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Becca talks Farm to Fringe offerings


New to the Rochester Fringe this year is a Farm to Fringe mini series. Fringe partnered with local farms, vineyards, and distilleries — including Hurd Orchards, Schutts Apple Mill, and Finger Lakes Distilling — to put together a series of seasonal events that celebrate the fruits of the harvest.

The first event took place on Saturday, September 16, with a Beer, Wine, & Spirits Tasting in the Spiegelgarden. While I heart booze, I’m not a maniac; I didn’t get around to each of the 13 vendors because I was between Fringe shows. But the handful of offerings that I tasted left a pleasant impression.

Naples-based Inspire Moore Winery’s Blaufränkisch Dry Rosé was light and refreshing, fruity with a mineral finish; and its Rhythm Gruner Veltliner, made with an Australian grape, was like a subtly tart sauvignon blanc with a nice white pepper finish.

Rootstock Ciderworks, based in Williamson, is a good option for those who have to shirk gluten. I gravitated toward the Rootstock Dry — a light and flavorful cider which could easily become my standard — and the Rootstock Hopped, which had a subtle sweetness enhanced nicely by the earthy hops. And the rep said that Rootstock also makes a gluten-free, apple-based Tree Vodka, which is intriguing.

Though I’m not a fan of moonshine (I’m a Bourbon gal), and typically avoid flavored booze, I decided to give Saratoga Courage Distillery’s Devils Den Strawberry Jam Moonshine a try. Fully expecting it to be overly syrupy, I was pleasantly surprised by its rather light, truly fruity flavor. It’d be great straight as a sipper over some cubes, but it would also be fun to use it as the base for a summer cocktail recipe.

Based in Pittsford, O’Begley Distillery owners Adam and Sade were present offering their Whiskey Cream liqueur, which was just perfect. Whether you have this on the rocks, or put a couple of fingers in a post-dinner coffee, you wouldn’t miss dessert at all.

An Afternoon Tea in the Spiegelgarden  was also held on Sunday, September 17.

Farm to Fringe continues Friday, September 22, with a Pumpkin Carving Contest, held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Spiegelgarden. Fringe supplies the pumpkins and carving materials; you can either carve on site or drop off a jack-o-lantern you made at home. Leave your masterpiece on display in the Spiegelgarden, where Fringe-goers will vote to select the best until 11 p.m. One entry per person, and there is a $5 submission fee. Winners will be contacted Saturday morning.

On Saturday, September 23, the kid-friendly Pumpkin Painting Contest will be held in the Spiegelgarden from noon to 3 p.m. Pumpkins and painting supplies are provided for a $5 fee. Kids can take their creations home afterward.

Also in the Spiegelgarden on Saturday, at 3 p.m., kids can check out Close Encounters with Creepy Crawly and Wiggly Things: Storytime in the Garden. Local environmentalist and author Laurie Broccolo will read from her book, shedding light on how creepy critters play an important role in the environment. The free event lasts about half an hour and is geared toward kids ages five and older.

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