Artisans spin milk into gold
One of the best ways to explore an area is to eat foods that come from there. Local foods and beverages offer an opportunity to enlist and enliven all five senses and, through them, to develop a deeper sense of place. To seek out and enjoy “place-based” foods is a great way to discover a community’s heritage and local identity.
In the Berkshires, as across the world, eating local, traditional dishes connects us to the human stories and traditions behind the meals. The Berkshires is home to a growing number of artisanal food producers who are busy crafting foods that reflect the region’s soil and climate. These farmers, chefs and foragers are building an exciting cultural cuisine rooted in Berkshire-sourced ingredients. A rich selection of unique and memorable eating and drinking experiences can be found in the Berkshires.
Young farmer sees oxen as key to greener farming
ox (noun): A castrated bull trained as a work animal. Embarrassingly enough, I didn’t know this definition a week ago. I always assumed an ox was a specific breed of animal similar to a buffalo, spending its days roaming the prairie or something. I never gave much thought (apparently) to how things were in the times before cars or machinery.
I recently sat down with Rich Ciotola to hear his story. Farmer Rich (as he goes by around here), age 34, is among the rapidly growing new generation of farmers concerned by where today’s food comes. They are driven to take action and create their own sustainable and self-sufficient practices, along with spreading the ideas throughout the community and beyond. Rich’s passion is reviving the use of oxen for heavy-duty farm work to replace expensive, fuel-guzzling, polluting tractors.
Deval Patrick talks about farming, gardening, cooking, eating, and sharing
Don’t be fooled by the natty suit. The 71st governor of Massachusetts, Deval L. Patrick, is a farmer at heart. It wasn’t the cute chicken motif on his tie that gave him away when he lunched with Edible Berkshires at Nudel restaurant in Lenox, but his boundless enthusiasm about helping farmers throughout the state and in the Berkshires where he and wife, Diane, own a second home. In fact, he’s often referred to as “The Agriculture Governor” and proud of it. He even was spotted at a recent lecture about how to raise backyard chickens, though he says his motive was sheer enjoyment rather than to give away eggs to Democratic fundraisers.
After lunching together, we can confirm another moniker: Foodie. He’s eager to eat unusual and different foods, especially those locally grown, and sample what’s on your plate as well as chow down his own choices.