Some Favorite Sites
Government/ Community Links
CitySeed Keeps Its Eyes On The Pies
by David Sepulveda | Aug 6, 2013 7:38 am
Posted to: Arts & Culture, Ninth Square
Traffic stopped and crowds of people gathered as nearly 100 homemade pies claimed an entire block of Orange Street.
It was the spectacular “Pie On9 Contest” hosted by CitySeed, part of the Noise On9 first Friday event sponsored by the Town Green Special Services District and area merchants.
The pie contest, designed to benefit CitySeed’s SNAP food stamp double value program, had almost 90 entries, and was closed to traffic on Orange Street between Center and Crown Streets.
In keeping with its mission of connecting communities through locally grown food, the CitySeed program doubles food stamp value to up to 10 dollars each day, for those using food stamps to buy fruit and vegetables at its farmers markets.
According to Chef Tagan Engel, community food systems coordinator, the organization chose a pie contest for its fundraiser because “it was a great way to engage a large number of community members in celebrating food, especially locally grown food. Pie excites people and they pour their heart and history into making it. It is also a great way to build community around food which is how we believe the most positive change can happen in our city.”
Included in the pie contest were categories for Most Beautiful Pie (Shannon Raider, winner), Best Fruit Pie (John Blair of New Haven Job Corps, winner), Best Savory Pie (Eve Schneider, winner), Best Pie Made by a Kid (The Spider Monkey Group from Creating Kids Preschool), Most Creative Pie (Emily Phillips, winner), and for Best Most Fabulous Pie, George Macaruso of New Britain, who said the secret to his award-winning pie was in achieving a balance between tart and sweet, with his wife Barrett noting the crust as its secret ingredient.
Lisa Holmes, president of the CitySeed board of directors said she was “blown away” by the turnout, reporting that one woman had ridden her bicycle from Hamden with her pie entry in tow. “She should have gotten a prize.”
Holmes said that the public can continue to help by frequenting Farmers’ Markets and liking CitySeed on Facebook “to find out about our events like the new mobile market now taking produce into neighborhoods.”
Among contest judges were New Haven Mayor John DeStefano and his wife Kathy, with the “Mayor of Taste,” Colin M. Caplin of Taste of New Haven Food Tours. Other judges included Joanne Sciulli of Solar Youth, Alex Bitker of Marjolaine Bakery, Chef Nadine Nelson of Global Local Gourmet and Matthew Feiner of the Devil’s Gear Bike Shop.
City Seed staff cited several generous event donations by area businesses including Ashley’s ice cream, Jones Family Farm, who donated 20 pounds of fresh berries handpicked by CitySeed staff, New England Brewing Company, Amity Wine and Spirits, Slocum & Sons in providing Prosecco, Common Ground for providing fresh herbs, and 116 Crown for its blue lemon spritzers and other cocktails.
116 Crown owner John Ginnetti (not pictured), who was managing the adult beverages booth, noted that his new business, Meat & Co., a sandwich shop opening at the end of August, would “do for sandwiches what we have been doing for drinks for the past six years.”
DJ Tootskee, brought his 38 years of music experience to the pie party, energizing a spontaneous dance crowd. Behind him, stiff store window mannequins stood in stark contrast to the unfolding merriment on the street.
Exuberant chalk drawings drawn on the pavement began to fade under dancers’ shuffling feet.
CitySeed continues its mission to develop a wholesome food culture in the city, and the On9 pie contest was a means to that end, much to the delight of all who attended.
Along with the pie contest, other On9 activities were held at several nearby locations. “Art/Food/Life/Here” read the On9 logo on special “Cornhole” lawn-game boards set up for a tournament down the middle of Court Street. Deejay Hu Man busily performed his digital wizardry.
A block over at Pitkin Plaza, live music featuring singer-songwriter and pianist Sean Rainey (pictured) reverberated off the walls surrounding the Plaza courtyard. Songs by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were among some of the offerings.
At Project Windows on Chapel Street, a free “Cabaret” of dancers presented by Lipgloss Crisis included Turkish belly and hoop dancing.
As dusk faded into night and most On9 activities with it, a giant slide show was projected on the building wall of Acme Vintage Office Furniture on Crown Street. Showing were the works of “Lima Foto Libre,” photographs of a Peruvian street photographer’s collective who record the “gritty” scenes of everyday life in Peru. The show has been imported and promoted by Deejay/musician Rick Omonte of Ephemeraoptera in New Haven.
Omonte played lively Peruvian music in the car-filled lot with standing room only, as an interactive, modular photo display welcomed attendees at the exhibit’s entrance.
Post a Comment
Looks like fun! Too bad I had no idea it was happening. How was this event publicized ahead of time? Maybe the Independent could make a point of featuring this kind of event BEFORE it happens, as well as covering it and writing it up afterwards?
Oh man, I missed this event! Looks like a lot of fun. Great photos!
@ Gretchen and norseman
Being someone who enjoys sharing creative food, I would have liked to have known how to participate in the Pie Contest as an entrant. 90 entries is a great number, so obviously some sort of word got out there.
How many of these entries came from individual citizens and how many came from ‘organizations/non-profits’.
This ‘episode’ of 9 on 9 was a giant step up for community engagement and use of public resources. If we are going to close streets down for public events, I would much rather see something inclusive like a ‘Pie Contest’, rather than the exclusive $30/plate dinners of past efforts.
You answer is on the photos same,organizers,supporters, same faces. And apparently one culture maybe two.
But I think I can see your point. This is what distract me.
“Lisa Holmes, president of the CitySeed board of directors said she was “blown away” by the turnout”
My personal opinion is that these kind of events should take place in the neighborhoods that they are intending to help. Low income families can be included and be part of the action no by “invitation” but by being involve and hosting these events. What has to do 9 square with our low income neighborhoods? Besides give them selves a good chuck of publicity.
I agree with you whole heartedly. Events like this are best when they directly embrace the community they are intending to help.
A lot of cities have ‘First Friday’ type events.
Portland, Maine is the one the immediately comes to mind.
However, unlike New Haven, Portland has an extremely high density of independent galleries, creative food, and interesting local businesses, plus, an entire diverse community comes out for it.
So, if this was a fund raiser, the question begs to ask,
“How much money was raised?” and secondly ‘How much did it cost to sit at that, table, anyhow?”
I am circling back towards my opinion that this is an exclusive, rather than inclusive event. The only difference from previous incarnations is that the Exclusivity is cloaked in benevolence, and the money is going to some “cause’ deemed “worthy”, rather than into somebody’s pocket.
Yes Claudia , little more than kudos and press for the connected…
I know Tagan and some others of these group. I believe that they are working very hard in these events. I DON’T think at all that there is any miss management with the raised money. All of them look authentic with their effort to make this program work. The problems is that since they have such of hard time to really reach out our low income community they make this success events on their behalf (“the needed”) to replace the lack of participation of the affected areas and that is when (in my opinion) it is wrong.
The only way to reach out people is by putting in charge a locals leaders and a lot more diversity on the whole structure of this group.And them be the volunteers. This event could it be huge if all of these effort were planned in a local park of the attending communities to help. Our low incomes communities I am sure they will welcome them with a open arms. If they feel they were the ones who were expressing their own needs and hosting this events. Please trust me after I had been working with my community for 10 years I know how they cook and how warm they are when they feel include it in the process. But I guess the 90 likes on this article will disagreed with us.