Valley Famous Residents Give a Little Love Back to Paradise

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 10, Our Famous People are Cool (& Give Back)

John Hodgman at the Amherst Cinema on March 11th, 2012. (Courtesy Photo)

There’s little question that Rachel Maddow’s rise is something many Valley folk feel a kind of personal cheerlead-y excitement over. I mean, she’s smart and funny and we loved her first. She brings some of our real politics into the mainstream (by real, let’s say progressive and a little wonky, the National Priorities Project and Free Press angles of seeing the issues writ less about political parties and more about issues of access and spending and information sharing). Her love story is pretty quintessentially a Valley one; she met Susan when she knocked on the door to fix something and you know, lesbians in love, happens all the time (around here).

She’s even been Tumblr’ed to better that oft-memed Ryan Gosling—what’s not to like?

Part of what makes it that much more fun to live here is that the people who somehow collide with fame and Paradise or its environs, before, after or during really do give back.

Case in point: Rachel Maddow helped raise money this summer for the Cummington Creamery (also, she and her partner are generous more generally around here).

❥ Next month, John Hodgman will offer his witty brand o’expertise to a Movie Trivia Bee for our (fabulous) independent movie theaters, Pleasant Street Cinema and Amherst Cinema. The event will be at Smith College (Weinstein Auditorium) on Sunday, March 11th at 3 PM. Bill Dwight, formerly the world’s oldest video clerk and now City Council President in Northampton (that’s how Northampton rolls) is emcee. Rather than glitz, we have cool, sharp and funny going—and gracious and loyal. Love of place and community, baby, that’s the bomb diggity.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Ticket Giveaway: Family Dance Party with Joan Holliday

Win a Family 4-Pack of Free Tickets…

Family Dance Party with Joan Holliday
Saturday, February 11th, 2012 @ 10am-12Noon
at Northampton Center for the Arts

On Saturday, February 11th, Northampton Center for the Arts (17 New South Street, 3rd Floor) will host a FAMILY DANCE PARTY from 10am-12Noon with DJ Joan Holliday from 93.9 FM The River, co-sponsored by Hilltown Families… and we have a family 4-pack of tickets to giveaway to one lucky family! Deadline to enter to win is 02/08/12. Find out how to enter to win below.

Families from throughout the Pioneer Valley will don their dancing shoes at this benefit for Nonotuck Community School. Come join kids of all ages under the disco ball and groove to a mix of classics, new tunes, and kids favorites at this all-for-the-family dance party! 

“I’ve loved music since I was an infant (a peace and love British invasion child of the 60s!),” says Joan Holliday. “As a radio DJ at 93.9 WRSI The River, and an events DJ for almost ten years, I am especially excited to get the kids dancing to benefit Nonotuck!  It’s fun for a great cause, and we’re gonna fill that dance floor!

ABOUT THE NCS 2012 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

Hilltown Families is a proud sponsor of the NCS Winter Family Concert Series, an annual three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The 2012 season started off with The Nields in January, followed by A Family Dance Party with DJ Joan Holliday this month, and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem will conclude the series in March.  Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to Joan Holliday’s Family Dance Party at Northampton Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 11th, 2012 from 10am-12Noon, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US YOUR FAMILY’S FAVORITE SONG (NAME OF SONG/ARTIST) FOR SHAKING AWAY THE WINTER BLUES FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST  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).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 02/08/12 @ 7pm (EST).

Ticket Giveaway: The Nields Family Concert in Northampton

Win a Family 4-Pack of Free Tickets…

Family Concert with The Nields
Saturday, January 21st, 2012 @ 10:30am
at The First Churches of Northampton

Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Nields in Northampton on Saturday, Jan. 21st at 10:30am. Deadline to enter to win: 01/18/12 by 7pm (EST). Details below.

For the third year in a row, Hilltown Families is a proud sponsor of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series.  This year the school is kicking off their concert series with The Nields, and we have a family 4-pack of free tickets to giveaway to one lucky family! Proceeds from the performance go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a local non-profit preschool! Deadline to enter to win is 01/18/12. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT THE NIELDS

Nerissa and Katryna Nields grew up singing folk songs in the kitchen and in the back seat of the family car. Katryna learned to sing melody with their father, eventually making her an ideal front person for the band. Nerissa, on the other hand, tackled the harmonies; with that skill, she provided a natural counterpoint to her sister’s vibrant lead. As a duo, the sisters have toured nationally for years and been the darlings of the coffeehouse/festival scene, with tunes ranging from off-the-hook idiosyncratic to kicking to heartbreaking. They were a part of Lillith Fair, and have shared the stage with Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega, Sarah McLaughlin, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Joan Baez, the Band, 10,000 Maniacs, Billy Bragg, Dan Zanes and countless others, all of whom informed and enhanced their musical repertoire.

A most recent influence on their music is children. “Having children has brought us back to our roots in a powerful way,” says Nerissa. “I’m much more drawn to the honesty of folk music, the simplicity of it. My kids love singing songs from Sister Holler. And I love how, when we sing these ‘Nerissa’ songs in concerts, everybody sings along, even though it’s the first time they’ve heard them. They’re songs that really invite the listener into the music making process.” Find more information about the band at www.nields.com.

ABOUT THE NCS 2012 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

The NCS Winter Family Concert Series is an annual three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The 2012 season starts off with The Nields in January, followed by A Family Dance Party with DJ Joan Holliday in February and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem in March.  The family concerts take place at The First Churches of Northampton (129 Main Street) and the Dance party will be hosted at the Northampton Center for the Arts. Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Nields in concert at The First Churches of Northampton on Saturday, January 21st, 2012 @ 10:30am , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES CONNECTS YOUR FAMILY WITH LOCAL EVENTS  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).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 01/18/12 @ 7pm (EST).

Work Places in the Happy Valley

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 9, There Are No Office Buildings

❥ At some point during his early elementary years, Lucien, my second boy, wanted to visit an office. You know, a real office, the kind of place that has an elevator and desks and chairs that spin and maybe free pens or little bowls of candy. Offices, like that, in big buildings, places where people—not just one or two, but the people—dress up for work, what about those places? We could not think of one.

Sure, we know lawyers and insurance people, doctors and dentists. Sure, his papa has an office. But his office is in an old mill building and he sells antiquarian books. There is no dress code at his workplace and while he’s got an alarm and there is an elevator that goes two floors in the building, it’s not the bustling work world a book might describe. It’s a quirky, somewhat esoteric office in a quirky, somewhat esoteric building. It’s a lovely place to work. When I visit, I get office envy. But it’s not “office,” the way the then-seven year-old wished to see.

I remember tucking away that notion: I live in a place where there are no actual offices of the housed in tall buildings variety. I remember thinking that I was extremely fortunate to live in a place like this, a place where old mill buildings house artists and artisans, movement studios and therapists, a place where lawyers and doctors can opt for niches rather than big, boxy buildings. I am fortunate to live near a passel of colleges, which do provide employment—much of it quite flexible, or flexible in comparison to many other kinds of places of employment—to so many. I’m fortunate to live three minutes by car to a hospital and just a few minutes by foot to a wonderful museum. I remember thinking that I live in the oddest little place.

I certainly think that the number of slashes between my friends’ work duties is rather astonishing. I have a therapist pal who arranges flowers on the side. I know a personal trainer turned housepainter, two woodworkers turned body workers. Psychologist, body worker, consultant or dancer slash yoga teacher is more common than simply yoga teacher. I know people who were social workers and now are other things and people who were other things and became social workers. Teachers morph to tutors. Ballet dancers become ballet instructors. A former lawyer recently opened a café with his wife. You get the idea. Even me: for no ostensible reason at all, I’m a writer who also marries people.

❥ It’s no surprise then that back when my big kids were young, I realized the stay-at-home dad phenomenon fits rather seamlessly into a community without a dominant corporate culture and where striking a balance between work and the rest of life is considered laudable. Even our new mayor took on the primary caregiver role for a number of years.

While I’m not sure how the “real world” looks to kids raised in a place that is so unconventional, given that the workplace and workforce seem to be changing in ways that require entrepreneurship, flexibility and creativity, I guess, perhaps, our odd little conglomeration of workplaces and the workforce that fills them is as good a launching pad as any.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Nifty Living in Paradise ❥ Sharing the Love!

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 8, Friends Who Also Love Paradise

When 5,500 come out early on a Saturday morning to run and walk in support of women who have experienced domestic violence, you know you're in a pretty unique spot on earth! (8th Annual Hot Chocolate Run. Photo credit: Ellen Carter)

Amongst the nifty things about living in a nifty place is this one: you are not alone in your love of the place and its people.

No question that when I first saw the slick jewel tones on the trees (it was pouring) during my first visit to Hampshire College, I thought this was a very pretty place. I don’t remember much more than that. But pretty quickly after turning on Robert J. Lurtsema early in the morning during that first semester, as directed by my mother’s dear friend who was at the time living in Hartford, I began to appreciate that I’d moved to a charmed area.

Way back then, I liked the bus system between the colleges, the Yellow Sun Co-op in Amherst and the fact that I could partake in a volunteer task force endeavoring to secure free after school care for children in the town of Amherst. I could not tell you how I found my way into that group, now; I was perhaps the only college student amongst the adults. But they were extremely welcoming. I went on to do plenty more organizing on campus and off over my decades here (I still do). What hasn’t changed for me is that this is a place where getting involved is truly a matter of course.

As recently as this last election, I was out there with my family holding signs for our mayoral candidate of choice.

❥ These days, my middle kids use the PVTA bus and I’m more likely to rave about my pal Monte’s morning radio (or on Saturdays, Bill Childs’ Spare the Rock Spoil the Child) and we heart our co-op, River Valley Market.

But I digress: the sense that we live in a special place for all sorts of reasons (including the high level of community engagement) is one I regularly know others feel, too. It’s nice to share.

I’ve been meeting somewhat regularly recently with three other writer types—idea sharing and cheerleading and holding one another accountable. It so happens we are all four of us besotted with this place.

  1. My friend Amy wrote an essay about a roundabout search for an oven to bake a loaf of Mark Bittman’s No Knead Bread during the snowstorm and power outage event of October in which her love for this little spot she recently began to call home (again) shines through. Note: my kids are the Baskinettes.
  2. My friend Naomi shares her small town amour on her blog.
  3. My friend Megan’s blog is entitled Life in the Little City. Her focus is essentially to highlight her particular fondness for Paradise.

❥ Heck, when over 5,500 people participate in a run and walk to support women, who have been experiencing domestic violence, you have to know you’re in a pretty unique spot on earth, right?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Volunteer for First Night Northampton

Volunteer Opportunity: First Night Northampton

First Night is a Northampton tradition enjoyed by the community every year- families love all of the fun events that take place all day (especially the fireworks!) and it’s a wonderful way to wrap up the holidays. However, all of the fun couldn’t happen without the help of volunteers!

The Northampton Center for the Arts, which the event benefits, is seeking volunteers to help out during First Night! There are three shifts available- 1-5pm, 4:30-8:30pm (with a break for fireworks), or 8-11pm. Volunteers are asked to help out at one of the downtown performance venues during their shift, so if you help out, you’ll still get to enjoy the events! Volunteers also get a free First Night button and are able to enjoy the event while they’re not on duty! For more information or to sign up, call the Center for the Arts at 413-584-7327 or fill out their volunteer form online.

Local & Independent ❥ Shopping in Western MA

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 7, Buying Local, Fairs, Markets, Stores

Artisans selling their locally made products at the Hilltown Spring Festival. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

❥ By the time this goes up, the fall’s Twist Fair will have taken place. Don’t worry, though, you can still buy local crafts. If it seems like this is a valley teeming with artisans (okay, and therapists and cafés), I do believe it’s been proven true in the census or something, that our general lofty crafty factor is not just a figment of your imagination.

Peruse this wonderful Hilltown Families resource to see that you can buy local all year round—and certainly in the coming weeks.

Both the Arts and Industries building in Florence and Easthampton’s One Cottage Street have long had open studios. Eastworks got into the act, too. In fact, there are so many I can’t list them, the open studios, the crafts fairs and such. I love RED, though. I have hosted a little home craft show that seemed to mushroom over time into an actual thing. And of course there are two pottery tours each year that feature amazing work, Asparagus Valley and Hilltown 6.

Then, in Northampton, things like the Cup and Mug Invitational at the Artisan Gallery always makes my ceramic-loving self start to swoon.

Plus, having become a Hilltown Charter school family, I learned last year how totally fun the winter craft show there is: it’s really a hands-on for kids (and their grown-ups) event. About sixty-hundred-and-ten other schools have wondrous fairs, too (see listings on Hilltown Families why don’t you?).

❥ I remember when a friend first moved here from Manhattan years ago. She said, “The good thing about living here is there’s no shopping. The bad thing is there’s no shopping.”

There is shopping, local shopping. There is less shopping perhaps than one might find a Gap and Abercrombie-lined street. I fall on the good thing side of this lack of abundant goods to purchase, sure. I love so many of the local businesses here and I feel so good buying local. From River Valley Market to farmers’ markets to Impish and Jackson and Connor (not so many mums can peruse the racks at both stores for their kids!), I prefer fewer options and knowing the owners to an anonymous stampede of consumerism. Even if I’m wearing both an Old Navy skirt and an Old Friends Farm t-shirt while I’m writing this.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

African Children’s Choir Comes to Northampton

African Children’s Choir at Academy of Music

The Choir takes its audience on a musical journey across the African continent, from a crocodile encounter on Lake Victoria to the celebration of a successful harvest, from a traditional courtship dance to a celebration of all-time Gospel favorites.

The Academy of Music in Northampton will host the African Children’s Choir on Friday, October 14th at 7:30pm. The choir is made up of children ages 7-11 from many different parts of Africa, including Rwanda, Kenya, and Ghana. Each performance is filled with songs and dances celebrating the history of the choir and the many different African cultures represented by its members. The performance is a great way for kids to learn about African cultures and to gain an appreciation for world music– not to mention that it’s an opportunity to hear a wonderful performance! For information about the choir or to purchase tickets, visit www.academyofmusictheatre.com.

Northampton ❥ Life in a College Town

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 6, Living in a College Town

As a neighbor to Smith College, such things as its museum, botanical gardens and the rarely crowded post office in its campus center are features I benefit from in daily life.

In the mornings, I drop my kids off and walk a loop around the Smith College Campus, passing Paradise Pond and continuing up the hill toward the chapel. One morning last year, I realized that amongst the things I’m grateful for living here is this one: I will always know what an 18-year-old looks like.

❥  The rhythms of Campus Life—how every school year includes a big reminder of newness in the form of orientations and parents dropping kids off for the very first time and new Smithies navigating their way downtown like schools of fish and signs of welcome on bed sheets and flash mob traffic—define everyone in proximity to the campuses. Even if the terrifying jaywalking tendencies of otherwise smart college students are vexing, so much about living in a college-rich area delights me. I have become accustomed to things that might have otherwise caught me off-guard like visible piercings, tattoos and any color hair (or none).

In this college-rich area, there are always more lectures, concerts and controversies than I can possible keep track of, let alone attend. I love that. I feel as if living here boredom isn’t an option. You can just go learn something new. I love knowing that some of my retired friends take classes and I love that Northampton High School Students have that opportunity. Case in point: my tenth grader anxiously awaited Mountain Day this fall. I live close enough to Smith College’s Helen Hills Hills Chapel to hear the bells at seven on Mountain Day morning. I have always loved how that campus ritual spills into the ‘hood.

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Western MA ❥ Weather

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 5, Weather

(Photo credit: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser)

❥ I wrote myself a note about the next Mash Note a few weeks ago. I put down one word: weather. My thought process went I should write about my reverence for the seasons while the weather’s still nice. Because frankly, I can’t really abide by winter, since I don’t enjoy feeling cold. And still…

Having lived around here for the bulk of 30 years (!) I realize that while I really don’t live here for the weather, I do appreciate it. Why? The way seasons wrap themselves around the year marks time. It’s rings around trees in plain sight and stored into sensory memory. It’s the pleasure of being surprised each and every autumn by the leaves’ gem colors. It’s tastes and smells and even (sigh) the sense of relief when the snow melts and the sidewalks widen again.

Seasons bring the bittersweet and the sweet of life to the fore. While I’m not sure I’d miss them if I lived in a more monolithic climate, I have used them to train myself to appreciate what is. I am told that being happy in the moment, any moment, is really a good thing.

❥ Now I had this thought before the wild weather week that marked the tail end of August and beginning of September this year. Who would like a deadly, damaging tropical storm? No one could, obviously. And in a way, that’s why I decided to stick to my original idea; I wanted to add that climate change threatens these basic cycles and throws in more quote-unquote natural disasters and with every storm of the century, we should redouble our efforts to push for greater accountability to environment from our leaders, our corporations, and our communities.

From Green Teams in our schools to kids learning about recycling from toddlerhood to groups like Grow Food Northampton working to ensure 120 acres of farmland remain farmland to organizations like CISA supporting the local farm movement and local farmers to staunch protests against Vermont Yankee on out, this bit of paradise lives its values. And that’s another reason I love it here.

When the storm submerged a field at our CSA it was another lesson in how important weather—and the climate change holding steadier rather than progressing—really is. The farmers’ lessons are by extension the shareholders’ lessons and another call to activism and rethinking our ways in the world.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

A Day at the Local Swimming Hole

Nothing Like a Swim

Swimming at DAR in Goshen

Swimming at the DAR in Goshen, MA (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Summer for us means a few trips away, a week of camp for each boy and many days of waking up in the morning and figuring out the day based on an algorithm of weather, health and how much energy the boys need to expend versus what I have to balance with work commitments.

It is hard to explain but easy to do. The upshot is swimming. All weather being fair, we calculate the amount of time we have for the project and then I pack snacks.

Swimming at Plainfield Pond

Cooling off at Plainfield Pond in Plainfield, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

When I have just a little time, we go directly to Northampton’s Musante Beach (Leeds, MA). For just a few dollars – or about $60 for the summer (depending on if you are a town resident or not), we can enjoy a life-guarded beach portion of the Mill River. The water is cold and clear. The current is unnoticeable unless like me you notice that it keeps the water nice and clean.

For all you parents, yes to bathrooms and life jackets, if you prefer them. Also, yes to the occasional ice cream truck- arm yourself with a few singles…if your kids are little you will enjoy how close the parking is to the spot where your kids will get to start playing.

Given a few more hours, we are likely to head to Puffers Pond near UMASS in Amherst. The kids love this oversized pond. Its water is perfect swimming temperature- chilled only when you get in and out. There is not that much sand to play with at the pond but it is nicely packed in for kids who like to drive their trucks around.

Sand Castles at DAR

Building sand castles at DAR in Goshen, MA (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

For parents of swimmers, there is no lifeguard on duty- or as I tell my kids, mama is on duty.  The upside side- yes to water wings, inflatable rings, rafts, pool noodles! You can even put in a canoe or kayak. Head’s up to parents: it can be a bit of a hike from roadside parking to parked on your blanket & there are port-a-pottties only.  It is all worth it, to find yourself in a sweet New England swimming hole.

Other places we land for a swim are the DAR (Goshen, MA) and our beloved Hampshire YMCA (Northampton, MA) on off weather days.

What about you? Where do you go when you want to jump in a lake?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

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Voices in the Valley ❥ Local Radio

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 4, Local Radio

When I go back to Philadelphia, my hometown, there are only a few things that make me the least bit wistful for the place (besides some people, of course): the Wissahickon woods’ walking path, the vegan chili at Jonathan’s, those generous stone houses fronted by neon stands of forsythia, and WXPN’s World Café.

I may have every Live at the World Café CD ever made. I’m a very longtime member (also of WFCR and WAMC, worry not).

WXPN love is a big deal for me. I listen to the station when I’m driving around Philly and I wish it were mine, in person, in the car, not streamed. How funny since I’m so entirely delighted by my radio here at home. I mean we’ve got NPR in spades. We’ve got our own college station, where my friend, Fern, plays great music. And we’ve got WRSI.

❥ One of the crowning moments in my adult life was the day I stopped automatically turning to Morning Edition or All Things Considered if I got into the car when those shows were on. It wasn’t that long ago. I listen to the news, sure, however these days, I tend to stay with music. I am a much happier driver, now.

❥ The River—in that old-school-Valley way I still think of as RSI—has had all sorts of great folks sharing their voices over its airwaves. Its mixture: catchy songs, older songs, homegrown songs—and if you listen at the right time—you can even learn a little bit about birds.

Unlike many stations, I am glad to happen upon the radio on Saturday morning for Spare the Rock Spoil the Child’s whimsy-through-kindie music or Sunday morning’s acoustic and homey Back Porch.

During farmers’ market season, you can go say hi to Joan Holliday in the WRSI tent on Tuesdays. Year-round, there are all sorts of fun live broadcasts. The ridiculous wealth of local talent, from locals who play on the street to locals who play in small clubs, to locals that are whispered about when spotted in cities far from here, all contribute to our local radio’s awesomeness.

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100 Links (Spring/Summer 2011)

100 Links (Spring/Summer 2011)

Nearly every day we add recommended links to the Hilltown Families bank of on-line resources.  Some of you might find these links well suited for your family, others, maybe not so much.  But it’s a fun and useful list worth perusing of online resource that are educational and entertaining!

Follow Me on DeliciousWhere are these links? Hilltown Families Del.ici.ous Page!  This icon can be found at the top of our site, in the left-hand column.  Click any time to see what links we’ve added!

Below is the latest 100 links we’ve shared: (you will need to use the “back” button to return to this page). All links are provided as a courtesy and not as an endorsement:

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A Day at the Eric Carle Museum

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art

The highlight of our trip was the Art Studio. Henry was pleased to sit down and make a collage with tissue paper and liquid starch. Just like "the real Eric Carle."(Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

Our most pristine days have been reserved for traditional summer activities like turning on the sprinkler, slurping popsicles and tossing food on the grill. It takes a heat wave to tear us away from simplest of summer pleasures like swimming with friends and running through the splash pad. We are relishing every moment of these lazy summer days. Three boys, three school schedules and a handful of careers between two parents, summer’s slower pace has been a gift.  The recent heat wave slowed us down a bit too much, though. Once again we looked for air-conditioned refuges to perk us up.

We made a long awaited trip to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA. I’ve been waiting because I want my boys to be able to have the attention span and appreciation for some time in the galleries. I was so happy to see they offered a little activity to help the youngest kids give the art the attention it deserves and not just buzz through at breakneck speed. Before you enter, pick up a clipboard, pencil and gallery treasure hunt map. Kids can find animals A-Z in the West Gallery, which houses Eric Carle’s work. My boys most enjoyed seeing the glass cased presentation of the materials used to make some of their favorite illustrations – paint, tissue paper, scissors and brushes.

Theo exploring light, color and magnification in the studio. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

The central and east galley exhibits will change but we had fun exploring the art of Barbara McClintock, especially the pieces that showed her process, changes and final presentations. We are now sure to check The Heartaches of French Cat.  Tomi Ungerer was an artist whose work I have seen without being very familiar with his own story. Most of this went right past my boys’ little brains but we did see the familiar Flat Stanley and Moon Man.

The highlight of this trip for younger kids will most likely be the Art Studio. The daily project will change. Henry was pleased to sit down and make a collage. A few manipulatives and magnet boards with different materials, colors and textures engage kids of all ages. My kids would play with magnets on the frig all day – we even installed a magnet board in their room because I need to occasionally open the frig door and disturb the artwork. There was a moment I thought they were just going to move in to the Art Studio and never leave – not a bad plan considering the air-conditioning was included! Instead, I decided that I would make them some magnets with new colors and shapes with my fabric scraps at home.

A few manipulatives and magnet boards with different materials, colors and textures engage kids of all ages. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art hosts special events year round. During the summer it is open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm,  Saturday 10am-5 and Sunday 12-5pm. The museum is only open Mondays during school vacation periods, so check the website for details. We used our trusty Forbes Library Museum pass to get in. Ordinary admission $9 per adult and $6 per child. If you have visited before, what did your family enjoy the most? If you haven’t taken this trip yet, I hope you do!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Opening Reception Tonight for “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit”

Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit
At the Northampton Center for the Arts
in July & August 2011

Opening Reception: Friday, July 8th from 5-8pm

Opening reception: Friday, July 8th from 5-8pm.

On Friday, July 8th from 5-8pm at the Northampton Center for the ArtsHilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit opens in the center’s East Gallery, taking part in Northampton’s Arts Night Out with an opening reception.

Photographs of life and landscape in Western MA featured on HilltownFamilies.org over the years by Hilltown Families founder and photographer, Sienna Wildfield, will be on display.  In a recent interview with Ashley Kohl  of 22News Mass Appeal, Wildfield explains how the images in the exhibit aim to reflect the local culture and community values found in Western MA.

“We’re thrilled to be invited by the Northampton Center for the Arts to display the exhibit in their East Gallery this summer,” says Wildfield.  “It’s a great opportunity to showcase photographs from Northampton, including images from last year’s Chalk Art Festival, the Tuesday Market and this year’s Busker’s Ball.”

Read the rest of this entry »

El Mercado de Vegetales de Jackson Street

New Monthly Farmers’ Market: Jackson Street Farmers’ Market
Debuts Friday, July 8th from 3-7pm

Families With Power, The Northampton Health Department, and Tuesday Market Present: El Mercado de Vegetales de Jackson Street (The Jackson Street Farmers' Market), starting this Friday, July 8th from 3-7pm at Hampshire Heights (corner of Jackson St. and Bridge Road, across from the Jackson Street School). The value of your food stamps will be DOUBLED at this Market (up to $10). Walk, bike, bus if you can, but if you must drive, please park your car at the Jackson Street School parking lot and walk over to Hampshire Heights. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Ben James of Town Farm in Northampton, MA writes:

We are very excited to announce Northampton’s newest farmers’ market. Initiated by Families With Power (a group of mothers whose children attend the Jackson Street School), The Jackson Street Farmers’ Market is dedicated to building community and providing nourishing, affordable, locally-grown produce to Northampton’s Latino and low-income residents.

Located on the corner of Bridge Road & Jackson Streets, the new market is an easy walk or bike ride from a number of Northampton neighborhoods, and it’s a convenient stop on the way home from a long week of work. Stock up on tomatoes, raspberries, cucumbers, salad greens, summer squash, and more. Find out how Elba Heredia makes delicious sofrito with fresh cilantro for her popular arroz con gandulez. There’ll be live music & dancing as well! Town Farm will be making shaved ices (piraguas) in all new tropical flavors. Vendors include farmers from Nuestres Raices in Holyoke, El Jardin Bakery, Northampton’s Town Farm, and more.

You’ve probably noticed that there are farmers’ markets sprouting up everywhere, but there aren’t many being started in low-income neighborhoods. This is a real shame, since families living in these neighborhoods face a number of hurdles at once. Suffering from a far greater incidence of diabetes and other nutritionally-related disorders, hard-working, low-income mothers & fathers rarely have the time or the means to make a special trip to a farmers’ market. This is a problem, since it’s these people who can benefit the most from nutritious, locally-grown food. The Jackson Street Farmers’ Market aims to shift the situation by – as Jackson Street School teacher and market organizer Mary Cowhey puts it – “creating a positive community event out of the market as a way to change buying, cooking, eating, and activity habits.”

Most exciting of all, the Jackson Street Farmers’ Market will be doubling the value of customers’ food stamps, thanks to our FoodStampsX2 program. This program is run by Tuesday Market & Grow Food Northampton, and is funded by generous donations from Northampton residents and local businesses, including Florence Savings Bank. If you’d like to make a donation to this great program, here’s how.

So please come on by and be a part of the cooking, the dancing, the hanging out, and – of course – the food. The market is open to everyone! We would love to see you there.

And mark your calendar for the August 12th & September 9th markets as well!

StoryWalk Debuts in Northampton for Arts Night Out

StoryWalk debuts at this month's Arts Night Out in Downtown Northampton of Friday, July 8th.

Barbara Black, Northampton Public Schools Early Childhood Coordinator, writes: 

StoryWalk™ is an exciting initiative that combines a children’s story with a popular walking route. The idea was developed in September, 2007 by Anne Ferguson, a volunteer with the Vermont Bicycle and Pedestrian Coalition.

Here’s how it works:

We selected a children’s book, separated the pages, laminated them, and attached them to wooden stakes. We will then either post the stakes along an outdoor walking route or in shop windows – giving families with young children the chance to walk, talk, and read together!

Readers follow the story as they walk the route. It’s a great way to inspire parents, teachers, and caregivers to take young children on a short stroll that will be fun for all. StoryWalk™ helps build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy outdoor activity for both adults and children.

And, now we are doing StoryWalk™ in Northampton! Sponsored by the Northampton Public Schools, Community Partnerships for Children Council, Parents Center, and Lilly Library, there will be two StoryWalks on Friday, July 8 – and more in the planning stages.

Details for July 8:

July “Arts Night Out – the pages of a story will be in shop windows along the north side of Main St. – starting at Broadside Books and ending at Ben and Bill’s Chocolates.

Jackson St. Farmers’ Market – the Tuesday Farmer’s Market is trying out a Farmers’ Market at Hampshire Heights (Jackson St. and Bridge Rd.) from 3 to 7 PM on Friday July 8.  A StoryWalk will be posted along Jackson St. and near the Farmers’ Market.

Please join us!

For further information, contact Barbara Black at bblack@northampton-k12.us

Northampton Center for the Arts Hosts “Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” this Summer!

Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit
At the Northampton Center for the Arts
in July & August 2011

Opening Reception: Friday, July 8th from 5-8pm

Opening reception: Friday, July 8th from 5-8pm.

On Friday, July 8th from 5-8pm at the Northampton Center for the ArtsHilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit opens in the center’s East Gallery, taking part in Northampton’s Arts Night Out with an opening reception.

Photographs of life and landscape in Western MA featured on HilltownFamilies.org over the years by Hilltown Families founder and photographer, Sienna Wildfield, will be on display.  In a recent interview with Ashley Kohl  of 22News Mass Appeal, Wildfield explains how the images in the exhibit aim to reflect the local culture and community values found in Western MA.

“We’re thrilled to be invited by the Northampton Center for the Arts to display the exhibit in their East Gallery this summer,” says Wildfield.  “It’s a great opportunity to showcase photographs from Northampton, including images from last year’s Chalk Art Festival, the Tuesday Market and this year’s Busker’s Ball.”

The images will be on display from July 8th trough August 19th, with an opening reception on July 8th from 5-8pm.  The exhibit will then move to the Meekins Library in Williamsburg, to display several new images that reflect the season and the host town.

All  images in this exhibit are for sale and are a fundraiser for Hilltown Families, a community communication network that has been helping to connect and create community in western Massachusetts for over five years. All net proceeds from the sale of images will benefit the organization.

Northampton Center for the Arts is located on the third floor of the Sullivan Square building, 17 New South St.  For information visit them at www.nohoarts.org or call 413-584-7327.


Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit” is supported in part by grants from local Cultural Councils in Ashfield, Buckland, Chesterfield and Cummington — all local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

A Day at the Tuesday Market

The Tuesday Market

Northampton’s Tuesday Market is one of the many things we love about living walking distance from downtown. However, it’s a treat we have to wait for Spring and Summer to bring to us.  In season, I walk over with the kids nearly every week for music, shaved iced in exciting flavors and for artisan cheese. Yes, that’s right local, artisan cheese – best dairy ever, for those that partake, of course (It’s true that if your kids like cheese samples, you will have to watch them closely… I’m just saying.).

Farmers’ Market Season is kicking off, which means pretty soon there will be roadside tomatoes – real drive-thru food.  Pull in, grab a tomato or two, some corn and stick some cash in the box. My kids love this errand – it is the speediest, get them back to playing and swimming soonest, grocery shopping ever.

Northampton’s Tuesday Market we love for the opposite reason.  It is our town square, suddenly come alive with bands, book readings, and occasional side shows of pedestrians turned dancers. It is the most leisurely, communal, let’s stay a while because this is as good as home grocery shop of the summer. The market’s slogan tag line is Live Music, Live Farmers. My kids and I enjoy chatting to the real live farmers about the plants, the veggies, the fruit, the syrup, the cheese and the flowers. Everything tastes good. Everything smells good.

Lux Deluxe was the band this week. Their lead singer had the good sense to admire Theo’s vintage Star Wars t-shirt – over the microphone – making Theo puff up his five year old chest with Star Wars pride.

When I say the Tuesday Market is child friendly, it is an understatement. Every week Tuesday Market staffs its tent with interns who help kids with craft projects so you can shop. This market is not on a street, it’s on the sidewalk between Thorne’s and the garage, set well back from the street. If you are my kids, you will spend time with a rock that draws as well as sidewalk chalk. I brought the sidewalk chalk so you have more than one color (I promise, next time I will remember kids!).

Speaking of others, the market sponsors a program called FoodStampsX2. The market accepts WIC coupons and doubles the value of up to $10 worth food stamps, which are now known as SNAP benefits. Donations to this program are accepted weekly at the market. This week those who donated were treated to a delicious honey miso noodle salad. SNAP benefit customers can head to the friendly Tuesday Market tent  & use the debit swipe machine  – the same one you can use if you forget cash  – to get farmers’ market tokens that can be accepted by every farm for delicious, local, real, live food.

The market is open every Tuesday of the season from 1:30-6:30. We think it is the best thing since sliced bread – and yes, you can get bread from El Jardin there too.  I think you should sign up for the market’s newsletter so you can preview next week’s delicious treats! Go here to find out more, www.northamptontuesdaymarket.com

RELATED POSTS:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Ticket, Music & DVD Giveaway: The Nields 20th Anniversary

JAM FOR THE FANS:
20th Anniversary Family Concert with The Nields
Saturday, June 11th @ 10:30am
At Northampton Center for the Arts

Jam For The Fans, the 20th Anniversary celebration of Nerissa & Katryna Nields making, recording, and performing music includes a very special Family Concert at the Northampton Center for the Arts (17 New South Street, Northampton) on Saturday, June 11 at 10:30am… and we have a pair of tickets to giveaway!  The lucky winner will a pair of tickets AND a sampler of their music and videos, including All Together Singing in the Kitchen, Rock all Ray Rock all Night, and Organic Farm (DVD)!

ABOUT THE NIELDS

National recording musicians and front-women of the Northampton-based band, The Nields, which toured North America throughout the nineties, Nerissa & Katryna were a part of Lilith Fair, and have shared the stage with Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Joan Baez, the Band, 10,000 Maniacs, Dan Zanes and countless others. They have released 15 CDs – two of which were family music recordings – as well as one family music DVD, two books, and they teach weekly “HooteNanny” family music classes. This fall, they will release their sixteenth CD entitled, Ten Year Tin: The Full Catastrophe, and their third book, All Together Singing in the Kitchen: Creative Ways to Make and Listen to Music as a Family.

HOW TO WIN

Win a pair of tix along with 2 CD's and a DVD!

Your chance to win a pair of tickets to Jam For Fans 20th Anniversary family concert with The Nields, along with two CD’s and a DVD, at Northampton Center for the Arts on Saturday, June 11th at 10:30am, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting “Like” below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED 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).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter to win: Saturday, June 4th, 2011 at 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win, you simply still must come to celebrate 20 years of great music by these fabulous Western Mass mamas! Tickets are $5/$10 child/adult in advance and can be purchased online at www.nields.com or by calling 413-527-9393. Tickets at the door are $7/$12 at the door

Think Globally, Hug Locally ❥ Tuesday Market

Mash Notes to Paradise by Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Note 1, Tuesday Market

Here’s my one-time awkward greeting: I’m a local writer (and blogger) and community-minded do-gooder besotted by so many things about this place I call home. For Hilltown Families, I’ll write a monthly series of mash notes (love letters) focused upon this groovy spot on earth. Here’s mash note numb-ah one.

(Photo credit: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser)

❥ I got an email today from an old friend and this was his sign-off—Think globally, hug locally.

When the global scene—wars, oil spills, religious standoffs, poverty… okay, you get where I’m going—is one that overwhelms, it’s no surprise the sweetest and most tangible victories are just that: so close they are palpable. One of the places I feel most certain hope is the place to dwell is sandwiched between the back of Thornes Market and the parking garage on Tuesdays from May through October.

That’s when Tuesday Market brings its tents and vegetables, bike trailers and musicians out to transform an underutilized bit of not-quite park-like space into a pop-up festival week after week. See the baby goat. Hear the music. Test a broom. Taste some maple cream. Buy berries, greens, jam, cucumbers, and all types of squashes. Cool off with shaved ice. Drink in the flowers’ colors. Ogle the pastel shells of eggs, the shapes of local mushrooms, or the spectacle of chocolate goat cheese truffles. Smile at your friends and neighbors. Be waved at by a small child.

Ben James, old friend and my farmer (we have a CSA share at Town Farm, which he and his wife, Oona Coy, own and run) is the beaming engine behind this swath of lively Tuesday activity. His express goals include creating exactly what I describe—a thriving community—and to make fresh, local food accessible. To that end, Tuesday Market not only accepts SNAP benefits, in conjunction with Grow Food Northampton (another tangible victory to talk about another day) an effort is underway to raise $12,000 so that SNAP benefits at Tuesday Market can be doubled. That’s all good, right?

Maybe because Ben and Oona have young kids—Wiley spent a good deal of last spring and summer and fall’s Tuesdays in a carrier on his papa’s back, there’s a real attentiveness to ensuring that Tuesday afternoons could be fine with small children if your sole “plan” were to be Tuesday Market.

(Photo credit: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser)

❥ I’ve got four kids—15, 12 (almost 13!), eight and three—and sometimes Tuesdays are a family affair. This first week, there was a nap (phew), a playground hang afterschool and the bus ride home to keep three of my kids from the inaugural visit. My eldest and I walked downtown, though, obtained asparagus grown right in town, plus leeks, and burdock root (for stock made by the aspiring tweenage chef) and arugula (for me). I managed to conduct a little interview for a forthcoming story I’m writing (that is some satisfying multitasking), greet friends including farmers I’d missed seeing, snap photos and return to the playground to fetch the second grader.

The tween grilled asparagus and leeks for supper.

No question, Tuesday Market and me, we’re on hugging terms.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah is a writer, who lives in Northampton with her husband and four children. She contributes to Preview Massachusetts Magazine, as well as other publications and writes a parenting blog Standing in the Shadows at the Valley Advocate. She moved to the Valley to attend Hampshire College—and found the Valley such a nice place, she stayed!

Giant Earth Day Ball Aims to Educate

Northampton Public Schools Join Together to Make a Giant Earth Day Ball!

Charlotte Causton on Northampton, MA writes:

"The ball will be available to schools and environmental groups wishing to display it as an educational tool in promoting respect for the environment and the reduction of waste," writes Charlotte Causton.

All Northampton Public Schools will work together in April to make the largest ball ever made entirely of single-use plastic shopping bags. The event will culminate on April 23rd at Northampton’s Earth Day celebration in Pulaski Park when the ball will be rolled down the streets of Northampton and into the park. In a tribute to the inspiring kids’ book, Theo and the Giant Plastic Ball, published by the United Nations Environmental Program, Green Action in Northampton Schools, GREEN Northampton and the Center for EcoTechnology are coordinating this project to raise awareness of the environmental impact of using plastic bags in stores and get Northampton to become a bring your own bag shopping district.

AIMED TO EDUCATE

This project is an opportunity for Northampton schools to work together and make an impact on our local environment. All four elementary schools in the district, JFK Middle School, and the Environmental Club at Northampton High School have signed up for the program and teachers and students are busy collecting bags. Classrooms are collecting used plastic bags from their homes and family/friends’ homes that are being tied together to form a rope. The number of bags tied together by the class are being counted and recorded. Plastic bag ropes from the different classrooms will be joined together and a total count taken on 15 April, after which the ropes will be picked up by volunteers and taken to a central location. During spring break students and volunteers will assemble the ball ready for the Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 23rd. After the Earth Day celebration, the ball will be available to schools and environmental groups wishing to display it as an educational tool in promoting respect for the environment and the reduction of waste. Teachers are also using this project as an educational opportunity for hands-on math and science/energy conservation investigations.

EARTH DAY EVENT: APRIL 23rd, 2011

WGBY, GREEN Northampton and the City of Northampton have teamed up as they did in April 2010 to hold an Earth Day Eco- Fair on April 23 in Pulaski Park in Northampton. The Giant Earth Day Ball will be the star among one of over 20 environmental and recycling based exhibits and activities for families and children available between 10a.m.-4:00pm. WGBY will hold an Earth Day film festival at the Academy of Music. WRSI  will once again provide a stage and live entertainment from 12:00-4:00pm in Pulaski park and in Amherst at the Amherst Sustainability Festival which will also be held on the town Common from 10-4:00. The Earth day Planning committee hopes that Fair goers will visit both venues and encourage visitors to take a bus or use the bike trail to the different events.

Photo credit: (ccl) mtsofan

Celebrate the Week of the Young Child

Celebrate the Week of the Young Child: April 9th-16th, 2011

Barbara Black, Early Childhood Coordinator of the Northampton Public Schools writes:

Week of the Yound Child, Apr 9-16, 2011

The Children’s festival is on Saturday, April 9 at the Jackson Street School in Northampton from 10am – Noon.

Northampton joins hundreds of local organizations around the country that will celebrate The Week of the Young Child, which honors the more than 35 million children from birth through age eight in America, and the families, teachers and other adults who help children make the most of the opportunities of their early years.

The Week of the Young Child is a chance to celebrate the learning opportunities of young children, and to recognize the responsibilities we share for helping them make the most of the early years. Our local celebration of The Week of the Young Child is designed to build broader support for early childhood programs that nurture young children’s early learning and growth.

Northampton will celebrate The Week of the Young Child from April 9-16 2011 with the annual Children’s Art Exhibit and a free Children’s Festival. The events are sponsored by The Northampton Partnerships for Children (CPC) Council, with participation from early care and education providers, the Northampton Public Schools, the Northampton Parents Center, and family support agencies.

Over 30 local businesses in downtown Northampton and Florence will display artwork by children who attend local preschools, childcare centers and the Northampton Public Schools. The children and their teachers are very proud of their work — please take the time to check it out! The Art Exhibit will be on display through April 16th.

The Children’s festival is on Saturday, April 9 at the Jackson Street School in Northampton from 10:00 AM – Noon. We will have lots of great, free activities for young children – games, climbing, tunnels, crafts, stories, and more! Also, we will have a fire engine and school bus to visit! And there is nothing to spend money on! Local agencies serving families will also have information available. Please join us!

Read the rest of this entry »

A Day at the Forbes Library Children’s Department

Back and Better Than Ever: Children’s Department at the Forbes Library

The Forbes Library new Children's Room reopens after a brief closure to install new carpet, a new circulation desk, new furniture and new technology! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Make no mistake that spring is coming, but until it stays over 55 for four days in a row, my body will continue to believe it is winter. We all have our winter routines. Just recently one of ours was disrupted by the temporary closure of the Forbes Library Children’s Room in Northampton, MA.

The library is one of our regular haunts. In winter we crave routine destinations that are close to home. We want the coziness of home without having to look at the same four walls. For this we walk over to the Forbes Library, where they have been raising funds to refurbished their children’s library for as long as we have lived here. This past weekend we made our first pilgrimage over since they layered on the fresh paint.

When we arrived, the kids made a dive for the toddler toys they miss at home, while I look for books. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

When we arrived, the kids made a dive for the toddler toys they miss at home, while I look for books. Then they skipped over to the drop-in art table while I looked for more books. Henry will color for hours and Theo loves the puzzles and blocks. My oldest son, Isaac, disappeared into the youth lounge, with its new comfortable chairs and an entire wall of magnetic poetry. We will reel him out when it is time to leave. — The kids color and then take a trip to see the fish. They make conversation, as is their way, wherever we go. I ask for early reader help from one of the librarians – this mother’s quest to keep her boys reading is going well so far. Our stack of books piles high and lands heavily in our blue flowered library bag.

The kids color and then take a trip to see the fish. (Photo credit: Karen Bayne)

As we pack it up for today, Isaac checks the events calendar for things involving Lego’s, chess games, a book group for kids his age. As we exit the library, the air outside is cool, but the sun is bright. It is the in-between time. My boys will play in the mud this afternoon but as the sun sets, it will be hot baths and settling in with books in their pajamas while my husband and I toss dinner together. Routines are pleasant. They give us room to adventure and room to relax.

Thanks to our library, we are reading Flat Stanley, Ginger Pye and Harry Potter. What are you reading at your house these days?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

3rd Annual Family Music Meltdown and Book Bash!

Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child Banner

Ready to Melt Down?

River's Family Music Meltdown & Book Bash happens on Saturday, March 26th at JFK Middle School in Northampton, MA. (FREE) (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

That’s right, it’s the end of March so it must be time for the River’s Family Music Meltdown & Book Bash! It’s this coming Saturday, March 26, from 10 to 4 at JFK Middle School in Northampton — and it’s free.

Now in its third year, the Meltdown has become a tradition for families in the Valley and beyond, featuring music on three stages, readings from nationally-known children’s book authors, crafts, bouncing, local food, and much more!

On the music side, we’ve got familiar favorites and new-to-the-Meltdown acts. Joining the lineup for the first time this year is Grammy nominee Brady Rymer (supporting his forthcoming CD, Love Me For Who I Am, inspired by his work at the Celebrate the Children School, a New Jersey school for students with alternative learning styles. Other newcomers to the festival include Lunch Money, The Okee Dokee Brothers, The Bramble Jam, Joe’s Backyard Band, Brendan Taaffe, and the Spiral Up Kids.

Returning favorites include Brooklyn’s Deedle Deedle Dees, who will be doing a special Women’s History Month set (and handing out free posters to fans). Returning — but this time with full bands — are the Flannery Brothers and singer/storyteller/cartoonist Keith Munslow. Other returning performers include Mister G, Under the Tree Music, Aric Bieganek, Jay Mankita, and Ratboy Jr., in addition to puppet shows from Otter & Moo Puppet Theatre and Anna Sobel.

Local heroes Jarrett (Lunch Lady) and Gina Krosoczka serve as curators of the children’s book authors appearing on the main stage. This year, we’re thrilled to have Jarrett himself, plus Kevin Markey, Jef Czekaj, Jeanne Birdsall, and Jon Scieszka.

We’ll also have crafts, bounce houses, Lego Duplos, gymnastics, fencing demonstrations, circus arts, hula hooping, Mad Science, dozens of local businesses, and terrific local food.

We’ve got the full schedule, and links to videos for all of our performers, up at www.rivermeltdown.com, and you can follow the event on Facebook at facebook.com/rivermeltdown. See you Saturday!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bill Childs & Ella

Bill Childs

Bill teaches law school by day in Springfield. With his kids, he produces a radio show for kids, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, which airs on Saturday mornings on 93.9 The River (8-10 AM, 101.5 in Brattleboro) and 103.3 Valley Free Radio (7-9 AM). He’s also a columnist for regional parenting magazines, covers music for Parenting magazine, and was a bi-monthly contributing writer to Hilltown Families. Contact him at show@sparetherock.com

Ticket Giveaway: The Nields Family Concert in Northampton

Win a Family 4-Pack of Free Tickets
Family Concert with The Nields
Saturday, March 5th, 2011 @ 10am
at The First Churches of Northampton

Hilltown Families and Nonotuck Community School (NCS) have partnered up to offer one lucky family a chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see The Nields as they continue their 2011 Winter Family Concert Series in Northampton, MA on Saturday, March 5th at 10am! What better way for families to beat the mid-winter blues! Proceeds from the performance go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, local non-profit preschool! Deadline to enter to win is 03/02/11. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT THE NIELDS

Nerissa and Katryna Nields grew up singing folk songs in the kitchen and in the back seat of the family car. Katryna learned to sing melody with their father, eventually making her an ideal front person for the band. Nerissa, on the other hand, tackled the harmonies; with that skill, she provided a natural counterpoint to her sister’s vibrant lead. As a duo, the sisters have toured nationally for years and been the darlings of the coffeehouse/festival scene, with tunes ranging from off-the-hook idiosyncratic to kicking to heartbreaking. They were a part of Lillith Fair, and have shared the stage with Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega, Sarah McLaughlin, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Joan Baez, the Band, 10,000 Maniacs, Billy Bragg, Dan Zanes and countless others, all of whom informed and enhanced their musical repertoire.

A most recent influence on their music is children. “Having children has brought us back to our roots in a powerful way,” says Nerissa. “I’m much more drawn to the honesty of folk music, the simplicity of it. My kids love singing songs from Sister Holler. And I love how, when we sing these ‘Nerissa’ songs in concerts, everybody sings along, even though it’s the first time they’ve heard them. They’re songs that really invite the listener into the music making process.” Find more information about the band at www.nields.com.

ABOUT THE NCS 2011 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

The NCS Winter Concert Series is a three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The season started off with Mister G in January, followed by The Alchemystics (Saturday, February 12th @ 10am) and The Nields (Saturday, March 5th @ 10am). All three concerts take place at The First Churches of Northampton (129 Main Street). Tickets are sold only on the day of the shows (doors open 30 minutes before each concert): adults $7, children $5, and one and under, free. Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Nields in concert at The First Churches of Northampton on Saturday, March 5th, 2011 @ 10am , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

     

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE include your town and state to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.
  7.  

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 03/02/11 @ 7pm (EST).  If you don’t win and still really want to go, tickets will be sold at the door the day of the show.  See above for details.


ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO WIN TIXS TO THE NIELDS: On Saturday, March 12th from 7:30-10:30pm, there will be a “Mom’s Night Out with The Nields!” A benefit for MotherWoman in  Easthampton, MA… and we have a pair of tickets to giveaway to that show too! — Hootenanny has been a smashing success and is now a Valley institution for mothers and young children. Many mothers have said “I want a Hootenanny for grownups!” That’s exactly what we’re doing. Join Katryna and Nerissa for an evening of singing, great food, pampering and fun. MotherWoman will honor parent educator, Maria Curtin-McKenna that evening. To win a pair of tickets, please submit a story, with photo, about how Maria has made a difference in your life over on the Hilltown Families Facebook page by 3/9/11. You must “Like” Hilltown Families Facebook page to be able to participate.  Good luck!

The Northampton Parents Center: A Welcoming Oasis For Families with PreK Kids

An Almost Farewell Ode to the Northampton Parents Center

Theo, my youngest child, turns five in a just two months. The fall will mark the beginning of his school career as I send him off to kindergarten each day. No longer will I have long stretches of morning or afternoon to fill with a small person. While at times I cannot wait for our new reality to begin, I’m going to allow myself a moment of nostalgia here with you. Having a child under 5 has been part of my identity for nearly 12 years. When my oldest son Isaac turned 5, I had a new baby. When Henry turned 5, I had a three year old. Now this smallest one is growing out of library story times and play gyms. We went to the Hampshire Regional YMCA last week to enjoy the under 5 open playtime and Theo was checked at the door. He is still eligible, but he is towering over the other kids. Of course, they let us in, but I was surprised at my reaction. I didn’t realize how big he looks to everyone else. He is still my littlest one.

Since Theo has been in afternoon preschool this year, we discovered the Northampton Parents Center, three large rooms located in the basement of Edwards Church.  Sometimes we go multiple times in a week — other times we are absent for days or weeks at time. But the Northampton Parents Center is always there for us. Theo is aging out of it quickly. I’m perpetually asking him to watch out for littler children — and he does quite nicely, but I see how tall and big he looks. He is craving the company of other kids these days more and more.

In the winter time, I feel like hibernating. This month has brought snow upon snow, parking bans, school delays and cancellations. The Parents Center stays open as much as possible. Theo enjoys the riding toys the most  — they are all set up in the church basement to go around the loop with gym mats and pop-up tents in the middle of this preschoolers’ roundabout. He loves having a place to go move his body — to jump and shout.

The second room is more subdued for when we are in a laid back frame of mind.  The room is set up with a rice table, homemade playdough brought in by parents, puppet theater, and wooden train track. Mostly, it is full of kids and their caregivers. I can take my knitting, drink some tea, chat with moms, dads, grandparents (all of us this winter overwhelmed by the snow removal), shaking our heads at how much it does take to wear these kids out.

Swansea Benham Bleicher, the coordinator of the Northampton Parents Center, manages to learn the names of all these kids who drop in and out, some hardly pausing to draw breath. She is welcoming to all families and takes time to get to know everyone. There is coffee, tea, and snacks for kids and grown-ups. She runs a brief circle time at the end of every playtime. The kids shout out for their favorite songs. Theo loves the Go Bananas song. Thursdays includes a music class — it can be busy, but if your kid loves to sing or dance, it’s worth it.

Both room have baby safe zones, so if your little one needs to get down and crawl, their are spots set up for them to explore where they will be safe from trike driving preschoolers.

I can hardly believe Theo is about to age out! I can’t wait to go back with friends and their small ones just to visit. The unstructured playtime gives kids the perfect amount of freedom to explore and play while parents connect, warm up and forget about being stuck in the house for a while.

The best way to find out more about the Northampton Parents Center is to visit.  Located at 297 Main St. (lower level), the Parents Center is open Monday-Thursday from 9:30-11:30am, whenever Northampton public schools are in session. Kids 0-4 with their caregivers are invited. I know you will get a warm welcome.

This Saturday, February 12th, 2011 from 4-7pm, visit the Northampton Parents Center for a free potluck dinner and family fun night!  Bring a dish to share, and prepare for an eventful evening!  NPC music teacher Felicia Sloin will perform at 5:30pm.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Bayne

Karen grew up in Manhattan and lived in Connecticut before moving to Northampton with her husband Matt to raise their boys. Her sons Isaac, Henry and Theo are 11, 6 and 4,  leaving Karen on a search for all the “just right adventures” that will wow them and wear them out.  She works as a birth doula, childbirth and parent educator in the greater Northampton area. She writes about mothering at Needs New Batteries and about birth in our culture at Gentle Balance Birth.

Giveaway: 5 Family Tickets to 5 Family Performances @ the Academy of Music Theatre

The Gift of the Arts in Northampton
Musical, Ballet, Puppets & Chinese Acrobatics
5 Performances at the Academy of Music Theatre

For February we’re continuing our five year celebration with another fabulous 5 giveaway… this time we’re partnering with the Academy of Music Theatre (Northampton, MA) and offering 5 family 4-packs of tickets to 5 different performances this late winter/early spring!

Let’s recap our five year celebration to date: We started off the festivities in November with 5 Gifts Locally Handmade by Hilltown Mompreneurs, and in December we partnered with 5 Western MA Museums offering 5 Annual Family Memberships. We began the new year with 5 Gift Baskets from 5 Local Food Businesses in Western MA, which we did a drawing for at the debut opening celebration of Hilltown Families: A Traveling Photography Exhibit Featuring Life and Landscape in Western MA (see photos).

Now, for the shortest month of the year, we have a long list of five family performances you can enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see in Northampton, MA at the historic Academy of Music Theatre. Read about these terrific family performances and enter to win below. Deadline to enter to win: February 28th, 2011 by 7pm (EST).

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical
Friday, March 4th @ 7pm

It sounds so simple, just a quick trip to the laundromat with Daddy, Trixie, and her beloved Knuffle Bunny. But, before you know it, things go horribly… hilariously wrong. Chock-full of adventure, song, and gigantic dancing laundry, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical tells a tale of family, best friends, baby steps, and memories that last a lifetime. Based on his beloved Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, six-time Emmy Award winner Mo Willems joins Grammy Award–winning composer Michael Silversher to lovingly celebrate the heart and heartache that can only come from a family visit to the local laundromat. A Kennedy Center production. Mo Willems will be available to answer questions following this one hour Kennedy Center production. The Kennedy Center has a video that takes a look behind the scenes of the making of this musical. (Ticket Value: $44)

New Shanghai Circus
Sunday, March 13th @ 2pm

In 1999, the New Shanghai Circus realized the dream of all acrobatic troupes from China: they were the first Chinese acrobatic company to be invited to perform on Broadway in New York City. The record-breaking 28 sold-out shows at the New Victory Theater won them the title “Best Foreign Production on Broadway” that year. Today, the New Shanghai Circus is in residence at its own theater in Branson, Missouri where it is among the five most popular events in this mid-west theater mecca. – The Chinese acrobatic tradition dates back to 700 B.C.; The art of Chinese acrobatics developed out of Lunar New Year harvest celebrations, where a village’s peasants and craftsmen would hold a kind of Chinese Thanksgiving. Acrobats used household tools and common items found around the farm and workshop as part of their exciting feats. Performers passed their skills down from generation to generation and great acrobatic families of China entertained everyone from city rulers to village people, performing at ceremonial carnivals and public theaters across the country. Get a sneak preview of their performance in this video. (Ticket Value: $74)

Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird
Saturday, April 2nd @ 1pm

Pioneer Valley Ballet presents a ballet double feature: Sleeping Beauty and The Firebird. Set to Tchaikovsky’s lush score, Sleeping Beauty is an action packed one-hour production that has a fresh take on a classic ballet. Audiences of all ages will be enchanted by the story of a bewitched princess asleep for 100 years, the spiteful Carabosse, and the prince who battles dragons and evil forces to awaken the kingdom. – The full version of the exotic ballet, The Firebird, is a 40 minute performance that celebrates the centennial anniversary of Stravinsky’s musical composition. Based on a Russian folk tale of the magical glowing bird that is both a blessing and a curse to its captor, audiences will be thrilled as Prince Ivan and the Firebird battle “Kaschei the Immortal” for the freedom of the lovely Princess. Come be transported by Stravinsky’s incomparable score and the high quality dancing you have come to expect from the Pioneer Valley Ballet! (Ticket Value: $90)

The Woman Who Outshone the Sun
Monday, April 18th @ 10am

As part of the Puppet Festival at the Academy of Music Theatre during the school vacation week, Behind the Mask Studio performs The Woman Who Outshone the Sun. In this story, a beautiful and mysterious woman with magical powers is exiled from a mountain village and she takes away its water source, a vital river. Through their suffering for what they have lost, the villagers learn important lessons of tolerance, forgiveness, and the frailty of the ecosystem. The show is performed as a bilingual story ( Spanish & English), and based on a poem by Alejandro Cruz Martinez. (Ticket Value: $20)

Pinocchio
Thursday, April 21st @ 10am

The Puppet Festival continues with a production of Pinocchio by David Syrotiak’s National Marionette Theatre. Carlo Collodi’s epic about a puppet who wants to become a real boy is a classic example of storytelling at its best. This adaptation is a faithful re-telling of a childhood classic. Follow Pinocchio as he goes on a series of adventures and realizes that only by being truthful, selfless and kind to others will he realize his dream of becoming a real live boy. (Ticket Value: $20)

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free family 4-pack of tickets to one of these fabulous family productions at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA is  super easy. To enter to win simply:

1.) Check the dates of the shows and tell us WHICH SHOWS YOU COULD ATTEND. Select all that apply then continue below.

(↑↑↑ be sure to hit the “submit” button) Must continue below ↓↓↓ to be eligible to win:

2.) Next, SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
3.) TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES HAS CONNECTED YOUR FAMILY WITH THE ARTS IN WESTERN MA THESE PAST FIVE YEARS in the comment box below, and be sure to tell us your
4.) FULL NAME (again) and where you
5.) LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who participate and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
6.) ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! —  Deadline to enter to win: February 28th, 2011 by 7pm (EST). If you have any questions, please contact us before entering to win at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Ticket Giveaway: The Alchemystics Family Concert in Northampton

Win a Family 4-pack of Free Tickets
The Alchemystics in Concert
Saturday, February 12th, 2011 @ 10am
at The First Churches of Northampton

Win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see The Alchemystics in Northampton on February 12th - part of the Nonotuck Community School Winter Family Concert Series. Deadline to enter to win: 02/08/11 @ 7pm (EST). Details below.

Hilltown Families and Nonotuck Community School (NCS) have partnered up to offer one lucky family a chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see The Alchemystics as they continue their 2011 Winter Family Concert Series in Northampton, MA on Saturday, February 12th at 10am! What better way for families to beat the mid-winter blues! Proceeds from the performance go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, local non-profit preschool! Deadline to enter to win is 02/08/11. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT THE ALCHEMYSTICS

Rooted in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, The Alchemystics fuse diverse individual styles, backgrounds, and experiences into a unique and uplifting sound embracing reggae, hip hop, soul, and dub. Thoughtfully crafted songs carry positive messages as compelling as the rhythms that drive them; crowds respond instinctively and enthusiastically. Formed as a trio in 2003, The Alchemystics achieved their current lineup in 2006. The band’s popularity grew in step with the release in 2006 of their first album, and their acclaimed EP and live record in 2008. Whether forging fresh tracks in the studio, or in the crucible of live performance, The Alchemystics continue to captivate growing audiences, gathering fans in their wake. In 2010 The Alchemystics will release their fourth recording, a full-length studio album. Find more information about the band at: www.alchemystics.com

ABOUT THE NCS 2011 WINTER FAMILY CONCERT SERIES

The NCS Winter Concert Series is a three-part Winter Family Concert Series hosted by Nonotuck Community School. The season started off with Mister G in January, followed by The Alchemystics (Saturday, February 12th @ 10am) and The Nields (Saturday, March 5th @ 10am). All three concerts take place at The First Churches of Northampton (129 Main Street). Tickets are sold only on the day of the shows (doors open 30 minutes before each concert): adults $7, children $5, and one and under, free. Proceeds from this concert series will go to benefit Nonotuck Community School, a nonprofit parent cooperative that provides early education and care for children aged 15 months to 5 years old, and is located in Florence, Massachusetts (221 Riverside Drive, 586-5996). For more information visit: www.nonotuck.org or call 413-586-5996.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see The Alchemystics in concert at The First Churches of Northampton on Saturday, February 12th, 2011 @ 10am , is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. SHARE THIS PAGE ON FACEBOOK BY SELECTING “LIKE” BELOW
  2. RECOMMEND A SONG FOR OUR COMMUNITY PLAYLIST (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE include your town and state to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  6. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 02/08/11 @ 7pm (EST).  If you don’t win and still really want to go, tickets will be sold at the door the day of the show.  See above for details.

Families Can Eat Locally Year Round: Northampton Winter Fare

Northampton Winter Fare: Eat Locally Year Round

Bring your own home-preserved foods to trade with neighbors at the Barter Market during the Winter Fare. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

It is possible for families to eat locally year-round, and there is a lot of amazing local food to be had even in the depths of winter. On January 15th, 2011 from 10am-2pm, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) is bringing Winter Fare, a vibrant, diverse farmers’ market and community event to Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton. Bring your shopping bags and stock up on fresh salad greens, root vegetables, local grains and bread, eggs, meat, cheese, maple syrup, honey, jam, pickles, and more, all grown by local farmers.

CISA strongly believes that healthful, local food should be available to everyone in the community, so Northampton Winter Fare will accept SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), and CISA will be matching the first $5 of all SNAP purchases.

In addition to perusing the array of local foods, shoppers can attend one of the several educational workshops scheduled during the market. The workshops include introductions to culinary and medicinal herbs, growing grains and legumes in the home garden, composting, and a short film. All the workshop leaders are local people who practice these skills at home, and the workshops are free and do not require pre-registration.

At 11:30am, the Soup Café will open for business so shoppers can take a break and enjoy a hot cup of soup. Offerings include a butternut soup from Karma, white bean and vegetable soup from Paul and Elizabeth’s Restaurant, curried root vegetable soup from Cup and Top Cafe, and potato leek from Serio’s Market. Bring your own mug to help us reduce waste.

The Barter Market, a fun, lively food-swapping event, begins at 1pm. Bring your own home-preserved foods and trade with your neighbors to diversify your pantry and get to know other people that can, dry, and freeze the local harvest.

More details about Winter Fare, including complete lists of vendors and workshops, are available at www.buylocalfood.org. Volunteers are still needed to make this event possible! Please contact CISA at 413-665-7100 or volunteer@buylocalfood.org to sign up or for more information.

The weekly winter farmers’ markets in Northampton and Amherst will be closed on January 15th. Northampton Winter Fare is sponsored by River Valley Market, UMass Five College Federal Credit Union, Easthampton Savings Bank, and Florence Savings Bank.

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