When you think of farms, most folks in Central New York think of cows and crops. However, one local farm, The Ice Farm, is an unusual exception. Owner Stan Kolonko explains:
"It is an ice sculpting company that grows and harvests clear ice blocks into sculptures. There is a big freezer and three machines that make the ice. I use purified water. The blocks are 20 inches wide by 40 inches high by 10 inches deep. They weigh about 300 pounds. I use mechanical devices to lift them. It takes a long time for the ice to get ready to sculpt, you have to put it out depending on the temperature outside. Sometimes I sculpt in the freezer. If it is really warm out I have to temper the ice."
Kolonko leaves Feb. 29 for Alaska to compete in the World Championship Ice Sculpting Competition in Fairbanks. Accompanying him is his ice-sculpting partner, Chris Uyehara. This will be Kolonko's fourth trip to Alaska and Uyehara's first. They'll be there over a week.
The duo achieved the invitation to sculpt at the World Championship after winning a silver medal last summer in Ohio. It was the first time they had done a competition together.
Kolonko has been planning the sculpture for more than a year. "They are monumental," he said. "We use about 50,000 pounds of ice. It will be about 25 feet high. Called "The Coral Corral," it will be two 23 foot high mother and father sea horses connected in an oceanic reef-like setting with their babies around them."
Kolonko, of Sennett, learned to sculpt in ice as a student at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. Besides sculpting for weddings, buffets, corporate logos, festivals and competitions, he has a catering business. Uyehara, of Skaneateles, is an all-around pastry chef who specializes in artisan breads, French pastries and specialty cakes and is skilled in detail work in chocolate and sugar. He teaches in the hospitality management program at Syracuse University. For him, ice sculpting is a new challenge. He describes the experience: