Taste of Block Island was a fun buffet of events
I began my tour of “A Taste of Block Island” Friday evening (May 31) with the poetry reading emceed by my favorite island poet, Lisa Starr. The event attracted a cadre of curious tourists as well as local authors featured in the Block Island Poetry Project anthology, “Where Beach Meets Ocean.” The readings were held in the Harbor Church, where the acoustics help poetry as well as prayer. Pastor Steve Hollaway hosted the event and, a poet himself, read from the anthology.
The next day I took a friend with me to Blazing Star Farm, where a tour of the gardens would have been enough to wow both of us. Chef Ed Moon, co-owner of Eli’s Restaurant, taught us how to make vinaigrettes — the secret ingredient is mustard to hold the sauces together — with a variety of oils and acids, which could be vinegars, lemon juice or orange juice. Farmer Suzanne Nolte picked greens from her gardens, including “microgreens” — baby leaves from a variety of plants — and Nat Saywell offered generous tastings of MS Walker wines, all of which were quite good.
While we were gathered around the tasting area, I encountered several of the women who had attended the poetry reading the previous evening. They told me how much they had enjoyed it (and Block Island), and both plan to return for the 2014 poetry festival. Neither had ever attended a poetry reading before. They seemed to be having a great time, by the way, at the vinaigrette-making demonstration as well.
I also stopped in at Finn’s Seafood Market with my family to learn “everything I wanted to know about a lobster but didn’t know who to ask.” Ian Hagerty, a college student working at Finn’s for the summer eagerly showed us how to tell a female from a male lobster, so that those who like the roe can have a better chance to get it. He also told us a pound and a quarter lobster is about five years old. Of course, I could not go home without buying some lobsters. Need I say they were delicious?
As I wandered down Ocean Avenue, I took a look at Joan Creamer’s beautifully illustrated children’s books, Dorie Napoleone’s Block Island throw pillows, Jennifer Freund Gasper’s Block Island etched glassware and Robin Langsdorf’s photography.
A Taste of Block Island was a different and fun buffet of events, planned to give tourists a tiny taste of the kinds of activities and foods they can find here when they return for a longer stay. I hope the Chamber and Tourism Council do it again next year. (The Third Annual Taste of Block Island ran from May 31 through June 2.)