Edible Berkshires

Heavenly Chicken

The Great Chicken in the Sky

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The height of my religiousness peaked at 12 years old, right about the time my favorite chicken got mauled by a fox. Back then, going to church and praying was as much a part of my Catholic school curriculum as social studies. I wasn’t a fan of either.

The night the fox attacked my Brahma hen Tweety, I decided it was time to use my super duper prayer training skills to convince God that Tweety should survive the night. It never occurred to me that God might have more important things to do than salvage some weird little girl’s pet chicken, but rationality wasn’t one of my stronger points. So, I stayed up the entire night, praying to God through a mess of tears and snot.

As much as I begged him to work a modern miracle and heal all of my bird’s wounds, … Read the rest

A FEAST WITH BEASTS

Oxen Make Great Dates at Shaker Village Dinner

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“The peaches in this vodka better be free range and grass fed,” I said to the man behind the picnic table, laughing at my own joke. He chuckled and handed me an ice-cold glass of local organic peach-lemonade vodka from the outdoor tablecloth-covered bar. I took a sip. The drink was a perfect end-of-summer concoction, and a mix so delicious, God himself might be serving the same exact thing in Heaven. It was September 2013 and I had been asked by Edible Berkshires to have dinner and give my editorial opinion about dinner in a field!

I stood on the grass outside Hancock Shaker Village and watched the crowds of people gathered near the long, narrow dinner table centered in the Shaker gardens for the renowned Outstanding in the Field (OITF) Farm to Table Dinner. Within an hour, over 100 guests would … Read the rest

Hive Talkin’

Help honeybees, help us

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Photo courtesy of Mars Vilaubi, photo editor, Story Publishing

Ask anyone who visits—Berkshire County is one of the most gorgeous places on the planet. With rolling hills, unmatchable foliage, flowers of all shapes and sizes and deliciously homegrown and raised foods, we can surely appreciate all that this area has to offer.

But many of us are unaware of a critical element that produces much of the beauty of this land. That small, yet incredibly important, ingredient is honeybees.

Bees are an essential part of our ecosystems. They play a vital role in pollinating plants that bear many of the fruits and vegetables that we consume on a daily basis, such as apples, cucumbers, onions and pumpkins, to name just a few. And as insect foragers, they not only help keep our ecosystem running properly, but also produce delectable honey and beeswax that offer many benefits … Read the rest

Dare to Pair

A Few Guidelines Help You
Match Foods With Wines

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By Alexander LaScala

After what feels like an eternity, winter has finally come to an end. The snow has melted, the ice has thawed and we can once again emerge from our shelters and enjoy the warmth and sunlight.

It is the time of year when you may be hosting or attending barbecues, graduation parties or other social gatherings. Whatever the event, the chances are good that a grill is being fired up. No party is truly complete without food, laughter and the appropriate wine(s) for the occasion. Wine and food have always gone handin- hand, but what wines should you pick for your summer festivities?

First things first: One of the most important rules to keep in mind it to match power with power. That means balance the weight and boldness of the food with the weight and boldness of … Read the rest

Kids at the School and Goats in the Woods

Pine Cobble provides food for all

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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

What’s Behind the Wheel?

Not Your Great-Grandfather’s Cheese

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Berkshire Blue Cheese

Berkshire farm-based cheesemaking operations in 1849 produced over one million pounds of cheese annually. Cheese-producing farms in Berkshire County dotted the map from north to south and spilled over the Massachusetts state line into Litchfield County, after which the region’s signature cheese was named.

Litchfield Cheese was based on English Cheddar, a hard and acidic milled-curd cheese with a crumbly texture.

Farm-based artisans in New York and New England led the country in cheese production and export in the mid-19th century by producing large quantities of English-inspired milled-curd cheese. Berkshire cheesemakers produce far less today, but the diversity of their cheeses is greater.

Today, three commercial cheesemakers in Berkshire County produce five cheese styles based on unique processes. Susan Sellew at Rawson Brook Farm in Monterey started making fresh goat milk cheese with her mostly American Alpine herd in 1984. Berkshire Blue Cheese … Read the rest

Rx for Salmon on the Grill

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What does your doctor eat? Maybe that’s why she or he is always well.

Andrew Potler, a doctor of internal medicine at East Mountain Medical Associates, Great Barrington, was kind enough to share what he enjoys grilling on a perfect summer’s day. Dr. Potler attributes this recipe to Gourmet magazine, around eight years ago.

It’s been a winner with his family ever since.

Edible Berkshires test kitchen tried this recipe using swordfish as well as salmon. The results were equally good, especially since swordfish is always wild. No need to worry about the skin side with swordfish; it will be flesh on both sides. The swordfish may require adding an additional 2 minutes on each side due to the thickness of the fillet.

To accompany our fish we grilled a variety of seasonal vegetables: zucchini, sweet peppers, snap peas. Just lightly coat them with olive oil. After you have turned … Read the rest

GRILLING PIZZA!

A wood fire in a covered Kettle grill,
adds a distinct smoke flavor.

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By Paul Masiero
Owner and chef , Baba Louie’s

Grilling pizza is a great way to introduce some new flavor to any pizza you love. Your grill, as long as it has a cover, can give you the same results as an oven, which is perfect in the summer: heat when you need it, but not in your home. Preheat your grill and get it good and hot. If using charcoal or wood, let it burn down to glowing white embers, avoiding direct flames, which will cause the pizza crust to burn before it has a chance to cook. If using gas, heat to 500°. In all cases keep the grill covered.

RECIPE

GRILLED PIZZA

SURE-FIRE GRILLING

Take the Party (and the Heat) Outside

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My mom has been telling me since I was old enough to complain (which was pretty much at birth) that when she was growing up, no one had air conditioning. People went outside and did stuff as a family and didn’t spend their summer days in the climate-controlled comforts of their living rooms, watching television.

Well, like a lot of people in the Berkshires, my house doesn’t have AC. Ironically, my mom refuses to visit me in the summer. “It’s too hot,” she says, as she turns on “CSI: Miami, New York, Las Vegas.”

I can’t argue with her. It does get hot, especially in the kitchen and, except for maybe frying up an egg in the morning I refuse to turn on the oven or stove in the summer. That means that my culinary attentions shift from baked goods and oven roasting … Read the rest

Dirt Cheap?

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Left to right: Bob Bernstein; 60 acres of Reality

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Left to right: Marbury and Steph preparing for market; everything old is used, not just Bob.

From the beginning there has been a sense of “If you build it, they will come” around the Copake Agricultural Center. Two hundred acres of prime farmland now home to five young farmers, housing, barns and a greenhouse, all on the flats of Copake— where a few years ago a housing development had been proposed but roundly rejected by the town.

It all came together in less than two years; 18 proposals from throughout the Northeast were winnowed down to yield three new farms.

Yet the process was by no means easy, or clearly destined for success. At one meeting of investors this year most of the questions had been spinning around where things could go wrong. Then a question from Ed Herrington, owner of … Read the rest

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