Sep 6, 2013
10:01 AM
Arts & Entertainment

Governor Malloy's Visit Highlights Skitch Henderson's Legacy, New Milford Cultural Treasure

Governor Malloy's Visit Highlights Skitch Henderson's Legacy, New Milford Cultural Treasure

Laurie Gaboardi/Litchfield County Times

Gov. Dannel Malloy tours The Silo cooking school at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford during a cultural tour Wednesday. Below right, Skitch and Ruth Henderson in a Litchfield County Times file photo.

Gov. Dannel Malloy visited Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford Wednesday, as the third destination on his three-stop tour of Connecticut tourist sites.

Hunt Hill is a dining, cultural and lifestyle treasure created by the late Skitch Henderson and his wife, Ruth. The farm, now operating and eagerly open to visitors as the nonprofit Henderson Cultural Center, features The Skitch Henderson Museum, The Silo Gallery, The Silo Store and Cooking School and The Hunt Hill Farm Land Preserve. The focus is on preserving the pastures while promoting education, art, artisanship and farm-based culinary traditions in its cooking school.

Skitch was a musician and bandleader whose early career included work with Bing Crosby and a role as music director of Frank Sinatra’s “Light-Up Time” radio show. He went on to become musical director for NBC Radio and NBC Television, making him "a mainstay of the “Tonight” show, conducting the studio band and swapping stories with Steve Allen beginning in 1954 and later with Johnny Carson," according to the Hunt Hill website.

About 20 people were present to guide Malloy on a tour through the grounds Wednesday, which included a viewing of The Silo art gallery and a bite to eat at its cooking school.

“I’ve read about this place,” said Malloy while snacking on bruschetta hors d’oeuvres made from all-local ingredients. “But it’s nice to finally tour the property and see it in person.”

This was after the state’s top politician took a stroll through an art gallery that prominently featured rurally minded works of late area artists Eric Sloane and Woldemar Neufeld.

He then toured the fields and had a late lunch prepared by Bill Cosgrove and Nancy Conant, the head chef and owner of the nearby Upper Crust Cucina Italiano, respectively.

“Here we demonstrate what we do at the cooking school and illustrate what we have available to us,” said Cosgrove about the cooking school where he teaches and who, with little prep time, pulled together a meal of all area-sourced products.

Art Kerber, a member of the board of trustees at Hunt Hill Farm, said that although the dignitary visit was relatively impromptu the overseers were still able to put a nice tour together for the governor.

“He saw the most important parts—the cooking school, the art gallery, the museum, and all the divisions,” said Kerber, who was satisfied with how the visit went.

To learn more about state destinations, visit www.ctvisit.com. To learn more about Hunt Hill and the Hendersons, see the cultural center's website.

Hunt Hill was honored this month by Connecticut Magazine as our Best of Connecticut 2013 winner for Best Cooking School, and nearby Upper Crust was honored as one of our winners for best pizza. The Greater New Milford area was home to many "best of" winners. See them all online.

Editor's note: This story was adapted from one published at The Litchfield County Times online.

Governor Malloy's Visit Highlights Skitch Henderson's Legacy, New Milford Cultural Treasure

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