By Jane Ross, August 2017.
No gala benefit has ever been more aptly named than the August 26 celebration hosted by the Redding Land Trust at historic Warrup’s Farm under a flawless sunset sky. In commemoration of the Town’s 250th anniversary, some 120 revelers sipped seventeenth-century libations and feasted on authentic fare from colonial days under tents with tables set with the china and silverware typical of that long-ago era.
Festivities began at the Well – a bar serving grog, switchel and shrub - at the rear of the Hill family’s magnificent 1830’s home on land carved from Redding founder John Read’s original 1,000 acre farm first owned by Chicken Warrups and where the Land Trust now holds a conservation easement. Cider and spruce ale, rather than the Well’s rum and gin based drinks, were poured at a nearby stand where guests relished trout, duck and cheese, all garnished to old-time perfection.
As guests next gathered around the dinner buffet table, they were treated to roast pig, grilled squash, maize (aka corn), and ground nuts (aka Indian potatoes) and kale salad. Bottles of Bordeaux, America’s first imported wine, dotted the table next to jars of local wildflowers. The meal was prefaced by Jerusalem artichoke soup and brought to a delicious close by a dessert of berry cobbler with sweet cream.
“A Night to Remember” co-chairs, Laurie Heiss and Mary Ann Carman, worked wonders to realize every educational and enjoyable detail that made the evening so memorable, from the guided tours of the farm, to the traditional folk music of Noah Feldman, the talk by ethnobotanist Dr. Manuel Lizarralde, the skills of chef Michael Ferro, to the rousing sound of two drummers marching from nearby woods.
“We owe special thanks and gratitude to farm owners Bill and Laura Hill and to a committee of Redding volunteers - Ed Dzubak, Karen Gifford, Hugh Karraker, Janice Meehan, Jane Hamilton-Merritt, Nancy Pelz-Paget, Kim O’Rielly and Cecilia Staunton - who helped make the evening such a success,” said Mary Ann Carman. Laurie Heiss added, “The evening would not have been possible without the participation of so many benefit supporters and especially our generous partnering sponsor Ancona’s Wine and Liquors and John Read Trailblazer sponsors, Anne and Chuck Nemetz, and the Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate Team Lisa Pompeo, Marilyn Sloper, Margi Esten and Posie Morgan, “Your Redding Real Estate Experts.”