Introduction by Chef Nathan Yaple, director of Harvest Barn Bakery
The Gould Farm Harvest Barn isn’t just a bakery; it’s a place to learn. Gould Farm is a therapeutic community that promotes recovery for people with mental health and related challenges through meaningful work, community living and clinical care. It is the nation’s first residential therapeutic community for adults with mental illness.
Started in 1913, the farm hosts people living with challenges such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, depression and bipolar disorder who live and work alongside the volunteers, staff and their families who manage the therapeutic program. Built like a small town, the farm is nestled on over 700 acres where community members live full-time and participate in one of several work teams that care for the animals, gardens, buildings and grounds, and produce daily meals and baked goods for each other and the wider public.
At the bakery, residential guests actively participate in their treatment and recovery by practicing symptommanagement skills that help them make the breads and pastries that have become favorites in Monterey and beyond.
I find the meaning in my work at the Harvest Barn Bakery in helping residential guests practice pastry skills while learning how to live with their illnesses. For me, baking is a tool that helps my fellow community members get back in touch with the strengths and joys that were present in their lives before those challenges got in the way. We use ingredients fresh from the farm and gardens to make a wide range of sourdough breads, yogurt, ice cream and a host of scones, desserts and other pastries.
Living and working so close to the land that produces our ingredients has given me a great appreciation for the work and community support it takes to produce the food we eat—everybody is needed to get the work done.
I am blessed and humbled to be a healing part of our small community’s food system; that the bakery has become such a part of the larger Berkshire community is a delicious plus.
Gould Farm Harvest Barn
100 Gould Rd., Monterey MA
Edible Berkshires is a local, independently owned publication dedicated to covering the unique culinary culture of Western Massachusetts.