Q&A: Healthy & Vegetarian, Kid-Friendly Restaurants in the Pioneer Valley

QUESTION AND ANSWERS

In addition to this great list of reader recommended restaurants with kid-friendly vegetarian meal options, check our archived post, 18 Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Western MA! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Tara Winters of Williamsburg asks: “What are your favorite Pioneer Valley restaurants that offer affordable, healthy, vegetarian, kid-friendly meal options?”

Tara Brock Winters responds: “Awesome suggestions, and thank you for reminding me of a few we have not visited in a while. We are so lucky to have such great options in the Valley!”

Maple Syrup Time: Eight Featured Sugar Shacks in Western MA

Maple Syrup Season

The moment that we have been waiting for all winter is here: Maple Syrup Time!  The ground is thawing and the sap is running… maple sugaring is everywhere, giving great reason to get out with your family to learn about the maple sugaring process while enjoying the first harvest of the year!

Below, I have listed several sugar shacks where there is a restaurant and the sap run is a sweet and joyful event.  However, do not disregard the people around the corner or the trees in your own back yard! A directory of sugar shacks in Massachusetts is available at www.massmaple.org. Check to see if there is someone making syrup in your neighborhood that you do not know.  Call ahead to see if they are boiling and if you bring your kids to come watch the process.

Sugar Shacks with Breakfast

If you want a list with highlights, this is the list for you:

  1. Williams Farm Sugarhouse in Deerfield serves breakfast weekdays 8am-1pm, and weekends 8am-3pm, through April 13th. Their menu includes pancakes, Belgian waffles, and maple frosted donuts.
  2. North Hadley Sugar Shack is open weekdays 7am-1pm, and weekends from 7am-3pm. They are known for their great pancakes.
  3. South Face Sugar Shack in Ashfield is open 8:30am- 3pm, weekends only, through March 30th. They have homemade pancakes, waffles, corn fritters, maple milkshakes and many other special maple goodies.
  4. High Hopes Farm Sugar House in Worthington serves weekends from 7am- 2pm. They are the home of the exclusive “All You Can Eat” Sugar House Buffet.
  5. Red Bucket Sugar Shack in Worthington is open 8am-2pm on Saturdays and 8am-3pm on Sundays through mid-April. on weekends.  They have a lot of wonderful variations on the pancake, including carrot cake and zucchini bread pancakes.
  6. Gould’s Maple Sugarhouse in Shelburne is open on weekends.  Call to find out the particular hours. They have candy, cream, fudge and syrup in addition to a full breakfast.
  7. Pomeroy Sugar House & Restaurant in Westfield is open Fri-Sun 7:30am-1pm through the first of April. In addition to breakfast, there are farm animals to meet and pet.
  8. Hanging Mountain Farms & The Strawbale Cafe in Westhampton is open Fri- Sat 7am-1pm, and Sun. 8am-1pm. They have a full menu, including buttermilk, multigrain and gluten-free pancakes & french toast! Yum.

For a quick, complete, and unannotated list, with hours, dates and directions, check out the Mass Maple Sugar House with Restaurant directory.  And while there is a definite joy in celebrating the harvest with comrades and pancakes, have you considered tapping a tree or two yourself?  Here is a quick guide from the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association to get you started: Make Your Own Maple Syrup.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Theresa Heary-Selah — Theresa is a teacher and a freelance writer, making her home in Greenfield, MA and Wright, NY with her family.  She teaches at S.H.I.N.E. (Students at Home in New England), a social and academic support program for middle school students in the Pioneer Valley, and writes about home-schooling and technology.  Theresa’s interests include home-schooling, gardening, cooking, hiking, and dancing.

Breakfast Giveaway: Pancakes, Coffee & Tea in Western MA

Breakfast Giveaway in Western MA:
Sugar Shack Breakfast for Your Family Plus
Locally Produced Coffee & Tea Gift Boxes

Our region is rich in locally grown, produced and served food.  Enter to win a breakfast out for a family of four at South Face Farm Sugarhouse (Ashfield), along with locally produced coffee from Gay Coffee (Williamsburg) and tea from Tea Guys (Hatfield). Deadline to enter to win: March 19th by 7pm (EST).

Maple Sugar Season is upon us and many families make it an annual tradition to enjoy breakfast together at one of the rustic sugar shacks in the region.  It’s a great way to spend a morning together with the kids while enjoying the first harvest of the year and watching the sugaring process.  We asked our readers to share their favorite sugar shack in Western MA and recommendations ranged from Gould’s in Shelburne, Red Bucket in Worthington, Steve’s Sugar Shack in Westhampton, to South Face Farm in Ashfield… but one thing was quiet clear… families LOVE their local sugar shacks!

To celebrate this short and sweet breakfast tradition of coming together with your community to dine at these seasonal houses of sweetness, Hilltown Families has partnered with three local businesses to offer one lucky family the chance to win a breakfast for four at South Face Farm Sugarhouse in Ashfield, plus a coffee gift box from Gay Coffee in Williamsburg, and a tea gift box from Tea Guys in Hatfield (all three!).

According to the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, “Sugaring is one of the few tourist destination events to occur during mud season in March and April. 60,000 visitors spend in excess of one million dollars during sugaring season. Farms, restaurants, Bed and Breakfasts, country inns, and other tourist businesses share this income, which flows mostly into small towns and farm communities.”

To enter to win our Breakfast Giveaway, we’re looking for community feedback on how the harvest of maple syrup gets your family outdoors, participating in the harvest with your community to share in a collection stories and recipes we are putting together for a new project we’re working on called Seasons at Our Table.  In addition to dining out at a sugar shack, maybe your family gathers maple sap and boils it down, or you like to attend the maple festivals and educational opportunities in the area… Or maybe you have a new tradition you’re looking forward to participating in with your family and/or community.  Details on how to enter to win are below, and deadline to enter is Monday, March 19th by 7pm (EST).

Here’s what you can enter to win:

South Face Farm Sugarhouse (Ashfield, MA)

South Face Farm Sugarhouse is located in Ashfield, MA, a small rural and farming community in the Berkshire foothills.  Their traditional old New England sugarhouse and restaurant is open this year on Saturdays and Sundays from March 3rd to April 7th, and closed Easter Sunday.  Families can watch pure maple syrup being made and then just a few steps away, taste the results on a plate of steaming hot blueberry pancakes. They offer a varied menu of traditional New England sugarhouse food, using the best ingredients from local farms and sources. Their French toast is made from locally baked real French bread, or cinnamon bread. All batters are made from scratch each day using the finest ingredients. To see the sugarhouse menu click here to view or print. Seasonal updates are posted on the South Face Farm Facebook page and more info can be found at www.southfacefarm.com.

GIVEAWAY: South Face Farm is offering Hilltown Families readers a chance to win breakfast for a family of four at their restaurant and sugarhouse for this season.  Don’t miss the chance to experience a taste of the maple sugaring season while dinning with your family in a quintessential New England tradition. (Value: Whatever your family orders, they’ve got you covered!)

Gay Coffee (Williamsburg, MA)

Gay Coffee is based in Williamsburg, MA.   Each batch of hand roasted coffee is fairly traded and organically sourced, respecting their coffee growing partners, and the planet’s health.   At the intersection of a historic moment in gay civil rights, and over the morning ritual of sharing a cup of exquisite coffee, Gay Coffee was conceived as the perfect integration of these two powerful themes with 1% of all profits donated to the National Gay Lesbian Task Force.  Find out more about Gay Coffee at www.gaycoffee.com

GIVEAWAY: Gay Coffee gift box includes a 10 oz gift tin of Second Date, a deep and very full bodied brew that combines African and Central American beans;  A 10 oz bag of Stone Butch Breakfast Blend: A classic blend of medium roasted beans from the highlands of Guatemala; and a set of “Wake Up and Taste the Gay!” mugs. (Value: $56)

Tea Guys (Hatfield, MA)

Tea Guys in Hatfield, MA is a local family-owned business specializing in artisan whole leaf loose tea blends. Their culinary-inspired tea creations are blended in small batches daily and made with the finest loose tea from around the world, freshly hand-milled spices, vanilla bean, dried fruits, nuts and artisan ingredients to create unique and colorful blends that stimulate the eyes, nose, and palate – and truly taste like no other tea. www.teaguys.com

GIVEAWAY: This Tea Guys gift box includes a selection of three tins of our unique blends: Tropical Green tea, Strawberry Kiwi fruit tisane, and Coconut Truffle black tea, along with a brewing basket for brewing the perfect cup of tea. (Value: $35)

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family breakfast for four at South Face Farm Sugarhouse in Ashfield this season, plus a gift box of coffee from Gay Coffee in Williamsburg, and a gift box of tea from Tea Guys in Hatfield is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING THIS POST ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below,
  • TELL US HOW MAPLE SUGAR SEASON GETS YOUR FAMILY OUTDOORS AND PARTICIPATING IN THE HARVEST WITH YOUR COMMUNITY below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • From our favorite entries (so make them good!) we’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Monday, March 19th by 7pm (EST).

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