Farm

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!

Colrain Artists Open Their Doors This Weekend!

Colrain, Massachusetts is a beautiful town in northern Franklin County, just below the Vermont line. The town draws many artists who seek inspiration from its natural beauty. There are so many artists, in fact that each year they all come together to host Crafts of Colrain Open Studio Tour. Grab a map and a friend and take a tour around Colrain this Saturday and Sunday, November 11-12.

18 artisans will open their doors to showcase their art and offer live viewings of their processes. Their crafts include woodwork, fiber art, metalwork, painting, pottery, and more. One particular artist whose work I always enjoy is Ruby Rice. She creates visionary healing arts ranging from pillows to wall hangings to notecards and more. Her sanctuary and gallery has the feel of a chapel and is meant to comfort and make guests feel at home.

For more information and to download a free map and schedule, visit www.craftsofcolrain.com.

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!

Charming Antique Homes for Sale, River Frontage, Meadows, Farm - located in Western Mass

Enjoy the country life in this Antique Colonial settled on 20 picturesque acres of protected (APR).  The land comes with open meadow, maple trees, and stone walls. Located on 8A in Heath makes for a low traffic count, with a total population of approximately 706. This house has the character of being built c.1808, but the livability of a modern home with updated electric, insulated windows, newer roof, and much more. Whether you're looking to garden, raise livestock, care for horses, or just enjoy the beauty of Mother Nature, this property is just for you. There is ample living space, bedrooms on the first and second floor and a full bath on each level as well. There is also a two car garage and a 20 x 12 out building for tools or a possible stalls.  Located near Berkshire East Outdoor Resort and many recreational and cultural activities. $299,900

Welcome to your own riverfront sanctuary! Come take a look at this Antique Colonial that is located less than 2 miles from the Village of Shelburne Falls and has 1225ft of frontage right on the picturesque North River. This is a perfect location and you will love the beautiful 8 acre setting. This wonderful home is well maintained and has all the charming appeal you are looking for. It features a good size kitchen with dining and sitting area, separate dining room, open living & sitting area, first floor bedroom, full bath and large entry. The second floor has 3 bedrooms, full bath, playroom or office area and walk-up attic. Attached to the spacious home is an oversized 2 car garage with a large heated second floor that makes a perfect crafts room, studio or home office. There is a front porch that overlooks the lovely yard, an enclosed back porch, small barn & garden shed. The land is mostly open and the ideal spot for gardens & animals. $395,000