Local Food, Sandywoods Farm

Supporting local food, and farms in general, seems to be on the rise everywhere -- Rhode Island is no exception. In the past decade, the number of farms in this little state has increased by 42 percent.  I learned this impressive tidbit and a whole lot more about our farms and farmers while working on the cover story, "The Local Food Lover's Guide," for the June issue of Rhode Island Monthly.

As part of my assignment I interviewed the enthusiastic Randy Garden of Bristol's Wicked Natural, a condiments company whose emphasis is on fresh, local ingredients.

In the same issue I also wrote about Sandywoods Farm, a fantastic housing community in Tiverton that's committed to conservation and art. 


Little Bitte

I had the pleasure of interviewing (and tasting drinks by) mixologist Willa VanNostrand of Little Bitte for the current issue of Rhode Island Monthly. The article is below and here is the recipe for her Darlin' Clementine Milk Punch. Enjoy!


A beautiful day

I wait for cloudy skies

The other day, as the wind howled and rain beat against the house, seventeen-month-old Felix stood at the glass paned door and said, "A beautiful day."
I couldn't help but laugh and agree. "You're right," I said, realizing that this might have been the first time I referred to such dark dampness not as dreary but as beautiful.

And this morning, after reading Felix's favorite tractor book a couple of times, we zoomed and vroomed little trucks along the hall floor. This is how we ease into the day. Not fully awake even during breakfast, I nearly poured coffee on an upside down mug. My eyes still stung by the time I noticed a sliver of pink highlighting the frosted field behind our house.

"More apple please," Felix said from his highchair as oats cooked on the stove.
Then he pointed to the window and said, "Cows eating grass. Cows graze grass."
I looked up. Sure enough there they were, seven cows grazing in a golden glow. I was startled by the sudden light as much as I was by his use of the word graze and his ability to shift my perspective.
The sun shined with a brand new day and Felix was soaking it up. With his help, I would too.


Review in Art New England

For Art New EnglandI reviewed the upcoming show of painters Pat Coomey Thornton and John Havens Thornton at the Dedee Shattuck Gallery, November 23 - December 31. What a treat! I hope you get the chance to check out this fantastic show.


one story wonder

Last night I read a fantastic short story, "Who Cycles Into Our Valley," by Benjamin Solomon, published in the current issue of one story. The days that one story arrives are extra happy days when I exclaim "Yes!" aloud while sifting through the mail and then skip down the driveway with my giggling son on my hip. At the end of yesterday, after tubby time, dinner, dishes and all the rest, I collapsed on the couch beneath a blanket with our dog curled beside me, and I indulged.

I cried when I read this story. At each line break I paused and let the weight and poignancy of the language seep through me. "Damn, this is good," I kept saying to myself. Not much happens in the way of plot or surface action in this story-- a father and son are tandem cycling in Spain-- but the interplay of memories, and how they build the characters and story, is masterful. The use of narrative perspective, which switches between father and son, is fantastic. I was impressed, too, by the writer's ability to so adeptly tap into the emotions of both parent and child (as a boy years earlier and as a grown man now).

When I finished the story I just sat for a while and thought about what had just happened, how it all worked, how Benjamin Solomon did it (I think I'll be trying to figure that out for a while). Then I read an interview with the writer on one story's website. It turns out that he had worked on this story for six years, and 55 drafts. Wow. His dedication sure did payoff, and inspires me to keep at my own daunting drafts.