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Berkshire Food Festival Planned Sunday
On: 11:15AM / Friday June 22, 2012
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — North Adams plays host to the 11th annual Berkshire Food Festival on Sunday, June 24, from noon to 4 on Main Street. The event features the cuisine of the area's top restaurants along with beer and wine tasting.

Attendees can also enjoy an eclectic mix of live music from local bands Tom Corrigan and the Reformers and Jungle Work.

The north side of Main Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic and large festival tents will be erected to shade vendors and patrons. The fare will range from traditional to the adventurous. Thirteen local restaurants and food vendors will line the streets with everything from sushi and Indian cuisine to pizza and ice cream.

Returnees include favorites Wild Oats Market and Spice Root of Williamstown,  and Lickety-Split at Mass MoCA and some newbies - Public Eat and Drink and SoCo Creamery.

The offerings have to be purchased by ticket, which can be bought that day at booths on the street. The tickets are valued at $1 each and can be redeemed for food, beer or wine items priced in the $1-$5 range.

This year's festival includes a focus on microbrew beer and locally made wine. Eight breweries, wineries and distributors will set up with staff on hand to educate the public about their specific brands. Beer will be provided compliments of Berkshire Brewing Co. of South Deerfield, Madison Brewery of Bennington, Vt., Wandering Star Brewery of Pittsfield and Paper City Brewing Co. of Holyoke. Mead, also known as honey wine, will be provided by Green River Ambrosia of Greenfield and Maine Mead Works of Portland; Headwater Cider Co. of Hawley will bring samples of organic, hard cider made from locally harvested apples. Additionally, Kelly's Package Store of Dalton will be serving an assortment of imported and domestic fine wines and craft ales.

Berkshire Food Festival is sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union and Northern Berkshire Health Systems. Additional sponsors include Berkshire Menus, Aladco Linen Services and Allied Waste.



     
Hancock Village CSA Shares Available For 2012
On: 02:15PM / Friday May 18, 2012
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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
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Cheesy kale chips are yummy.
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
On: 07:55PM / Monday March 19, 2012
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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
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 Cheeses From Cricket Creek
Know Your Farmer

Hoosac Harvest hosted a gathering on Thursday in North Adams to bring the community and local farmers and food vendors together. Here's a sample of some the local wares that could be sampled.

Mike and Ashley from Square Roots Farm in Clarksburg.

Honeycomb and beeswax products from Berkshire Farms Apiary.
Left, Ioka Farms brought corn muffins an maple butter; right,Gammelgarden's Maple Skyr.

 


 

 



     
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News Headlines
Holiday Raffle to Benefit Berkshire County Arc, NAMI Berkshire County
Watch What You Eat to Avoid ER This Thanksgiving
'Breakfast With Santa' Set for Dec. 7
Williams PTO holding BJ's Fundraiser
MLK Jr. Day Committee Seeks Nominations for 2015 Peacemaker Award
Volunteer Matter of Balance Coaches Needed
Cultural Pittsfield This Week: Nov. 26-Dec. 4
2014 Bazaars & Craft Fairs
Pittsfield Installs 2014 Christmas Tree
Williamstown Looks into Signage to Boost Safety on Bee Hill Road

Stephanie Farrington of Berkshire Food is contributing to our Eats blog — all about food, all the time. 

 


Farmfare
Seasonal Farmers Markets

Berkshire South Community Market
15 Crissey Road, Great Barrington
Saturdays through Oct. 27 from 11 to 3

Berkshire Mall Market
Sears parking lot, Route 8
Wednesdays & Saturdays through November from 8 to 2

North Adams Farmers Market
St. Anthony's Municipal Parking
Saturdays through Oct. 27 from 8 to noon

Great Barrington Farmers Market
Taconic Avenue & Castle Street
Saturdays through October from 9 to 1

Lenox Farmers Market
70 Kemble St., Shakespeare & Company
Fridays through Oct. 5 from 1 to 5

Oits Farmers Market
L & M Auto, 2000 East Otis Road (Rte. 23)
Saturdays through Oct. 6 from 9 to 1

Pittsfield Farmers Market
First and Fenn streets, across from the Common
Saturdays, May 11 through Oct. 26, from 9 to 1

Sheffield Farmers Market
Old Parish Church, Main Street
Fridays through September from 3 to 7

Williamstown Farmers Market
Spring Street parking lot
Saturdays, May 25 through October, from 9 to 1

Hoosick Falls, N.Y.
The Armory
Wednesdays, 4 to 7

 



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