agriculture

Franklin County CiderDays Coming This Weekend!

Fall in New England is such a favored time of year; the bright colors of the foliage, a chill in the air, and of course, all things apple. Every fall on the first full weekend in November, I look forward to CiderDays, a Franklin County celebration of apples. Many of the events are free and range from workshops to talks to tastings to festivals with music and more. This weekend, November 3-5 marks the 23rd Annual CiderDays.

Here are a few events happening this weekend that caught my attention:

On Friday from 6:30-8:00 pm, the Hawks and Reed Performing Arts Center will host “How to Taste Hard Cider.” Learn from cider educators Eric West and Nicole Leibon of Farnum Hill Ciders the thought process behind tasting and evaluating cider. Then, be guided through a tasting of various cider styles. The cost is $30/ticket and includes light hors d'oeuvre.

On Saturday, the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center will host free workshops, talks and tastings from beginner through advanced for cider makers, home orchardists and cider aficionados.

Then, on Sunday from 2:30-3:30 pm at the Deerfield Community Center in Historic Deerfield, learn how to make Spanish style cider (Sidra) from cidermakers Scott Heath (Tilted Shed, CA), Ryan Burk (Angry Orchard, NY), John Reynolds (Black Duck Cidery, NY), cidermaker/restauranteur Sam Fix (ANXO, Washington DC), and beverage director Brian Rutzen (The Northman, Chicago, IL). Join moderator Darlene Hayes for discussion and samples. Tickets are $30.

Plus, I am very excited about this year’s Cider Salon — the world's longest-running hard cider tasting. This year, the Salons will be held in a large tent in Unity Park, on the Connecticut River in Turners Falls, with more than 90 individual cider brands from across North America and Europe. There will be two sessions — 3:30 - 5:00 and 5:45 - 7:15. Tickets are $30 per session.

For more information, to purchase tickets, and to download the full schedule, visit ciderdays.org.

The Cummington Fair is This Weekend! Celebrating 149 Years!

Summer is winding down but there is still plenty of exciting summer events happening in the valley. Thursday, August 24th kicks off the 149th Cummington Fair, in Cummington, Massachusetts, which will run through Sunday, August 27th. The Fair was initiated in 1883 with the purpose of spreading agricultural knowledge. Today, the Fair holds true to this with a variety of farm-themed events, such as Horse & Ox Draws, various animal showmanships, and judging of livestock.

However, that is not all there is to see at the Cummington Fair! Each day there will be a motorized event, like the tractor pull and Stoney Roberts Demolition Derby. Live music will fill the air with country acts such as Jose Duddy and Truck Stop Troubadours. There will be over 50 vendors selling everything from food, to crafts, to agricultural products. Plus, entertainers such as Kenya Acrobats, Christopher the Magician, and Wayne from Maine will perform multiple times throughout the weekend.

Whether you are a resident of Cummington, or the Pioneer Valley, or you are travelling from surrounding areas, you won’t want to miss this huge event. Purchase your tickets ahead of time at cummingtonfair.com to receive a discount and save time waiting in line. Also visit their website for a full listing of events and other information such as directions, parking, and camping. Hope to see you at the Cummington Fair!

www.cummingtonfair.com

The Heath Fair Celebrates 100 Years

As a native of Heath, Massachusetts, I look forward to the Heath Fair every year. This community event, filled with music, food, and agricultural-inspired activities, truly emanates the spirit of the Town of Heath and the surrounding Hill Towns.  The 2017 Heath Fair, happening Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 20, is extra special because it will be the 100th one!

In honor of this milestone, the organizers of this event, the Heath Agricultural Society, have added some new activities. On Saturday, there will be a zucchini race, where participants will decorate a zucchini, plug a set of wheels into it, and send it down the track in hopes it will cross the finish line first! Click here to see all the new added events for 2017, including a goat parade and a raffle for hot air balloon ride.

Traditional Heath Fair events are planned for this year, as well, such as the tractor pull, fireworks, horse draw, cattle pull, wagon rides, square dancing, and more. Live music will include performances by Small Change, Sweetback Sisters, and Patty Carpenter & the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band, to name a few. View the full schedule of events here.

On top of all the fun and excitement, it is the time spent as a community and the memories made each year that make this event so spectacular. The Heath Fair is just one of the many reasons that residents of Heath love their town.

For more information on The Heath Fair go to www.heathfair.org.

Photo: Heath Fair 100th Keepsake Print, Heath Fair at Twilight by Scott Prior: Purchase your own limited edition keepsake print and support the Heath Agricultural Society and the continuation of the Heath Fair. Click here for more information.

It's Western Mass Beer Week!

Last Saturday, June 10 was the start of Western Mass Beer Week, a week long celebration of craft beer and those who create it, support it, and love it. Only in its second year, Western Mass Beer Week has over 50 participating breweries, restaurants, venues, and more, covering four counties: Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties. At the core of these events are the values of keeping it local, supporting small businesses, and promoting your neighbor.

I encourage you to explore neighboring counties, but there are also many exciting things happening right here in Franklin County this week! All week long, Element Brewing Company & Distillery in Millers Falls is giving away a free Element pint glass with the purchase of a tasting flight and Hope & Olive in Greenfield is featuring The Valley Flight, six 4 oz pours of their favorite local brews. From 5-8 pm daily, Ryan & Casey's Liquors in Greenfield is offering samplings from various Western Mass craft breweries.

Normally only open on Saturdays, Berkshire Brewing Company in South Deerfield will have open tap room hours on Wednesday, June 13, 3-7 pm. Also on Wednesday, The Rendezvous in Turners Falls is throwing a party from 6 to 8 pm for the release of Element's new IPA brewed just for them, Voo P.A.

On Thursday, June 15, The Lady Killigrew is combining two of their favorite things: waterfalls and beer. They will host a relaxing afternoon featuring Brick and Feather's In Absentia on cask and draft from noon to 4 pm. Then from 6 to 8 pm, Champney's Restaurant & Tavern in Deerfield will host a "talk & sample" with Hitchcock Brewing Company's owner and brewer, Rich Pedersen. 

Even the library is getting involved with Western Mass Beer Week! On Thursday, the friends of the Montague Public Libraries and Element Brewing Company will host Booz, Books, and Brews at the Millers Falls Library from 6:30-7:30 pm, where you can learn about the brewing process from the breweries and access books that give more information on brewing.

On Friday, June 16, Artisan Beverage Cooperative in Greenfield is having a party in the parking lot from 4-7 pm, with tasting room full pours of mead, kombucha, and libations. Also on Friday, and again on Saturday from 5-11 pm, Margaret Fitzpatrick will serve up some special, creative dishes to be paired with local brews, plus live music at Underdogs Lounge in Shelburne Falls. 

Check out all of the events at westernmassbeerweek.org.

Cheers!

Beautiful 7 Acre Building Lot in Ashfield, MA

Looking for that special piece of property to build your dream home?  Take a look at this beautiful open meadow that is located on a scenic town road and near the charming downtown of Ashfield. The approximate 7 acre building site has southern exposure, current percolation test, over 1166ft of road frontage and there is power at the street. This would make a perfect home site and the open land is ideal for animals or gardens. You are less than 30 minutes from Northampton, Greenfield, the Berkshires and only 10 minutes to the Village of Shelburne Falls. The town has 2 golf courses, Ashfield Lake, Double Edge Theater and everyone's favorite, Elmer's Store. Asking $79,000. 

 

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Email Wanda today for more information at wanda@wandamooney.com.

 

Greenfield Farmer's Market open during the Winter

Greenfield MA Farmer's MarketYou can still support your farmers and buy local foods at Greenfield's Winter Farmer’s Market. Open November 21, December 5, January 2, and March 5 from 10:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m. at the Greenfield Middle School. You can purchase produce, meat, prepared foods and artisan crafts are also available. For more information visit their website at www.greenfieldfarmersmarket.com and sign up for their weekly newsletter.

Three County Fair: September 4th - 7th, Northampton MA

 

3 County Fair County Fair in Northampton 

This weekend September 4th - 7th.  Bring the whole family and enjoy the rides, shows, demolition derby, music, demonstrations, barn animals and lots of fair food!  

Click here for more information and this weekend's schedule.

Learn more about Western MA recreation with this resource guide. To start browsing homes for sale in the Upper Pioneer Valley, try exploring Wanda's recommended search categories.