Litchfield Hills CT calendar of events

PICK A PERFECT FALL WEEKEND
AT PICK-YOUR-OWN ORCHARDS
IN THE LITCHFIELD HILLS

For many families, it's an autumn ritual as American
  
as-you guessed it-apple pie.  In fact, the makings for a delicious pie are one of the bonuses of an outing to a pick-your-own apple orchard.  All around the Litchfield Hills, farms welcome visitors who want the fun of going into the orchards and gathering the fruit.  The farms furnish bags to be filled and anyone who has done it will swear that somehow the apples seem to have a crisper crunch and a taste all the sweeter when they come right off the tree.  Dozens of varieties of apples are grown in this rich region, so you can be sure to find some that are ripe from September through October.      

Lots of farms also have pumpkin patches and some offer hayrides into the orchards, everything needed to make the most of a fine fall weekend. Pickers have their choice of 17 orchards in the Litchfield Hills, many on family farms in picturesque settings.  Many orchards make their own cider, or you can make a stop at Hogans Cider Mill in Burlington, which has been producing cider in the same classic method since 1912.  Hand crafted gifts created by local artisans are displayed here in the original barn that still houses the old press.

Several farms are of special interest.  March Farm in Bethlehem has been in the same family for three generations.  Besides 50 acres of apple trees, the farm grows delicious tomatoes in a dozen greenhouses on the property.  An animal yard, playscape, corn maze, and hayrides make it a great choice for family outings.

Ellsworth Hill Farm, another family farm in Sharon, takes pride in preserving the rural rolling hills; woods open pastures and original structures of their property.  They offer a wide variety of applies, including Macoun, Cortland, Empire, Red Delicious, Mutsu, Northern Spy, Ida Red, Honey Crisp, Gala, and Macintosh.  Hayrides are available on weekends by reservation.

Another popular destination is Blue Jay Orchards, where as many as 10,000 people of all ages come to enjoy a day in the country each autumn.  A picturesque 140- acre farm nestled in the quaint town of Bethel; Blue Jay became the first farm to be preserved as farmland in Connecticut when a past owner sold the development rights to the state in the 1980s.  They have the widest selection of any of the orchards, some 24 varieties of apples in addition to a large farm market.  Hayrides to the "Pumpkin Patch" are special favorites every weekend during October. 

A complete list of Pick-Your-Own apple orchards follows.  For more information on autumn activities and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at www.litchfieldhills.com

Hogans Cider Mill
522 Spielman Highway, Rte. 4,
Burlington, CT 06013. (860) 675-7320.
www.hoganscidermill.com

BLUE JAY ORCHARDS
125 Plumtrees Road, Bethel, CT 06801
(203) 748-0119
www.bluejayorchardsct.com

MARCH FARM
60 Munger Lane, Bethlehem, CT 06751
(203) 266-7721
www.marchfarms.com

ELLSWORTH HILL ORCHARD & BERRY FARM, LLC
461 Cornwall Bridge Road, Route 4, Sharon, CT 06069
(860) 364-0025

HALLOCK ORCHARD
213 Calhoun Street, Washington, CT 06794-1119
(860) 868-1594

AVERILL FARM
250 Calhoun Street, Washington Depot, CT 06794
(860) 868-2777

STARBERRY FARM
47 Kielwasser Road, Washington Depot, CT 06794-1119
(860) 868-2863

TONN'S ORCHARD
Preston Road, Terryville, CT 06786
(860) 585-1372

 

Come to the Fair For Guaranteed
Family Fun in the Litchfield Hills

The racing pigs are at the starting gate, the oxen teams are ready to go and the midway rides are better than ever.  Country fairs filled with farm shenanigans and family fun are in full gear in the rural Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut. On weekends from late August to mid-October, these favorite end-of-summer celebrations will feature traditional competitions and prize farm animals, as well as favorite new entertainers and rides and lots of good food.  Many of these fairs are much-loved traditions, such as the Riverton Fair, a fixture since 1909. The granddaddy of them all is the Harwinton Fair, now in its 151st year.

As always, area farmers will be showing off their prize crops and livestock, and homemakers will be exhibiting their best baking and cooking.  City and suburban youngsters will have a rare chance to see fine farm animals first hand.  All the fairs include judging of prize sheep, cows, pigs, and goats.  Many fairs this year will also feature photo and quilt contests and a two-crusted pie competition, with each winner going into a state-wide contests. 

Every fair features plenty of free entertainment, from magicians to rock bands, puppet shows to country western singers.  However, each fair has its unique attractions.  Fair-goers can take part in country line dance lessons and see the Mid-Hudson Juggling Club in action at the Goshen Fair over Labor Day weekend, and enjoy the U.S. Martial Arts Demonstration team and Abbey Road, the complete Beatles show at the Bethlehem Fair to be held September 7 to 9.

Fireworks on Friday and Saturday night are a festive touch at the Terryville Country Fair, to be held at the fairgrounds onScott Road, off Route 6, August 24 to 26, along with the big horse show featuring English, Western and Carriage divisions.  The Goshen Agricultural Society Fair, set for Labor Day weekend, September 1 to 3, has been a tradition for over 90 years.  A Draft Horse Show and a pork cook-off will be among the crowd pleasers.  A perennial favorite here is the Antique Barn where demonstrations of old time skills such as quilting, spinning, weaving and basketry take place.  Chips will be flying at the lumberjack competition that always brings cheers at the Bethlehem Fair, set for September 7 to 9 at the Bethlehem Fairgrounds on Route 61.  The Western Open Horse Show and Gymkhana are other eagerly awaited events.  A country store, a working blacksmith shop and demonstrations of a variety of old time crafts are part of the Early Americana that is a popular feature at the venerable Harwinton Fair slated for October 6 and 7.

Local fairs are also fun outings for families.  Among those scheduled are the Litchfield Grange Fair on August 25 the Beacon Grange Fair Association in Northfield September 23.  The Riverton Fair, a district fair with many attractions, ends the season October 12 to 14.

For more information on fairs and other nearby attractions, and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the area contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention & Visitors Bureau, P.O. Box 968, Litchfield CT  06759-0968, 800-663-1273, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.

Sidebar:
Litchfield Hills Country Fair Schedule:
August 24-26, Terryville Country Fair
August 25, Litchfield Grange Fair
September 1-3 , Goshen Fair
September 7-9, Bethlehem Fair
September 23, Beacon Grange Fair, Northfield
October 6-7, Harwinton Fair
October 12-14, Riverton Fair

 

LITCHFIELD HILLS COOKING SCHOOLS
HELP MAKE THE MOST OF HARVEST SEASON

The apples are ripe, the autumn vegetables are at their peak.  What better time to
brush up on recipes and cooking techniques for the rich harvest to be found in the fall at local farmer's markets?  Several excellent cooking schools in the bountiful Litchfield Hills are ready to help, many with class schedules that are a perfect fit for weekend visitors.

Afterwards, a trip to the many local farmers' markets will supply prime ingredients to take advantage of new found skills. A full list and addresses of area markets is below.

THE SILO
This prestigious school in a picturesque barn nestled on a farm in the Litchfield Hills has attracted top chefs since it first opened in 1979.  On September 8 in a partnership in support of local farms, Chef Anne Gallagher will conduct a class from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. called Plow to Plate, featuring recipes using the season's bounty.  Autumn Food and Wine Pairing, Splendor in the Glass! is the topic of a dinner with chef Daniel Rosati and  sommelier Carol Berman on Saturday, September 29 from 7 p.m. to 10 pm and on November 4, Carole Peck, the much-lauded chef of Woodbury's Good News Café, will be demonstrating a menu featuring foods from the local harvest.  A Sweet and Savory Strudel Workshop with Daniel Rosati on September 30, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. will include one recipe using spiced pears and apples, typical autumn fruits.

The busy Silo schedule also includes Invite a Bunch to Brunch, with Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, authors of the Ultimate Cookbook series on September 22, Chef Philip Young of Litchfield's Toll Gate Inn teaching classic dishes on September 23 and Food & Wine of France: Bistro Home Cooking with Daniel Rosati and Carol Berman on September 29. The next month will feature Eric Gunnar Rochow on appetizers on October 6, a Foraging Feast with "wildman" Steve Brill on October 12 and master baker George Geary teaching pastry making on October 13. Cookbook author Sarah Leah Chase will make a rare personal appearance for two classes on October 19 and 20.and on October 28 chefs William Okesson and Dennis DeBellis of Woodbury's John's Café will prepare an Octoberfest menu. . For information, phone 860-355-0300 or see www.thesilo.com   

 
COOKING WITH ADRIENNE
Adrienne Sussman returned to her home territory to open a restaurant in 1996 after beginning at Commander's Palace in New Orleans, apprenticing at the Arizona Biltmore and serving as pastry chef at the Waldorf Astoria's Peacock Alley.  Adrienne, who has been the chef of one of the area's most popular restaurants in New Milford for more than a decade, invites students into the kitchen for her Cooking with Adrienne classes.  On September 8 and September 29 she will be teaching Crockpot Cooking, a slow cooking method that is an ideal way to use a bounty of vegetables.  October 13 and October 27 classes will feature Adrienne's Fall Menus, also using foods of the season, and the lesson for Saturday November 17 will a game dinner. Classes are from 11 to 3 p.m.  Information: 860-354-6001, www.adriennerestaurant.com
CUISINE WITH JILL
Jill Nicolson began her career as an assistant to the star chefs at The Silo, left for a stint as chef in Newport and returned as a Silo guest instructor for three years until she fulfilled her dream, opening her own school in a Victorian home in Torrington.  Her goal, she says is "to teach simple and creative techniques while having fun with food!"
Many of her cooking sessions are demonstrations, often with guest chefs presiding over a full-course dinner using seasonal ingredients, held on Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 10 p.m.  The coming schedule includes Summer is Not Over Yet With William Cosgrove of New Milford's Upper Crust Restaurant on September 7, a Weber Grill Event dinner with Jill and Chef David Allan Hurst on September 8.  September 15 brings the Best Ever Bistro Menu with Betty Rosbottom.  September 21st will feature French Cuisine with Jean Claude Vierne of Great Barrington, Mass and September 22nd features Foods and Wines of Tuscany.  David Davis, of The Speckled Hen in Norfolk will pair beer tastings with food on Friday September 28th, while a sushi class and dinner are on the schedule for Friday, October 5th  with Erly Gallo from 3W and the Blue Bar.
Afternoon events from 1 to 4 p.m. this fall include a Marie Antoinette Brunch Sunday September 16th with Jean Claude Vierne.  Chocoholics won't want to miss the Saturday October 20th session of Incredible Chocolate with Erik Landegren of Bridgewater Chocolate and Sunday October 21st participants will learn Cake Decorating with Sabina Jahic, owner of Grand Patisserie in New Milford.  Jill Nicolson and David Allan Hurst will be on hand for Octoberfest at Cuisine Saturday October 13th at 2 p.m. when 8 to 10 different beers will be sampled along with "Guy friendly" food, including some dishes using beer in the recipes.
For a full list of classes, including weekdays and children's classes, phone (860) 489-1003 or see www.cuisinewithjill.com


Sweet Maria's
No good dinner is complete without dessert, and who better to teach the tricks of perfect cakes and cookies than Maria Bruscino Sanchez, proprietor of the award-winning Sweet Maria's in Waterbury, a local favorite since 1990.
Maria offers cooking lessons in her shop on Wednesday nights at 6:30 p.m.
On October 17, her Harvest Dessert Class will prepare cake, pies and tarts and baked fruits taking advantage of seasonal ingredients.  The Cookie-Mania Class on November 7
will also use foods of the season for treats such as Pumpkin Drop Cookies and Cranberry Almond Biscotti, plus a head start on the holidays with techniques o decorate Gingerbread and Holiday Cut outs.
Other classes scheduled this fall include Hands-on cake decorating on September 18th   and Making fondant icing on October 3.  For information phone (888) 755-4099 or see www.sweet-marias.com
For more information about fall events and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills write to the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, call (860) 567-4506 or visit their web site at www.litchfieldhills.com.

 

LITCHFIELD HILLS FARMERS MARKETS

TUESDAY
Sandy Hook, 5 Washington Ave., Sandy Hook Center.  2 p.m.-6 p.m. Late June - early Oct.
Seymour, Pine St., Community Senior Ctr. 12 noon-6p.m. Early May - Early Nov...
Torrington, Staples Plaza, S. Main St. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Mid.-June - Oct.
WEDNESDAY
Bristol, Old Centre Mall, 100 N. Main St. 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Early July-late Oct.
THURSDAY
Thomaston, Town Green, Main St. 2:30 p.m.­6 p.m. Late June-late Oct.
Waterbury, On the Green, Main St. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and Brass Mill Center Mall, Sears Parking Lot, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Early July-Oct.
FRIDAY
Burlington, First Congregational Church, Rte. 4. 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Early July- Oct.
Danbury, Kennedy Park, Main Street & Kennedy, 11 a.m. ­ 4 p.m.
July 13 thru October
Derby, Griffin Hospital portico outside main entrance, 130 Division Street, 2 p.m. - 6 p.m. July 6 thru October
SATURDAY
Bethel, Rte.6/Stoney Hill Rd.. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Early July-late Oct...
Bristol, Old Centre Mall, 100 N. Main St. 10 a.m. -1 p.m. Early July-late Oct.
Kent, Kent Green, 9am-12noon. Mid.-May-Mid-Oct.
Litchfield, Center Elementary School, Rte. 202. 11 a.m. ­ 3 p.m.  Late June-Oct.
New Milford, Town Green, Main St. 9 a.m.-12 noon. Late May -Oct.
Torrington, Staples Plaza, S. Main St. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Mid.-June-Oct.
SUNDAY
Riverton, Riverton Fair Grounds, Rte. 20, 11a.m.-2p.m., May 20 thru September
Sandy Hook Village, 5 Glen Rd. 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Early July-Sept.

 

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