Ross Farm Newsletter 2018, Edition 11
View this email in your browser


Recent Works From the South of France

Mother son duo, Jill Steenhuis and Sergio Ruffato will bring their world renowned art to The Ross Farm October 8 & 9. Atlanta native Jill Steenhuis, has been living and working in the south of France for over 35 years where she raised her family outside of Aix en Provence. Her son, Sergio Ruffato , is a graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia and forges his metal sculptures either on the family farm or in a new studio/gallery space in Marseilles, France.

Greatly influenced by Van Gogh and Cezanne, Jill’s work is vibrant and her brush stroke is full of energy. All of her works are “sur place” and “en plein air”, never utilizing photographs. Jill weathers the hot Provencal sun or the cold Mistral wind to paint what she sees, smells, hears, tastes and feels in the translucent light of Provence. In the US her work has been featured in noted galleries in NYC, Washington, DC, and Michigan. She has also had three solo museum shows in Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia as well as being hung in the private collections of numerous international collectors.

Sergio’s “Metal Sketches” series is a transcription of gestural drawing into metal sculptures. Through the study of dancers and figures in motion Sergio developed his own language of movement by first sketching on paper, then recreating this action in the manipulation of metal. Very recently certain works have been created by bypassing this procedural step of a sketch into an immediate manipulation of the metal. This newer approach with specific works springs directly from the source of inspiration into the finished piece. Sergio has had dozens of shows, many of which were solo exhibitions. As well as being added to the collections of many private collectors, he was recently selected to exhibit in the National Salon of Beaux Arts at the Caroussel du Louvre in Paris.

We are delighted to host these artists at The Ross Farm! Please join us in welcoming them to our amazing community. Their exhibition will be October 8 & 9, 9am-5pmwith a Meet the Artist reception scheduled from 6pm – 8pm on October 8th.  A portion of the art sales will benefit The Friends of the Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate.

Weekend Journey Through the Past

Ross Farm honors history at annual event on October 13 & 14

Well, it’s that time of year again when the Fall brings changes to the colors around us and the heat from summer begins to wane. That also means it’s time for the Ross Farm to begin gearing up for our annual participation in History Weekend.  First started by the Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission in 2006, the Ross Farm was proudly one of the historical sites participating in the inaugural year.  At that time, the County Parks Commission had no plans for the Ross Estate so a handful of local residents got engaged and through their outreach began to get other local institutions involved to help. Partnerships with Trilogy Repertory Company, the Bernards Township library, Studio 7 in Bernardsville and our first crew of teen volunteers meant we could provide actors in historical costumes, historical content, fill the house with paintings of local scenery and open the property to the public for free, for the first time.  That first year also marked the debut of a Ross Farm mainstay, the display of American flags throughout the property. 

Since that time, the Ross Friends created The Friends of the Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate, our non-profit organization, and we’ve expanded our Board and volunteer corps.  This has allowed us to add more events and expand the usage of the site.  For example, Boudinot’s Giving Garden was created, and this year we’re on track to donate more than 2,000 pounds of fresh food to local food banks…again!  Our Ross Farm Music Series has become a wonderful draw for not only local residents but some of our artists have attracted visitors from far and wide.  We continue to serve as the site of the Oak Street School Colonial Day so we teach our children about what happened locally in ways their school books cannot.  ARTSee Happenings and our Haunted History Tour in Fall for Halloween have become part of our annual offerings too.

None of these wonderful accomplishments would have occurred without a leap of faith from a few individuals way back in 2006.  It all started with History Weekend so I encourage everyone to visit us during History Weekend on October 13th and 14th.  This year we’ll offer a few new things along with our presentations of music, art, history and food, all with a fun learning experience that should make it a special weekend.  We make History Weekend fun for people of all ages, so please join us!

Did you know?

Shortly after its sale to Somerset County in 2005, the property which had last been owned by the Edmund and Margaret Ross family was used as a Mansion In May (MIM) location. All of the current wall and ceiling treatments are from that MIM. There are murals and faux finishes throughout the house.  Next time you visit see if you can find the painted paw prints. If you can’t solve the mystery, ask any board member and they will be happy to share their knowledge with you!

Music Notes

Our fourth season of live music wraps up on October 20 when we welcome the Brooks Hubbard Band to the Ross Farm. The band consists of an exciting mix of folk/Americana, pop, funk, rock, blues, and soul. They embarked on the “No Place Like Home” Tour in early September and will wrap the tour with a hometown show in Nashville in November. We’re happy that the Ross Farm is part of this tour!
The concert will be staged in the Barn and registration is open now for priority seating at A suggested donation of $20 for adults and $5 for students can be made at the time of registration via PayPal or at the door, if desired, but registration can be accomplished without donating. Those who have registered will be admitted first with our Band of Friends members, and walk-in guests will be seated according to the available space. Therefore, pre-registration is recommended. Light refreshments will be offered.

Brooks played a solo show in the historic bank barn in 2016 after touring with Stephen Kellogg in 2015. Kellogg played to a 250+ crowd at the Ross Farm in June, and has said of Hubbard, “Brooks has a great voice and a number of musical talents…I love that his eyes shine with life. He’s an open person. From what I can tell, he’s growing all the time.”
Photo by Kylie West
Since that 2016 Ross Farm concert, Brooks has released a new album, “American Story,” and formed a band with members Justin Kimball (bass/engineer) and Nate Mould (drums). “American Story” was produced by Val McCallum of the Jackson Browne Band and independently released in late 2017. Recorded earlier that year during a two-day studio period, Hubbard and McCallum made this record with the help of friends Bob Glaub, Pete Thomas, Greg Leisz and Jeff Babko. Most of this record was recorded in the first or second live take and according to reviews, “It is a genuine and heartfelt effort that does not go unnoticed. McCallum’s guitar and voice can be heard throughout the album, weaving magic with Leisz’s pedal steel, and complimenting Hubbard’s vocal and serious subject matter. ‘American Story’ represents the good, bad, and ugly of being an American. It is powerfully charged with emotions of relatable stories and personalities of America. Though it can be dark at times, it offers a light of hope that simply illuminates what's most important.”
Learn more about the Brooks Hubbard Band at
This concert concludes our 2018 Music Series. We had some great moments this year! We were happy to welcome back Mike Mains, who kicked off our Series on Earth Day back in April. Annalise Emerick opened the show for him and delighted our audience. We hope to see her back soon! Our 4th Annual Rock the Barn concert had to relocate to the Parish Hall at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church because of rain. Minuteman Smokehouse and Grill set up in the Hall to serve dinner and the full room enjoyed BBQ, great music and lots of dancing with Ross Farm favorite Christian Lopez. Two Ridge High School students, Tori Dalton and Bridget Torcivia, provided a very special part of the evening by interpreting one of Christian’s songs in American Sign Language. We remain grateful to our friends at St. Mark’s for helping us out in a pinch! Our next three concerts were on the Tack House patio in perfect weather. Caleb Caudle and his band brought the country flavor to our music series, and Stephen Kellogg brought fans from as far away as Long Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh and Ohio to the Farm! Our chef grilled an awesome dinner for this very special evening.
Our last concert before the summer break brought New Jersey native Anthony D’Amato to the Farm for a wonderful set before he embarks on a European tour this fall. We even had a “pop-up” concert with young musicians Chloe Kinnon and Everyday Museum rocking a rainy night in the Barn in late July. We were proud to present Ridge High School’s Annabel DelGiorno as the show opener with her original songs on ukulele! Kevin Harrison and True North jump-started Part 2 of the Series in late September with some rousing rock and roll from their latest record, “Howl,” as well as from their first, self-titled, EP.
The Ross Farm Music Series would not be possible without the support of our Band of Friends, music fans who donated $100 at the beginning of the season, and our wonderful business sponsors. Please take a look at the sponsor list and thank them when you visit their businesses or use their or use their services.
Planning for our milestone fifth year of the Ross Farm Music Series is already underway and the music committee, consisting of David Becker, Nola Hansen, Bruce McArthur and Ken VanBaalen, is excited to celebrate another season of live music at the Ross Farm.
For the third consecutive year, The Ross Farm hosted an “on the land” fundraising event called the Harvest Cookout. Our guests were treated to a chef prepared meal featuring a pig roast with all the fixin’s. Vegetarians had a broad selection of choices as we wanted to ensure that individuals with vastly different palate preferences were considered.
The Cookout guests were entertained by the bands, The Altman Brothers and The Café Racers. Individuals who preferred a quieter experience toured the ARTsee artist offerings on display in the Manor house.

With Mother Nature cooperating, the presentation of good food, good music, and good art, a good time was had by all.
For the very first time The Ross Farm was a satellite hub for the ARTsee Open Studio Tour. Artists Alex Vargas, Vicky Knowles, Peggy Doyle and Susan Haiken presented their work to the public in the music room and on the second floor of the Manor house. Those of you, who attended the ARTsee Happening this past May, may recall the real time audience participation painting facilitated by Alex. The finished painting had been on display in the music room for guests to enjoy since its creation.
Vicky Knowles discussed her work with a guest.
Peggy, Susan, Vicky and Alex brought an eclectic mix of media, style and content to their showing at the farm; a very exciting counter balance of creativity. Due to the timing of the Open Studio Tour, guests of The Ross Farm Harvest Cookout had a private experience with the art as the Manor house remained open through the evening for their pleasure.
Many families visited the farm together to enjoy the artwork.
Happily we can announce that The Ross Farm/ARTsee partnership continues on into 2019. Mark your calendars and save the date because the 2019 ARTsee Happening is scheduled for May 4th at the farm! The 2018 theme was Cinco De Mayo which made for a really fun event. We are eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 2019 theme. Stay tuned!
Large Format artist Alex Vargas displayed his work in a second floor room.
After a long, hot and muggy summer, you have suffered enough! The answer to our last Mystery Item challenge is:
A toothpick (or matchstick) holder! How you used it was determined by the era in which it was utilized. At the time of its creation it would have held matchsticks. Prior to the creation of gas operated stoves/ovens, coal or wood stoves would need to be lit by hand. Early “modern” stoves did not have pilot lights. Therefore burners also needed to be lit with a match by hand.
Here is your next challenge. Hint: it is an autumn related device.
Here's What's Buzzing in the Garden
Boudinot’s Giving Garden and its church coalition leadership dealt with each and every predicament Mother Nature presented this summer. Numerous heatwaves, multiple lengthy rainstorms and uninvited guests of the 4-legged kind challenged the very dedicated garden volunteers. Through it all the garden flourished and hopefully all of the volunteers had a rewarding summer. It is through their incredible efforts that 1,448 lbs of produce was delivered to area food pantries, the county food bank and Community Hope, the newest recipient of Boudinot’s Giving Garden produce.
Board member Martin Hale is assisted by volunteer Greg Piro. Gardeners Jenny Phillips, Anne Gaus and Addie Sant Foster test out the new wall.
While the summer of 2018 presented many garden challenges, there were also some wonderful highlights. The building of the historical bed was begun. New stone inner walls will provide garden seating while split tree trunks will define the beds perimeter. The bed is slated to be completed this fall and come summer 2019 the new historical/educational bed will finally be realized. Also too, the garden was gifted with 4 beautiful new trellises conceived and built by Eagle Scout candidate Chris Metcalf. Chris took the garden needs very seriously when designing and crafting the trellises. Not only are the trellises foldable to maximize storage space, they are also made of cedar which should allow for many years of service as cedar weathers slowly.
Eagle Scout candidate Chris Metcalf delivers his project of garden trellises to Board president David Becker.
As the summer garden tasks wind down, fall crops like broccoli and winter squash are ripening to maturity while the beds that will hold the 2019 garlic and shallot crop will be prepped and planted in mid-November.
Boudinot’s Giving Garden is the beneficiary of a tremendous amount of loving care by its gardeners that translates in nutritious produce. A huge thank you to each and every one of the garden volunteers! They are the unsung heroes for the many clients of the soup kitchens, food pantries, county food bank and Community Hope to whom the produce is brought for further distribution.
Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Ross Farm Website
Copyright © 2018 The Ross Farm, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp