Community

Be Transported to Medieval Times at the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival

Joust Mutton Mead Medieval FestivalDo you want to be transported to medieval times? This weekend you can at the Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival in Montague, Massachusetts. Started in 2011, the Mutton and Mead Festival is a highly anticipated annual event, where medieval England comes alive in Western Massachusetts. Once a year, the fictitious Mutton and Mead Tavern hosts their town’s summer festival and festival goers are brought back to the 13th century.

Children and adults alike are bound to find something that intrigues them at the Mutton and Mead Festival. The schedule is filled with events for Saturday and Sunday, June 15 and 16 from 10 am to 6:30 pm. See the joust where brave knights on horseback compete on the field of honor. Play games of skill and shoot a round of archery. Meet medieval characters such as Robin Hood and Maiden Marion. Explore the enchanted forest. Plus, enjoy many more comedy, stunt, and Shakespeare acts. View the full lineup here.

Local vendors from around the valley will be there as well, selling artisanal crafts, costumes, art, body products, tarot card readings, and more. Come hungry because there will also be lots of food for sale, and of course ales and mead too. See the full list of vendors here.  

The Mutton and Mead Festival is a project by the Knighten Guild. For directions to the festival, to purchase tickets, and for more details, visit their website.

Mutton and Mead Medieval Festival Montague Mass

You're Invited to the Hope Against Hunger Annual Auction!

Monday, May 13th, 5-7 pm at Hope & Olive in Greenfield, MA

Franklin County Community Meals ProgramEnjoy an evening of delicious appetizers and the chance to win amazing local auction items at the 16th Annual Hope Against Hunger Auction. Guest auctioneer Lis Fisk from WHAI/Bear Country will be there, as well as the members of Franklin County Community Meals Program (FCCMP). Hosted by Hope & Olive restaurant in Greenfield, the auction benefits FCCMP. Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 in advance - ask a FCCMP board member or stop into the Greenfield Savings Bank , 400 Main St in Greenfield to purchase.

The FCCMP runs the Orange and GCC Food Pantries, which provide food and household supplies monthly to area residents and GCC students and staff, respectfully, with emergency needs. 

So come out and show your support for this wonderful cause this Monday! 

 

Hope against hunger annual auction

Respond to their Facebook Event!

Greenfield Farmers' Market Opens This Saturday!

Start Saturdays Fresh!

Greenfield Farmers' Market Massachusetts

Head over to the Greenfield Farmers' Market this Saturday to help them kick off the 2019 season. Going 45 years strong, the Greenfield Farmers' Market continues to provide fresh organic produce and local crafts such as herbal ointments and salves, hand-made wooden bowls, home-made soap, handcrafted clothing, and more. You'll also find delicious food ready to eat. Check out the various vendors from 8 am to 12:30 pm in Court Square in downtown Greenfield. 

This Saturday, enjoy live music by Tom Gizzi while you visit the following vendors:

FARMERS

PRODUCE/PRODUCTS

Balky Farm Wool, fleece, rovings, wool blankets, sheepskins, yarn, pickles, barbeque sauce, quilted table runners. 
Bear Meadow Farm Hard cider and vinegar from their own apples; honey.
Beaumont’s Berries Homemade preserves/jams, including low and no-sugar, and jarred pickles, relish, picalilli. 
Bostrom Farms Grass fed beef, pork, ham. 
Clarkdale Fruit Farms Apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries and cider. 
Eden Pond Farm Heritage breed pastured chicken, whole and parts, fresh and frozen, eggs from pastured chickens. Starting in July. 
Hart Farm Vegetables, currants, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, early greens, eggs from chickens fed non-gmo local grain, fruit popsicles. 
Heart Rock Ranch Farm Native pollinator plants.
Johnson Farm We offer a large variety of produce including sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, summer squash, winter squash, peas, strawberries, potatoes, cabbage, annuals, peppers, carrots, and lots more.
Just Roots Just Roots grows over 50 different types of fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Lyonsville Farm Raspberries, strawberries, herbs, vegetables, starts, annuals, perennials, fresh and dried flower bouquets, eggs.
Rainbow Harvest Farms Organically grown but not certified, heirloom tomato plants and other nursery plants, salad mix, greens, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, peas, other heirloom & unique veg & herbs, dried chiles, dried heirloom tomatoes, dried mushrooms, seasoning salts, berry plants, wheatgrass.
Sage Farms Prepared food vendor providing grilled sausage served with sides of vegetables, onions, peppers, salad with ingredients from other local farms and from pigs raised by the farm.  Breakfast sandwiches and pastry available as well as their own pork cuts available for purchase and eggs. 
Shoestring Farm Plant starts.
Sunrise Farms Maple Syrup & rhubarb, fire wood, pumpkins, gift baskets, small tree saplings, maple candy, cream.  
Warner Farm Asparagus, strawberries, peas, farm made jams and pickles. 
Wing and a Prayer Nursery Plant starts. 
P.K. Industries

Annuals, perennials, jams and jellies.

 

CRAFTERS/ARTISANS

(most of whom come occasionally throughout
the season)

PRODUCTS

Bake My Day Baked goods.
Comida Latina  Fresh and delicious Handmade tamales– chicken, bean, or cheese, hot or frozen.
Cozy Home Critters Pet Accessories.
Earthern Herbal (Blue Dragon Apothecary) Botanica cocktail bitters, rose & hibiscus elixir, aromatherapy blends. 
Harper Keehn Knife and Tool Sharpening Knife and tool sharpening.
Hearthstone Artisan Bakery Artisanal sourdough and ciabatta bread.
Nuthatch Studios Linen clothing and housewares.
Prospect Prints Hand-screened pre-loved shirts with a message you can get behind.
Square Knot Flour sack towels.
Sweet Latina Baked goods.
Taproot Threads Original designs screened on responsibly sourced clothing. 
Dr. Cookie Homemade baked goods including cookies, coffee cake, and all kinds of delicious treats.

 

Information taken from greenfieldfarmersmarket.org -- Visit their website for more details!

Compete, Volunteer, or Cheer at the Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon

This is an amazing time of year where Winter and Summer overlap in our area. You can be skiing in the mountains in the morning and biking on the roads or kayaking the rivers in the afternoon. This makes it the perfect time of year to hold a pentathlon, combining five outdoor activities into one event. The 8th Annual Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon is this Saturday, April 6, starting and finishing at Berkshire East Mountain Resort.

The race has five legs- a 4 mile trail run, 16 mile road bike, 2 mile river paddle, 2 mile obstacle course run, and finally a climb up Berkshire East to a ski/snowboard down to the finish line. Participate in the pentathlon on your own as a “Braveheart” or as part of a team of two or five people. There is a special category for family teams, as well! The pentathlon is a fun way to challenge yourself in a variety of sports in the same race. After the race, all participants are welcome to a free meal at Berkshire East and a free beer from Berkshire Brewing Company!

You can also be part of the fun as a volunteer! The Berkshire Highlands Pentathlon is still seeking volunteers to help time and monitor the course. Volunteers are crucial to making this event happen and receive a free T-shirt and meal to say thanks for their help. Sign up for a volunteer role here.

Of course, supporters are always needed to boost up the participants. Come out and cheer on the participants as they challenge themselves. There are several great viewing areas for different legs of the course. Check out the best places to spectate here. Participants will meet at 10:15 am and the race starts at 11:00 am.

For more information and to register for the Pentathlon, click here.

Good luck to all the racers!



 

Escape the Cold at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in South Deerfield

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory South DeerfieldDuring this time of year, in the middle of winter in New England, the cold can start to get to me a little bit. When that happens, I like to escape to an oasis from the cold in South Deerfield, Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. The conservatory is 8,000 square-feet and houses nearly 4,000 exotic and domestic butterflies. The butterflies can flutter among various tropical plants and flowers and small ponds which hold Japanese Carp, or Koi fish. If you’re lucky, a butterfly might even land on you! The best part is: they keep the conservatory at tropical temperatures, so you can enjoy the warmth, even when it’s wintry weather outside.

Magic Wings also has a gift shop to purchase some butterfly souvenirs, outdoor gardens for the warmer weather, and a food court. They offer the option to host events in their facilities, as well, such as weddings, birthday parties, meetings, or other private parties.

Magic Wings is open every day from 9 am to 5 pm. The cost of admission is $16.00 for adults and $10.00 for children under 17. They also offer discounts for seniors and students. So if you need an escape from winter without taking a flight, just drive to Magic Wings in South Deerfield.

Click here to check out their website. 

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory South Deerfield MA     Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory South Deerfield

Staying Fit: Workout Centers in Franklin County

Was your new year’s resolution to get in shape? The middle of winter can be a tough time to get into a workout routine. The good news is Franklin County has many exercise facilities with a variety of offerings to tailor to your style. So you can stick to your New Years resolution this year!

YMCA in Greenfield

Whether you’re looking for a single or family membership, the YMCA can suit you. They offer different levels of membership and even daily passes if you’re not looking for a commitment. The Y is great for people who are looking to exercise in a variety of ways. They have a full workout room with machines and weights, a pool, a gym, plus they offer classes ranging from spin to aqua aerobics. There are plenty of programs for kids, as well, such as sports teams like gymnastics, and school-aged child care. 

Common Ground Fitness Center

Common Ground Fitness Center is perfect for adults who could use some support getting into and maintaining a healthy workout routine. While you can drop in and use the equipment at your own desire, they promote attendance of their group workout classes and use of personal trainers to help you keep coming. Common Ground offers high intensity workout classes such as TRX, PIYO, and boxing, as well as low-intensity ones like elasticize and yoga. Plus, their memberships are very affordable with tiered levels ranging from $30 to $70 a month.

Riverside Fitness Studio

Sometimes, the best way to take control of your workout routine is by having a personal trainer, someone to hold you accountable for showing up. For those who live in West Franklin County, there is a great personal fitness studio right in Shelburne Falls - Riverside Fitness Studio. Personal Trainer Tim, has been in the fitness industry for over 6 years and has been holding his own steady workout routine for over 10. He offers one-on-one or one-on-two training sessions that give results. 

I hope this list is helpful in your start towards physical health and wellness this new year! Happy training!

 

How to Get Outside This Winter in Franklin County

We still have a few months until Spring, but that doesn’t mean you need to stay cooped up inside the house until then! Break through the cabin fever and head out to these local gems in Franklin County for outdoor adventuring in the snow.

Berkshire East

Berkshire East Mountain Resort has activities year round. But in the winter, it is the best local mountain, located right in Charlemont, MA! It is a great beginner mountain but has trails for those more advanced as well. They offer lessons for snowboarding and skiing and have high quality equipment rentals. You can also take a fun ride on a tube at their snow tubing park. Afterwards, warm up inside the Crazy Horse Bar and Grill for some good food and drinks.

Stump Sprouts

If sometimes you prefer a slower pace through the snow, then head over to Stump Sprouts Cross Country Ski Center, just up the road from Berkshire East in Hawley, MA. There you can cross country ski or snowshoe with beautiful expansive views of rural northwestern Massachusetts.

Northfield Mountain

For more great cross country adventuring with different views, check out Northfield Mountain Cross Country Ski Area. Located on Route 63 in Northfield, they have 25 miles of trails groomed for classical and freestyle skiing. There, you can rent skis and snowshoesand take a lesson with a ski instructor. They also have trailside warming huts and a cozy base area yurt. Visit them Wednesday through Sunday 9 am to 4:30 pm.

 

Visit shelburnefalls.com or franklincc.org for more ideas on how to stay active this winter!

 

Your Local Winter Farmers' Markets for the Pioneer Valley

Summertime in the valley means local farmers markets full of fresh produce, artisanal products, and handcrafted items. Just because the winter months are upon us doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to this wonderful part of living in the valley. Here are some local winter farmers’ markets where you can still get your farm fresh fix:

On one Saturday per month, the Greenfield Winter Farmers’ Market will pop up in Four Corners Elementary School. Check out this wonderful market on the following dates from 10 am to 1 pm: December 15, January 5, February 2, and March 2. Buy lots of goodies from local farm vendors such as Clarkdale Fruit Farm, Barberic Farm, and MycoTerra Farm. Plus a few other local favorites will be there too such as M&G Kettle Korn selling their delicious non-GMO kettle corn, Comida Latina selling delicious Latin cuisine, and Prospect Prints with their fun, hand-screened shirts. For a full list of vendors visit www.greenfieldfarmersmarket.com.

If you’re more of a once-a-week Farmers’ Market goer, head south to the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market, every Saturday until April 20th. Located at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street, this market is open from 9 am to 2 pm. The vendor list changes from week to week, but you can find the updated list at www.northamptonwintermarket.com. Some vendors you might find include Red Fire Farm, Holyoke Hummus Company, Bread Euphoria, and Winter Moon Roots. Plus, enjoy different events from week to week such as live music by local artists, storytimes, and craft workshops.

Happy Farmers’ Market-Going!

These Upcoming Events in Franklin County Are Sure to Get You Into the Holiday Spirit

With Hanukkah already upon us and Christmas only a few weeks away, the holiday season is in full swing! Franklin County has lots of great holiday events coming up in the next few weeks, which are sure to bring our community lots of joy and cheer.

Coming up this Friday, December 7th, downtown Greenfield will be the place to be. Jingle Fest, coordinated by the Greenfield Business Association will feature all sorts of holiday merriment. From 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm, shop around the Pop-Up Holiday Market in The Pushkin. Of course, Santa will make an appearance at Jingle Fest and will be welcoming visitors at Wilson’s Department Store from 5:30 to 7:00 pm. Other exciting happenings include a tree-lighting at Veterans Mall, carolers, pop-up performances and more! Visit their facebook page for more information.

If you still have a lot of holiday shopping left to do, you’ll definitely want to check out the Shutesbury Holiday Shop. For 7 years, the Shutesbury Holiday Shop has brought together an array of local artisans all from Shutesbury or the surrounding towns, to offer affordable, handmade gifts. There will be an assortment of jewelry, quilts, ornaments, woodcrafts, fiber art, artisanal food and much more. Plus, the Shutesbury Holiday Shop lasts for 3 days, starting Friday, December 7th, so there really is no excuse to not stop by and shop local for your holiday shopping. Click here for more information.

Turners Falls will host their annual holiday event on Friday, December 14th. It’s a Wonderful Night in Turners Falls will bring together downtown businesses for a night of holiday cheer. Art exhibits, live music, restaurant specials, and holiday shopping are all part of this wonderful event. Plus, Santa will arrive at Spinner Park at 6:30 pm to collect notes of hope from event goers. Visit the Turners Falls River Culture website for more information.

I hope you enjoy some or all of these wonderful holiday events coming up in our local community. Happy holidays!

Support United Way of Franklin County at the 19th Annual Art & Leisure Auction

Join me for the 19th Annual Art & Leisure Auction to benefit United Way of Franklin County. The auction, to take place on Saturday, December 1 at Greenfield Community College, will feature a silent and live auction. Quality items have been donated by businesses and individuals around Franklin County. Bid on especially fine items in the live auction such as a $1000 gift card to Southwest Airlines, 4 pavilion Red Sox tickets, and a day trip to Martha’s Vineyard by private plane.

Arrive at 5:30 pm for the silent auction at and then stay for the live auction at 7:30 pm. Guest auctioneers Liz Fisk from WHAI 98.3/Bear Country 95.3 and Representative Paul Mark will lead the live auction. All activities will be held in the Cohn Family Dining Commons at GCC. Enjoy live music and food while you bid!

Tickets to the Annual Art & Leisure Auction are $35 per person or sponsor a table of 8 for $275. Click here to register now!

The mission of United Way is to improve the quality of life in our area through special focus on education, financial stability, and health. As a member of the board, I am proud to support the many ways that United Way benefits Franklin County and hope you will be too!