Community

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.

One Long Weekend, Two Fabulous Festivals

This Columbus Weekend, the Pioneer Valley will host two popular festivals. On Saturday, October 7 through Monday, October 9, the Paradise City Arts Festival will take place at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton. Meanwhile, only 30 minutes Northwest of Northampton, Ashfield will host its Fall Festival on Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 8 up and down Ashfield’s Main Street.

Founded by two artists 23 years ago, the Paradise City Arts Festival now fills up three buildings, an outdoor sculpture promenade, and a festival dining tent. Many artists apply to have a booth at the festival, but only some are selected to attend. Their works for sale range from wearable arts to furniture and home décor to fine art and sculpture. Under the dining tent, local food vendors bring flavors from around the world. Enjoy live music while you dine from The Jazz Divas, The O-Tones, and The Blend. Returning this year is the Silent Art Auction to benefit WGBY/57 public television.

The Ashfield Fall Festival also features arts and crafts exhibitors, but with more of a hometown feel. More than 50 exhibitors will line the Main Street in Ashfield. You can also pick up some locally grown and prepared foods, enjoy live music and dance, and participate in fall-themed games, like pumpkin bowling! Although the Ashfield Fall Festival has been around for almost 50 years, the purpose of it is still to celebrate Ashfield, showcase local business, fundraise, and provide opportunity for the town’s youth to practice creative, social, and business skills.

For more information on the Paradise City Arts festival go to https://festivals.paradisecityarts.com/shows/northampton-october-show

For more information on the Ashfield Fall Festival go to http://www.ashfieldfallfestival.org/.

Whatever you do, enjoy the weekend!

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

These Two New Eateries in Shelburne Falls Have Captured Our Hearts and Our Stomachs

While Shelburne Falls might have fewer places to eat than the surrounding larger towns, we pride ourselves in the fact that the places we do have are all outstanding. In 2017, two new eateries opened their doors in Shelburne Falls and our taste buds are excited about it.

Delicatesse on Bridge Street is owned and operated by Alice Lee. She calls it a “café-deli-eatery.” Open Tuesday through Sunday, 8 am to 4 pm, the menu is a simple and delicious selection of Jewish cuisine and New York deli-inspired breakfast and lunch options like bagel and lox with “schmear” or roast beef sandwich. I have developed a personal weakness for the roast beef sandwich, which is served on fresh, homemade bread. Her daily specials are always creative and beautifully presented like the recent, Crepes Suzette, rye crepes with local husk cherries and a Grand Marnier sauce. When you stop in, make sure to also peak inside her deli case for an assortment of salads, antipasti, or even chocolate mousse!

Around the corner is another new breakfast and lunch spot, Gretchen Gerstner’s bakery, Baked. Their menu is more traditional American, with a twist, like their mixed portabella beef burger. No matter what delicious meal you order, always save room for one (or two) of Gretchen’s delicious baked goods. From cinnamon rolls, to cookies, to cakes, there is something to satisfy your sweet tooth. Baked also has a full coffee and tea menu, making it a great place to grab something on the fly.

The only downside to these two places is that they are both so close to Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont’s office. I could eat at either one every day and it is so tempting to do so…

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.

Proud Sponsor of the Bridge of Flowers Road Race in Shelburne Falls

The 39th Annual Bridge of Flowers Road Race is this Saturday, August 12 – less than a week away! For almost 40 years, this event has been a staple of Shelburne Falls. Over a thousand runners come from near and far to compete in either the 3K Walk/Run or on one of the toughest 10K courses in New England. The course starts on the Iron Bridge, overlooking the Bridge of Flowers, and then winds through the village of Shelburne Falls, back over the Deerfield River, up the infamous Crittenden Hill (also known as Heartbreak Hill!), up Route 112, and then back down to the village. The course’s figure 8 loop makes it viewer-friendly. So even if you can’t brave Heartbreak Hill, you can come out and cheer on the runners.

Over 130 volunteers make this event possible. They can be spotted in their brightly colored race shirts directing traffic, setting up the finish line, serving food, timing the runners, and more. Some of the volunteers come from one of the five charities supported by the race. This year’s supported charities are DIAL/SELF, Cancer Connection, The Art Garden, Friends of Children, and Academy at Charlemont. The race is also a fundraiser for the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, who coordinates this event.

If you haven’t already registered for the race, online registration is open until Wednesday, August 9 at ShelburneFalls.com. Runners get a free race shirt, spaghetti dinner on Friday night, and access to the post-race party/awards ceremony; plus other free goodies donated by sponsors. Speaking of sponsors, Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont Realtors is proud to be a sponsor of this wonderful race, which brings so many new people to our beautiful village. Look for our logo on the mile markers along the racecourse. Good luck to all the runners!

Register Now!

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!

Greenfield Farmer Market Opening Day This Saturday

Start Saturdays Fresh! Greenfield Farmers' Market Opening Day

Saturday, April 29th! 

Over 25 vendors are happily returning this year! The market continues to offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced farm products and local artisans. Farmers will have plenty of starter vegetable plants, hanging baskets, perennial and annual flower plants, herb plants, culinary herbs, mixed greens, baby spinach, arugula, maple syrup, honey, cheese, mushrooms, homemade jams, fresh baked breads, cookies, grass-fed lamb, beef, goat, poultry, pork, kettle corn, locally grown and produced hard cider, goats milk soap, and so much more! 

As the season progresses, there will be an extensive variety of other vegetables along with a wide range of fruit and non-food items such as fresh-cut flowers, herbal skin care products, eco-friendly cleaning products, yarn, sheep skins, and artisan vendors that vary each week.

Vendors that will be at our first market:

Hart Farm
Johnson Farm
Just Roots 
PK Industries
Balky Farm 
Sunrise Farm 
Parish Hill Creamery 
The Atherton Farm
Bostrom Farm
Rainbow Harvest Farm 
JuJuBee Farm
Fungi Ally
Hattapon's Thai Kitchen
M & G Kettle Korn 
Hungry Ghost Bread
Hearthstone Artisan Bakery
The Spelt Flour Bakery
Melnik SweetBee Apiary
Sage Farm
Eden Pond Farm
Dr. Cookie
Shoestring Farm 
Lyonsville Farm
Western Woods Coffee
Pierce Street Iron Works
Artbug Illustrations


This weekend Tom Gizzi will play an acoustic set of covers from different eras in front of Town Hall from 10 am-12:30 pm. The market also has some great things planned for our pre-Mother’s day market on May 13th with a Plant a Pansy for Mom Day – kids of all ages are welcome to stop by the market manager’s booth to plant a pansy to take home from 8:30am-12:00pm.

The market will also continue the SNAP & Save program with up to a $5 SNAP match on all approved SNAP purchases for the first two weeks of the season as SNAP customers settle into the new statewide Healthy Incentives Program (HIP). HIP will allow SNAP customers to double their SNAP dollars when they purchase fruit and vegetables from Farmers that are equipped to accept SNAP directly at their market booth. Currently Just Roots is set up with HIP, so please be sure to visit them for your fruit and vegetable purchases to get the double matching benefit prior to making your other purchases from the market. Other fruit and vegetable vendors will be set up with their own EBT machines that will allow them to accept SNAP purchases directly from customers. We’ll let you know as they are up and running. Once customers make their initial purchase they can then purchase any eligible SNAP foods with the incentive earned from purchasing approved HIP fruits and vegetables! “When a SNAP customer swipes their SNAP/EBT card for fruit and vegetable purchases, an equal amount of incentive funds are immediately and automatically added back to their cards, up to the monthly cap. For example, if a family uses their SNAP benefits to buy $15 of fresh produce at a farmers’ market, a credit of $15 will be immediately returned to their EBT card.” Find out more about HIP at: http://www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/hip.htm

Maple Sugar Season in Western Mass!

The spring thaw is upon us and the sap is running!   It is the ideal time to visit the local maple sugarhouses and enjoy some freshly made maple syrup on pancakes, waffles and french toast.  YUM!! Treat yourself to my personal favorite, "maple cream" and have it on home made bread.  When you visit the restaurants be prepared to wait in line but don’t worry it will be worth it.  You can watch the demonstrations on how they turn sap into syrup.   

Below is the list of my favorite places!    

 

 

 

 

 

Davenport Maple Farm, Shelburne, Ma

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gould’s Sugar House,  Shelburne, Ma

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Williams Farm Sugarhouse in Deerfield, Ma

Greenfield 95th Annual Winter Carnival February 2nd - 4th

Join the winter fun this weekend at Greenfield's 95th Annual Winter Carnival, starting Friday, February 2nd through Sunday February 4th!

Ice sculpting starts on Friday in front of sponsoring businesses.  There is a warming fire starting at 5:00 and the Parade of Lights starts at 6:00. There is a full day of events on Saturday and Sunday that include Youth Basketball League Game, sleigh bell run, public ice skating, cribbage tournament and the Youth Center at 20 Sanderson Street has many events scheduled.   Bring your pets on Sunday, February 4th and enter them in the K-9 Keg Pull.  The realtors from Coldwell Banker Upton-Massamont Realtors will be there to show support for our furry friends.    For more information click here to visit the carnival's website.