Making Limoncello with Friends and Nina Groppo’s Cucuzza

Groppo limoncello Feast of saint Joseph -2 ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

Left to right, front: Nina Groppo and Kathy Pratl; back: Jane Beddus and Catherine Gunn

Groppo limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014

Kathy Pratl limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014 copyThis past weekend filming continued on the Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project. Nina and Frank Groppo serve the most wonderful homemade limoncello during the Feast and we decided back in March to include limoncello-making in the story of how Saint Joseph’s special day is celebrated in Gloucester. Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane not only graciously agreed to allow filming, but also included me in the preparations and you’ll see what fun we had in the forthcoming film!

Kathy Pratl cucuzza limoncello Feast of saint Joseph ©Kim Smith 2014 copy

While at the Groppo’s garden you can’t help but notice their amazing crop of cucuzza (pronounced ku-koz-za, also goo-gootz), hanging from their handmade arbor. Cucuzza is an Italian squash that from what I understand, in English, means something like “super long squash.” A single squash can grow ten inches in one day!

For our first of several limoncello-making days, Nina created a beautiful lunch. She served cucuzza soup, made from both the fruit and the leaves. It was fabulous and delicious and like no other soup I had sampled before. She also baked wonderfully fresh hake filets and prepared a lovely tomato salad, with heirloom tomatoes from her garden.

Nina described how she hand pollinates the fruit ~ Each plant produces male and female flowers. She explains that it is easy to identify the female flowers as they have a small swollen fruit (ovary) on the stem, just behind the flowers. She plucks the male flowers off the vine and gently brushes together the male’s anther and female’s stigma, the flower’s reproduction parts, which insures good pollination. By removing the male flowers from the vine, you are not eliminating any potential fruit because the male flowers don’t bear fruit.

Cucuzza Groppo ©kim Smith 2014

I have been planning an arbor for my garden patio for sometime and after seeing and tasting the Groppo’s fabulous cucuzza, I am not waiting any longer to build one!

Thank you dear Nina, Kathy, Catherine, and Jane for your continuing help with the Saint Joseph Film Project!



Coffins Beach Mystery Wreck: The Search Continues.

As previously reported on GMG here a mysterious old shipwreck has been discovered on Coffins Beach. On September 8, a team headed by Victor Mastone of the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archaelogical Resources returned to the site. They were aided in their efforts by Harold Burnham, 11th generation boatbuilder of Essex and builder and skipper of the pinky schooner Ardelle.

Working during this month’s astronomical low tide, the team excavated the hull remains and found a number of interesting artifacts. Ballast stones were removed from the depths of the approximately 40 foot vessel. Much to the surprise of the team, some of the ballast were coral fragments, indicating that the boat had spent some time in the tropics.

Among other team members, Harold speculated that the boat might be as old as 240 years, placing its construction during the Revolutionary War era.

The site will be left to nature over the winter and the investigation will resume in the spring.

Vic Mastone reminds us,”While there is really nothing to take, most people do not realize that the site is protected by state law. It is my hope people respect the site and completely refrain from removing any of it or otherwise disturb or damage the site when they visit.”


IMG_0402 Vic Mastone, State Archaeologist.

IMG_0364 Harold Burnham and team member.IMG_0366 IMG_0367 IMG_0373 IMG_0381 IMG_0387 IMG_0389 IMG_0393 IMG_0404   IMG_0421 IMG_0422 IMG_0472 IMG_0442 IMG_0453


Live Sunset View From Flat Cove Landing Rocky Neck

The colors of the sky from our kitchen window were so gorgeous BJ & I jump in the car and quickly drove down the street to capture the end of the sunset… The colors in the sky changed so fast it was amazing!

VIP SELL OUT ALERT: John Sebastian VIP Tickets for Saturday (9/13) almost gone

Only a few VIP tickets left for John Sebastian at Gloucester’s UU Meetinghouse (GET VIP TICKETS HERE).  VIP gets you in the first 5 rows, plus exclusive early entry and a Celebrate Gloucester Commemorative VIP Laminate.


As of now, there are plenty of standard seats left, but they’re going fast too, so you might not want to wait until the last minute.  Get tickets NOW so you can relax, vote in tomorrow’s primary and enjoy the rest of the week with one less worry on your mind.

Quick, Grab Your Camera and Scatter!

It’s Supermoon Monday. Another Supermoon is upon us. So grab your camera and run to your favorite moon viewing spot. I will either be at Cressy’s Beach or Hanging with my Bro’s at the State Fish Pier. If you go to the Pier bring a box of cheese Nips and you’ll make some good friends forever.  Good Harbor Beach is too busy and so is the Back Shore.


High and Dry

You can keep on pulling on that anchor line, but I’m quite certain the boat isn’t going to budge.


There are worse places in the world to be stuck than the back side of Wingaersheek….and I’m fairly certain this guy knew that too. He got that sucker WAAAY up there.  Assuming it was on purpose, he gets a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 How to Make Summer Weekends Last into September.  If it wasn’t on purpose, well, he still gets a 10….but, on a scale of 1 to 10 How Much Do You Agree That Boaters Should Need Licenses to Operate a Vessel.  

It ins’t over yet, Peeps!

Monday September 8th , 2014 Cape Ann Weather..

Marine Forecast :
Today NE winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt. Seas around 2 ft.
Tonight E winds 5 to 10 kt…increasing to 10 to 15 kt after midnight. Seas 2 to 3 ft.

Pod Cast Weather:

Beach Forecast:
Cool 60°s
Sun / high clouds
Water temps 67°
Winds NE 15-25mph

Hourly Forecast:



Community Stuff 9/8/14

Meeting this Friday, September 12 at Cape Ann Giclee, 9-10:30 AM

Hi Everyone,
The Cape Ann Painter and Photographer Group will meet on Friday,September 12  from 9-10:30 AM at the Cape Ann Giclee on 20 Maplewood Ave, Gloucester.
Hope to see you there. All are welcome!
Alice Gardner

For those wishing to learn T’ai Chi: classes at Cape Anne Center for Dance start Tues. 9/9 from 9:30 – 10:30 AM. 

To register or for more info, contact me — Amy Shapiro, holistic practitioner and teacher: 978-283-5039

Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum Hosts13th Annual Fall Fundraiser: Vineyard to Shipyard – Wine Tasting and Auction – October 3, 2014 7-9:30 pm

Wine Tasting and Auction in support of the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum!  Dozens of fabulous items!  Featuring wine from Chebacco Market, Food catered by Tim Hopkins Catering, Cookies from Lark Fine Foods, Michael March, Auctioneer, Local Maritime Artists, Live Music!  For more information and to purchase tickets go to  Tickets are $25.00/person.

Event held at Essex Shipbuilding Museum, Waterline Center, 66 Main Street, Essex, MA 01929  978-768-7541

Manchester Essex High School ALS Ice bucket challenge Friday

We freeze it & deliver it,
they dump it over their heads…. what a world !

In an event coordinated by the school’s DECA program, over 380 students, faculty, and staff participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money to help fight Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Participants made a donation of at least $10 to be a part of the challenge.  Cape Pond Ice generously helped by donating ice, and Home Depot donated many of the buckets used in the event.

The DECA students challenged 220,000 other DECA students across the USA and seven other countries to take the challenge, and as well, MERHS challenged the 950,000 + students in Massachusetts to take the challenge.

Pete Frates is a Beverly native who has ALS and was the inspiration for the original Ice Bucket Challenge. His father, John Frates, attended the MEMS/MERHS event and spoke to the participants about the cause.

Over $6,000 was raised by the school community for The ALS Association.

We freeze it & deliver it,
they dump it over their heads…. what a world !
check out:


Dyslexia Awareness Campaign
·    Is your child struggling to acquire reading skills?
·    Does it seem to take extra time to formulate his spoken and written ideas?
·    Are messy handwriting and poor spelling obstacles to success?
·    Is your child feeling frustrated with all aspects of school – even the social side?

Efforts to increase awareness and provide better educational support for students with dyslexia are gaining momentum nationwide. Decoding Dyslexia – MA is leading the way in Massachusetts by organizing regional informational events for parents and professionals. The following free presentations are open to anyone interested in learning more about the needs of struggling readers and how literacy skills can be improved for all children.

This free workshop will include the following:
·    Understanding and identifying the profile of a dyslexic learner
·    Current research on dyslexia
·    Information on locating and advocating for appropriate services
·    A discussion of the current advocacy efforts of MA parents to increase opportunities for students with dyslexia in MA public schools.

About Decoding Dyslexia-MA (DDMA):
Decoding Dyslexia – MA is a grassroots movement driven by parents, educators and professionals concerned with the limited access to evidence based interventions for dyslexia. We are inspired by and collaborating with other Decoding Dyslexia groups nationwide. We aim to raise awareness, to empower students with dyslexia and their families, and to inform policy makers on practices based on neuroscience to identify, remediate, and support students with dyslexia in Massachusetts’s public schools and institutions of higher learning.

Tuesday, Sept 16th 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Beverly Public Library
Sohier Room
32 Essex St, Beverly

Saturday, Sept 20th 2:00 pm – 4:00p m
Plymouth Public Library
Otto Fellow Room
132 South St, Plymouth

Wednesday, Oct 8th 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Boston Plan for Excellence
Suite 110
27-43 Wormwood Street, Boston

For more information please visit our website:
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