As spring approaches local farmers are planning their crops and deciding what food to grow for our communities. On Thursday, Feb. 16, from 5-7 p.m. at 107 Main St., North Adams, members of the community are invited to meet many of our local farmers from cheese makers and beekeepers to Community Supported Agriculture and farmers market growers.
Local farming is seeing a come back in our region from people keeping chickens in their back yards to farmers growing produce that's sold in local markets and restaurants. It's the connection to the land, and the community, that helps our local agricultural economy grow. Our local farms also do more than just sell their bounty. Farms work with the local food projects to make sure that what isn't sold does not go to waste but back into our community to feed people who might not otherwise have access to fresh, local produce.
As a core group member of Hoosac Harvest, I'm looking forward to this event that will include Berkshire Farm Apiary, Wildstone Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, Wild Oats Market, Many Forks Farm, Country Dream Farm, Berkshire Grown, Berkshire Food Project, North Adams Farmers Market and more.
Hoosac Harvest will also be present and is looking for community members to help fulfill its mission of a vibrant food system in which all members of the northern Berkshire community participate and have access to locally grown, healthy, sustainably-produced food. Hoosac Harvest currently raises funds to subsidize 20% of the CSA shares at Square Roots Farm, enabling low-income community members to participate fully. We need people power to do more including growing a row in a backyard garden for the local food pantry to a cadre of volunteers to help with gathering unharvested produce from local farms to serving on the core group.
Joins us on Thursday for this free event and meet the farmers, mingle with friends and celebrate the bounty of the Northern Berkshires.
Participating farmers include Wildstone Farm, Square Roots Farm, Cricket Creek Farm, and Country Dream Farm. Also participating are beekeeper, Tony Pisano, Sunshine Bagels, Wild Oats Market, North Adams Farmers Market, Berkshire Grown, the Berkshire Food Project, and more.
Berkshire Chefs To Show Off Skills At James Beard House
Staff Reports On: 03:09PM / Tuesday February 07, 2012
The chefs will discuss every step from charcuterie or butchery and the preservation of fruits and vegetables to the full meal with a wide range of cured, dried and pickled meats including lardo, pickled pig's feet, porchetta de testa, hickory-smoked jowl, lamb'cetta and crispy pig ear. The demonstration will include ways to preserve fresh food through the winter.
The event was organized by Executive Chef at the Red Lion Inn and President of Berkshire Grown Brian Alberg, who also owns his own farm. This is Alberg's ninth appearance at the Beard House.
"The food culture of Berkshires has been embracing preservation long before the farm-to-table movement became a national story. Here in New England, maintaining and creating nutritional value, texture and flavor, have been imperative to extending our limited growing season. This dinner celebrates our time-honored tradition of preservation and pays homage to the farmer, producer and grower, as well as to the animal itself," Alberg said in a press release.
The reception and dinner is a collaboration among a variety of Berkshire chefs, farmers and producers. The participating chefs are: Alberg, Joji Sumi and Nicholas Moulton of Mezze, Lester Blumenthal of Route 7 Grill, Daniel Hardy of Allium Restaurant, Jeremy Stanton of The Meat Market and Dan Smith of John Andrews. Red Lion Inn Sommelier Dan Thomas selected the wines that accompany the dinner’s reception and six courses.
The chefs sourced menu ingredients from many Berkshire region farms and artisans including Bacon on the Side Farm, Berkshire Blue Cheese, Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Berle Farm, Blue Hill Farm, Community Cooperative Farm, East Mountain Farm, Farm Girl Farm, Foggy River Farms, High Lawn Farm, Hilltop Orchards, Howden Farm, Indian Line Farm, Lakeview Orchard, Mighty Food Farm, North Plain Farm, Peace Valley Farm, Taft Farms, Wanabea Farm, West County Cider and Zehr and Sons Mushroom Farm.
The evening begins at 7 p.m. with a reception in the Beard House's Greenhouse Gallery with assortment of hors d'oeuvres. A seated tasting menu begins around 8 p.m. The price is $130 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $170 per person for the general public.
Beginning at noon a team from The Red Lion Inn and Berkshire Farm and Table will be streaming live behind-the-scenes coverage of Berkshire chefs in the James Beard kitchen. Media coverage will include blog posts, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter updates for up-to-the-minute storytelling as it takes place onsite in New York.
Rosemary Flatbread with East Mountain Farm Lardo and Lakeview Orchard Jam
Cured Sardines with Preserved Citrus
East Mountain Farm Fried Pork Croutons with Dried Peace Valley Farm Cherry Tomatoes, Mighty Food Farm Winter Kale, and Mayonnaise
East Mountain Farm Pickled Pigs’ Feet with Toasted Bread and Parsley Salad
Mighty Food Farm Potato–Parsnip Latkes with Applesauce
Berkshire Mountain Distillers Apple Cider Manhattans
Berkshire Mountain Distillers Smoked Tomato Bloody Marys with House-Smoked Bacon
Medici Ermete Quercioli Reggiano Lambrusco Secco NV
North Plain Farm and Blue Hill Farm Pigs’ Heads Three Ways > Porchetta di Testa, Hickory-Smoked Jowl, and Pickled Tongue with Salt-Cured Lemon, Indian Line Farm Pickled Green Tomatoes, Community Cooperative Farms Pickled Cucumbers, Farm Girl Farm Pickled Beets, and Chef’s Garden Quince Preserves Dönnhoff Riesling 2010
Arctic Char Crudo with Farm Girl Farm Bok Choy Kimchi, Zehr & Son’s Mushroom Farm Shiitake Velouté, and Shiitake Chips Ameztoi Getariako Txakoli 2010
Roasted Foggy River Farms Blue Hubbard Squash and High Lawn Farm Ricotta Ravioli with Lila’s Mountain Smoked Lambcetta, Taft Farms Pickled Green Zebra Tomatoes, and Oven-Dried Beefsteak Tomato Purée Damilano Barbera D’alba 2009
Berkshire Sauerkraut-Braised Wanabea Farm Rabbit with Smoked Foggy River Farms Squash Purée and Squash Butter West County Ciders Reine De Pomme NV
East Mountain Farm Pork Roulade with Garlic Sausage, Pork Confit, Crispy Pig’s Ear, Mighty Food Farm Root Vegetable Purée, and Pickled Vegetables Villa Ponciago Fleurie La Réserve 2009
Howden Farm Sweet Corn Panna Cotta with Candied Bacon on the Side Farm Bacon and Berkshire Blue Cheese–Dusted Berle Farm Organic Popcorn Berkshire Mountain Distillers Hot Buttered Rum With Hilltop Orchards Cider
Baba Louie's Facebook Special
Stephanie Farrington On: 11:13PM / Saturday February 04, 2012
So it's Friday afternoon. Your energy is used up for the week and there's still a dinner to be made or bought or found. You find yourself idly scrolling through Facebook at 4 p.m. When you notice it — Baba Louie's is offering a special deal!
This happened to us last week and it's one of the reasons why it pays to "Like" your favorite restaurants on Facebook.
The Berkshires may not have a Groupon of its own yet but last week Baba Louie's offered a special as good as any you'll find on the major coupon sites. Come in, mention the key words from the Facebook post and you got 50 percent off your dinner tab. Not 50 percent off an entree — 50 percent off the whole bill.
I grabbed my partner in life and we left for Baba Louie's. Once there we sat at the bar and had the best gluten-free pizza I've ever tasted as well as a generous dish of linguine with chicken and artichokes and "Dawn's Delight," a small salad that was plenty for two and was so delicious I would happily eat it every Friday until the summer (at least).
"Dawn's Delight" is described as "Gorgonzola, pears, dried cranberries and toasted walnuts served on a bed of organic mixed greens with our balsamic vinaigrette." Yup, that's the stuff. The combination is completely delicious.
For a pizza we chose the unusual combo of shrimp, pineapple, and coconut on a gluten-free crust. It was a refreshing change from our usual traditional pizza and the crust was surprisingly good.
Baba Louie's uses local organic ingredients whenever possible and has plenty of vegetarian, even vegan, options for those who want them.
Our entire meal, a feast really, with wine, beer and a $10 tip, came to $45. Definitely more than cooking at home but a real bargain for a night out. (It's always nice, if you can manage it, to tip on the amount the meal would have been if you got it at the regular price since your server does the same amount of work and sometimes more.)
So if you're wondering what to do for dinner, go online, check out who says what on Facebook or Twitter — more and more restaurants are making use of social networking to announce specials that aren't available anywhere else, count yourself in and give yourself a treat. You'll be glad you did.
Baba Louie's has restaurants in Pittsfield, Great Barrington and in Hudson, N.Y.
Wild Oats Brings You Down on Mighty Food Farm
By: Staff Reports On: 02:46PM / Wednesday September 21, 2011
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Wild Oats Market is offering an opportunity to find out where your food comes from.
The market cooperative is planning a tour of Mighty Food Farm, a certified organic farm in Pownal, Vt., on Friday, Sept. 30, from 3 to 4:30. The Community Supported Sgriculture farm specializes in local and organic foods.
Lisa MacDougall and her crew will lead a tour of the farm's fields, barns, chickens, the CSA room and the high tunnel for growing winter CSA crops. It will conclude in the barn with cider and doughnuts and a short question-and-answer session with MacDougall, who has owned and operated Mighty Food Farm for five years.
Wild Oats purchases much of its organic produce from Mighty Food Farm, including eggplant, cabbage, carrots, melons, tomatoes, strawberries, kale, rainbow and Swiss chard, and more.
Anyone interested in learning more about organic farming in the Northeast or in visiting a small family farm is encouraged to attend. The tour is free but children younger than 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Participants should meet at the farm at 3 p.m. It's about 8 miles north of Wild Oats and directions are available at the market's service desk or on the website.
Pie Really Does Take the Cake in South County
By: By Nichole Dupont On: 11:36PM / Tuesday July 12, 2011
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Some people bond over martinis, others find their connection through grueling bike rides up mountains. Common denominators are rare, unless, of course, we are talking about pie. Say what you will, good tasty pie is what makes the world go 'round. Political differences are forgotten, screaming children are placated and "piece" is enjoyed by all.
At least, this is what happened at the first-ever "Anything Goes Pie Contest," held on Sunday at the Route 7 Grill.
More than 40 entrants, including crust novices and meringue extraordinaires, tried their hand at sweet and savory to the delight of tasters and judges. The delicious desserts made their home under a tent, where folks of all ages and walks of life – writers, grandmothers, sunburnt toddlers – lingered over strawberry chiffon, vegan sweet potato and triple ginger like kids in a candy store. The contest coordinator, Gina Hyams, author of the recently released "Pie Contest in a Box" (Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2011), stood amidst a flurry of pies and sharpies, signing books and handing out judging cards for all who wanted a little taste of Berkshire heaven.
While the stakes were not high for the entrants, the contest itself supported more than just local taste buds. Proceeds from the contest (each person who would judge the pies was asked to make a donation of $5 or $10) went toWBCR-97.7, Great Barrington's local and very diverse radio station. More than $700 was raised for the station and according to station manager Paul Rapp, "a new Berkshire tradition was in the making." Good news for everyone as they waited with bated breath to dig into the pies and begin the judging.
Once Hyams gave the go-ahead, the hovering, chattering crowd became a silent, well-oiled machine, each taster intent on the task of finding the pies they had chosen to judge and letting the flavors of chocolate, ricotta, cherry and even beets, roll around on their tongues before making that final decision.
What a tough decision it was, too. I elected to try five very different pies. Amidst the swirl of sweet and savory and tart and syrupy it was difficult to pinpoint my "favorite." The judging categories ranged from 1-Inedible to 10-Sublime, and I can assure you my clean plate was a testament to the "feasibility" of eating every pie without prejudice. Having myself made a pie for the contest, I could taste the hard work, nostalgia and generosity that went into creating each delectable disk.
But, all good things must come to an end and all contests must eventually have a winner. This pie-for-all was no exception. Third place went to Kilian and Tiernan Ramer (a very young brother and sister team) for their no-bake Butter Hazelnut Chocolate Pie. Second was swept up by Amy Rudnick for her Sour Cherry Almond Streussel Pie. The grand pie queen of the day was another young contestant, Liv Korth, for her Chocolate Raspberry Pie. Each winner received a custom-made apron from MoHo Designs.
Of course, the best part, aside from watching a bunch of kids "take the cake" in the winner's circle, was watching everyone go back for more once the judging ended. By the end of the afternoon, most of the entries were reduced to crumbs and memories. A community radio station walked away with the reassurance that the show would go on and all of us walked away with a smile, most to steal a quick cat nap and dream of pie.