Monday, November 30, 2009

Make a Gingerbread House for Share the Bounty!

Help Share the Bounty by making a gingerbread house for Wheatleigh's 6th Annual Gingerbread Competition and Silent Auction.

The rules are simple:
1. All ingredients used in and around the house must be edible
2. Except lights. You can use lights if you'd like. We can't eat those.

Then, bring your house to the Lenox Community Center by 2:30 on Sunday, Dec. 6th. We will have a silent auction for the houses, and all of the proceeds will benefit Share the Bounty.

Share the Bounty raises money to buy shares in CSA farms, and then we donate those shares to soup kitchens, food pantries and WIC participants.

Here's a recipe for gingerbread houses from Holly Evans, the pastry chef at Wheatleigh.

Gingerbread For Houses

1 cup shortening
1 cup molasses
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tap baking soda
.5 tsp salt
5 cup AP flour(approx)

-combine shortening, sugar and molasses in a pot-bring to simmer
-remove from heat and add baking soda, salt and cinnamon
-graddually stir in flour 1 cup at a time(you may not need 5 cups)
-roll out to 1/4 inch thick-chill
-cut shapes
-bake cold dough @300 for 20 minutes until firm

Icing Glue (for putting the house together)

This recipe is for a single batch. You will probably need several, but if you make them all at once, keep them in separate bowls: it dries very quickly and is like cement. Keep it well covered: one piece of saran wrap touching the icing itself and another on the bowl.

3 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
3 - 3 1/2 cups icing sugar

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and beat until the whites are stiff but not dry. Gradually beat in the icing sugar, beating for about 5 minutes until it reaches spreading consistency. Keep it covered and refrigerated until needed.

For more info on the event, please contact Wheatleigh at 413-637-0610

Join us! Dec. 6th from 3 to 5! Free, fun event for the whole family!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Farmers' Markets

Berkshire Grown hosted more than 60 regional farmers and food producers in the Berkshires reaching more than 2,000 community members at the first annual Holiday Farmers’ Markets on Saturday, November 21.

“The markets were an overwhelming success and we were thrilled to have seen such a turnout,” said Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. “We had an impressive number of vendors at both locations and received very positive feedback from customers and vendors alike. Everyone wants to do it again next year,” she added.

In Great Barrington, more than 500 people shopped the 35-vendor Holiday Farmers’ Market at the old firehouse on Castle Street. The Williamstown Holiday Farmers’ Market, which took place at the Williams College Field House, attracted more than 1,400 community members. The two community markets helped extend the selling season of farmers while promoting the use of locally grown and produced food for the Thanksgiving season.

One vendor reported the Holiday Farmers’ Market was the highest-grossing farmers’ market on record for their farm. Every vendor said they would definitely do it again next year and community members requested a second market before the Christmas holiday.

“We could not believe the support we received for the Williamstown Holiday Farmers’ Market,” said Zheutlin. “We’re really energized by the demand for local food and for the creation of a community around our farms and food producers and are already talking about another holiday market (or two) for 2010,” she added.

In support of Berkshire Grown, this event was sponsored by Williams College (The Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program in conjunction with Dining Services), Mezze Restaurant Group and Slow Food of Western Massachusetts. Visit for additional details.

Copy and paste in these links to see photos

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wheatleigh's Gingerbread House Competition and Silent Auction to benefit Share the Bounty

Join with Wheatleigh for its 6th annual afternoon of holiday fun and spirited competition!

Sunday December 6th, 2009, 3:00 - 5:00 pm at the Lenox Community Center, 65 Walker Street, Lenox, MA

Create a Gingerbread House for a good cause!

Call Wheatleigh 413-627-0610 for entry details.

Donations welcome, all proceeds go to benefit Share the Bounty, Berkshire Grown's project to support local farms and food pantries.

Thanksgiving Dinners

Café Reva
Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
238 Tyler St.
Pittsfield, MA

(413) 442-6161

Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club
Thanksgiving Dinner Buffet in the Mansion Ballroom
Thursday, November 26, 2009 from noon to 8 p.m.

For reservations, call (413) 637-1364, Ext. 0 or Ext. 605.

55 Lee Road, Lenox, MA
Tel: (413) 881-1663 | Fax: (413) 637-0571 |
Gala Restaurant
Thanksgiving Dinner 11:30am-2:30pm
222 Adams Rd.
Williamstown, MA

$39.95 Adult, $33.00 Seniors, $12.95 Children 6-12 yrs, FREE Children 5 and under.
Gramercy Bistro
Thanksgiving Dinner
24 Marshall Street
North Adams, MA

Haven Café
Take out Thanksgiving
8 Franklin St.
Lenox, MA

Please order by Sunday, November 22th.
All orders must be paid in full at time of order.

The Interlaken Inn
Thanksgiving Buffet
74 Interlaken Rd.
Lakeville, CT

$29.95 for adults

Thanksgiving dinner
1575 Pleasant Street (Route 102)
South Lee, MA


The Red Lion Inn
Thanksgiving Dinner
30 Main St.
Stockbridge, MA

Served from Noon - 6:30 PM
$49 adults, $24.50 children 12 and under
Please call 413.298.1690 for reservations

Rt 7 Grill
All you can eat buffet Thanksgiving
999 Main Street
Great Barrington, MA

$30 per person - $15 per kid 12 & under
Noon -4

Swiss Hutte
Thanksgiving Dinner
Route 23
Egremont, MA
(413) 528-6200

Served from 1pm to 6pm.

La Terrazza
Thanksgiving dinner
51 Walker St.
Lenox, MA

$50.00 Per Person*
*Plus Tax & Gratuity*
Serving 12Noon-6PM
Reservations: 413-637-2532

The Williams Inn
Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner
1090 Main St.
Williamstown, MA
Serving 12 noon to 4 p.m.

$29. per person * Children under 10 years $14.50
Children under 5 years variable
Plus Massachusetts 6.25% Meal Tax


18% gratuity added to parties of eight or more

Festive All-Organic Thanksgiving Menu
The Williamsville Inn, 286 Great Barrington Road (Route 41)
West Stockbridge, MA

Thursday, November 26, 2009 1- 6 p.m. By advance reservation

3-course prix fix menu - $48 per person/ children under 10 half price
(beverages, tax & gratuity not included)
***Also available pre-ordered as take-out ***
**Early reservations are highly recommended**

For reservations, please call 413-274-6118

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Popular Courses for Farmers

MDAR is once again planning to offer two very popular courses for both aspiring and experienced farmers during the coming winter months:

1) Exploring Your Small Farm Dream (Explorer)

The Explorer Program is intended for those who are considering farming as a small and likely part-time business. Its purpose is to help pre-venture, aspiring farmers learn what it will take to start and manage their own profitable agricultural enterprise, and to decide whether this is a path they really want to/can take. Explorer makes use of four guided group sessions, an acclaimed workbook, Instructors experienced in starting ag businesses, and extensive supporting resources. The goal of Explorer is to help you decide whether starting an agricultural business is right for you and, based on that decision, to help you plan practical next steps. It was created to help you articulate the clear vision and goals you will need to guide a new agricultural venture. Explorer meets four times (6-9 PM) over a six week window, usually beginning in January or February.

2) Tilling the Soil of Opportunity (TTS)

This innovative, farmer friendly course focuses on existing agricultural businesses that will benefit from an organized look at their current operation in order to plan for growth and change. Over 240 Massachusetts agricultural enterprises have completed TTS.

The course Instructor guides participants through creation of a business plan to improve decision making on the owner/operator’s farm. MDAR has enhanced the 35 hours of group meetings with additional individualized technical assistance and confidential one-on-one financial planning. The Instructor visits every participant’s farm/ag enterprise at least once during the course.

TTS is facilitated by a nationally certified and experienced Instructor, and is monitored by the Director of the MDAR Agricultural Business Training Program. Our local partner agencies and organizations contribute additional and ongoing regional resources for participants.

Guest speakers are drawn from local farm businesses and service providers to personalize the key concepts of many sessions

After the course ends, selected students receive additional individual technical assistance in topic areas most important to completing a working business plan. Basic costs for this service are included.

The TTS business plan can simplify eligibility for federal, state and local assistance programs

This course qualifies as a "Borrower Training Program" for the USDA Farm Service Agency, and can enhance efforts to secure funds from any lender

TTS meets 10 times (6-9 PM) on a once weekly basis over an 11 week window that begins in January.

***As usual, we locate Explorer and TTS courses according to demand in a region. We have tentative plans to offer a session of each in Amherst and a session of TTS in Southeastern Mass. The sooner you get information and register (see information below), the sooner we can get them scheduled!

3) NEW! In addition, we will be piloting one session (in Amherst) of a new offering for past Explorer graduates who are still working on taking the next steps but are not ready for TTS. We are calling this session Small Farm Planner. It will begin in December and will meet three times over three months, with extensive email interaction between. If you have completed Explorer – here in MA or elsewhere – and are familiar with the workbook for that course, please contact Rick Chandler (see below ASAP!


Rick Chandler

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources

101 University Drive, Suite C-4

Amherst, MA 01002


Phone: 413-548-1905