Archive | Fall 2014

Helga’s Preserve “Recipe”

Recipe courtesy of Helga S. Orthofer

Yield: 4 quarts

4 pounds each sugar and choice of fruit, cleaned and chopped (Discard anything you won’t eat, like pits!)

Put it in a large sauce pot, cover and let rest overnight on the kitchen counter.

Cook for ½ hour or so, slow boil until thickened.

Taste it. If the fruit is too sweet, add freshsqueezed lemon juice and pulp; if too sour, add more sugar.

Clean the jars and place in boiling water. Remove jars one at a time.

Add the piping hot, still boiling fruit and sugar mixture to each jar.

Cover immediately and listen for the pop of the lid that confirms a tight seal has been formed.

And then set the jars up in the studio and paint to your heart’s content.

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OMG on GMOs?

 Uncertainty Adds to Berkshires’ Concerns

Berkshire Organics, IPM, integrated pest management, is a process
used to solve pest problems while minimizing risks
to people and the environment.

By Judith Lerner

Why all the fuss about genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Plants and animals used for food, medicine and personal care are being perfected, bred and hybridized all the time. Isn’t genetic modification just a more modern and efficient method?

Well, no. Well, not at all.

Traditional breeding enhances and strengthens the best natural characteristics of an organism by bringing highestquality specimens together over generations to develop qualities already present. GMOs, (or GEOs, genetically engineered organisms) have their genetic material, their DNA, modified in a laboratory in ways that cannot happen in nature. Pesticides and antibiotics are built into seeds; animal DNA is spliced into plants and vice versa.

Brian Gibbons, a horticulturist and co-owner with his wife, Aleisha, of Berkshire Organics, a store and organic food delivery service in Dalton, explained the difference: “The natural way plants reproduce is through pollination, the transfer of pollen from male flower parts to female flower parts, producing a fruit or vegetable. Inside the fruit is the seed that contains the new genetic material for the next generation if you grow the plant from this seed.… Read the rest

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After 10 years of offering a seasonal menu at their casual French Bistro, chefs Rachel Portnoy and Franck Tessier decided that climate change was the straw that made the joy of cooking a pain in le derriere. This past summer’s slow growing season meant that many anticipated crops arrived late or not at all. How do you plan a seasonal menu when you’re forced to scramble daily to acquire the fresh raw ingredients you committed to on your printed menu? Well, you don’t; you change your menu daily, buying the best available each day. At Chez Nous, Lee, the menu goes with the flow; each day it changes based on market availability. They also offer half portions of all entrees, because many want to eat less!

Cheers to them. This world will be requiring lots of adjustments! Hours, reservations,



Dan Barber—chef, restaurateur and co-owner of Blue Hill Farm in Great Barrington—and Elizabeth Kolbert of Williamstown—journalist, author of The Sixth Extinction: Field Notes from a Catastrophe—spoke at the Mahaiwe before a capacity audience of food professionals and locavores on Aug. 18. Titled “Beyond Farm-to-Table: The Future of Food,” the event was presented by Berkshire Grown.… Read the rest

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LETTER TO THE PUBLISHER: Kids Cooking: Recipe for Lifelong Health

Dear Bruce,

Your Letter from the Publisher “Cooking Is Not a Spectator Sport,” from the Summer 2014 issue, brings up a topic that is near and dear to my heart. As a nutrition educator, I strongly believe that knowing how to cook (from scratch) is the only way to be totally in control of your health. In my work at The Nutrition Center we focus on teaching this very important skill to kids and teenagers.

The Nutrition Center (TNC) will be cooking up a storm this fall in its popular Food Adventures program. Food Adventures, a collaboration between TNC and the Berkshire Co-op Market, is beginning its fifth season with a bang! The program was recently rewarded a grant from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the General Mills Foundation to bring cooking education to Pittsfield community schools, allowing elementary-aged students at Conte and Morningside the opportunity to learn basic cooking skills and learn valuable nutrition information.

At The Nutrition Center, we have discovered that teaching basic cooking skills to children and adults has a much stronger influence on their food choices and long-term health than simply sharing nutrition information. Recent studies have shown that learning basic cooking skills has the greatest impact on the long-term health of children under 8.… Read the rest

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