Archive for January, 2014

From our Farms to your Table

January 23rd, 2014 by Cindy Neugebauer

IMG_0298Friday morning I had the pleasure to sit in a Boonsboro Economic Development Commision meeting and listen to Leslie Hart, the very articulate Agricultural Business Development Specialist in Washington County, Maryland.  She talked about buying local from our farms and where our food comes from.

Leslie said that Washington County Maryland had the most dairy farms in the state of Maryland.  Wow.  She asked us to think about where our food comes from and talked about leaving farming to the experts.  Growing your vegetables and raising your own chickens seem to be the thing to do these days but we need to keep a few things in mind.   As we all are concerned about fertilizers that farmers use we need to remember that they are regulated.  Those of us that garden at home are not regulated.  We have a tendency to use too many fertilizers in our personal raised beds.  She reminded us to leave farming to the experts.  I truly created a new respect for our farmers during this meeting.

Leslie talked about all the opportunities for us to support our local farms.  The Historic City Farmers Market in Hagerstown is the oldest market around and is open every Saturday morning all year long.  There are also markets available at Robinwood Medical Center and Cronise Market in nearby Boonsboro.  The Valley Food Coop is another opportunity to purchase local produce, dairy and fresh meats.  Red Hill is a member of the Valley Coop.  Washington County also has an abundance of new wineries and vineyards along the newly created Antietam Highland Wine Trail.  Big Cork Winery will have it’s grand opening this spring.  They are minutes from Red Hill.  How convenient is that!!

I felt good as an innkeeper when I left our monthly EDC Meeting.  As I drove back to Red Hill I thought about all the farms I have grown to support since we opened our doors in 2011.  We joined the Valley Coop in April of 2011.  I volunteer for them every few weeks – my favorite trip is out to Litton Farms where I pick up local produce for our members.  I’m always greeted by several of their many children.  Wearing hats and suspenders, they come bouncing down to my car to greet me.  They help me carry the heavy boxes of produce and carefully load everything in the back of my seat.  One trip right before Thanksgiving  I could barely see out of the back of my car as I had sweet potatoes as big as pumpkins loaded up along with beets, several varieties of squash and of course pumpkins of various shapes and sizes

I support our local farms by buying eggs from Cool Brook Farms, Dairy products from either Trickling Springs or South Mountain Dairy.  They both have the best cream and butter for me to use in our fresh Belgian waffles.  Our honey comes from A&D Apiaries and fresh maple syrup from S&S Maple Syrup Farm in Corriganville, Maryland.  Palmyra Farm and Spriggs Delight carry some of the best cheese around.  Spriggs has goat ricotta cheese that just melts in your mouth.  It is such a pleasure to create our hot, gourmet breakfast using these local ingredients.

My Morning Mist Coffee Beans come from Clif at South Mountain Roasters.  He roasts his beans weekly and they smell so good when I bring them back to Red Hill.  I especially enjoy the aroma when I grind them here in our coffee bar for breakfast.  His package says “Roasting for the discriminating coffee lover”.

When in season I bring back fresh blueberries, strawberries and apples from Cronis Market.  They also have a great variety of peaches at the end of the summer for our crisps and parfaits.  Traveling over the Washington County line into Frederick County I sometimes visit Cider Distillery Works for fresh apples and cider.

The key to abundant flavor is freshness.  The fresher the ingredients the better it tastes.  Red Hill’s hot breakfast uses the finest from Frederick and Washington County Farms.  There is nothing like supporting our local community and businesses.  I’m proud of our efforts.

 

Amazing Studio Tours – Minutes from Red Hill

January 5th, 2014 by Cindy Neugebauer

You can’t beat it.  Driving in the warmth of your own car, following a map and visiting local artists in their own studios.

I had the pleasure of taking two Studio Tours last month almost in my own backyard at Red Hill.

Several weeks before Thanksgiving my friends Bob, Carolyn and Katy took a short drive through Shepherdstown.  From there we followed Rt.1 through Kearneysville to begin our tour at Heirloom Baskets, Brown Shop Bears & Fran Brolle’s Sterling Silver Jewelry in the village of Middleway.

From Middleway we worked our way back to Shepherstown, stopping at Ren and Pam Parziale wheel-thrown stoneware.  Joy Bridy’s wood-fired pottery was next.  Bridy’s pottery is fired in a wood-fired kiln she built by hand.  Across the street and down a gravel road we found Eric Johnson’s historical working farm where he does his black-smithing.

The best part of this tour was visiting these wonderful homesteads.  We wrapped up our Sunday adventure back in Shepherdstown at the home of Doug Kinnett, Paintings & Tile Creations.  One of a kind pieces of Mixed-Media Wall Pieces were on dsplay by Rebecca Grace Jones.

After our tour we had a splendid dining experience at the Blue Moon Cafe in Shepherdstown.

And if this Jefferson County Studio Tour wasn’t enough, I had the pleasure of buzzing around the Pleasant Vallley the weekend before Thanksgiving with my good friends Bret & Rich in Rich’s new Suburu.  This tour truly is in the backyard of Red Hill.  We first drove down to the Historic Jacob House on Main Street Keedysville.  Here we found Miller’s Candles, Allyson’s Pottery and a nice variety of woodwork, local honey and tree ornaments.  I met the owner Diane and dabbled in some delightful hand balm.

From Jacob’s house we drove out to Rt. 67 to visit one of my all time favorite potters-Bill Van Gilder.  His studio was bustling with folks shopping for the Holiday season. Hand thrown bowls, mugs and many other beautiful pieces were available in his rustic but warm studio.

From here we hopped back in  the car for a drive through Burkittsville to Distillery Lane Ciderworks on Gapland Road in Jefferson.  Cider and apples were offered at this unique orchard.  I came home with a bag of delicious Russet apples.

This tour we took is call the Valley Craft Network Studio Tour.  It’s held every year the weekend before Thanksgiving and is a fabulous way to support local artists and shop for upcoming Holiday Seasons.

From Ciderworks we went back through Burkittsville to M4 Studios on Mt. Briar Rd. in Keedysville.  Kirke Martin creates wood-fired ceramics here.  He took time to walk Bret, Rich and I through the firing process and showed us the interesting kiln he built in the slop of his backyard.

What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.                                                              For more information visit:   Studio Tour West Virginia   and                                                     Valley Craft Network Studio Tour