Berkshire Grown Ramps up for 'Farmed and Foraged'
Photo courtesy of Guido's Fresh Marketplace, Jamie O'Brien, photographer.
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — In celebration of the spring season, Berkshire Grown will host "Farmed and Foraged: A Weekend of Spring Flavors," a culinary celebration of farmed and foraged seasonal foods at area restaurants from Friday, May 21, through Sunday, May 23.
The celebration highlights Berkshire Grown restaurants that have made a commitment to source wild and local edibles from area forests, fields and farms at the start of the growing season, which is a challenge for chefs in the Northeast.
This year, Berkshire Grown will feature 23 restaurants throughout the region. Participants will offer an array of prix fixe menus and a la carte selections to celebrate this farm-to-table dining event. Menus will feature wild edibles, locally grown produce, Berkshire artisan cheeses, heritage breed meats, locally made bread and chocolate, and Berkshire-crafted beer and spirits. Dates of participation, menu and a la carte offerings and pricing will vary at each location.
"We’re excited to see many more restaurants participating in this year’s Farmed and Foraged event," said Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. "This is an opportunity for community members to celebrate spring by supporting our local restaurants and farms and tasting some wild edibles they’ve been hearing about but may not have tried before."
Participating restaurants include Allium Restaurant and Bar, Baba Louie’s, Brix Wine Bar, Castle Street Café, EnlightenNext, Gramercy Bistro@Mass MoCA, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Gypsy Joynt, Haven Cafe & Bakery, John Andrews Restaurant, La Terrazza Restaurant at Gateways Inn, Mexican Radio, Mezze Bistro and Bar, Mission Bar and Tapas, Napa Wine Bar and Restaurant, Nudel, Perigee, Stagecoach Tavern, The Inn at Sweet Water Farm, The Old Inn on the Green, The Red Lion Inn and The Williamsville Inn.
"We are encouraging everyone to come out and try delicious dishes highlighting the local harvest. Although our crops are limited at this time of year, the fiddleheads and ramps, the maple syrup and mushrooms, and the meats, cheeses and breads make for an exceptional meal, especially when prepared by our region’s extraordinarily talented chefs," said Zheutlin. "Berkshire Grown member restaurants are committed to the ‘buy local’ mission and this enticing event is one not to be missed."
Baba Louie’s, Castle Street Cafe, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Mezze Restaurant Group, The Red Lion Inn, Williams College Dining Services and the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives at Williams College are official sponsors.
A full listing of offerings from participating restaurants is here.
Last year’s event inspired the Pioneer Valley to participate. This year, Bistro Les Gras of Northampton and Hope and Olive of Greenfield will offer Farmed and Foraged menus. For more information, contact the restaurants directly.
|Tags: Berkshire Grown|
North Adams Regional Offers Room Service
Cook Kathy Sage sets up a grilled burger and fries to go at North Adams Regional Hospital.
North Adams Regional Hospital has revamped the way it delivers meals to provide patients a better dining experience.
The dietary department switched to room service at the beginning of the month, abandoning a long tradition of assembly-line meals that worked in the days when the kitchen fed well more than 140 patients a day.
Changes in health care over the years mean fewer patients being admitted and shorter stays for the ones who are. With a patient count averaging around 40, it made more sense to re-orient meals around their needs, rather than keep them on the kitchen's schedule, said dietitian Kristin Irace.
"The patients love it," said Irace. "We've been getting tons of good comments from doctors, too."
Diet aide Nancy O'Neill scans the bar code on the order slip to track the tray's movement. Ordering is computerized.
Irace showed us around the new layout on Friday and demonstrated how the meals are entered as patients call in their orders from the menu.
"They can have anything they want as long as their diets allow it," she said. In other words, just because it's on the menu, doesn't mean you can eat it.
The computerized ordering system automatically keeps track of caloric intake, salt limits or other dietary restrictions. Prohibited items are grayed out on the screen.
That may be a disappointment for say, diabetics, but for the average patient, the menu offers a variety of hot and cold entrees, from breakfast sandwiches to fruit platters to homemade meatloaf. Also on the menu are items off the grill, create-your-own-pasta dishes, deli sandwiches and soups. Specials are offered, too, depending on what the cafeteria is offering.
The trifold menu is easy to read and the cover is a still life by local artist Ed Carson, whose work is exhibited at the hospital.
Patients can dial 5500 anytime between 7 a.m. and 6:15 p.m., when they're ready to eat. Their diet and ability to order is indicated on their admission charts; the computers can be taken to patients who have trouble ordering over the phone.
They can also order one meal for a visitor at a cost of $5 or $3 for breakfast.
The orders are tracked through a bar code system: Once the order is entered into the computer, an order slip with a bar code is printed to the cook and server. The slip is scanned when the meal tray is completed and again before it leaves the kitchen.
The wait to get trays out at mealtimes is 10 minutes or 10 trays, whichever comes first, said Irace. "This ensures meals are getting to patients within 45 minutes or less."
The new dishware and equipment required for the change to "At Your Request" dining, including a fast-heating charger, was provided by Sodexo, the company that's operated the dietary department for two decades.
"Meals are something that the patients can control in a situation that may difficult for them," said Irace. "It's gives them some comfort, so that's nice."
|Tags: hospital, room service|
Hearty Shaker Lunch
Umm, good. Hancock Shaker Village served lunch in the Brick Dwelling on Tuesday.
The media and guests invited to the announcement of Hancock Shaker Village's 50th anniversary programs got a pleasant surprise on Tuesday: Lunch.
"Oooh," I thought discovering the set trestle tables into the sunlit dining room in the historic Brick Dwelling. "Are they going to feed us?"
It could have been for someone else; we could have been hustled off to a room somewheres. But the villagers are a hospitable folk so I didn't think they'd tease us like that.
For most reporters, a chance to sit down for a nice meal in the middle of the day is a luxury. We're usually on our way to event, at an event or coming back from an event. Meal times can be erratic. It was nice to eat a lunch before 4 that's more than a muffin., said a colleague next to me.
The village Harvest Cafe's chef Michael Roller, formerly of Blantyre and operator of Samel's Deli, served up a wonderful tomato soup with onions, chicken pot pie and caramel apple dessert.
The soup was rich, creamy and flavorful. I had to shoo away the poor server twice because he was trying to clear the table while I was taking notes, shooting pictures and eating at the same time. There was no way that cup was going back into the kitchen with a drop of soup still in it.
The pot pie was hearty with a buttery pastry topping; the dessert was to die for. Luckily they didn't offer seconds because I would have shamelessly indulged. An hour tour of the village afterward helped walk off the meal.
I give Hancock Shaker Village five stars for a great lunch and even better conversation, since we happened to sit with the always informative Director of Education Todd Burdick, who filled us in on Shaker eating habits.
|Tags: Hancock Shaker Village, Michael Roller|