October 26, 2009

RECORD-REVIEW "Talk of the Town"


Lots of college kids were recently home for fall break. At Scotts Corner Market, “Talk of the Town” ran into a few of their moms who were frantically zipping through the aisles in an effort to stock the larder before their visiting first-semester progeny returned to Pound Ridge.

We caught up with Sarah Best, who is a freshman at Mitchell College, a four-year liberal arts college in New London, Conn. “Being at college and away from home and my comfort zone is a huge transition,” Sarah said. “One thing I’ve realized about school in the past two months is if you do your work, you’ll do well and not fall behind. There are a few bumps along the way, but I know I will get through them!” Sarah is majoring in early-childhood education with a possible future certification in assistive technology. This young Pound Ridger with fortitude and spirit is, literally and figuratively, one of the Best.

Whether to eat or not to eat hamburgers is the buzz in town after reading the recent “New York Times” front page/top-of-the-fold story, “E. Coli Path Shows Flaws in Beef Inspection,” which recounts a 22-year-old young woman left paralyzed after consuming a tainted burger grilled by her mother for their Sunday dinner. Billy Fortin, owner of Scotts Corner Market and purveyor of food to many Pound Ridgers, assured us that the Market buys only certified Angus beef that is one grade above USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). “All of our burger meat is government-inspected and ground two to three times a day so that what is sold is always fresh,” Billy said. USDA inspects Scotts Corner Market often and to make sure merchandize is handled correctly. The cooler is about 40-degrees. The prep room is refrigerated to between 50-55 degrees.

“My employees are also Serve-Safe Certified by the New York State Restaurant Association,” Billy continued. He even had an instructor come to conduct an on-site training class. “I care about my employees’ everyday practices — whether they are working in the bakery or at the Town pool concession stand. I am very demanding on this front.” Next time you’re longing for a burger, rest assured that you’ll find the beef “Fortin Certified” and ground fresh. After all, it’s Billy’s reputation that is at “steak”.

William (Bill) Frederick Barker, who lived in Pound Ridge from 1935 to the mid-1980s, recently touched base to reminisce about his more than 45 years in Pound Ridge, Bill joined the Fire Department in 1957, after completing two years in the U.S. Army. “I was nominated fire chief in 1964, and served for two years. At the time, I was the youngest fire chief, not only in Pound Ridge history, but in Westchester County. To this day, I am still an honorary fireman, and ex-chiefs are always on the ‘active’ list.”

So what are some stand-out childhood memories? “Pound Ridge had beautiful scenery. It was regular country living with a lot of land and few houses. I lived on Lower Trinity Pass and used to visit Ernie Marshall on Salem Road. We would wander around the cliffs and hills and look for wild cats in the ledges and caves near his place. We always said we were looking for wild cats, but we never actually saw any. We also went over to Finack’s Farm on Barnegat Road, where they sold dairy, vegetables, and pumpkins. Joe Fortin (Editor’s note: Billy’s father) used to deliver milk for Pound Ridge dairy. I belonged to the Boy Scouts and we’d go camping or do cookouts during the autumn. I also remember Mom and Dad (Florence and Fred Barker) driving me and my brother around to trick-or-treat on Halloween.” What kinds of costumes did kids wear back then? “Nothing fancy. Costumes were homemade and we always wore masks.” Scary.

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