regional blends, or to stay at home in your pjs. A unique blend of coffee arrives on your doorstep (or a friend’s if you so choose) once a month to be savored each morning, afternoon, or night.

But don’t let us sway you, stop by Coastal Roasters where “the coffee speaks for itself.”

Open year round, 6am-5pm at 1791 Main Rd. Tiverton RI.

 

Brides and Pickles, a Welcome Affair

Whenever a wedding is around, food is in order. Extravagant or intimate, indoors, or out, there’s always a generous supply of food at weddings. Food is what makes a celebration a celebration, after all. Weddings, in particular, rely upon good food, real food, food that is meaningful and maybe even symbolic. That’s why the job of wedding planning can be such a tough one; to roll love and harmony, quality and symbolism into one meal is really no piece of cake. So naturally, many brides look to the experts. And around here, the experts are ready and waiting.

Down the winding, narrow streets of the FarmCoast, Dan George of Smoke and Pickles parks his smoker, a 3-chamber cooking machine. While the name doesn’t exude anything entirely regal, the smoker is extraordinary in its duties. It’s a charcoal-black contraption that prepares feasts on site, retaining flavor and freshness by smoking, barbecuing, and grilling, if need be, all at once. Weddings that hire Smoke and Pickles can be spotted from down the road. People watch starry-eyed and salivating as the smoker pulls in, a fragrant white cloud signaling the makings of a feast.

Behind the triumphant veil of smoke and rich flavors is a modest team of talented food experts carrying with them an authentic attitude of abundance, celebration, and elegance coupled with real “foodie” enthusiasm and a small touch of humor.  “It takes a Coastal Village” is their motto, because Smoke and Pickles is a cooperative effort. Each member has their own role operating the “engine,” as they refer to themselves, drawing on their unique personal histories and the support of the robust FarmCoast food community. There’s Dan, proprietor and Pickle Man, his wife Chris who can often be found playing the fiddle and performing “quality control;” theres Mark, the light-hearted Grill Master, snow-border, and long-time chef, and Kristen the Sourcer, Expediter, modern Forager of sorts, ensuring the arrival and preparation of exceptional quality. Not to mention Sally, the event planner, and the catering staff. Bustling around as behind-the-scenes guests, this group creates a visible sense of harmony to the work of preparing and serving food. Their cadence with each other is the result of a long stream of steady practice, knowledge, and sincere effort to capture moments, and foods, at their best.

Perhaps the most splendid attribute of the group is their resourcefulness. All the food prepared by Smoke and Pickles arrives from local farms and providers within a 20 mile radius. Famous herbs from Eva’s garden, crisp organic veggies picked the day of, or oysters straight from the bay. “We keep things whole as late in the game as we can to keep things as fresh as possible,” says Dan. Nothing is pre-packaged or prepared; the team reaps the sweet benefits of knowing every farmer around by name.

When it comes to the menu choices, Dan treats them like he treats his food, with reverence, compassion, and wisdom. Artistically-composed menus reflect such worldly cuisines such as Coastal New England (of course our favorite), Southern Barbecue, Vegetarian, Latin American or Middle Eastern fare and, although heavily influenced by the Bride and Groom’s palate, are always guided by seasonal farm offerings during that time of year (or week or day), and most always involve giant loves of bread. Dan endeavors to maximize flavors through contrast with pairings like… melons and mint, littlenecks and sausage, whole wood-grilled bass or salmon or chicken or steak, roasted lamb, long and slow barbecued pork, rhubarb relish, freshly chopped parsley and basil…and other sophisticated, mouth-watering combinations. Smoke and Pickles has a vision beyond simply feeding crowds, and that’s honoring glorious “rights of passage,” providing meals fit for kings and queens, brides and grooms, or people who just love food.

Details are another seductive part of the package. In addition to hand-carved wooden cutting boards and whispy flower bouquets, full-service event planning, from the initial planning stages to last-minute details, is included in the service. Sally Huntington holds this all together as a vital liaison between the brides and grooms and the Smoke and Pickles staff. Expert organizer and conceptual guru, Sally joined Dan in the beginning of his pickling adventure with a savvy business background and the necessary patience for making things go as smoothly as possible.

So where do the pickles come in? They’re in the heart of the close-knit company, what started it all, and always, colorfully adorning the appetizer table. Dan George was once  a lawyer, and –at what happened to be just the right time– asked his friend Chis Schlesinger, then chef at The Back Eddy, if he could help out in the kitchen. Days later, Dan was crowned “pickle chef” at The Back Eddy for no particular reason other than perhaps, now chef-extrodinaire Schlesinger knew it was a stroke of genius. “No one had heard of a pickle chef,” says Dan, including himself. Dan became a pickle master, dunking his hands and elbows into the history of pickles, the traditions, and oh, the flavors. He went on to attract attention from food writers around New England and co-wrote a pickling cookbook called Quick Pickles-Easy Recipes with Big Flavors. The profound influence of pickles and pickling on Dan infused this idea for the now famous team of roving caterers, striking down wedding-food stereotypes, and breathing life, creativity, and pickles into the industry.

Smoke and Pickles is the way of fresh, good food and heartfelt hospitality, the way homegrown catering should be. A slice of modern tradition, at your service.

To contact Smoke and Pickles, please visit their website at www.smokeandpickles.com. To see more photos of their events visit us on Flicker!


The Best Rhode Island Potter…

Charlie Barmonde was recently named the best potter in Rhode Island by RI Monthly, an unexpected but welcomed honor to the young artist and Little Compton resident, who has greeted his artistic life with humble ambition. 35-year-old Barmonde describes his work as a “gratifying, intellectual as well as physical exercise,” but more than that, ceramics for Charlie is a full-time job. He works in his own studio in Little Compton drawing on his passion and knowledge of a life by the sea. “I spent my life sailing…I have a strong connection to the ocean,” he says. His pieces range from functional dining-ware to sculptural works of marine-inspired art.

Charlie moved from Long Island at the age of 16 and followed a meandering academic path involving a mix of ceramics and art history. He traveled the country honing his skills, and serving other respected potters through various jobs and apprenticeships. Charlie also spent time as a gallery owner for an arts collaborative in New Bedford along with other local artists. Now, with his roots well planted in RI, Charlie’s recent years have been spent prioritizing his family life and evolving ceramic work in his private studio.

Of all artistic works, Charlie says, ceramics provide the most direct connection between the artist and consumer. Only ceramics allow you to see, and actually feel the hands of the maker, transforming buying a mug or bowl into a truly intimate experience. This sensuous and tactile nature of the craft is what drew Charlie in from the beginning, guiding his functional and gorgeous line of pottery. His work has grown to include conceptual sculptural pieces that provide a vessel for expressing his love of the nautical world. Charlie aims to provide affordable handmade art, and hopes to extend his line to be even more accessible in the future, so that everyone can appreciate art easily, and often.


Photo Credit: ApartmentTherapy.com


Photo Credit: ApartmentTherapy.com

Charlie is a proud member of the region, bursting with varied seasoned artists who’ve all discovered a similar affinity for the southcoast. Unlike other larger art districts, the backroads of the southcoast seem to inspire an older, more assured talent. The SCA, or SouthCoast Artists is a non-profit organization that has recognized the value of this area’s multitude of artists, and has gone through lengths to connect them together as part of a larger group, providing the public with ample opportunities for art-appreciation. This weekend is the second round of SCA “Studio Tours” this summer where Charlie, along with many other artists, will be open and throwing pottery, and hopefully selling a few pieces. You can visit him this weekend or anytime by appointment. And then you can congratulate this inspiring artist and well-deserved recipient of the title, best.