David and Lisa Wilson, owners of Good Vibes Kettle Corn, at the Cromwell Farmers Market
We’re now in the heart of the farmers’ market season and so far this summer we’ve discovered the delightful charm of Wethersfield’s weekly festivities and explored the variety of healthy homegrown options that Rocky Hill has to offer.
This week we turn out attention our farm fresh friends in Cromwell, who put on a weekly farmers market that is second to none.
Heather Polke is the founder and CFO (Chief Fun Organizer) for the market, located at 1 River Road in Cromwell. She has witnessed the market grow by leaps and bounds since it debuted three summers ago.
“I had the idea for a farmers market and so I approached the town back in 2014. This park was never utilized and I said that I’d love to create a farmers market,” remembered Polke, “They didn’t grasp the logistics at first and I had to go through different approval processes, but it got approved and now here we are.”
The unique location has all the glorious benefits of the other farmers markets, but also has additional convenience and scenic amenities which have market goers coming back week after week.
“They love that the cars are with them for unpacking and packing, and of course having the water as our background helps,” added Polke, “We are the only waterfront farmers market in Connecticut.”
Nearly 40 vendors fill the waterfront park every Friday from 4-7, offering local goods that are as unique as the setting.
Cindy Witter, who owns 24 Peace, is one of the many vendors who are proving that buying and selling local is not just a fad.
“I got laid off from the corporate world and I was not going back. I started the business to carry on my sister’s name. My sister is no longer here and she was a wonderful artist,” said Witter, whose earth-friendly and charitable company sells some of the softest apparel around. “I was doing a little spring cleaning and found her artwork and she had really dedicated herself to the artist community, so I came up with the idea. Even though she has been gone for over 15 years, I called up her son and asked if I could use his mom’s artwork and he said she would love that. She’s kind of the backbone and foundation of the business. It took off from there.”
The budding company now has 14 local artists designing and the shirts are printed in Middletown.
“We add artists all the time, but they are all local. The artists love the idea of it and the idea of us supporting them. We put their names on the back of each tag so you can actually see who they are and it tells a little bit about them. We hand screen print their artwork on ecofriendly clothing, using ecofriendly ink. The artist get a portion of the sales and a portion goes to charity,” added Witter, “It’s truly local. This is our third year here and it’s a beautiful, beautiful place. We find that’s our customers really are the farmers market customers. They like that it’s local and that it’s good for the earth.”
The market also has plenty of food vendors selling locally made cuisine that can be enjoyed at the market or on the go.
Food trucks are a staple every Friday night, serving up freshly made treats and sweets. Vegan and vegetarian specialist Gmonkey Mobile is a regular, along with the Hardcore Sweet Cupcake Truck and Sweet Madeline's Donuts.
Good Vibes Kettle Corn is a must-stop when visiting the market. Owner’s Lisa and David Wilson are popping up some of the most delicious and distinct flavors of the sweet goodness every week.
“We wanted to do something that was outside and where we get to meet people. We researched it and kettle corn was kind of an easy startup for us,” said Lisa, who launched the business with her husband a year ago and are first-year vendors in Cromwell, “This is a great farmers market, we do well here.”
The Wilson believe that extreme heat is the key to a successful batch of kettle corn and have about a dozen different flavors in their repertoire. They always have their most popular, sweet and salty, along with cinnamon and a rotating third flavor every Friday.
Baker Simonne Mularski, who owns Biscotti and Beyond, has several varieties of biscotti on hand for sample and purchasing. Like many of the other vendors she has a homegrown story that is tailor-made for a farmers market.
“I had a daycare for over 30 years and I would always bake and give it away. My health took a bit of a turn with my knees and I had to give up the daycare and the logical thing to do was go into baking. People seemed to love all my baking, so I thought I would try biscotti. I started with two flavors and every year I’ve created new flavors,” stated Mularski, who turned her garage into a biscotti haven four years ago, “This is my first year here. It’s been wonderful. It’s been very well received.”
Mularski added that she loves baking and selling biscotti at the market, but her busiest time of the year is during the holidays when she puts together cookie platters for any holiday occasion.
Barbara Gibson is in her second year at the market and is the owner of Super Soups. The summer months aren’t usually associated with soups, but the beauty of Gibson’s product is that it’s dehydrated, portable, and easy.
“Just add water. You don’t need to add anything else, everything is already in the bag,” said Gibson, who is based out of Meriden and was originally planning on starting a hotdog cart before becoming a soupologist, “I was here last year and it’s surprising how much soup I can sell in 90 degree weather. We’re here until October, so we get a lot of fall business too.”
Gibson added that she gets a lot of repeat business from the farmers market and that the key to her soups is the special mixture of herbs and spices that go into each recipe.
Of course no farmers market would be complete without farm fresh produce and Cromwell-based Phoenix Farms offers up plenty of certified organic homegrown harvest.
“This is our third year here, we’ve been here since it opened,” said farmer Christine Whitney, “Our farm is only a half mile down the river. People that come to the farmers market will also come to the farm.”
Christine owns the farm with her husband, John. The farm is equipped with greenhouses, allowing them to grown seasonal vegetables year round. They are also regulars at the Wethersfield Farmers Market and their farm stand, located at 76 Nooks Hill Road, is open to the public on Thursdays from 4-7 and on Sundays from 10-3 during the fall harvest season.
All of the vendors at the Friday festival participate in the Friends of the Market program, which was created to provide funds that support activities and entertainment at the market.
In exchange for a $20 donation, market goers receive a tote which gives them special discounts from the vendors all season long.
The market runs through the end of September and it’s already been an eventful season with plenty more on the horizon.
“This summer has been great. We had pet’s days and we had kid’s day where kids come and sell their own stuff. I’m a huge believer in entrepreneurship, so the kids get to create and sell,” added Polke, “We just got a sponsorship from Liberty Bank and we’re going to create the first Children’s Community Garden in town. We’re going to do a full garden and we’re going to have beehives and everything. It’s going to be hands on. We want to incorporate the fresh vegetables into the cafeterias in our schools, which we don’t have, and the kids get to grow and provide them to the food bank here, so they can have fresh vegetables every week.”
It’s all part of Polke’s plan to keep delivering the locally-made and farm fresh message to Cromwell and beyond. In her three years since starting the farmers market, she has already seen a change in how people view local and fresh.
“I think it takes a long time for people to realize the difference, but they’re educating themselves. You can get a tomato from the grocery store, but when you get one that is just picked and is fresh it’s like night and day. Literally you’ll go through withdrawals in the winter, because nothing tastes the same.”
(Grant Nieves was our Player of the Year on the gridiron after dominating in all three phases during his senior season)
Boy Cross Country: Jalen Coleman (Middletown): Coleman proved to be the best distance runner in the area with his strong showing at the CCC (Central Connecticut Conference) finals and an even better showing at the Class L finals. The Middletown senior earned all-conference for his accomplishment on the cross country trails, as well as earning the same honor for his endurance runningin both indoor and outdoor track during the winter and spring.
Girls Cross Country: Lilah Devine (Rocky Hill): Devine took her trail running to a new level as a sophomore, finishing atop the leaderboard during the CCC tournament and then improving her time in the Class M tourney, where she placed 8th. The natural born strider also excelled during the indoor and outdoor track seasons, winning the 1600 meter at the Class M outdoor championships and being part of incredible relay teams in both the winter and spring.
Field Hockey: Karley Welles (Newington): This is Welles third time receiving this honor, wrapping up an incredible field hockeycareer at Newington. Despite a position change, the senior saved her best performance for her final season, tallying 32 points this fall (upping her career total to 103) and earning first-team all-state. The 3x All-CCC recipient will continue her field hockey journey at Southern Connecticut State University in the fall.
Football: Grant Nieves (Rocky Hill): Nieves beat out a tough field to earn this honor. Rocky Hill’s lighting rod flourished in all three phases of the game, as one of the state’s best running backs and returners and earning all-state defensive recognition for his play in the defensive backfield. The terrific three-way senior rarely left the field and helped carry the Terriers to the Class S championshipgame.
Boys Soccer: Lukas Szymecki (Wethersfield): Szymecki will continue his soccer career at SCSU after finishing up four fantastic years at Wethersfield. Last fall he earned his second all-state selection and his third all-conference honor after helping the Eagles reach the quarterfinals of the Class L tourney. All told, the soon-to-be Owl scored 61 goals and dished out 20 assists during four varsity seasons at the Dub.
Girls Soccer: Lindsey Fairbank (Newington): Fairbank took over the role vacated by legend Kaila Lozada, who graduated last year, and she excelled in the new role, earing the Team Leadership Award. The senior was a consistent offensive force and vocal leaderfor the Indians this fall, making all-conference and guiding the team to quarterfinals in Class LL.
Girls Swimming: Abigail Francis (Wethersfield): Francis made waves as a sophomore, winning the 500 freestyle and 100 breaststroke at the conference championships and placing 2nd and 4thin the events at the Class L finals. The aquatic prodigy also competed at the State Open, placing 3rd and 8th in the same events.
Girls Diving: Cassandra More (Middletown): More proved to be the area’s best diver, placing 16th and outperforming many divers that were originally ranked ahead of her at the Class L finals. The junior is more than just a diver, doubling as one of the Blue Dragon’s best jumpers during the outdoor track & field season.
Girls Volleyball: Victoria Cholodecki (Cromwell): Cholodecki was a captain on a Panthers team which reached the quarterfinals in the Class S tourney. The senior led the team in kills (nearly 2.5 per set) and was second on the team in aces and digs. During her time at Cromwell, she was also an accomplished thrower and jumper duringthe track & field seasons.
Boys Basketball: Jared Simmons (Newington): Simmons capped off a remarkable career at Newington, earning his third straight all-state honor after averaging 22 points and dishing out seven assist per game. The senior became the face of local basketball and made All-CCC in each of his four seasons on Newington’s hardwood and this was his third time receiving this recognition, which probably ranks pretty low on his lengthy list of accolades.
Girls Basketball: Brielle Wilborn (Middletown): Wilborn was somehow overlooked for all-state recognition despite averaging 19 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks per game as a senior. The three-time All-CCCer, who is also the back-to-back Class L shotput champion, is staying local to play basketball after committing to the University of Hartford.
Gymnastics: Abigail Sullivan (Wethersfield): Sullivan pirouetted onto Connecticut’s gymnastic scene this winter, performing admirably at the vault and floor exercise at Class M finals and then having a solid all-around showing at the State Open. The junior’sefforts earned her an all-conformance selection.
Ice Hockey: Paul Wheatley (Wethersfield): Wheatley helped theEagles hockey team get within a breath of a Division III title appearance with his spectacular play all season. The senior captainled the team in goals with 26 and tallied the second most overall points with 37, earning the prolific forward all-state and all-conference honors. He wrapped up his athletic career at Wethersfield with another All-CCC selection on the links.
Boys Indoor Track & Field: Laurenzo Thompkins(Middletown): Tompkins was part of a once in a lifetime group of speedsters at Middletown. The senior won the 55 meter hurdles at the Class L finals, after finishing as the runner-up at the conference championships, and was part of the 4x200 relay team that won both the conference and Class L title. He’s running, or should I say sprinting off to Central Connecticut State University.
Girls Indoor Track & Field: Julia Chrostowski (Wethersfield):Chrostowski was equally impressive on the track and in the field. The versatile junior posted fourth-place showings in the 55 meters hurdle at the conference and Class L championships and took home 2nd place in the high jump at the class finals.
Boys Swimming: Mack Sullivan (Rocky Hill): Sullivan was the consummate professional and a coach’s delight during his time at Rocky Hill, always sacrificing for the team. The charismatic captain was named the team MVP in 2017 and earned all-CCC after a placing 5th in the 100 yard breaststroke at the Class S finals. The graduating senior is off to swim at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.
Boys Diving: Tahj Mitchell-Westberry (Middletown): Mitchell-Westberry followed up his all-state junior campaign with another solid season, in which he set a new school-record. The senior had a top-ten finish at Class L finals and competed at the State Open. Next year he’ll be diving for SCSU.
Wrestling: Tom Gatti (Middletown): Gatti earned his second straight all-conference selection following a runner-up finish (152 lbs.) at the Class L finals and a 4th place showing at the State Open. The graduating grappler was also the recipient of the Colter Abely Fund Scholarship and was an accomplished student in the classroom at MHS.
Cheer & Dance: Wethersfield High School: Cheer and Dance is the ultimate team sports and therefore we award the entire squad. WHS always fields great groups and this year was no exception, as the dance team finished in 1st in the Jazz Division and 3rd in thePOM Division at the Dance Championships in New Haven. The Eagles cheer squad was led by all-conference athletes Samantha Rosa, Sara Puglielli, Sarina Tucker, and Olivia Zurzola.
Baseball: Jimmy Sullivan (Wethersfield): Sullivan still has one more season left on the diamond at Wethersfield, but he’s already committed to play Division I baseball at the University of Virginia in 2019. As a junior, the uber-talented outfielder earned all-state honors and was also a standout on the hardwood, earning an All-CCC selection.
Boys Golf: Andrew (A.J.) Sanzaro (Wethersfield): Sanzaro’s spectacular season on the links flew under the radar, but it will not soon be forgotten. The senior shot a tourney best and was the medalist at the Division II state championships, finishing with a (-5) 67. The victory wrapped up an unforgettable season in which he also won the CCC tourney and was named the CHSCA boys players of the year. Assumption College is Sanzaro’s next stop.
Girls Golf: Logan Frame (Middletown): Frame took local golf by storm during a fantastic freshman year, which ended with an all-conference selection and a top-25 finish at states. She also plays basketball and is an honors student, meaning the Blue Dragons have three more years of excellence on the links, court and in theclassroom to look forward to.
Boys Lacrosse: Sam Cimini (Rocky Hill): Cimini has been a consistent force for Terriers lacrosse for three straight seasons and it culminated with a CCC-South title this season. The senior attackerwas a relentless scorer all spring, including a 10-goal game againstCromwell, earning him an all-state selection and all-conference for the second straight season. Rocky Hill’s rock star will head west to Arizona State University.
Girls Lacrosse: Maya Gajowiak (Newington): Gajowiak has quickly become a three-sport star at Newington and a goal-scoring machine on the lacrosse field. The sophomore earned All-CCC for asecond straight season and also excels at field hockey in the fall and basketball in the winter. NHS has two more years to enjoy the athletic prowess of Gajowiak.
Boys Outdoor Track: DeShaun Bradshaw (Middletown):Bradshaw is the posterchild for blazing speed. The senior won the 100 meter and was part of the 4x100 relay team that won a state championship. Those wins, combined with his top-four finish in the 200 meter helped Middletown win the Class L title. He also doubled as a breakaway threat on football field.
Girls Outdoor Track: Andraya Yearwood (Cromwell): Yearwood made headlines for being a transgender athlete, but her incredible speed spoke for itself after she won the 100 and 200 meters at the Class M championships as a freshman. Teammate Cara Jordan made it a clean sweep at the same event, winning the 400 meter. Yearwood went on to place 3rd (100) and 8th (200) at the State Open.
Softball: Kat Lagace (Newington): Lagace has been the face of consistency on the mound for Newington the past two seasons. In 2017, she mowed down 160 batters while winning 16 of her 22 starts, including seven shutouts on her way to an all-state selection and her second straight all-conference honors. Sage College in Albany is getting an ace.
Boys Tennis: Arian Gokhale (Rocky Hill): Gokhale has been one of the area’s best tennis players since he arrived at RHHS. The junior earned All-CCC for the third time after entering the Class S tourney as the 13th ranked player before advancing to the semifinals.The high honors athlete will be back for one more run in 2018.
Girls Tennis: Kira Bradley (Cromwell): Bradley is a perennialhonor roll student in the classroom and consistent competitor on the tennis court. The senior, who is also a distance runner, advanced to second round open championships.
Boys Volleyball: Kevin Bilbraut (Newington): Bilbraut was the heart and soul of a Newington squad that won their third championship in the past four seasons. The libero sparked a two-set rally in title game and finished the year with 359 dig, including an eye-popping 31 in the championship victory over South Windsor. The all-state senior, who starred on the soccer field in the fall, also served up 22 aces and was third on the team in digs.
Home and garden goodies at Sunny Farm on New Britain Avenue
This year the summer fitness series is focusing on eating right and exploring the wonder world of our local farmers markets. Last week we took a closer look at Wethersfield’s weekly market and this week we will explore the locally grown options in Rocky Hill.
The Terrier-town doesn’t have a traditional weekly farmers market, but it does have a few options that sell farm fresh items seven days a week.
Fair Weather Acres, located at 1146 Cromwell Avenue, is the epicenter for locally grown goodies, selling over 200 varieties of vegetables, herbs, and fruits, along with many other healthy and tasty packaged foods from vendors around Connecticut.
The local business was established by the Collins family, which began farming in the Connecticut River Valley over 100 years ago, starting as a dairy farm before eventually focusing on fresh produce. After years of successful crops, third generation farmers Chris and Mary Collins, along with their son Billy, started Fair Weather Acres in 1988 and began as a wholesale vegetable grower, selling peppers to local markets and focusing on their passion of growing green beans.
In 1997, Fair Weather Acres moved back to the original Collins Farm location on Cromwell Avenue where they have continued to be the largest green bean grower in New England.
The Collins family in now in its fifth generation of farmers and continues the same excellence standards and services that have helped the business thrive for the past three decades.
A visit to the farm stand is like visiting a farmers market and there are many regulars that come on a weekly basis. Not only do they have the traditional fruits and vegetables, but they also sell Gifford’s Ice Cream, pies from Granny’s Pie Factory, Hartford’s own Pan De Oro tortilla chips, and several other favorites from around the state.
The local establishment also sells grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, and other local meats, eggs, and dairy products.
During the spring and early summer, the farm stands if home to over 300 varieties of flowers, hanging baskets, herbs, and vegetable plants. The massive and picturesque floral collection is visible from Cromwell Avenue and the smell alone is worth the trip.
The summer months are also when the farm market joins the growing trend of community farming through their own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). A CSA is a way for consumers to buy local, seasonal produce directly from a farmer in their community. It’s basically a farm share where the farmer sells a share at the beginning of the growing season and consumers get fresh produce on a weekly basis throughout the season. The farmer then is able to use that money to purchase seeds and supplies ahead of the season, saving on costs. Fair Weather’s CSA is a 16-week program that begins in June, with weekly pickups of seasonal items for families to enjoy.
The farm fresh fun goes into the fall season when Fair Weathers Acres puts on their annual Fall Festival, which takes place every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 10 County Line Drive in Cromwell. The festivities run from mid-September through the end of October and features live animals, hay rides, a pumpkin patch, a corn maze, and much more entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
During the holiday season the farm stand comes alive with Christmas lights and decoration, selling wreaths and other seasonally festive décor.
For more information about Fair Weather Acres, visit the website at fairweatheracres.com. You can also call 860-529-6755 or visit the farm stand Monday – Friday from 8 am to 7 pm, Saturday from 8-6, or Sunday from 9-5.
Gilbert Farm, located at 790 Elm Street, is another good option for farm fresh options. The local farm stand is another locally owned family farm, specializes in farm to table fruits, vegetables, and much more.
They too are open seven days a week from the spring through the holiday season. The farm keeps their fresh vegetables and various hanging baskets on display and locals flock to their locations on the corner of Gilbert Avenue and Elm Street, especially during corn season when the farm brings in loads of the freshest cob Connecticut has to offer.
For the best in local home and garden, check out Sunny Farm located at 259 New Britain Avenue. The wonderfully manicured roadside business earned the 2017 Best Home and Garden award in Rocky Hill. The farm is open Monday through Saturday from 7-5 and their knowledgeable staff will help you with all your flower, tree, and landscaping needs. They also have a huge selection of yard ornaments and shrubs.
All three locations offer locals the convenience of getting farm fresh produce at any point throughout the summer season. If you’re new to the area or are just rediscovering Rocky Hill, you will not be disappointed by the fresh produce that surrounds us.
Logan Flanigan and Brazos Ebner run Chet's Italian Ice booth
It is said that abs are made in the kitchen. So this year our summer fitness series will take a closer look at the local farmers markets, which help us keep trim and fit during beach season.
We’ll start with the Wethersfield Farmers Market, which runs from mid-May through the end of October and is the place to be every Thursday from 3-6 p.m.
The area outside of the Solomon Welles House at 220 Hartford Avenue in Old Wethersfield transforms into a summer hotspot with a variety of vendors serving up fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, arts and crafts, entertainment, and much more.
The market is managed and maintained by a wonderful staff, ensuring that the weekly festival is an entertaining event for the whole family.
“We’ve grown with the times. We have live music every week. We’ve made it pet friendly and kid friendly. People wanted food trucks and now we now have food trucks. Every year people put in suggestions. We listen to the customers, we listen to the vendors and we do it because if we just sold carrots and corn we’d have ten people here,” said Doug Sacks, whose official title is Market Master, “It’s a destination event every week. A lot of families come and they’ll spread out a picnic and have dinner here and listen to music.”
Sacks runs the weekly festivities with Stephanie Jarm, Linda Neilson, Lina Pardo, and Claire Lewis, who captures photos for the website and Facebook page.
Last Thursday featured music by the talented Gracie Elizabeth Day and was the Pie Eating Contest, where yours truly was a participant. Kids and adults competed to see who could consume the most pie in a six-minute span. The delicious pies where made by East Hartford-based Granny’s Pie Factory, who is one of the many vendors at the market.
Vendor Ginger Smith, who owns Ginger’s Jams & Jellies, is a staple at the market and is helping make the community and the world a better place. The sale of her jarred deliciousness is used to help an orphanage in Honduras.
“I saw they had a lot of financial needs and so I had to find out how I could help. I decided to donate all the proceeds from this, minus the glass jars, and in the fall I make soups and sell them. Then I go down there and cook American food for the children, I take them on a daytrip to the waterpark, and I buy things,” said Smith, who first discovered the orphanages’ needs during a medical mission to Central America, “In May I had to buy a washing machine, because theirs had broken and they were doing everything by hand. Last Fall I had to buy a standup refrigerator with no freezer, because the produce was spoiling because they had so much and the last refrigerator I bought was not big enough to accommodate all the produce.”
Smith, whose business is based out of Wethersfield, was inspired to start making jams and jellies 30 years ago when her family had picked too many strawberries and they needed to figure out a way to use the access fruits.
Pet Wants from South Glastonbury is looking out for the wellbeing of our four legged friends, selling fresh and local dog food and supplies.
“We have our own food and all of our food is super, super fresh, which is nice because some foods you don't know how long they have been sitting. We get it within 30 days of being manufactured and it’s also made in small batches, which helps it maintain its nutritional value,” said store manager Elizabeth Boucher, who added that the company also offers treats, sprays, and other canine essentials, ” We offer free delivery. That’s kind of the premise behind our company. We try to make it as convenient for people as possible.”
Vendor Erin Daly, owner of Bread and Breakfast, offers healthy and tasty baked goods.
“I was tired of going into grocery stores and seeing products that I couldn’t pronounce even half of the ingredients. My goal is to make indulgent treats, but with ingredients that were pronounceable and real,” said Daly, who bakes her goodies out of a commercial kitchen in Bristol and wholesales her products in Bagels Plus and Rebel Dog Coffee Co. in Plainville, “This all started out of a food blog that I was writing. I started to blog every week and people started asking if they could buy what was on the blog. It all started with my banana breads, which were my first experiments.”
Other vendors include Chet’s Italian Ice, which has become a regular at the local outdoor festivals. Chet’s serves up seasonal flavors of Italian Ice, made with real fruits and all-natural ingredients.
“We definitely like Farmers Markets. What's nice about them is that it’s small town America and everyone comes out. It’s a big meeting place for everyone in town,” said manager Logan Flanigan.
All of the market vendors feature locally grown foods or products made in American, including Sweet Madeline’s Homemade Donuts, CT Gourmet Breads, Sweet Pea Cheese, Broad Brook Beef, Phoenix Farm, Wholly Goat Farm and many more. For a complete list of the vendors or if you’re interested in becoming a vendor or for a calendar of upcoming events, you can check of the market’s website at wfmarket.org
“We start taking bookings in February and March, but throughout the season if there is something unique we’ll make room for it,” added Sacks, who has seen the market grown a lot over the past decade, “The first four years we were on a little patch of lawn outside the Keeney Center, but we outgrew it. We went from 10 to 30 vendors overnight and we needed a bigger space so we rent this from the town and it's a beautiful location and everybody likes it.”
Everybody does like Wethersfield’s Farmer Market and, despite having a small stomachache from eating 19.7 ounces of pie, the market is highly recommended and is a must-visit for anyone looking for an enjoyable night in one of Connecticut’s most historic towns.
DeNovellis owner Enzo DeNovellis outside his restaurant
The 66th playing of the Travelers Championship came to a dramatic end when Jordan Spieth holed a miraculous bunker shot, defeating Daniel Berger in a one-hole playoff. Spieth’s incredible chip put a giant red bow on another memorable week of entertainment at TPC River Highland in Cromwell.
The 52-year year old golf tournament is a four-day event, running Thursday through Sunday, but the early part of the week is jam-packed with multiple charity events, military appreciation, a family day, junior and celebrity golf tournaments, and much more.
It’s a weeklong extravaganza that brings notoriety and commerce to Cromwell and the surrounding towns. Sports fans from all over the country flock to the area to see the world’s greatest golfers complete for a total purse of $6.8 million.
Spieth walked away with a majority of the winnings, taking home a cool $1.224 million, but the professionals are not the only ones that benefit financially from the weeklong event.
During the seven days of golf-related festivities, local businesses are booming, hotels are fully booked, and restaurants come to life.
One of those restaurants is DeNovellis in Rocky Hill, which is located less than four miles away from the tournament at 944 Cromwell Avenue.
Owner Enzo DeNovellis, who runs the restaurant with his two sons Dave and Devin, has seen the positive effects of the golf tournament ever since opening his doors in 2006.
“We’ve been in business for 11 years so we have a large following, but it brings in new people who may be dropping by from the tournament. They might stop by and that’s how we get discovered,” said DeNovellis.
The family owned eatery serves up delicious northern Italian cuisine and sees an increase in traffic during the tournament, but that’s nothing new for DeNovellis and his staff.
“The tournament helps and we make sure to staff up and have plenty of inventory for the week, but it’s not the busiest week of the year,” added the owner, “Christmas time we have two, three, four parties a week and then there is New Year’s Eve, which is our busiest time of the year.”
DeNovellis has built a great reputation around town and has even attracted some of the celebrities that play and work the golf tournament, which is an official PGA event.
“We get some of the players and the caddies. This year we got the CBS crew and Jim Nantz came in for dinner. We get a lot of those people and we have a lot of the regulars that come in every week that basically they know that either the players or sports announcers will come in here so they may come to see them. It helps the business out for the week,” added DeNovellis.
About a year ago the restaurant moved from their previous location on the Silas Deane Highway to their current location on Cromwell Avenue. It’s a move that has proven to be beneficial.
“We’ve grown, our business has almost doubled since the move. We’ve grown every year and after the move we grew even more. It’s been a good thing. The restaurant business is hard. There’s a lot of competition out there, but you just have to compete. There’s always a restaurant opening nearby and you always have to stay on top of it,” added DeNovellis, who added that he enjoys running the business with sons, “That always nice and it makes it easier. It’s also a way to spend time with the family because otherwise there is no time in this business.”
The new location offers the same intimate dining experience as the old location, but also has an immaculate lounge area, which gives patrons the opportunity to spend a casual evening while enjoying the same delectable food and drinks.
DeNovellis is one of many businesses that saw an uptick in business during the Travelers Championship. The hope is that every year the tournament continues to bring excitement and increase prosperity to our local towns and economy.
Wethersfield senior Michael Santiago was named all-conference
Middletown - Mike Gaboury
Newington- Cooper Johnson, Josh Leclair
Wethersfield - Jimmy Sullivan, Michael Santiago, Tim Blaisdell
Middletown - Derek Frame
Newington - Noah Hedberg, Maxwell Turgeon, Ben Weyman
Rocky Hill - Jake Walling
Wethersfield - Mike Donnelly, Mike Murphy, A.J. Sanzaro, Paul Wheatley
Middletown - Logan Frame
Newington - Chloe Bilodeau, Taylor Kelly, Jessica Pierzchalski
Wethersfield - Emily McKenna
Newington - Rob Petronio
Rocky Hill - Andrew Albano, Kris Begen, Matt Cavallo, Sam Cimini, Hunter Held, Peter Lucente, Ricky Montalvo
Newington: Megan Andrews, Maya Gajowiak
Rocky Hill- Emily Zarrilli, Katarzyna Drozdzal
Outdoor Track & Field (Boys)
Middletown - DeShaun Bradshaw, Nico Cavaliere, Jalen Coleman, Garrett Dandridge, Dylan Drescher, Tyshaun James, DeAaron Lawrence, Matthew Lecky, DaJaun Lomstoy, Justin McMillian, Osbourne Richards, Jaymin Torres
Rocky Hill - Ethan Arcata, James Chasco-DiMauro, Cameron Cheyney, Andrew DiMatteo, David Scalise, Seth Walerysiak
Wethersfield - Brendan Barry, Matt Jablonka, Stevenson Paul, George Stoughton, Tevin Walker
Outdoor Track & Field (Girls)
Middletown - Jennifer Barbour, Syleena Daniels, Nasharie Davis, Jhada Eddy, Veronica Meyer, Chelsea Perrotta, Brielle Wilborn
Rocky Hill – Lilah Devine, Bella Montalvo, Lordina Onyina, Elizabeth Stockman, Anne White
Wethersfield – Julia Chrostowski, Kayla Condon, Breanna Flores, Katelyn Glendon, Kylie Judson, Jane Rumley, Bella Samse, Isabella Schroeder
Middletown- Alexa Giardina, Sam Pizzonia, Kelsey White, Dominique Highsmith, Rachel Thompson
Newington- Kat Lagace, Cyan Gonzalez, Rachel Thureson
Rocky Hill- Riley Pickett, Sophie Kurdziel
Wethersfield- Olivia McGrath
Middletown - Pasquale Guardian, Joel Morales, Dylan Myers, Scott Santos, Payton White
Newington -Ryan Dean
Rocky Hill - Arian Gokhale
Wethersfield -Grant Anderson, Liam Harrington, Jared Hill, Michael Manousos
Middletown – Kim Chambers, Jessica Hart, Mariah Monroe, Lisa Tipton
Rocky Hill – Urja Desai, Reva Shah
Wethersfield - Kendall Cathcart, Lilly Gaunt, Lynn Landers, Megan Lauzon, Emma Rocheleau, Chloe Troy
Newington - Kevin Bilbraut, Leonel Caceres, Zach Harmon, Andres Ithier-Vicenty
Wethersfield - Alex Kauffman, Brian Rodriguez, Christin Venditti
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin