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Hancock shaker - FFT

Guido's Marketplace


Old World Eats: Holiday Treats Offer A Taste Of Tradition

By Nichole Dupont

I’m not going to lie, not about this. The holidays are all about the food. The smell of the Christmas tree, the light coming from the menorah, the singing, are all a reminder that there is food to be eaten: food from around the world.

In my own family — a raucous bunch of second and third generation Franco-Acadians — the big “eat” happens on Christmas Eve (a.k.a. the Reveillon). Whole boards covered with cheeses, meats, breads, and piles of sweets, and a cauldron of rich chowder are usually staples of the night. This is not to say that we haven’t eaten our way through December, feasting on golden latkes and borscht at friends’ houses, or dipping into the local café for an espresso and a shortbread cookie. Holiday food is everywhere in the region, you just need to know where to get it, especially if you are thinking about a feast for hundreds. Or, you can do what the Japanese do, and hit KFC for a quirky holiday meal. Beats the hell out of lutefisk (sorry, Norway). 

By far the most popular and versatile delivery of the holiday spirit is the cookie. And there are so many kinds of cookies to choose from. Speculaas, the decadent Dutch take on the gingerbread cookie, is an elegant treat that can be found at the Dutch Epicure Shop in Litchfield, Conn. These ornately stamped, shortcrust biscuits are crunchy and loaded with spices — cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, clove, ginger, white pepper — and, of course, made with butter. Other nibbles around the region include a whole range of holiday offerings from Guido’s Marketplace, which is churning out cheese blintzes, cinnamon babka, and golden latkes like…well, hotcakes. The Marketplace’s David Renner, himself a chef and nostalgic lover of holiday food traditions, says that there are a few benchmark “starts” to the season.

“I’m Jewish and my wife is Christian so we have a mixed bag of holiday foods,” says Renner. “There’s definitely latkes at the house, and a prime rib for Christmas dinner. And all sorts of little snacks in between.”

One of those snacks, also a hot seller for the Marketplace, is the very labor intensive, very French candied orange and/or lemon peel dipped in chocolate.

“Once I eat one of those, I know it’s the holiday season. That says it to me,” Renner adds.

Fruit can be tricky business when added to the seasonal mélange. There is, of course, the fruitcake. It’s a British tradition — the butt of many jokes — which my college roommates and I tried our hand at. The whole experience ended with all three of us reaching frantically for a fire extinguisher after we ‘‘lit off” the rum-sodden cake.

But fruit can actually be delectable. The Bartlett House in Ghent, New York makes a jewel-y cranberry-walnut tart. It’s a classic dance of pulverized walnut and butter crust, and the cranberry filling literally explodes holiday joy in a mix of sharp and sweet. The Bartlett House always sells dozens of their crunchy-chewy pecan crusted sticky buns that are in high demand, especially on Christmas morning.

Also a big gig on Christmas morning, and basically every morning for the fortnight leading up to Christmas, is stollen, a traditional German bread filled with nuts and fruit. Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Housatonic and Pittsfield, Mass. has, for years, taken stollen to its highest heights by adding a thick, shameless vein of marzipan that runs through the entire length of the loaf. There are several ways to eat this beautiful bread. One is to warm it in the oven, slice it thick, and lather the marzipan onto the slice like butter. Or, you could rip off a giant hunk of it and eat it while writing a story about holiday food traditions. Either way, there will be fights about who ate the last piece. Fortunately, the bakery (and the Marketplace) also offers panettone, the fluffy, cupola-shaped Milanese sweetbread that is the perfect base for a killer bread pudding or French toast.

The slow train of decadence stops at the legendary Buche de Noel. Patisserie Lenox — with locations in Great Barrington, Northampton and Lenox, Mass., as well as Hudson, N.Y. — offers the traditional version of the airy Genoise cake (with buttercream frosting, shaped and decorated like a yule log) while Chocolate Springs in Lenox offers up a chocolate-covered version in either all dark chocolate, raspberry and dark chocolate, or mocha. And since we’re on the subject of chocolate, don’t forget that peppermint bark is readily available (Chocolate Springs, Berkshire Bark) and makes an ideal gift if 1.) you ate all the Buche de Noel intended for your family gathering or 2.) candy canes just don’t cut it.

And to wash all of this down, or just to make sure you’ve hit the appropriate seasonal calorie count, a nice big glass of High Lawn Farm eggnog should do the trick — optionally cut with Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Ragged Mountain Rum or Berkshire Bourbon Whiskey and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

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Posted by Nichole on 12/11/17 at 02:55 PM • Permalink

The RuraList: 5 Pumpkin Pies For Your Thanksgiving Table

Few traditions seem to be as rooted as pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. And while there are those who make their own, we in the Rural Intelligence region are fortunate to have pastry chefs and bakeries that can supply some outstanding pumpkin pies for those who’d rather leave the baking to the pros. Here’s a list to get you going if pie making doesn’t happen to be in your bailiwick.

Hathaway Young
You could order your entire Thanksgiving menu at this Millerton, New York café/catering venture, but we’re focused on pies right now, so let’s get right to it. Executive Chef Bruce Young offers his sweet potato-pecan pie, $30 [above]. Eschewing canned sweet potatoes, Young roasts the fresh sweet potatoes in their skins and toasts the pecans before they go in to the pie mixture. The pies are available at the bakery/cafe, but Young advises ordering them (through Sunday, Nov. 19) to make sure you get yours. And you can pick up some Arethusa Ice Cream at the shop to accompany the pie.

Bartlett House
The pumpkin tart at the Bartlett House Bakery and Cafe in Ghent, New York is baked not once, not twice, but three times, which makes it triply special. In the “Thrice-Baked Pumpkin Tart,” local pumpkins are first roasted to soften, then roasted again and baked with maple and cinnamon. The rich pumpkin mixture then gets the final bake inside the homemade pâte brisée tart shell and topped with pecans and currants. It’s available in two sizes: a small round ($11) and large square tarts ($34). You have until Saturday, Nov. 18 to special order it, but there will also be additional tarts and baked good available for pickup at the bakery counter on the day before Thanksgiving. 

Dutch Desserts  
Although Dutch Desserts in Kinderhook, New York got its start with the bona fide Dutch apple tart by Netherlands native Marjan Beebe, its pumpkin pie should not be overlooked. The creamy custard pie with the requisite blend of spices is given a piquant touch with the addition of orange juice. Beebe has put special care into her pie crusts, which are as beautiful as they are tasty. The pies come in three sizes: 5-inch: ($8.75), 7-1/2-inch ($16.50) and 9-inch ($22). They’re available from both Guido’s in the Berkshires, the Berry Farm in Valatie, New York and other select locations (check the website), or order one online.

Patisserie Lenox
Add a Gallic touch to your Thanksgiving table with the brandied pumpkin pie ($23) from this traditional French pastry shop that has locations in Lenox, Great Barrington and Hudson. It’s a classic recipe with the addition of brandy, says Yulia Bougouin, who runs the bakery and cafes with her husband Jean Yves, a former pastry chef at La Grenouille. Order your pie by Monday, Nov. 20. Also available: a variety of Thanksgiving cookies in a 11-pound box ($20). (And don’t forget to pick up a few croissants for Thanksgiving morning. You’ll thank us.)

White Hart Provisions Pumpkin pie sits in the top three of Pastry Chef Gabby Rios’ favorite pie flavors, and she likes to keep hers classic. “All you need is an excellent buttery crust, smooth and creamy custard, and a perfect whipped cream topping,” she says, and we believe her.  (She’s also not afraid to admit she prefers to use canned pumpkin puree for consistency, texture and mouth feel.) The topping, fresh heavy cream with vanilla bean infusion, is just slightly underwhipped, “so it oozes over the pie like melted ice cream,” she says. The pie, $40, is available as a pre-ordered item. Each one comes made with lots of love by Rios.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/14/17 at 09:55 AM • Permalink

Tivoli General: An Updated Version Of A Childhood Memory

By Jamie Larson

That immutable, lovely experience of the mom-and-pop store is back in Tivoli, New York, updated in style and flavor. At Tivoli General, Natalie and Kazio Sosnowski only technically became a mom and pop eight months ago (after the birth of their son, Julian) but their well-curated store, with its stellar lunch menu, already feels like an integral part of the community.

Bard photography students who couldn’t bear to leave the picturesque village after graduation, the young couple first bought an old egg farm in Elizaville and, in 2014, started Five Maple Farm, producing heritage breed, forage-fed pigs, heritage chicken eggs, goat milk soap, maple syrup and produce. But since farming wasn’t enough to sustain them, they opened Tivoli General in March 2015, right in the center of town.

“When we were students here, we saw this as a gaping hole in the community,” Natalie Sosnowski says, seated in front of the wall menu in her bright, well-appointed shop. “We were always very realistic that the farm would take a backseat to the store, but that the store gives us a great place to showcase what we make, as well as great stuff from other farms we love.”

“We definitely knew we wanted to provide basic necessities: toilet paper, sugar, beer, spices,” she continues. “It’s the worst when you need one ingredient and you have to drive all the way out to a supermarket. So really we’re here to support locals and there’s also this amazing community of Bard students who shop a completely different way, basically meal to meal. We’re here for them, too.”

Tivoli General does carry basics, but they also have a selection of local goods and specialty items you aren’t going to find in any other one place. They have high-quality meats, some seasonal produce and other products from local farms and businesses (including Sparrowbush, Fix Brothers, Chaseholm, Ronnybrook, and others), and they stock a versatile selection of international ingredients, spices, pottery, cookbooks, used records, canned octopus… and a huge selection of craft beer.

“We’re passionate about food and, as a small store, you have to provide specialty stuff because you’re just not going to be able to compete with the big stores unless you have things they don’t,” Sosnowski says. 

Otto’s Market in Germantown (which was recently sold to new owners who continue the operation) is an influence of theirs and proved that small towns want and can support a modern general store. “Otto’s was super inspiring for us,” she says. “Just to see what an amazing job he did — and you really can see how much people still do value the personal touch of a small business. That sounds corny… but it’s true.”

What’s really got locals and visitors addicted to Tivoli General, though, are the sandwiches, on excellent bread and bialys baked daily by Kazio. The menu, which includes regularly changing specials, offers a traditional banh mi with pork pâté and pickled vegetables ($10), avocado toast with onion jam and prosciutto ($10), fresh mozzarella with tapenade ($7), a prosciutto cotto with chevre, honey, mint and arugula ($7.50) and more. They also have prepared salads and dips, and a selection of uncommon drinks like mango lassi ($4) and Vietnamese iced coffee ($3).

“I owe everything I know about cooking to Francesco (Buitoni) from Mercato,” says Sosnowski, who begged her way into the kitchen after working front of house in Buitoni’s acclaimed Red Hook restaurant. “I worked there two-and-a-half years and he formed my approach to eating, cooking and buying food. We wanted our menu to be simple and about these great ingredients.”

Whatever you’re coming into Tivoli General for, it’s hard not to leave with a few items that aren’t on your list. The Sosnowskis have pulled off a well-executed enterprise, even without considering their age or how many pots they’ve got on the stove at once. Their store has quickly become a vital piece of the village’s exciting main street. 

Tivoli General
54 Broadway, Tivoli, NY
(845) 757-2690

Sundays – Thursdays, 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Fridays & Saturdays, 9:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays.

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Posted by Jamie Larson on 07/08/17 at 07:55 PM • Permalink

Cafe Culture Picks Up Steam In Salisbury

By Lisa Green

When we wrote our 10 Things To Love About Salisbury story two-and-a-half years ago, two of our favorite things were Sweet William’s Bakery and Salisbury Breads. Alas, Salisbury Breads has been folded into Hathaway Young and moved to Millerton, New York. But happily, Sweet William’s has expanded and The White Hart Inn has opened Provisions. The historic village at the crossroads of routes 41 and 44 has a Main Street with a burgeoning, bustling café and takeout scene… and one that’s pretty darn delicious.

Sweet William’s

Jason Young opened his bakery at 19 Main Street about seven years ago. There was the kitchen in back where they made all of the desserts and pastries, and a small retail operation in front. When Salisbury Breads vacated the spot a few steps away at 17 Main Street, Young saw the opportunity to spread the bakery’s wings.

“We ran out of space at the other place,” says Young. “This building gives us a chance to do more with coffee and tea — we’re making our own chais and cold brew now.” Young’s partner, Michael Lampro, is the coffee meister, running that end of things including coffee merchandise (the regular brew is Barrington Coffee, roasted to order). The new space offers a cozy seating area (wi-fi available), and now that there’s a place inside to linger, the bakery is putting out more savory items like spinach feta and sun-dried tomato croissants, vegetable quiche and breakfast soufflés. In the spring, patrons will be able to sit at the outdoor garden patio in back. The side wall at the front of the store has become an exhibition area featuring the work of local artists.

The original location, which still houses the kitchen — and employs three bakers and a full-time cake and a dessert maker — is now Sweet William’s Desserts and Scoop Shop, serving Jane’s Ice Cream from Kingston, New York and, aside from cups and cones, some killer ice cream sandwiches. This is where you’ll find the pies, tarts, cheesecakes, cupcakes and cakes by the slice.

And it seems there’s more to come. “We’re experimenting with bread,” Young says.

Sweet William’s Coffee Shop & Bakery
17 Main Street, Salisbury, CT
(860) 435-3005
Tues. - Thurs., 7 a.m. - 5 p.m
Fri. & Sat., 7 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sun., 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Sweet William’s Desserts & Scoop Shop
19 Main Street, Salisbury, CT
(860) 435-8889

White Hart Provisions

When the White Hart Inn reopened in 2014, its mission, said Conde Nast Traveler, was to become a hangout and hideaway for the area’s culture cognoscenti. And maybe it has; the dining room at the White Hart Inn landed on Bon Appetit’s best restaurant list last year, and its speaker series has presented big name authors including Jay McInerney, Gary Trudeau and local resident Malcolm Gladwell (one of the White Hart’s investors).

That’s all well and good, but what we really love is Provisions, the general store and café corner of the inn.

The case of prepared foods beckons with meals to go or to consume on premises, and the menu of made-to-order breakfast and lunch items go from the expected (ham and cheese croissant, breakfast sandwich, daily soups) to the delightfully unexpected — avocado toast with feta, lemon and chili flakes; beets, feta, black olives on focaccia; and roast beef, crispy shallots, watercress and tomato.

In place of juices and smoothies, there’s an intriguing daily house soda that Provisions manager Lucas Smith creates from scratch. The day I visited, it was grape soda — Smith had muddled fresh concord grapes — but other flavors have included cucumber/mint and carrot/pear.

Provisions is run by the same team that put the restaurant on the map — Annie Wayte, Paul Pearson and pastry chef Gabby Rio — and the space was designed by Megan Wilson of Ancient Industries in Cornwall, Connecticut. It’s a blend of old-timey comfort and a clean, modern palette. A long center table encourages communal dining; there are smaller tables along the windows and a few that extend into the tranquil lobby. Wilson also curates the general store merch: books, blankets, penny candy and curious retro-inspired items.

Although Provisions is open just Friday through Monday for now, there are plans to expand those hours.

Provisions at the White Hart Inn
15 Undermountain Road, Salisbury, CT
(860) 435-0030
Fri., Sat., Mon., 7 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sun., 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/14/16 at 11:00 AM • Permalink

Winter Farmers’ Markets: Extending the Season

By Rachel Louchen

From North Adams to Norfolk, farmers’ markets are a popular draw throughout the Rural Intelligence region. They’re an extension of the many vibrant farms and purveyors that make this area the envy of visitors from all over the world. So, it’s reassuring to know that the season doesn’t have to end when summer does. We’ve rounded up the local winter farmers’ markets that will hold you over until spring.

What can you expect to find at the dozen indoor markets in our area? A one-stop shop for seasonal staples like squash, Brussels sprouts, endive, turnips and sweet potatoes. But also fresh citrus, milk, meat, fish, along with honey, maple syrup, wine, jams, pickles, cheese and baked goods. In addition to the comestibles, there is a large variety of handmade soaps, lotions and candles, yarns and hand-knitted items made from the wool of local sheep, and artisan creations perfect for gifting. Here’s where you can snag the items on your grocery list and your holiday gift list at the same time.

Amenia Farmers’ Market
Amenia Town Hall
Now through mid-December
Saturdays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Berkshire Grown Winter Farmers’ Markets
Great Barrington: Monument Valley Middle School, 313 Monument Valley Road
Saturdays, November 19, December 17, January 14 and February 18
10 a.m. - 2 p.m
Williamstown: Williams College Towne Field House, 82 Latham Street
Sundays, November 20 and December 18
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Hudson Farmers’ Market
601 Union Street
Saturdays December 3 - 24; February 4 - mid-May
10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Hudson Valley Farmers’ Market
23 Pitcher Lane, Red Hook
Saturdays, year-round
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Litchfield Hills Farmers’ Market
Litchfield Community Center, 421 Bantam Road, Litchfield
Saturdays November 19, December 3, 10 & 17, January 7 & 21, February 4 & 25, March 11 & 25, April 8, 15, & 29, May 13 & 27, June 3
10 a.m - 1 p.m.

Millerton Farmers’ Market
Millerton Methodist Church, 6 Dutchess Avenue
Every Saturday in November and December, then every other week January - April
10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

New Milford Farmers’ Market
East Street School, 50 East Street
Saturdays, Now - February 25
9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Norfolk Farmers’ Market
Town Hall, 19 Maple Avenue
Saturdays, November 19, December 3, January 7 & 21, February 4 & 18, March 4 & 18, April 1 & 15
10 a.m. - 1 p.m
Special December 3rd holiday market is at Battell Chapel, 12 Litchfield Road until 2 p.m.

North Adams Farmers’ Market
Saturday, December 3 at 87 Main Street
First Saturday of every month, January 7 - May 6 at the American Legion, 91 American Legion Drive
9 a.m. - 1 p.m

Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market
The Lighthouse of The Boys and Girls Club, 16 Melville Street
Second Saturday of the month, November 12 - April 8
9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market
Rhinebeck Town Hall, 80 East Market Street
Alternating Sundays, December 4 - April 23
10 a.m - 2 p.m.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 11/04/16 at 10:07 AM • Permalink

Holiday Food Shopping: Bag The Supermarket And Go Straight To The Source

By Katherine Abbott

Orange and green gourds pile up at shop entrances, and the local food co-op has a flyer for free-range turkeys. The harvest season is winding down, but as Pittsfield opens a new winter farmers market and Berkshire Grown expands its holiday markets, it becomes clear that farm-grown food is not just a warm-weather phenomenon — and more than the turkey can come out of local fields. Local farms are offering a widening range of condiments, ingredients and prepared foods for holiday tables. We’ve rounded up a few just as you’re making your shopping lists.

Winter Greens at Chatham Berry Farm
A leaf of arugula tastes sharp and fresh, and the rows of green leaves in the warm tunnel stand out in November. Joseph Gilbert started the Chatham Berry Farm store in 1982 as a summer fruit stand, bringing berries to markets in New York. Now he grows eight kinds of kale even in mid-winter, and red and green bok choy, mustard greens, arugula and many others, even dandelion. In its expanding greenhouses, the farm grows produce all winter.

Its store carries fresh vegetables and soups, sauces, hummus, pestos, dips and salsas made there, plus local farm eggs, cheese, milk and butter; honey from a beekeeper who keeps hives on the farm; pumpkins and squashes, and at least eight kinds of apples, many from Mead Orchards. Gilbert also carries Chatham Berry Farm brand relishes and pickles made regionally.

“We want to be like the old corner store,” he says. “Here you can buy one apple or one ear of corn.”

2304 Route 203, Chatham, N.Y.
(518) 392-4609

Gobbling It Up at McEnroe Farm Market
To the south, McEnroe Farm Market in Millertown, N.Y. strikes a similar chord. Along with apples, squash, potatoes and farm meat, they stock their own deli counter. They’ve already sold out of Thanksgiving turkeys, but the moist, thick-cut turkey in the sandwiches is their own, and so is the chicken in the chicken salad and the kale, broccoli and squash in various deli salads flavored with local maple syrup and white balsamic vinegar.

That turkey sandwich comes with melted brie and a relish tangy with cranberry and onion — worth remembering as a new use for leftovers.

5409 N.Y. Route 22, Millerton, N.Y.
The farm store will be open through Dec. 14, and will then close for renovations in order to focus even more closely on local products.

High on the Hog at Climbing Tree Farm
Half a dozen young pigs come up to investigate visitors under the oak trees at Climbing Tree Farm in New Lebanon, N.Y. A mix of breeds — amber and brown and black — they forage freely in the woods.

Young farmers Colby and Schuyler Gail found their sloping land and then found hardy animals that would do well on it — Shetland sheep in the fields, highland heifers (who will grow into highland cows) and geese. They make their products available to customers through retail locations and local restaurants.

At the holidays, anyone looking for pork or Climbing Tree sausage for breakfast or to add to the stuffing can find it through Red Apple Butchers at Berkshire Organics in Dalton, Mass. The Gails are raising poultry as well, mostly for local restaurants, and people can find the farm’s Christmas goose at places like Allium in Great Barrington, Hotel on North in Pittsfield and Fish & Game in Hudson, N.Y. Climbing Tree Farm sausage also gives its flavor and name to a breakfast sandwich at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge in Pittsfield.

“This is real food,” Colby says, “and it’s harder to find than people realize.”

“I think it makes you feel different when you eat real food,” Schuyler agrees,” healthier and more alive.”

436 West Hill Road, New Lebanon, N.Y.

Roast Beast at Whippoorwill Farm
Red Devon and Black Angus cows and calves gather in the barnyard at Whippoorwill Farm, as Robin Cockerline greets visitors in the farm shop, sorting out ribs for a birthday party or a roast for visiting friends.

Whippoorwill Farm produces some pork, eggs and chickens, and sells raw honey from a friend in Vermont who also makes a honey-flavored Barrhill Gin. (The Salisbury Wine Store just up the road carries it.) But mainly Allen and Robin Cockerline are known for grass-fed beef.

“You have to feed quality grass to get good-tasting beef,” she says, and her husband learned that in the dairy business, where the quality of the grass can affect the flavor of the milk day to day.

Today their beef cattle give them a wide range of cuts, from tenderloin and brisket to fillets and ox tail.

Rob LaBonne from LaBonne’s Markets in Southbury, Conn., comes in looking for beef jerky and leaves with smoked bacon. “You can taste the difference in grass-fed beef,” he says. “It’s the way of the future.”

189 Salmon Kill Road, Lakeville, Conn.
(860) 435-2089
Farm shop open Friday and Saturday year round.

Life of Pie at A-Frame Bakery
Sharon Sutter pats dough filled with chocolate chips into a baking pan. She’s preparing for the holidays in the efficient purple triangle of the A-Frame Bakery in Williamstown.

For Sutter, Thanksgiving means pie — apple, pumpkin, cranberry and blueberry, pecan, maple apple mincemeat — as well as tarts, pumpkin rolls, cheesecake with cranberry pear conserve… the list goes on. As the holidays go on, too, she’ll make Hanukkah treats, often for families wanting to send a holiday memory to students away from home.

Christmas brings cakes, she says — yule logs (bûches de noel) filled and frosted with chocolate and decorated meringue mushrooms, decadent tortes, red velvet. People also come in for baked goods for breakfast: crumb cakes, scones, muffins and quick breads.

Anyone wanting a large order should call ahead, though. She makes all of her baked goods fresh daily, and plans carefully so as not to have much left over, but will willingly adapt for anyone who gives her enough time. The bakery is strictly kosher, and Sutter can make non-dairy or gluten-free treats if asked.

1194 Cold Spring Road, Route 7, Williamstown, MA
(413) 458-3600

Filling in the Corners at Tierra Farm
For a savory almond or a chocolate-dipped hazelnut to round out the meal, Tierra Farm acts as a manufacturer and distributor, gathering and processing organic non-GMO nuts and seeds, and often buying directly from farms.

Along with a retail store at their headquarters in Valatalie, N.Y., Tierra supplies roasted and chocolate-dipped nuts and dried fruit to many co-ops and farm markets in the area. Their maple tamari mixed nuts — walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and cashews — are lightly salty, sweet and roasted for crisp flavor, and make a crunchy treat for holiday guests.

Tierra Farm nuts — as well as nut butters, dried fruits, coffee and other good things — are available in Massachusetts at Wild Oats Co-op in Williamstown and the Berkshire Co-op Market in Great Barrington, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, and Lenox Natural Foods . In New York, you can find them at Chatham Real Food Market, the Main Street Grainery in Chatham and McEnroe Farm Market. (But a trip to the store in Valatie is something you need to experience if you are attracted to the aroma of chocolate and coffee.)

2424 State Route 203, Valatie, N.Y.
(518) 392-8300

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Posted by Lisa Green on 11/16/15 at 03:49 PM • Permalink

The Return of the Farmers’ Markets 2014

Farmers Market HudsonIt seems as if a little sunshine was all that was needed to restore our landscape to the familiar lush green of springtime. The much-needed warmth has also benefited our farms; evidence will be on display throughout the region as the seasonal farmers’ markets return. Herewith is our annual update; some markets have passed from the scene, and some new ones have cropped up. Also, Great Barrington’s market has new digs at the fairgrounds. What might you find at any number of the 30-plus farmers’ markets across our towns? Early vegetables including radishes, asparagus, baby turnips, rhubarb, and arugula; staples such as milk, meat, fish, and bread; plus honey, maple syrup, wine, jams, pickles, cheese, and pies. There will also be cut flowers and bedding plants for the house and garden and handmade lotions and candles.

Amenia Farmers' MarketAmenia Farmers’ Market
Outdoor Market: Amenia Town Hall
May 16 - the beginning of October
Fridays 3 - 7 p.m.

Chatham Farmers’ Market
15 Church Street (Route 203)
May 20 - October 21
Fridays 4 - 7 p.m.

Copake Hillsdale Farmers’ Market
Roe Jan Park, on Route 22 between Hillsdale and Copake
May 31 - October 25
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Rural Intelligence Arts
Cornwall Farmers’ Market
The Wish House, 413 Sharon-Goshen Tnpk
May 10 - late October
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Great Barrington Farmers’ Market
Great Barrington Fairgrounds
May 10 - October 25
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Great Barrington Farmers’ Market at the CHP
442 Stockbridge Road
June 5 - September 25
Thursdays 3 - 6 p.m.

Rural Intelligence Food

Hudson Farmers’ Market
6th and Columbia Streets
May 3 - November 22
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Hudson Valley Farmers’ Market
23 Pitcher Lane, Red Hook
Saturdays 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Hyde Park Farmers’ Market
Town Hall Parking Lot, Route 9
June 7 - October 25
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Kent Farmers’ Market
Kent Green
May - October
Saturdays 9 a.m. - noon
Rural Intelligence Arts
Kinderhook Farmers’ Market
Village Green, intersection of U.S. Route 9 and Albany Avenue.
May 3 -  October 11
Saturdays 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Lenox Farmers’ Market
Shakespeare & Co., 70 Kemble Road
May 23 - October 10
Fridays 1 - 5 p.m.

Millbrook Farmers’ Market
Front Street & Franklin Ave
May 24 - October 25
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Rural Intelligence Food
Millerton Farmers’ Market
Railroad Plaza (off Main Street)
May 24 - Last Week of October
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
New Milford Farmers’ Market
May 10th - October 26th
Town Green on Main Street
Saturdays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Norfolk Farmers’ Market
Town Hall, 19 Maple Avenue
May 17 - October 10
Saturdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
North Adams Farmers’ Market
Municipal Parking Lot, St. Anthony Drive, between Marshall and Holden
June 14 - October 25
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Rural Intelligence Arts

Otis Farmers’ Market
Parking lot Papa’s Healthy Food & Fuel
May 10 - October 6
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Pawling Farmers’ Market
Charles Coleman Boulevard
June 21 - September 20
Saturdays 9 a.m. - noon
Philmont Farmers’ Market
116 Main Street
June - October 13
Sundays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Downtown Pittsfield Farmers’ Market
First Street, across from Common
May 10 - October 25
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Rural Intelligence Food
Rhinebeck Farmers’ Market
61 East Market Street
May 11 - Thanksgiving
Sundays 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Winter Market: Rhinebeck Town Hall
Sundays, December - April

Share the Bounty Market
Hudson River Health Care in Amenia, 3360 Route 343
July 1 - September 30
Tuesdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Sheffield Farmers’ Market
Old Parish Church parking lot (125 South Main Street)
May 6 - October 10
Fridays 3 - 6 p.m.
Thomaston Farmers’ Market
Seth Thomas Park, 100 South Main Street (Route 6)
July 11 to October 17
Thursdays 2:30 - 6 p.m.
Rural Intelligence Food
Torrington Farmers’ Market
Library Parking Lot, South Main Street
June 1 - October 26
Tuesdays 3 - 6 p.m., Saturdays 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

West Stockbridge Farmers’ Market
Harris Street/Merrit Way in the village center
May 22 - late October
Thursdays 3 - 7 p.m.
Williamstown Farmers’ Market
Base of Spring Street
May 24 - October 11
Saturdays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

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Posted by Rachel Louchen on 05/01/14 at 07:51 PM • Permalink

The Gift of Cuisine: A Class at the CIA

By Don Rosendale

Last Saturday I learned how to cook risotto without it turning into mush; how to make mozzarella from scratch; how to mix flour and eggs and crank them through an old-fashioned pasta machine to make tagliatelle; that peppers slice more easily if you cut from the soft, flesh side; that there are three kinds of salt (Kosher, sea salt, and the stuff that comes in the cylindrical blue box), and that there is rarely a thing as too much of it in food. At least there is tad more sodium than you might be ordinarily recommend if your cooking school instructor is Paul DelleRose, and the classroom is a kitchen at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

Few would dispute that the CIA (called “the Culinary”  by those in the know, to distinguish it from that government agency that is probably reading this over your shoulder) lives up to its boast of being the best cooking school this side of the English Channel. But all those cars in the parking lot at the Culinary campus off Route 9 on Saturdays should be a clue that the kind of food lover who has a Garland stove, a salamander, and a mandolin in the kitchen will be able to sharpen his or her skills with the same master chefs who taught restaurant luminaries like Charlie Palmer.

The Institute offers these programs for what might be called the serious amateur (the kind of people who know that ‘garland,’ ‘salamander’ and ‘mandolin’ refer to important kitchen tools, and not the singer, a lizard, or a musical instrument), and the one-day classes range from soups, grilling and Mediterranean cuisine to what is called “Gourmet Meals in Minutes,” a small sampling of its Food Enthusiast program of classes. And as I was reminded on Saturday, this is a great way for a smart husband or girlfriend to give a Christmas present that reaps benefits at home. This was my third session in one of those weekend classes, and this time I chose Italian cuisine.

The set-up in each class is much the same: Each student gets an oversized apron, as big as the ones worn by the downstairs staff in Downton Abbey, together with a toque blanche, that tall hat that is the mark of a chef. (The kitchen help at Gramercy Tavern and One Madison Park may wear baseball caps, but at the Culinary, everyone covers his or her head with a “toque.”) You are split into teams, and each team is assigned a different part of the meal. Which could be a disaster unless the chef in charge plays a strong hand with each group, which was the case with Chef DelleRose (at left), a Bronx native whose dad owned a butcher shop where as a kid he “cooked and ate.” A 1994 Culinary Institute graduate, he was executive chef at several blue chip restaurants before returning to Hyde Park to teach.

After the mandatory “watch the sharp knives and hot stoves” lecture, he showed us how to make mozzarella from scratch using milk, something acid, and salt. Lots of salt. (“Hey chef, what’s your blood pressure?”) A purist would say the mozzarella isn’t authentic because it comes from milk, and not Italian water buffalo, but have you looked at the ingredients on your supermarket cheese lately? I don’t think there are any water buffalo in Wisconsin. And what DelleRose produced, in a few minutes of boiling curd in a pot of salt water, wasn’t the rock hard brick you get in the deli, but a soft, stringy, delicious, and salty cheese. As scooped from the pot, it was softer than Jello and clung to the spoon.

We then began making pasta dough and running it through a machine that looked like it had been there since the site was a Jesuit seminary, to make linguini. Some advice from DelleRose: Don’t cook pasta with olive oil in the water and don’t cook it al dente because you want it to absorb the flavor of the sauce.

And then there was the risotto, helped along by water that had been cured by mushrooms soaking in it for hours. At this point, teams were assembled and assigned tasks. My team included a husband and wife from New Jersey, John and Diana Tully, who normally toil on Wall Street. Our assignments were what Chef DelleRose called “hunter-style chicken” (usually labeled on restaurant menus as chicken cacciatore), tagliatelle Bolognese (a meat sauce in the style of the city of Bologna), and a salad of oranges, fennel and Belgian endive.

I won high praise for my pasta dough, though DelleRose insists he wasn’t tipped off that I was writing about my lesson, and I cheated by letting my teammates do most of the work while I wandered around observing the other stations at work on Sicilian tuna steaks, gnocchi, veal saltimbocca, and pizza with that special mozzarella made earlier, where I learned that pizza dough is different from pasta dough and the secret of great pizza is a VERY HOT oven.

The bottom line: Each class costs $250, and for that you get the tutelage of chefs as knowledgeable as DelleRose, the aforementioned oversized CIA-emblazoned apron, an authentic toque blanche (with the requisite 100 pleats) and a two-pound cookbook carrying a cover price of $36.

Is it worth it? Well, for pretty much the same money, you could buy the new Heston Blumenthal cookbook, but I doubt that you will find anything in its pages you can actually cook. Or maybe, choosing the wines carefully, dine at Restaurant Daniel in Manhattan, but Daniel Boulud isn’t going to stop by your table with cooking tips.

But walking into your dining room, bearing a platter of Sicilian-style tuna steaks, wearing your Culinary Institute apron, and telling your guests, “I learned how to cook this from Chef DelleRose at the Culinary Institute”? Now, that’s priceless.

Culinary Institute of America Cooking and Baking Classes
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY
(845) 452-9600

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 12/09/13 at 08:49 AM • Permalink

Sua Buona: Andrea’s Pasta di Casa

By Don Rosendale

pasta casa It will be four years next week since Andrea Salvador dished up her first fettuccine meal. In Milan, they would call a store like hers an alimentari, an upscale deli where you can buy the highest quality pasta, marinara sauce, and dolce. In Amenia, it’s called Andrea’s Pasta di Casa.

Andrea has the map of Italy on her face, a round visage that still has the echo of a picture taken with her father on Easter in 1946 that now graces the cover of her menu. She says she’s visited every corner of Italy in search of recipes except Bari, and has a map in her store with pins showing each destination, except that on this particular day, all the pins have been moved to the middle of the Adriatic by a customer’s children.

Her basic education in Italian cooking came from her grandmother, she says, a “4’ 8” sparkplug” who was born in the village of Santa Appollina near Rome, and who came to America to find her husband. Andrea learned the finer touches from three aunts, Gilda, Viola and Flora, all named after flowers. Then, at the age of 66, Andrea decided she’d be most fulfilled by cooking the kind of Italian food she’d learned at home.

casa pastaAt that point, her friend in Amenia, Peggy McEnroe, told her she was restoring an old townhouse in order to open an elegant patisserie, and there was room upstairs for another food place. And so Pasta di Casa was born, with the goal of selling a select line of pasta, sauces and some Italian dessert specialties, all made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. (Read our review of McEnroe’s downstairs café, Back in the Kitchen.)

So, why do people drive from Massachusetts and New Jersey and trudge up a steep flight of stairs to pay Andrea $6.50 a pound for linguine when the local supermarket offers fettucini, fusilli, two kinds of penne, orecchiette, bucatini, four ziti sizes plus zitioni agnoletti, for as little as 99 cents a box? And why do they pay $10.50 for a 32-ounce jar of Andrea’s marinara sauce when the supermarket version is $2.50? Fabio Fassone, a “Facebook friend” from Rome who is considered Italy’s leading authority on cuisine, solves the pasta part of the equation by explaining that, while the pasta which comes in a box and what Andrea kneads and extrudes by hand may look alike, they are two very different products. Dry pasta, he reveals, is made with semola di grano duro; fresh pasta with farina di grano tenero. “The fresh pasta,” he writes, “is made from superior wheat, with eggs, it tastes different, better.”

pasta collage The answer to the second question of why Andrea’s sauces are worth much more than their supermarket cousins, is found on the labels and on your taste buds. The label on a container of Andrea’s sauce puttanesca—she prepared a batch for me to sample that takes four hours to make, but was well worth the wait—says it’s made from fresh tomatoes and onions, taggiasca olives, anchovies, capers, rosemary, basil and red pepper flakes. The store-bought kind, one with a famous chef in his toque blanche on the label, includes, among other ingredients, tomato puree diluted with water, dehydrated garlic and celery puree, a couple of chemical things I don’t even recognize, and anonymous “spices.” Other bottled sauces aren’t much different, and one brand even admits that it substitutes soybean oil for olive oil.

The proof is in the tasting of course, and my four-hour-simmered puttanesca—the name supposedly comes from Italian ladies of the night and what they savored after their amorous evenings ended—contained tomatoes you could lift with a fork, slivers of onions, and while subtle, the taste of garlic and anchovies. (Andrea says that because so many of her customers don’t need to exude garlic to repel mosquitoes or zombies, she roasts the garlic beforehand). The supreme test: It was better than what I can make at home, and as good as I’ve had in an expensive New York City restaurant. At $10.50 for a 12-ounce sample, it’s well worth the investment.

pasta casa kitchen Everything she makes is unfrozen, except for her gorgonzola or goat cheese raviolis. “They get mushy after a while if they aren’t frozen,” she says, but so many customers insist on the fresh kind, that “I always have a pot of ravioli on the stove.”

Andrea says many of her customers are “weekend people” from New York City who take her pasta and sauces home because they can’t find the same quality back in Manhattan. Plus, she says, “A lot of people with Italian heritage have popped out of the woodwork because they appreciate good, old-fashioned Italian cooking. Aside from pasta and sauces, other popular items at Pasta di Casa are Sicilian meatballs ($8), pizza ($23), and kale and butternut squash soup ($9.75). She also offers four kinds of lasagna and will do osso buco and whole roast chickens but needs three to five days notice.

One other difference between Andrea’s labels and the supermarket kind—hers don’t have calorie calculations. But during the time I lived in Italy, I observed that pasta is a twice-a-day staple, and I never met a fat Italian.

Andrea’s Pasta di Casa
3312 Rte. 343
Amenia, New York
(845) 789-1414
Monday - Thursday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 11/25/13 at 10:33 AM • Permalink

Pick Your Own Time: An Apple (Or Plum, Pear, Or Pumpkin) A Day

windy2Photo courtesy of Kwaree Blog

By Tim Eustis

Having gorged ourselves on the summer fruits and vegetables of our area, it’s time now to explore the autumnal offerings at pick-your-own orchards and farms. Apples galore are everywhere, and you can also find mums, plums, pears, pumpkins, and even broccoli. If you’re feeling stagnant in your cooking, just visit one of these local treasures and you’re sure to be re-inspired: think local pork chops grilled with a cider glaze, homemade apple sauce on the side, roasted potatoes, and a local hard cider or Pinot Noir. There’s also a special sensation to the experience itself. As Suse Wicks, the store manager of Great Barrington’s Windy Hill Farms (above), says, “people aren’t used to picking their own food,” and when they come down the hill from seeing the majestic views of Monument Mountain and Belchertown State Park, “they’re speechless. To be so close to nature affects you externally and internally — it’s primal.”

Many of these locations will have vegetable stands and farm stores with pies, cheeses, jams, and ice cream, plus activities for children like hayrides, pumpkin decorating contests, and more. It’s a literal cornucopia of fruits and veggies and things to do. Of course, it’s all seasonal, and different varieties and fruits come and go, so calling ahead is advised.

Litchfield County

auvegineAngevine Farm, Warren. Known for its PYO Christmas trees in the winter, they’re now open for pumpkin picking. On the first Sunday in October, they present Pumpkin-Palooza, with pumpkin-based games for children, a band, and pumpkins galore. (Open on weekends.)

The Action Wildlife Foundation, Goshen, is known for its drive-thru safari, petting zoo, and exotic animals, as well as a museum showcasing mounted animals from North and South America and Africa. Katie, who works there, boasts that they “have a zebra,” something you can’t find just anywhere. Starting the first weekend in October, they’ll offer hayrides and guided tours of the animals on the property. Children will find, in various locations, pumpkins for them to take home. The farm store has pre-picked pumpkins, as well as jams and other local offerings. (Runs through October 31, open Thursdays through Sundays.)

Barden Farm, New Hartford. A simple, but well-stocked, PYO farm focusing on pumpkins. They’ll have hayrides and a pumpkin decorating contest the first weekend of October, starting at 1 p.m. (Open seven days a week.)

Columbia County

samascottLove Apple Farms, Ghent. Some of the different varieties of apples at LAF’s PYO include Czestar, Gala, Ginger Gold, and Macoun. What they’re really known for, however, are the authentic Mexican lunches cooked by Laetitia Martinez, who’s been there for the over 21 years. Her tacos and tamales, in particular, should not be missed. They have a playground for kids, hayrides, and a pumpkin PYO. The farm store has seasonal fruit and the requisite jams, pies, and donuts. (Open seven days a week.)

Samascott Orchards, Kinderhook, has the rare offering of PYO vegetables, such as broccoli, beans, eggplant, Swiss chard, tomatoes, and peppers, as well as the “big, apple PYO season” (above left) which is in full swing. They’ll have pumpkins, too. At their garden market, just down the road from the farm, is a Corn Maze, petting zoo, and homemade ice cream stand, as well a cider mill. (Open seven days a week.)

Berkshire County

pumpIoka Farms, Hancock. PYO offerings here include pumpkins and Indian corn, but there’s also hayrides, a petting zoo, pedal-cart racing, and decorated pumpkin races. Plus, take a hay-wagon train ride, or visit the rather David Letterman-ish sounding “pumpkin slingshot.” (Some activities have a small fee, the rest are free.) The farm store sells pies, cider donuts, and sandwiches. (Now open on weekends through October).

applesBartlett’s Orchard, Richmond, is justly famous for their heavenly cider donuts. Owner Cindy Bartlett also trumpets the variety of apples they have, saying that, with the rise in popularity of juicing, people ask which ones are best for that particular endeavor. She recommends beginning with a McIntosh base, which gives the most juice, and add Idared, Northern Spry, and Red Delicious for their body and dense flavors. Bartlett’s also has PYO flowers and pumpkins. Their farm store is well stocked with grocery items, their own freshly ground peanut butter, and… did we mention cider donuts? (Open all week long.)

wineryHilltop Orchards/Furnace Brook Winery, Richmond. Orchard manager David Martell says, “people ask for particular heirloom varieties of apples, such as Macoun or Northern Spry,” but these are only two of the 27 different varieties available, with Honey Crisp and Gala being some of the most popular. On weekends, there’s live music, hayrides, and guided hikes available by appointment. Freshly pressed cider is offered year round, as well as cider donuts and Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. cheeses. Hilltop also makes Johnny Mash hard cider, described by The New York Times as “quite dry tasting but with lovely finesse.” (Open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.)

Dutchess County

picktopBarton Orchards, Beekman. This is one of the county’s many PYO farms, with vegetables in season, apples, berries, pumpkins, a garden center, farm market, and gift shop, and homemade products. There are also the requisite number of fall events, with hayrides, music, and a haunted house corn maze the weekend of October 18 & 19. (Open daily through the end of October.)

Greig Farm, Red Hook. The Greig Farm has been open to the public for PYO fruits and vegetables for more than 60 years. Enjoy the ambiance of a century-old dairy barn while perusing local vegetables, fruits, eggs, cheeses, meats, fish, flowers, and more from local Hudson Valley farms, plus plenty of apples (Jonamac, McIntosh, Honey Crisp, Gala, Macoun, Empire, and Ginger Gold) and PYO pumpkins. Open daily, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

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Posted by Scott Baldinger on 09/22/13 at 08:42 AM • Permalink