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slides: 10 RI Things I Love: Farmaesthetics Founder Brenda Brock

Wednesday, February 06, 2013


Introducing 10 RI Things I Love, a weekly sharing of the favorite shops, buys, spots and events of Rhode Island's tastemakers. Today, Brenda Brock, the founder of Farmaesthetics, as well as its Formulator and CEO, shares her list of her favorite local things from her home base on Aquidneck Island.

Photo: Martha Stewart Living Ominimedia, Inc. 


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One: Handmade Cufflinks

Handmade Cufflinks by RI designer, Tarra Rosenbaum, Newport

Tarra's handmade silver snowflake cufflinks were received with vigor this winter at Farmaesthetics Apothecary in Newport, and we are excited to be getting in her Cherry Blossoms for spring. I admire how subtle and elegant each piece is, and the reverence she shows for the shapes and intricacies of nature and the seasons. I love this hanging bat cufflink, as well! tarrarosenbaum.com

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Two: Cory's Cherry Jam

Cory’s Cherry Jam, Sweet Berry Farm Middletown

Speaking of cherries, have you tried Cory’s Cherry Jam? Delicious! I love it on ice cream, roast meats, on toast or by the spoonful. These guys really know how to preserve fresh fruit, and that the berries are grown and the jam is made right on site at Sweet Berry Farm, makes it all the more wonderful, flavorful and nutritious! 

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Three: Folk Scene

Folk Music at Common Fence Point, Portsmouth

An old world dancehall experience right here in our community. My friends and I love to pack a pot luck covered dish dinner and meet at the community hall, where we enjoy supper together at long banquet tables, and then sit back and talk and then enjoy an intimate performance by some of the world’s best folk musicians and songwriters. Nothing else like it. www.commonfencemusic.org

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Four: RISD Nature Lab

The Natural History Collection at The Nature Lab, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence

My One-Stop Inspiration. Founded in 1937 by Edna Lawrence [RISD ‘20], this historic building houses a hands-on natural history collection unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. I love the accessibility of the specimens, not like a museum, but more like an adventuresome uncle’s jam-packed library. A historic space that encourages thoughtful reflection and interaction with nature and the patterns, structures and marvels of the natural world. www.risd.com/cfm/nature.cfm

Photo: RISD

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Five: Provender + Gray's

The Double Wammy: Provender & Gray’s Ice Cream, Four Corners Tiverton

A sammy and an ice cream cone: just about as close to a Mayberry experience as one can get here in RI. If I only have a couple of hours, I can  toodle on over to Tiverton for a Dr. Bombay Sandwich at the Provender, followed by a Lemon Custard ice cream cone at Gray’s Ice Cream. A quick, easy getaway to clear my head. One of the most special things about RI -- you don’t have to go far to get away from it all.

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Six: Fiesta Verde

Aquidneck Land Trust’s Fiesta Verde summer fundraiser

This is my favorite summer bash on Aquidneck Island. A farm-to-table dinner under the stars at one of the beautiful, sprawling Aquidneck Island properties, with music, dancing, and a spirited silent auction featuring donations from local artisans, jewelers, designers, as well as get-away packages from some of the finest hotels, like Castle Hill. All proceeds go to support ALT. http://www.aquidnecklandtrust.org

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Seven: Easter Lily

Easter Lily, an Aura Paint by Benjamin Moore at Parvo’s Paint Middletown

I am obsessed with this interior color and am painting everything Easter Lily these days….It is the color of the walls in Farmaesthetics Flagship Apothecary (shown here), the color of my dining room and office. There is something magical about this paint and the way it catches RI light, sparking the interiors to glow a clean, luminous, warm “white”. Parvo’s Paint (in Middletown) turned me onto the color, and there’s no going back…so thank you Parvo’s!

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Eight: Isoude Silk Blouse

A Silk Blouse from Isoude, Newport

How lucky are we to have Katie Brierley, a world renowned up and coming dress designer in our midst, with her flagship boutique and design studio right on Bellevue Ave.? Her gowns are spectacular and show up in the best social pages of our day. And I love her simple silk blouses. A friend of mine and a fashion insider gave me a great piece of advice: “All you need is to wear one fine piece of well-made clothing and you can get away with blue jeans all you want”.  For me, Isoude is at the top of my wishlist for finding that one fine piece. www.isoude.com

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Nine: Medieval Pageant

The Christmas Festival at St George's School, Middletown

Once a year before Christmas holiday, this free and open-to-the-public student pageant is a magical history tour back to Medieval England, with monks in hoods carrying torches and angels singing on high. The service traces its origins back to Roman times when the December celebrations of Saturnalia would provide a welcome respite from the rigors of winter. It has been performed at the historic St. George’s Chapel for 102 consecutive years. I love it and the continuity!

Photo: St. George's School

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Ten: The Potter League

The Potter League, Middletown

Pearl Gonzoles and her team run the best animal shelter I have ever seen—hands down. And it’s not just the beautiful new modern facility. It’s the people who run it. They say on their marketing materials, “Enriching Lives” and that could not be more true. It is a center for learning for all us. A great place for kids and adults alike to engage with the caregiving, compassionate side of our nature. All our beloved family pets have come from the Potter League over the years, including Roo our dog and Etienne, our brand new baby kitty. The marketing materials could just as well read: The Potter League- Promoting Happy Healthy Pets, People and Community. www.PotterLeague.org.

Photo: Potter League for Animals


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