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Agriculture / Conservation News
Sam Waterston to chair 2007 Celebration of CT Farms
  JULY/AUGUST 2007 -- One of the Nutmeg State’s thriving orchards will prove to be an even bigger draw than usual this fall.  On Sunday, September 9th, Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury will host the seventh annual Celebration of Connecticut Farms.
This award-winning event has sold out every year.  For 2007, organizers anticipate over 800 guests, including farmers, “foodies,” conservationists, and friends of the land.  Guests will sample fine local food and drink, enjoy live music and hayrides, and join in a silent auction and a live auction of selected works of art.
Sam Waterston, acclaimed actor and Connecticut farm owner, is serving as honorary chairman.  Waterston currently stars on “Law & Order” and recently appeared in Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties” at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven.  He has received an Oscar nomination, a Tony Award nomination, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a Golden Globe Award.  He lives in Connecticut with his wife.  Their farm raises Galloway beef and Icelandic lamb.
Faith Middleton, host of Connecticut Public Radio’s “The Food Schmooze” and “The Faith Middleton Show,” and celebrity chef Jacques Pépin will also lead the events of the day.
The event benefits the Connecticut Farmland Trust, the only private statewide organization dedicated solely to protecting the Nutmeg State’s farmland.  Proceeds support the Trust’s work throughout the year, including land protection projects and one-on-one consultations with farm families.

“We’re particularly proud to be holding the event in Glastonbury this year, because the first farm that we protected, Scaglia Fruit Farm, is now part of Belltown Hill Orchards,” said Henry Talmage, Executive Director of the Connecticut Farmland Trust.  “This prosperous farm is an excellent example of how agriculture continues to change and grow in Connecticut.”
The Celebration showcases the skills of local farmers, chefs, cheese makers, vintners and brewers.  An afternoon of sampling fresh, Connecticut-grown fare prepared by the state’s top chefs is an ideal setting for farmers and consumers to meet face-to-face.
Connecticut’s artists also join in the Celebration’s auction of marvelous goods and services.  In past years, the auction has included a wide variety of one-of-a-kind works of art and trips abroad.  This year, the Connecticut Plein Air Painters Society will have several works, including one depicting Belltown Hill Orchards, the site of the event, in full spring bloom.
The distinguished American landscape painter Eric Forstmann, who has donated works for the past four years to benefit the Farmland Trust, said, “I support the Connecticut Farmland Trust because the need for regional farming is ever-present.  The direct aid and guidance that CFT provides is essential to the survival of the small Connecticut farm.”
Leading the event preparations this year is John Turenne, a nationally recognized culinary innovator who designed and implemented the first-of-its-kind Yale Sustainable Food Project and founded Sustainable Food Systems.  
“John brings to the table a wealth of experience and passion for locally grown, exceptionally prepared food, and the Trust is thrilled to work with him,” said Talmage, the executive director.
The Connecticut Farmland Trust was formed in 2002 to respond to the state’s rapid loss of farmland, one of the highest rates of loss in the nation.  It currently protects more than 830 acres on 10 family farms around the state.  The Connecticut State Grange and many individual Granges throughout the state are members of the organization.
The event will be held on Sunday, September 9th, from 12:00 to 4:30 pm at Belltown Hill Orchards in South Glastonbury.  Sponsorship tickets to the event are available now, while general tickets will be released in July.  Sponsorship and ticket information is available at www.ctfarmland.org or 860-241-0873.

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