Archive | Fall 2012



A Scituate Native Brings Local and Sustainable Seafood to the Berkshires


As a kid growing up in Scituate, Massachusetts, Wes Malzone used to hang out by the docks watching the fish, scallop and lobster boats pull in and unload their catch. Over the years the fond memories of the harbor and its haul were tinged with an increasing awareness of the effect that industry consolidation and international competition were having on the families in his community and the rapid disappearance of what had always been a coastal state’s right – fresh, local seafood.

After a decade in corporate sales, Malzone moved to the Berkshires with his family in 2011 where he enjoyed the bounty of our local farms. While he could find no fault with the farm-to-table approach, he sorely missed the fresh seafood of his youth. In the spring of 2012 he decided to do something about it and founded BerkShore. His dream was to make the best Massachusetts seafood available in the western part of the state.

With BerkShore Malzone hopes not only to serve a customer base with a product that is healthy, fresh and delicious, but also to extend the concept of “local” food products to those that come from our waters as well.… Read the rest

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Memories by the Mouthful

After unhappy homecoming, he develops a taste for the Berkshires


June 2011 was a big time for me. I had just graduated from college and I was off to the city where my dreams were sure to come true. Soon enough, I would be a star: the next Regis Philbin. Name up in lights, photographs in the tabloids, the whole nine yards. This college graduate, with my newly received diploma in hand, was ready to take on the real world and wasn’t looking back—or so I thought. The reality was that the only time I saw my name in anything close to bright lights was on the computer screen as I repaid the staggering amounts of college loans that showed up six months post-graduation without delay. I wasn’t looking back at college, but I also wasn’t looking forward to the city. I was looking to the Berkshires; I was moving home. And to add insult to injury, I was moving back in with my parents.

So I was returning to the Berkshires as a 22-year-old with an extremely sour taste for the area. Little did I know that, soon enough, that sour taste would macerate into one of the sweetest, most nostalgic flavors that one can imagine.… Read the rest

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Designer Mushrooms

It’s best to learn their mysteries from an expert

Austin Banach and Erhard Wendt at the Williamsville Inn
Austin Banach and Erhard Wendt at the Williamsville Inn

My knowledge of mushrooms early on consisted of the common everyday white button mushroom or an occasional portabella making its appearance from the sauté pan to top an omelet or burger. Shiitakes were the exotic mushrooms of my repertoire but still had sparse appearances. In the fall of 2009 I met chef Erhard Wendt, who leads classes and foraging walks to explore wild food in our area. The world of edible (and non-edible) fungi was unveiled to me along with their array of culinary applications. I will share with you a few of them—but not their remote locations.

Erhard grew up in Germany, where from an early age he foraged for mushrooms, berries and other wild edibles of the forest as they had significant importance to the cuisine of his region. After traveling and working through parts of the United States, Erhard and his wife, Kandy, found that the Berkshires reminded them most of their European background—especially the lush woods that Erhard loved. In 2002, they purchased and renovated the historic Williamsville Inn in West Stockbridge to share their passion for outstanding food and hospitality.… Read the rest

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They Shoot Apple Foragers, Don’t they?

Old trees keep giving, if we dare to receive

picking apples

Apple trees line the back roads that wind through the hills of my rural New England town. These are old trees. No sprays or fertilizers or pruning help them along, and the fruit they produce is just what it is. Gnarled, scabby and wormy, these apples bear no resemblance to the unblemished supermarket specimens that fill bag after plastic bag in identical perfection.

I love these old varieties. Even their names move me: Ashmead’s Kernal, Spartan, Pippins, Roxbury Russet, Winesap, Gravenstein— you won’t find many of these alongside the ubiquitous Red Delicious. Each had a place in an early homestead. Some were excellent keepers; others better for cider. Some ripened early while others hung on the branch until after a late frost.

The flavors of old apples are complicated. You have to think about what you’re eating. Is that a hint of cinnamon, maybe? That other is so tart it makes your mouth pucker, but what a fabulous addition to cider. Even the same variety from place to place and year to year is subtly different.

If I can find an owner I’ll ask permission before I pick but often only a hint of house remains.… Read the rest

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The Lion’s Share

Chef Brian Alberg’s mission is to spread his love of food

Brian Alberg
Photos courtesy of The Red Lion Inn

Six years ago Chef Brian Alberg had a flashback to his teenage years. He was working a dinner for the Railroad Street Youth Project, a Great Barrington–based program designed to mentor and empower Southern Berkshire County youth aged 14 to 25.

Standing in the kitchen, he watched with recognition as the enthusiastic young people hurriedly worked the line, helping everything run smoothly from chef to waiter.

To Alberg, executive chef and director of food and beverage at the Red Lion Inn, each youth stood as a reflection of himself at 14, when he apprenticed under the late Jean Morel, chef and owner of the former l’Hostelliere Bressane in Hillsdale, NY.

“Jean Morel instilled within me all of the values that I still hold today, and working with those kids that night reminded me that I could give back and help our industry nurture new minds,” says Alberg, now 45 and the father of three.

It’s an industry that Alberg loves, with all of its hectic schedules and occasional unpredictability. Right now, he’s in the middle of the fall season, when the venerable Stockbridge inn moves from its busy summer to leaf-peeper season, which extends from September through November.… Read the rest

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In Season—Fall

Apples * *
Pears * *
Strawberries *  
Watermelon *  
Arugula *  
Bok Choy *  
Broccoli * *
Cabbage * *
Carrots * *
Celery   *
Chard   *
Corn   *
Garlic * *
Leeks * *
Greens * *
Onions * *
Peppers *  
Potatoes * *
Pumpkins * *
Spinach *  
Squash, Winter *  
Tomatoes *  
Turnips *  

Source: Massachusetts Dept of Agricultural Resources

Note: you can download a full color produce calendar for year-round availability from

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Great Barrington Farmers Market
At historic train station behind Town Hall
Sa 9am–1pm, May 12–Oct. 27

Berkshire Community Market
Berkshire South Regional Community Center, 15 Crissy Rd.
Sa 11am–3pm, June 16–Oct. 27


Berkshire Area Farmers Market
Berkshire Mall parking lot
W & Sa 8am–2 pm, May 9–Thanksgiving


Lenox Farmers Market
At Shakespeare and Company, 70 Kemble St.
F 1–5pm, May 11–Oct. 12


North Adams Farmers Market
Municipal parking lot on St. Anthony Dr. between Marshall and Holden streets
Sa 8am–noon, July 7–Oct. 27


Otis Farmers Market
Parking lot of Papa’s Healthy Food and Fuel, 2000 East Otis Rd., East Otis
Sa 9am–1pm, May 12–Oct. 6


Pittsfield Farmers Markets: Senior Center, North Street
Tu 3–6pm, June 12–Oct. 9
(NOTE: On weeks when the city’s “Third Thursday” celebrations take place, the North Street market will be held on
Thursday 3–8pm instead of Tuesday.)

Pittsfield Farmers Markets: Park Square’s Bank Row
Sa 10am–1pm, May 12–Oct. 20


West Stockbridge Farmers Market
Harris Street/Merritt Way in the village center
Th 3–7pm, May 24–Oct. 18


Williamstown Farmers Market
South end of Spring Street
Sa 9am–1pm, May 26–late October
Williamstown Farmers Market
Midweek Gathering
Sweetwood Retirement Living
Community complex,
1611 Cold Spring Rd.… Read the rest

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Market Watch: A Pressing Issue

America's Apple Book“The best thing about fresh cider is its variability in flavor and color. Commercial producers are limited in the number of varieties they can press—they have to be apples grown in sufficient quantities to meet their high demand. Even so, the larger producers achieve subtle differences as the season progresses, as some batches are sweeter or more tart, a deep opaque brown or a light copper color. Even a traditional variety like McIntosh can taste slightly different depending on where it is grown and when it is picked. The smaller artisan producers can achieve a wide range of flavors by pressing heirloom varieties, some of which may be grown in only a handful of orchards, and mixing them together in unique blends. A single orchard may have three or four distinct blends, all worth trying.”

—Russell Powell, former executive director of the New England Apple Association and author of America’s Apple (Brook Hollow Press, 2012)

As a restaurateur, I know there are a large number of my regular customers who dine out several times a week, and doing so is deeply ingrained as part of their lifestyle. Many people think they are entitled to eat out as a reward for hard work, even in tough economic times.… Read the rest

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Market Watch: Apple Orchards, Pick Your Own and Farmstands

Unfortunately it’s a lousy year for apples and tree fruit in general, not to mention growers alike. U-pickers should make extra sure to call before you go, as they expect picking to end earlier this year.


Bartlett’s Orchard
575 Swamp Rd.
Richmond, MA 01254

Hilltop Orchards
508 Canaan Rd.
Richmond, MA 01254

Jaeschke’s Orchard
23 Gould Rd.
Adams, MA 01220

Lakeview Orchard
94 Old Cheshire Rd.
Lanesborough, MA 01237

Riiska Brook Orchard
101 New Hartford Rd.
Sandisfield, MA 01255

Windy Hill Farm
686 Stockbridge Rd.
Great Barrington, MA 01230


Fix Bros. Fruit Farm
215 White Birch Rd.
Livingston, NY 12534

Hawthorne Valley Farm
327 Rte. 21C
Ghent, NY 12075
518- 672-7500

Hopedale Farm
667 Rte. 31
Hudson, NY 12534
518- 822-1955

LoveApple Farm
1421 Rte. 9H
Ghent, NY 12075

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Market Watch: Edible Fall Apples

Apple Nutrition FactsApple Nutrition Facts Worth Thinking About

  • Apples are absolutely fat-free!
  • One apple provides as much dietary fiber as a bowl of bran cereal. That’s equal to one fifth of the recommended daily intake of fiber.
  • Apples are loaded with pectin, a soluble fiber that aids digestion and may help reduce cancer and heart disease.
  • The complex carbohydrates in apples give your body a longer, more even energy boost compared to high-sugar snacks. Snacking on apples can keep you going throughout the day.
  • Apples provide boron, an essential trace element that helps harden bones. Strong bones help prevent osteoporosis


Fresh apple cider is the sweet, unfermented juice of the apple. Fresh cider requires no added sugars or other ingredients—just apples, pressed for their translucent coppery-brown juice. Cider is as varied and versatile as the apple itself. Freeze it, ferment it, cook with it… and drink it.

Hard cider, which is about as strong as beer, was America’s drink from colonial days until well into the mid 19th century. It was cheap, intoxicating and it stored well. Everyone drank it, including children. In some cases it was safer than water. It fell out of favor as beer rose in popularity, and is now making a comeback with both small and large cider mills producing this delicious drink.… Read the rest

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