Edible Berkshires

Kids at the School and Goats in the Woods

Pine Cobble provides food for all


What do an early-childhood school, a hardworking farmer, a few college students and a very creative chef have in common?

The surprising answer is “goats”! The more detailed answer is love for what they are doing, passion for food and its sources, concern about our environment and enthusiasm for innovative education.

On April 25 I attended an event described as “Goats in the Woods—Collaboration Connects Sustainable Farming Practices with Unique and Exciting Cuisine. Goats in the Woods, a community celebration sponsored by Williams College Sustainable Food & Agriculture Program. Pine Cobble School in Williamston, Wild Oats Market in Williamstown and Black Queen Angus Farm in Berlin, NY.”

The 20-acre campus looked like such a cool place that for a moment I wished to be a child again. Said Sue Wells, the head of school, “It is a place where children can be children and … Read the rest


Passover Flatbread for a Mountainous Land


Photos by Eyal Dolev

Passover is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery into freedom, a narrative that became a worldwide inspiration for people who fight for freedom and human rights. What is less known is that Passover was also a major agriculture festival, indicating spring and the barley ripening season, celebrating the awakening of the natural world in days when people’s lives were even more directly dependent on nature than ours. Passover starts with the Seder, a ceremonial dinner to commemorate how Pharaoh, after suffering 10 plagues, drove the Israelites off to the desert, where they wandered for 40 years, becoming a nation and settling at what is now Israel.

The Seder feast incorporates ritual foods, the first is the crispy flatbread known as matzah. “With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of … Read the rest


A Fall Variation


Photos by Eyal Dolev

In New England, when I hear the word fall my predictable image is that of leaves changing into a rainbow of colors. When I think of that season in Israel, my immediate association is red pomegranates shiny on trees while the sharp lemony fragrance of guavas tickles my nose. Both fruits are at their peak in fall and chefs love to add them to their recipes. In Mediterranean cooking we incorporate fruits with many dishes. We add them to everything from salads to meat, not just to desserts.

As here in the Berkshires we are blessed each fall with the best-ever pears and apples, here are two of my favorite fall recipes (without pomegranate).


Earthy Celery Root Salad

Drunken Stuffed Pears

Drunken Stuffed Pears


Stuffed fruits are very common in Mediterranean cooking. Serve them as a snack or an aperitif, as a first dish or as a side dish. Use firm fruits to avoid their falling apart while cooking. Because apple and pears when cut fresh tend to get darker due to oxidation, blanch them immediately with lemon or white wine when handling. Here is a recipe for a baked pear, using the advantage of the fabulous taste of Berkshire Blue cheese.

Yield: 4 servings

4 pears, peeled (optional), cut in half and core removed*
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup white wine

For the stuffing:

½ cup Berkshire Blue cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons cream cheese**
1/3 cup nuts, diced***
1 tablespoon breadcrumbs****

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Set pears in a baking dish with their open sides up. Pour wine on and around the pears. Sprinkle nutmeg on the pears. Cover the baking … Read the rest

Earthy Celery Root Salad


Yield: 4 servings

Celery root or celeriac is the root of the plant Apium graveolens. While in North America we are familiar with the aboveground stalks and leaves known as celery, the roots of a closely related plant are very popular in the Mediterranean and European cooking. In recent years celery root has started to appear in our markets too.

When shopping for celery root search for the heavier roots, as they have not dehydrated and so will be fresher and tastier.

Sometimes farmers sell them with the stems, and though these are less prominent than celery they can certainly be used too; just cut the stems from the root and store them separately.

I love celery root and add it to many of my recipes, as it adds taste to any stew or mashed roots. One can’t cook a healing chicken soup without adding celery root to the pot. … Read the rest


Mediterranean Approach Yields Fresh Fare


Photos by Yael Dolev

When I became naturalized citizen, I was grateful for my welcome to this country. I was eager to assimilate, and to tone down my Mediterranean temperament. But one obsession I did not give up: MY FOOD.

Coming from Israel, my natural, almost automatic habit is to crave a range of fresh, colorful, wholesome, real foods. While avoiding spending time that I cannot spare on preparations, I improvise daily to create simple, tasty, nourishing meals.

In time I found that the nutrition authorities here call my habits the “Mediterranean Food Pyramid.” I discarded that idea, as I don’t eat any pyramid; I just eat good, tasty food. And there is no ideology behind the way I eat. I simply follow the manner of eating practiced by my ancestors for thousands of years. Their behavior came to be as a result of poverty, … Read the rest