LENOX, Mass. — The Lenox Library hosts its second annual Spring Tonic: Celebrating All Things Locally Grown on Saturday, March 24, from noon to 4.
The event hints at the green season to come while promoting locally grown products and healthy living. The family activity will include an indoor farmers' market, live bluegrass and jazz music, sign-ups for farm shares and a drawing for a gift basket of farm goodies.
At noon, a panel of health experts will speak on "Eating Healthy at Every Age." At 12:30, the indoor farmers' market will open, featuring local vendors selling their wares and farm shares. Vendors will also have samples, recipes and brochures to give away. Local bluegrass musicians Andy Gordon and Paul Rice and the jazz group Too Human will perform. Attendees who visit all the vendors will have the chance to enter a drawing of a gift basket full of local farm bounty.
Hundreds of people attended last year's Spring Tonic, and this year's plans are bigger and better. The event is free and open to the public.
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.
February Is Chocolate Month in the Berkshires
By Stephanie Farrington On: 10:58PM / Saturday February 04, 2012
Joshua Needleman of Chocolate Springs in Lenox pulls out a tray of sweets.
February is "Chocolate Month" in the Berkshires. This is the second year for the countywide effort to sweeten the winter doldrums.
The event kicked off with a low-key party at Chocolate Springs in Lenox on Saturday. Citing the success of last year's event, well-known chocolatier Joshua Needleman hopes people will join in as the month progresses.
So far, Essencials Salon and Medi-spa will be participating with a special "sweet and salty chocolate facial scrub" available for the month of February.
More special offers and events will be posted on the website as they are announced.
If Chocolate Springs offers a special on its fabulous hot chocolate, you'd be smart to get in on it. Joshua's hot chocolate is the best you've ever had, pure bliss in a cup.
We may have another month or two to get through before the Spring arrives but Chocolate Berkshires is doing its best to be sure this month is a sweet one. For more information, chocolateberkshires.com.
Fiori Makes Bloody Good-Looking Marys
By: Staff Reports On: 02:44PM / Tuesday September 06, 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.