Arts & Entertainment

‘FRESH’ Exhibit Celebrates Local Farming, Sustainability, and Art

Fresh produce and farm scenes line the walls of TraillWorks for the "FRESH" Exhibit. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Jennie Traill Schaffer, owner of TraillWorks, mingles with exhibit attendees. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Baskets of tomatoes and squash line the walls at TraillWorks. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Lemons and tomatoes by artist Jane Brennan Koeck. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Photography by Rob Yaskovic (right) overlooks farm-inspired items, also on display. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Blueberries, apples, farms, and more in one of the corners at TraillWorks. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Local ingredients comprise the appetizers from Andre's Restaurant & Wine Boutique. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
An array of dessert items interspersed with farm fresh berries. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Carrot and Zucchini Muffins from The Seven Acre Baker. Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller
Gene Ventimiglia from Ventimiglia Winery, with Rob Yaskovic and his family.  Credits: Jennifer Jean Miller


NEWTON, NJ – For Jennie Traill Schaffer, the inspiration behind the latest exhibit at TraillWorks entitled, “FRESH”, was inspired after Traill Schaffer watched the film, “Food, Inc.” on Netfilx.

“I was sickened and scared about the food my son could potentially eat,” Traill Schaffer said. “I wanted to raise a little awareness about the foods from local farmers.”

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“FRESH” kicked off its opening reception at TraillWorks, Traill Schaffer’s art gallery, studio, and art school on Saturday evening. The exhibit featured works from 11 local artists with the theme of encouraging the public to eat fresh, local produce, with their works focusing on farms and produce. Click here for the Foodshed Alliance’s website

Ten percent of all the exhibit sales will benefit the non-profit Foodshed Alliance of Blairstown, N.J., which promotes locally grown food and farming, and coordinates the farmers’ markets within the county.

Exhibiting artists in addition to Traill Schaffer included: Phylis Barfoot, Brenda Decker, Roz Hollander, Amanda Gordon Miller, Patricia A. Griffin, Jane Brennan Koeck, Marie-Christine Murphy, Kirstin Muller, Marilyn Rose, and Rob Yaskovic.

“We have a couple of new artists,” said Traill Schaffer.

One of the new artists, she said, is Patricia Ann Griffin, who most of her audience is out west.

The other artist is Rob Yaskovic, from Sussex County, who is most known for his wedding and portrait photography. Yaskovic’s work has been featured in New Jersey Monthly, The New Jersey Herald, The Daily Record, The New York Times, Food Network TV Magazine, Milford Journal, and Relevant Times Magazine. Yaskovic’s list of clients has included: New Era, Andre’s Restaurant, The New Jersey State Fair, Newton Medical Center, The Sussex County Bar Association, Sparta Cancer Center, Project Self-Sufficiency, and Birth Haven.

Yaskovic is only the second photographer who has participated in one of Traill Schaffer’s exhibits, and the only photographer featured in “FRESH”.

“This was right up my alley,” Yaskovic told The Alternative Press.

Yaskovic said he and his family belong to Genesis Farm in Blairstown, which provides land for a Community Supported Garden.

He has also visited Genesis Farm with chef Andre deWaal, owner of Andre’s Restaurant & Wine Boutique, and the two have collaborated with photography and food writing projects. deWaal is known for incorporating local ingredients within his dishes.

“My kids have grown up there,” said Yaskovic of the garden at Genesis Farm. “It’s a nice community.”

Yaskovic’s children have participated in activities at the farm over the summers, making pizza from wheat grown there, as well as from tomatoes grown there, and cheese from another local farm.

Of Traill Schaffer’s choice of Yaskovic, she said, “I really look for good, unique, photography, and it’s phenomenal, and very artistic.”

Coincidentally, Traill Schaffer’s and Yaskovic’s paths had already crossed, as Traill Schaffer was commissioned as the artist who created a portrait of Yaskovic’s and his wife’s wedding cake. The two did not know one another at the time.

The walls of Traillworks were splashed with colorful portraits of juicy blueberries, tomatoes leaping off of the canvas next to their Ball Mason Jars, and peaceful farm scenes.

The theme continued with Traillworks’ Art Partners providing food for the event. Andre’s Restaurant & Wine Boutique showcased their culinary talents with appetizers from local ingredients, and Newton’s newly opened bakery, The Seven Acre Baker, contributed carrot and zucchini muffins, to fit into the theme of local produce.

One of the other partners for the evening was Ventimiglia Winery of Wantage. Gene Ventimiglia, who Traill Schaffer met through the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce, and later followed up with a plein air art class and wine tasting at Ventimiglia Winery, offered a tasting at the exhibit.

Click here for more details about “FRESH”, which runs through October 28, as well as the special film screening of “INGREDIENTS: The Local Farm Revolution Takes Root”. The film screening pairs a dinner and a movie on October 25 at 8 p.m., with a three-course meal at Andre’s Restaurant & Wine Boutique, with the dishes inspired by the film.  The dinner is $35, and the movie is $10. Only 25 seats are available for both. Call Andre’s Restaurant & Wine Boutique for reservations for the dinner and movie event by October 17 at: (973) 300-4192. 

Traill Schaffer summarized the importance of supporting local businesses.

“When you’re buying local, you’re reducing the carbon footprint, and helping the local economy,” she said.

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