Chef Catherine Brown, left, brought her Region 9 culinary students to Christine Trefethen’s Morning Glory Farm in West Bethel to plant seeds for the farm’s hot sauce. Trefethen is third from left, wearing overalls. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

BETHEL — “Some of my students have gardens at home, but a lot of them don’t, so getting them to have their hands in this process gives them the training to be able to start a garden at home,” says Chef Catherine Brown who heads the Region 9 Culinary Arts program with Chef Instructor Rachael Robinson.

Students in Catherine Brown and Rachael Robinson’s Region 9 culinary art’s class planted tomatillos for the hot sauce for sale at Morning Glory Farm in West Bethel. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

In two district vans, Brown and Robinson have shuttled 15 students from Mexico to Morning Glory Farm on Tues., March 19.

Says Brown, “Today is tomato [planting] day. Yesterday I came with my B-Day students and and [we planted] all the peppers.

Morning Glory owner Christine Trefethen, guides  the group. Her husband, Eric List, built the handsome post and beam West Bethel house surrounded by gardens, dormant now; and various sized barns. Bringing everything to life on a chilly winter day are the students and the animals: chickens, roosters, cows, sheep and “Nandi,” the family’s Great Pyrenees dog.

Inside, around a large table in Trefethen’s home, the 10th, 11th and 12th graders sit in teams of two or three. Some are shaking potting soil over seeds they have just burrowed. After watering each tray they cover them with Saran Wrap.

“We’ll come back in six weeks or so when the plants are ready to go into the ground … ” Brown says.


Maing Tang, of Mexico, says he is happy to have returned with his classmates to Morning Glory for the fourth time. He said when they came in the fall they made wood-fired pizza outside. “It was delicious,” he said.

When a student planting tomatillo seeds asks what a tomatillo is, Brown says it makes good salsa. Trefethen will use the tomatillos in the popular Morning Glory Pepperworks hot sauce she sells.

Kadince Smith, left, of Bryant Pond and Maing Tang of Mexico, both Region 9 culinary arts students, plant tomatillos at Morning Glory Farm in Bethel. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

With the table cleared of potting supplies, lunch begins. Student Noah Cunnington of Bethel is playing, “All of Me,” by John Legend at Trefethen’s piano. After eating sandwiches, they make brownie sundaes that the students pile perilously high with ice cream, whipped cream, and fresh berries. As everyone is about to head outside one student asks if anyone is missing their brownie. He has pulled it out of Nandi’s mouth.

The farm

At the stable outside a student says, “When I look over here I am reminded of where Jesus was born.”

“You could have a divine birth here,” says Trefethen of the manger where several animals are gathered.


Inside the barn are “Lily,” a Jersey cow, who had given birth to “Shamrock,” 48 hours earlier on St. Patrick’s Day. Madi Touchette, of Rumford, can’t hold back smiles as she watches Shamrock awkwardly prance around the stable. “That’s a happy hop,” explains Trefethen.

“There’s the baby!” says a student entering the barn.

Born on St. Patrick’s Day, “Shamrock” is just 48 hours old March 19 when Region 9 students visited the calf and it’s mother at Morning Glory Farm. Rose Lincoln/Bethel Citizen

“It’s adorable,” says another.

One marvels at the size of Lily’s udders.

Another student is lingering in the barn as Trefethen notices the vans are loaded and running outside.

“You’re still missing one,” she yells out.

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