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Nancy Vallarella

In the heart of Smithtown is a 22-acre pastoral oasis bordered by barns and cottages. The Smithtown Historical Society hosts a diversified array of events. Programs include an annual heritage fair, summer camp for children, old-time baseball, goat yoga, technology help for seniors, and most recently, a cooking series.

On Tuesday, August 16, at 6 p.m, Chef Stephen Gallagher of The Trattoria in St. James will perform some Long Island summer harvest magic as attendees will get to experience a taste, tips, and techniques, This program will be veggie-centric and the final program of the Cooking with the Stars series in 2022.

“I underestimated the power of food and how it brings people together,” said Priya Kapoor, Executive Director of SHS.  “We were pleasantly surprised by the success of Cooking with the Stars.”

During the height of the COVID pandemic, most 501-C non-profit organizations were faced with fundraising challenges.  A pivot to the great outdoors was made. “The Smithtown Performing Arts Center constructed our outdoor theater during the pandemic for rehearsals and performances. Once they could resume indoors, the outdoor theater became available for use by others,” explained Kapoor.

Kapoor and local food writer, Nancy Vallarella entertained hosting cooking classes at the Smithtown Historical Society years before the pandemic.  Vallarella explained, “We weren’t sure who, what, or when, but once the outdoor theater became available, we had a special where.  Cooking with the Stars was born and the rest fell into place.”

The series was launched in June 2022, and features local culinary businesses and accomplished cooks.

First up, Myra Naseem (Elegant Eating) and Nancy Vallarella (Long Island Locavore) demonstrated Board and Platter recipes and techniques. Chefs Marco Pellegrini and Sabrina Vallorini (Osteria Umbria) followed in July with Italian favorites. A special program in late July honored Smithtown Town Historian, Brad Harris.  Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim and his wife Diana demonstrated a favorite family tradition, Mussels in White Wine sauce, in his honor.

The Smithtown Historical Society pays tribute to Long Island’s rich history while creating new traditions for the present community.

Tickets for Chef Gallagher’s presentation of Cooking with the Stars at the Smithtown Historical Society, 239 East Main Street, Smithtown are $25 in advance here, $35 at the door (cash or check). For more information, call 631-265-6768.

From left, Nancy Vallarella, Myra Naseem and Priya Kapoor. Photo from SHS

The Smithtown Historical Society is cooking up something new. 

Beginning on June 9, the Society will launch a new cooking series titled Cooking with Stars featuring local culinary professionals sharing their tips, techniques and skills while presenting trending foods, recipes and offering a taste to bring the community together. 

The cooking classes will be held outside on the property’s outdoor theater (in the case of inclement weather, presentations will be moved indoors in SHS’s Roseneath Cottage) and will run through September.

According to Priya Kapoor, Executive Director of SHS, the series was inspired by the Society’s 2021 series, Interview with the Stars. “One of our most popular interviews was with Chef Marco Pellegrini of Osteria Umbra,” said Kapoor.

Just in time for summer entertaining, the first presentation on Thursday, June 9 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. will be on platters and boards. Myra Naseem, co-owner of Elegant Eating in Smithtown, will be joined by recipe developer and food writer Nancy Vallarella, Long Island Locavore. 

“Outdoor entertaining is here. This presentation will cover three themed boards/platters that will require little to no cooking freeing hosts from the kitchen and grill. Elegant Eating has been doing that for over 35 years,” said Vallarella. 

Tickets are $20 per person in advance at Eventbrite.com, $30 at the door (cash or check).

The series continues on Tuesday, July 12 when Chef Marco Pellegrini returns to SHS to share his cooking techniques showcasing Italian favorites. 

Further cooking classes will be posted on the Smithtown Historical Society’s website, www.smithtownhistorical.org, under Events. 

The Smithtown Historical Society is located at 239 E. Main St., Smithtown. For more information, call 631-265-6768.

Local non-profit pivots fundraising effort and aids local farmers, community, and economy

The Smithtown Children’s Foundation has spent the last twelve years helping local residents in need. Funds are raised primarily by large gathering events. C0VID-19 has canceled all of those events for 2020. “We had to pivot just like every other business. Unfortunately, need is at an all-time high, when our funds are at an all-time low,” said Christine Fitzgerald, President, and Co-Founder of Smithtown Children’s Foundation. “We had to get creative.”

Farm to Trunk is the brainchild of SCF board member and former Nesconset Farmer’s Market Manager, Nancy Vallarella. “COVID related social media posts revealed local residents were ordering product from distributors that were sourcing produce from all over the country. With Long Island’s harvest approaching, why not organize a minimal contact delivery system that would help Long Island farmers, the local economy, and provide the consumer with the freshest, nutrient-packed produce available?” she said.

Red Fox Organic Farms, located on the property of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood, was the first Long Island farm to join this fundraising program. Jim Adams, Red Fox’s Farm Coordinator remarked,” We are thrilled and so grateful to be working with SCF. It’s just the connection we needed to begin sharing our food with the Long Island community.”

Smithtown resident Dawn Mohrmann has purchased the Red Fox Organic produce box for the past four weeks. “The Farm to Trunk Smithtown Children’s Foundation program has been an easy decision. A great foundation paired with great local, organic, farm-fresh food! Healthy produce for our family is what we look forward to every week,” said Mohrmann.

SCF’s Farm to Trunk will be bringing Sujecki Farms (Calverton), back to Smithtown as an additional produce provider for the Farm to Trunk Fundraiser. “Sujecki Farms has a following here in Smithtown. They have been an anchor in Smithtown’s Farmers’ Market history for over a decade,” said Vallarella. “They are a family that has been farming on Long Island for over 100 years. We welcome their products and are excited to continue to support their farming effort.”

All orders are placed directly with each farm and are delivered to Watermill Caterers, 711 Smithtown Bypass/Rt.347, Smithtown. Smithtown Children’s Foundation volunteers deliver the produce boxes to the customer’s car trunk from the southwest corner of the Watermill’s parking lot every Wednesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. There is no on-going commitment. Consumers can order week to week.

Information on the program can be found on the Farm to Trunk — Smithtown Children’s Foundation Facebook.

Order links:

Red Fox Organic Farms — https://www.redfoxfarm.farm/product-page/red-fox-box

Sujecki Farms — https://www.sujeckifarms.com/product-page/smithtown-farm-to-trunk-veggie-box

Photos from Nancy Vallarella