PITTSFIELD, Mass. — There are still some shares left for those interested in joining Hancock Shaker Village's community-supported agriculture program.
Shareholders can stop in on Tuesdays and Saturdays to pick up vegetables, herbs and flowers, and share recipes.
Participants like grabbing the pre-packaged shares, said Bill Mangiardi, director of farm and facilities, but anyone with the yen to join in the harvesting as well is welcome to do so.
The working history museum was recently awarded a $1,550 grant from the Green Pastures Fund, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, to improve the cold-storage capacity of the root cellars built by the Shakers in the 1910 barn complex.
"The upgrade to the root cellars gives us more time to pull together the harvest and keep everything in pristine condition on hot days," said Mangiardi.
Harvest distribution will runs about 20 weeks between mid-June and late October. This is the second year that the village has operated a CSA. It's designed to provide for up to 80 housholds; full shares for up to three to four people are $500, half shares for one to two people are $250. Reserve at www.hancockshakervillage.org or by calling 413-443-0188.
Kale Chipping: Healthy Vegetable Snack
By Stephanie Farrington On: 01:58PM / Wednesday March 28, 2012
Last year, I complained to a friend that I would like to eat more leafy green vegetables, like kale, and I'd surely do so if they weren't virtually inedible.
Despite its many health benefits, I wasn't a fan of kale.
Impossible to cook or chew into submission and cheerfully green no matter what you do to it — I had pretty much decided kale was permanently off my menu. But then I heard about kale chips. People kept telling me how much their kids loved them so, not to be outdone by a pack of preschoolers, I decided it was time to belly up to the kitchen counter and try my hand at kale chips.
My husband has always been a healthy eater so, in our kitchen, buried in a cupboard somewhere, was a food dehydrator. This is a bonus. If you have a dehydrator, by all means use it. (if not, your kale chips will still be delicious if they're done in a very low oven.)
A dehydrator will dry the kale without your having to pay any attention to it and even better than that, dehydrated kale chips are considered raw food — a whole other subset of healthy eating. You can get really smug about your kale chips if they're dehydrated. When I started out, I figured that would be about all I got out of the exercise. Boy, was I in for a shock.
If you like the seaweed on the outside of sushi, you'll like kale chips, in fact, sushi's harder to develop the taste for than kale chips. They melt in your mouth and they taste, mostly, of whatever it is you put on them before you dry them out.
The preschoolers are right, kale chips are yummy. They're healthy, low-cal, low fat and high in every nutrient you can think of. They taste great, they're full of fiber, they have a satisfying crunch and if you like cheese puffs, there's a kale chip you'll love. Just think, the next time you want to sit down with nothing but a bowl of chips for dinner, you could actually be doing your body a favor. What could be better?
Here are two ways to make kale chips. When you've done it once, you'll quickly think up your own.
"Cheesy" Vegan Kale Chips
2 tablespoons tahini (sesame paste) — available in the natural foods section of your grocery store or at your local food co-op.
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast — available at health food stores or the food co-op.
3 tablespoons soy sauce — I use kikoman or organic shoyu. It's important to use a light soy that is authentically made, the stuff made by American companies is too thick and syrupy, it won't work.
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
Put all of these ingredients in the bottom of a big bowl. Then wash a bunch of kale and strip the leafy part off the stalks. Tear these into chip-sized pieces. Dump them into the bowl with your mixture in the bottom. Wearing rubber gloves, massage the dressing into the kale. Kale is sturdy. Really work the stuff in. Pretend you're kneading bread and massage the leaves until you've reduced the size of your kale pile by about half.
Arrange the dressed leaves on a parchment covered cookie sheet and bake in a very low oven (200 degrees maximum) for 3 hours or until your chips are crispy.
If you're using a dehydrator, arrange these on the dehydrator trays and set the dial to "vegetable" leave it overnight or all day while you're at work.
Plain Kale Chips
2/3 cup olive oil
1/8 - 1/4 cup salt (to taste)
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Large bunch of kale
Follow the instructions above but substitute this mixture for the "cheesy" dressing.
See? Easy. Eat your vegetables. Make your Mom happy.
Outstanding in the Field Planning Berkshires Dinner
EGREMONT, Mass. — The Outstanding in the Field bus is making its way to Indian Line Farm in South Egremont on Sept. 15 in its first trip to the Berkshires since 2004.
Executive Chef Brian Alberg and his crew from The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge will be manning the field kitchen and presenting a five-course meal to 130 to 150 guests at the nation's first community-supported agriculture farm.
The dining experience on wheels has traveled around the nation for more than a decade promoting local food and agriculture, reconnecting diners to the land and the origins of their food and honoring local farmers and food artisans. The organization donates to a number of farm- and food-related groups whose missions align with those of OITF.
"We are so fortunate to live in an area where our community is connected to the land, and our chefs are interested in supporting local farmers and food producers," said Alberg, who is well known for his efforts in promoting and showcasing locally grown produce and is president of Berkshire Grown. "This dinner is a perfect forum to showcase our efforts and we are psyched to see the bus stop here on Sept. 15."
Farmers Elizabeth Keen and Al Thorp have been growing Certified Naturally Grown produce on the 17-acre Indian Line Farm since 1997 primarily for the CSA but they also sell to the Great Barrington Farmers Market, restaurants and some local stores.
OITF organizes as many as 90 events a year and traveled to Europe last year. Ingredients for each OITF meal are almost all local and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region.
Tickets to the four-course, family style dinner on Saturday, Sept. 15, are $220 per person and includes hors d'oeuvres, farm tour and dessert. They go on sale on March 20; more information can be found here.
Beginning at noon Sept. 15, a team from The Red Lion Inn and Berkshire Farm & Table will be streaming live behind-the-scenes coverage, offering a backstage pass to this celebrated event. Media coverage will include blog posts, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter updates.
Know Your Farmer Photos
By Stephanie Farrington On: 10:34AM / Friday February 17, 2012
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.