Our February Conversation: Artisans at Work: Farm to Table and Buying Local

Kimberly Thorn Milk House Chocolates
Kimberly Thorn of Milk House Chocolates

The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes writer Joseph Montebello and four local businesses creating artisanal specialties in a conversation at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield on Thursday, February 2, beginning at 2:30pm. The focus of the discussion, titled “Artisans at Work: Farm to Table and Buying Local,”
will be on how their businesses have flourished and, to illustrate their talents, there will be produce and product for sale.

Savor Fine Foods is a micro-bakery specializing in unique handmade shortbread cookies, offering a variety of flavors that are “an extraordinary diversity,” according to owner/founder André Kreft, who grew up in Connecticut, and lived for many years in the San Francisco Bay Area working as a visual artist. He redirected his creativity towards food production when he returned to his home state.

The food career of Niles Golovin began in his teens, when he had the opportunity to work in the dining rooms of the “Borscht Belt” hotels. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, he moved to New York City and spent the next fifteen years working in restaurants that were defining the New American Cuisine. Then the “Bread Revolution” evolved, and he wheedled his way into the bakery of Richard Bourdon, owner of Berkshire Mt. Bakery. He decided to open his own bakery, Bantam Bread, which has become a must-visit in Bantam.

Mark Palladino has an accounting and finance background, with an elementary education degree. His life took a very different turn when he became a certified organic farm apprentice in 2000 at Riverbank Farm in Roxbury and worked part-time with Pratt Nature Center as an educational instructor. In 2003 Wild Carrot Farm began, was certified organic after three years and grew to ten acres of vegetables, flowers, fruits, and herbs. WCF became a founding member of the Litchfield and Collinsville farmers’ markets and employs mostly local teenagers for its labor force.

Joanie Guglielmino, co-owner/operator of Jessie’s Restaurant from 1985-2000, has always been attracted to the plant world perhaps because both her mother and her grandfather were avid gardeners. She purchased most of her produce from Wild Carrot Farm and started working there for her veggies as a CSA workshare in 2008 when Mark Palladino started up a CSA program. She came on full-time in 2009 to help Mark manage the farm and has been there ever since.

Kimberly Thorn of Milk House Chocolates in Goshen is proud that they have been voted “Best in Connecticut” for 2015 and 2016. She describes her chocolates “Our Signature flavors are based on the fresh milk, cream and butter we make here at Thorncrest Farm. Pure ingredients equals pure simple pleasures.” She also offers cheese-making classes that have been well-received. Pictured is Kimberly Thorn with last year’s giant chocolate Easter egg.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a High Tea reception. The contacts for more information are 860-605-7207 and info@womensforumoflitchfield.org.

Our October Speaker: David Leite

david-leite-photo-10-6-16

The Women’s Forum of Litchfield welcomes food writer David Leite to speak about his heritage and the delights of Portuguese cuisine at the Litchfield Community Center at 421 Bantam Road in Litchfield on Thursday, October 6, beginning at 2:30pm.

David Leite is a food writer, author, memoirist, and web publisher. He founded Leite’s Culinaria in 1999 and in 2006, he had the distinction of being the first winner ever of a James Beard Award for a website, a feat he repeated in 2007.

He has written about everything from chocolate chip cookies to fried clams, from the foods of Portugal to tribulations of being a super taster—for print, radio, and television. His first book, “The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe’s Western Coast,” explored the food of his heritage and won the 2010 IACP First Book/Julia Child Award. He’s also written for the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Lucky Peach, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Men’s Health, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, The Washington Post, Charlotte Observer, among others.

David is also a correspondent on public radio’s The Splendid Table, hosted by Lynne Rossetto Kasper. He has been a frequent guest and host on Martha Stewart Living Radio programs, including “Cooking Today,” as well as a guest on Lucinda Scala Quinn’s program, “Mad Hungry Monday.” He’s been heard on NPR’s “All Thing Considered” and has appeared on History Channel 2’s “United Stuff of America,” Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay,” The Today Show, “Radical Sabbatical,” and is a regular guest on WTNH-TV.

David won the 2008 James Beard Award for Newspaper Feature Writing Without Recipes for his article “In a ’64 T-Bird, Chasing a Date with a Clam” and was nominated for the same award the following year for his article “Perfection? Hint: It’s Warm and Has a Secret,” both from The New York Times. He was a 2006 winner of the Bert Greene Award for Food Journalism. In 2014, he was nominated for both Best Blog and Best Podcast Series by the IACP. His work has appeared in the Best Food Writing series a total of 14 times, from 2001 to 2015, a record.

Currently, David’s at work on his memoir “Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love, and Manic Depression” to be published by Dey Street Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. He will bring food samples of olive dip with bread and orange olive oil cake. Fran Keilty, owner of the Hickory Stick, will be offering his books for sale following his presentation.

The event will be open to non-Forum members with a $10 fee at the door, which includes a High Tea reception. The contacts for more information are 860-605-7207 and womensforumoflitchfield.org.