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Eat To Total Health Opening On Ashland Street

By John DurkaniBerkshires Staff

Renee Tassone poses in front of the counter at her new store Eat To Total Health, located at 14 Ashland St., which is set to open Dec. 26.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Renee Tassone's business Eat To Total Health is moving from her home to 14 Ashland St. on Dec. 26.

"We can heal our bodies from everything with the right tools and it doesn't have to come from a pill," Tassone said.
Tassone drew from her own experience with Celiac disease, which is a condition that makes the body react negatively with gluten and prevents the small intestine's lining from absorbing essential food parts.
"I realized how our connection between food and health is important," Tassone said. 
The shop has two aspects — a "cleansing" program and and sales of healthy food.
Tassone said the program, which costs $30, starts with an hour-and-a-half consultation in person or by phone. She then helps the client create a program fitting to his or her goals. Tassone keeps in touch for adjustments and coaching. The program, on average, runs about three weeks, but Tassone said that many of her clients continue to eat healthy beyond the program.
"This cleanse really teaches you to eat healthy," Tassone said. "It becomes a lifestyle for people."
Her shop will sell various health foods and smoothies. The meals will be vegan and allergy free. At her home, Tassone delivered meals and smoothies to customers at their work or home. That service will continue, but now people have the option of also picking up the foods or drinks from the shop or sitting down and dining in.
Pet food will also be on sale, as well as other products such as protein powders, health books and movies, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Tassone began consulting friends last January and the program "snowballed" from there. She consults roughly 40 people at any given time from various states as far away as Florida. Tassone said she's served about 400 people, all satisfied.
In August on her drive home from work, Tassone was excited by the prospect of selling home-cooked premade meals. She tested it out at first, posting to her Facebook what she was making and that she was taking orders. Tassone expected a couple orders, but instead ended up with more than 30. She currently serves about 100-150 meals each week. Meals typically range from $5 to $11 and she delivers as far out as Bennington, Vt., and Pittsfield.
"It kind of fell into place to open a shop," Tassone said.
When the Ashland Street location opened up, Tassone jumped at the opportunity to rent from First Congregational Church. SLC Contractors, based out of Clarksburg, is currently renovating the 700 square-foot space.
The store is located on 14 Ashland St. and will be open from Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. through 7 p.m. and on Saturday, noon to 5. For more information, check out the store's website or Facebook page.

Dalton Craft Beer Festival Draws Hundreds

By Andrew RoiterSpecial to iBerkshires

Distributor Zach Moehle, left, and Brewmaster Jason Tsangarides of Coastal Extreme Brewing serve up samples of their flagship beer, Newport Storm.
DALTON, Mass. — More than 600 beer enthusiasts flooded the field at Holiday Brook Farm on Saturday evening to attend the 6th annual AugtoBeerFest, presented by Kelly's Package Store.

Kelly's owner John Kelly said the festival this year was a huge success, culling more than 150 different beers from craft and European breweries and drawing guests from as far away as New Jersey to the event, which benefited the Dalton Community Recreation Association.

"We're celebrating my husband's birthday and he loves beer," Pittsfield resident Gwen Davis said, "[and] when we found out it was for the CRA it made it even better ... we're definitely coming next year."

Last year's festival battled against the oncoming Hurricane Irene, which dampened the attendance, bringing in only about 150 diehard fans, according to Kelly.

The idea for the festival was born six years prior when Kelly, at the time a Dalton CRA board member, thought of it as a way to raise money for the organization, promote his business, and showcase craft beer.

"We wanted to do an interesting fundraiser that promotes our business and helps the community," Kelly said.

The festival is expected to raise between $3,000 and $5,000 for the CRA.

"We are big into community," said Jason Kelly (no relation to the owners), the store's IT manager and cheesemonger. "The Kelly family recently received the Gib Kittredge Award and the Dalton CRA, schools, businesses, homes, and every person would give you a different story about what Kelly's means to the community or how they have been helped by the family."

He stressed that the festival required months of preparation. The beers were selected not only for the quality of the brew, but for diversity.

"Another goal of ours was to include the whole of beer drinkers," John Kelly said. So in addition to the more traditional beers available, several types of craft ciders were present and eight different gluten-free beers.

"We look at this as the wine industry was 25 years ago," said Kelly, who believes the wide diversity of beers and the excitement of beer fans are similar to the modern interest in wine in the United States.

Kelly's prides itself on obtaining beers that are rare, or unseen in the Berkshires, bringing in breweries such as Coastal Extreme Brewing Co. from Newport, R.I., which distributes in the Berkshires exclusively to Kelly's.

Music was provided throughout the festival by Lady Di & Her Knights.
"Kelly's found us because they're that good," said Zach Moehle, regional distributor for Coastal Extreme.

Jeff Nardane, sales director for Mayflower Brewery of Plymouth, commented on the quality of the crowd.

"Great people. I do a lot of festivals and there are always a few knuckleheads. But here there aren't any," he said. "Usually, the most common question we get is 'which one has the highest ABV (alcohol by volume),' but there's been lots of great questions [here]."

His sentiment was echoed by Coastal Extreme brewmaster Jason Tsangarides.

"They want to learn about beer. They're not here to get drunk, they're here to enjoy a quality product," he said.

The festival also served as the release party for four beers, including from Brewery Ommegang of Cooperstown, N.Y. Ommegang Regional Market Manager Mike Larson was at the festival handing out samples of new Scythe and Sickle Harvest Ale, which arrives in stores this week.
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