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Food of Love (Chocolate!) & Shakespeare Go Together

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The ninth annual Food of Love (A Celebration of Shakespeare, Love, and Chocolate) will take place at the Williams Inn on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 10. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m.

Food of Love is a benefit for the Fall Festival of Shakespeare at Mount Greylock Regional High School, which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary next November. At this event, the audience will enjoy a chocolate buffet, provided by the Williams Inn, while high school actors present some of Shakespeare's scenes — comic, tragic and always romantic.   
This year's theme is "Love Interrupted," with scenes where love might be ill suited, just declared, or not quite resolved. In addition to Shakespeare's work, some scenes from David Ives plays will also be included for a contemporary take on the theme.
Seating is limited. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, available at Where'd You Get That?!, Wild Oats Market and at the door.


Where Everybody Knows Your Name — In The Morning

Stephanie FarringtonBerkshire Food

You can get a cold brew at Corner Lunch — they'll know your name, too.
Does anybody remember "Cheers?"
It was a TV show set in Boston where everyone at a local pub knew everyone else. People don't expect that kind of treatment anymore but if you live in the Berkshires and eat out for breakfast, there are plenty of places where it's true, "everybody knows your name and they're always glad you came."
Two of those places are Linda's Cafe at 178 Union St., North Adams, and The Corner Cafe at 50 Summer St., Adams.

Linda's is busy every day; they are an old-school diner doing a booming business in basic breakfasts. Pancakes are their specialty but they'll make you just about anything you can think of for breakfast.
The cafe has been a North Adams institution for the last 17 years.
Both places are open early — really early. They close early, too. If you want breakfast or lunch at Linda's you can eat at 6 a.m. but you'd better be done by 1 'cause that's when they close. On weekends, if you sleep in, forget it. Linda's closes at 11 a.m.
Linda's makes pancakes, big, huge, fluffy, moist pancakes. They make them with bananas or blueberries, lots of them or with strawberries and whipped cream if you prefer. Ask for them dry with butter on the side or you get margarine. They are not trying to wow anyone with the quality of their ingredients here. It's plain, homestyle food. But it is good and Linda's has my number for sure, because they make great corned beef hash

Corned beef hash is an American thing. I've never seen it on a menu in Canada or England, granted, my experience in England is limited, but I'm pretty sure it's strictly an American standby. If you like corned beef hash and eggs Linda's is your place.

For the benefit of the team, however, I had the pancakes that were excellent. They come served with extra crispy, not burnt, bacon. Absolutely yummy if you're not busy being envious over your tablemate's home fries, hash browns (Linda's has both) or corned beef hash, and reasonably priced.

Breakfast for two with bottomless coffee served to you at a table by the owner, comes in under $15 at its most extravagant. A bargain.

Clockwise from right: Linda's blueberry pancakes; diners; english muffin sandwich at Corner Lunch; Dick & Joan's menu; western on rye.
We went to the Corner Lunch on a Saturday morning during the annual Adams Community Tag Sale. The Corner Cafe's menu is not as large as Linda's but the place is just as down-home friendly.
My husband ordered their special, an english muffin topped with sausage, egg and cheese, served with home fries, coffee or tea for $5.75. From our seat at the counter, we could see Dick making our breakfast, using a spatula to flip the home fries until they were all an even golden brown.
Everything arrived hot, fresh and well seasoned. I chose a western sandwich, a personal favorite. It arrived as ordered on two buttery slices of rye toast. I would have added more onion but we're all different in our tastes and this was clearly a very respectable western with all the right things in all the right places. The home fries were delicious.
As we sat and ate, owners Dick and Joan Carrigan were happy to answer our questions about the fish on the walls and their trips to Canada. Working alongside Joan was our waitress, (whose name I did not get). She greeted everyone, most of them by name and everyone seemed very glad to see her. One customer went so far as to lean out over the counter and take her hand. While she served, Joan was busy washing dishes in a sink behind the counter.
The atmosphere is plain. The service is great. The food is like home cooking, fresh, hot, and unpretentious. And I'm pretty sure, the next time we go to either place, they'll remember our names — pretty great way to start your day.

Berkshire Grown's Harvest Supper To Highlight Local Food

LENOX, Mass. — Berkshire Grown's 14th annual Harvest Supper, celebrating local food and farms, will take place on Monday, Sept. 24, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Eastover Hotel and Resort.
The feast features delicious dishes prepared by local Berkshire Grown member chefs using fresh ingredients from local farms. The evening will feature a video and sound projection by artist Joe Wheaton featuring images of local farms. The evening also includes a silent auction and a drawing for shopping sprees and gift certificates to Berkshire Grown member stores and restaurants.
"The Harvest Supper celebrates our local farms and gives us a chance to show why we support eating locally grown food," said Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. "Locally grown food is delicious and when we buy food directly from local farmers we’re strengthening our local economy."
Participating restaurants include: Allium Restaurant + Bar, Baba Louie's, Café Reva, Canyon Ranch, Castle Street Café, Eastover Hotel and Resort, Gala Steakhouse & Bistro at Orchards Hotel, Gramercy Bistro, Guido's Fresh Marketplace, HR Zeppelin Find Handmade Chocolates, John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant, Marketplace Kitchen, Martin's Restaurant, Mezze Bistro + Bar, The Old Inn on the Green, The Red Lion Inn, Route 7 Grill, Savory Harvest Catering, Spice Dragon, Wild Oats Market and Williams College Dining. Beverages will be provided by Barrington Brewery and Riverbend Café.
New in 2012, sculptor Joe Wheaton, who has just returned from the Burning Man celebration of arts, will be creating a projection installation inspired by Berkshire farms. 
The dinner is by reservation only and will take place Monday, Sept. 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 for members and $75 for non-members. Tickets are expected to sell out so people are encouraged to call 413-528-0041 for reservations. All proceeds benefit Berkshire Grown, supporting its "Buy Local" campaign as well as its "Share the Bounty" project, which buys shares in local farms and distributes the fresh food to pantries benefiting low-income people throughout the region.
A drawing will be held at the Harvest Supper with tickets priced at $10 (six for $50). Drawing prizes include fabulous dining packages at Berkshire Grown member restaurants, and shopping sprees at Berkshire Co-op Market and Guido's Fresh Marketplace.
A silent auction will offer the chance to bid on and win a variety of items including dinner for two at Blue Hill in New York City, dinner at Blantyre, a Cheese 101 class for two at Rubiner's Cheesemongers, a day pass for two at Canyon Ranch, a one-night stay with dinner at The Old Inn on the Green, compost from Holiday Brook Farm, a guided mushroom foraging walk from MycoLodge B& B, and a class at The Meat Market.
Berkshire Grown will create a Zero Waste Event. Bob Daley of Daley & Sons in Lee will donate his services to take the waste to Holiday Brook Farm in Dalton, where it will be added to their compost along with the compostable plates, spoons and glasses and will become part of Holiday Brook Farm’s famous "black gold" compost. 

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.

A Little 'Hot' Chocolate

Looking for heat?  Luma's on Main Street in North Adams offers a chewy chocolate brownie that hides a spicy aftertaste.

One bite, nice; two bites, hmm; three bites, yow.

She uses a similar recipe for her Mexican whoopie pies. Who says sweet can't hold heat?

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


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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