Columbus Day ice cream sales help Ray of Light Farm

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Salem - posted Tue., Oct. 18, 2011
Kids enjoyed the Hula hoops while the adults waited in the long lines for ice cream at the Salem Valley Farms Columbus Day fundraiser for Ray of Light Farm. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Kids enjoyed the Hula hoops while the adults waited in the long lines for ice cream at the Salem Valley Farms Columbus Day fundraiser for Ray of Light Farm. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

Jane Scacciaferro said that she has always wanted a horse.  But it wasn’t until a few years ago, when she adopted a horse at Ray of Light Farm, a nonprofit animal rescue and animal assisted therapy center in East Haddam, that she finally owned one. "Olivia," the horse adopted by Scacciaferro, was one of the approximately 70 “Premarin foals” that Ray of Light has rescued over the last several years. 

Made from the urine of pregnant mares, Premarin is an estrogen-replacement drug prescribed to alleviate menopausal symptoms.  The foals are an unwanted byproduct of Premarin production, and are often sold on the European market and slaughtered for food.  Once numbering in the hundreds, many Premarin-production farms have been closed over the last several years, as evidence mounted that Premarin use may cause severe side-effects.  An unfortunate result of these closings is that many of the foals are left homeless and face death if not rescued. This fall, six more Premarin foals will be coming to Ray of Light Farm.

“It will be one more Premarin farm shut down,” said Ray of Light Farm owner, Bonnie Buongiorne.  She and Scacciaferro met about 6 years ago, when Scacciaferro brought her young son to the farm to take part in their Tiny Trotters program. 

“I just fell in love with the place,” said Scacciaferro, and ever since, she has done all that she can to help the farm in its mission of rescuing animals in need.

“Every time another rescue comes in, she’s always been there,” said Buongiorne.  And Columbus Day was yet another example, as Scacciaferro, the owner of Salem Valley Farms Ice Cream, donated the day's proceeds from ice cream sales at Salem Valley Farms to Ray of Light, the fourth annual fundraiser she has hosted to benefit the farm.  

“We have customers that ask us about it, who look forward to the event,” said Scacciaferro, which she said this year raised more than $3,200 for Ray of Light.  Considerably more than she raised in previous years, but perhaps not too surprising, given the summer-like weather combined with the opportunity to contribute to a good cause while enjoying what many have called the best ice cream ever.  

Usually a fan of the more exotic flavors, self-anointed ice cream expert Nick said that even the vanilla is “unbelievable.”

This thought was echoed by Rose Hester, who said that she came to help Ray of Light, having never had the ice cream before. “But this is really, really good,” she said, adding that she would be sure to come back to Salem Valley Farms in the future.

Visitors also had the chance to take a free ride on a carriage drawn by Sam and Cody, two Percheron horses owned by Terry Joseph of Cedar Knoll Farm in Lebanon.  Rescued by Ray of Light, Joseph adopted Sam and Cody when Ray of Light faced some economic difficulties.  He donates his and the horses' efforts on Columbus Day to help support Ray of Light. 

“This has been awesome,” said Buongiorne of the help given by Scacciaferro, which includes other donations throughout the year, while Scacciaferro’s desire to help goes beyond her love of animals to a belief in the mission of Ray of Light Farm.

“It’s a great thing that they do,” said Scacciaferro.


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