Learning Ahead: Season of Berries

Season of Berries

Summer is the season of berry picking and canning! It’s the time of year when pies are baked and fruit is canned to enjoy during the colder months.

During the months of July and August, blueberries become ready for picking. There are many farms in Western MA where you can pick your own berries, or farm stands and markets to purchase local berries to enjoy at home. At http://www.poets.org, read Robert Frost’s poem “Blueberries” before heading out to your nearby blueberry farm to fill your pail. Consider the first and last stanza and how Frost describes the beauty of the ripe blueberry:

“Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”

As you read the rest the poem, consider how is it structured. As a conversation between two people? What are they discussing? How is the blueberry and berry picking discussed in this poem? Bring the poem with you and read it together amongst a colony of blueberry bushes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Q&A: Where’s Your Favorite Place to PYO Blueberries in Western MA


Share your favorite place to PYO blueberries with your kids in Western MA! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Blueberries are out early this year! Where’s your favorite place to PYO with the kids?

  • Laura LeClair writes,Birdhaven Blueberry Farm in Southampton!”
  • Jessica Campagna Wehry writes, “Where is close to Pittsfield for PYO organic blueberries? I’ve been dying to bring my son!”
  • Sue Lowery writes, “Blueberry Hill on Washington Mountain Rd in Washington, MA (just outside Pittsfield) is amazing and wonderful. Roy and Marilyn Wiley are the owners, and are delightful folks.”
  • Amanda Gadd writes,Whitney Farms (Chester) off of Route 8 is lovely. They have a free petting zoo complete with a peacock.”
  • Jen Hartley writes, “Running Fox Farm is in Worthington.”
  • Sara Barry writes, “I love Running Fox Farm.”
  • Kathy McDonnell Elsea writes, “Maddie and I picked at Birdhaven Blueberry Farm in Southampton and I’m secretly planning to go back tomorrow. Only got 8 lbs!”
  • Megan McD Kenburn writes,Kenburn Orchards Bed & Breakfast on Rt 2 in Shelburne is great! $2.89/lbs or less if you pick more than 10 lbs. It’s not far from the Greenfield Rotary if you are driving towards Shelburne Falls. Great berries, nice people.”
  • Susan Loring-Wells writes, “Just picked blueberries with my daughter this afternoon on River Road just South of Route 116 and Sugarloaf Mtn. Not sure whether it’s located in Sunderland or Whately. It’s about 1/2 mile – mile down on the right from Rte 116. I’m sorry I don’t know the name of the place. The berries were delicious and abundant.”
  • Hilda Bailey ‎writes, “@Susan, Nourse Farms (Whately, MA)”
  • Kim Nestor-Carlino writes,Quonquont Farm in Whately has an unbelievable crop this year! Got one full quart off of one bush. Delicious and low spray.”
  • Vickie Riggs Selleck writes,Kenburn Orchards Bed & Breakfast in Shelburne.”
  • Dawn Klein writes,Whitney Farms in Cheshire, MA. Great nursery and deli too! With a huge playground area and petting zoo!”
  • Karen Lucas writes, “Dickinson Farm in Granby, MA. Love it there and tons of yummy big blueberries!”
  • Sienna Wildfield ‎writes, “Summit Farm in Plainfield has PYO organic berries and Benson Place in Heath has low bush blueberries. “
  • Philip Korman, Executive Director of CISA writes, “Contact info and location for all PYO found at the CISA website — you can also change the zip code at the end of the URL for your location!

Suggested Events for Aug 6th-12th, 2011

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in Western Mass, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.


It's blueberry season! Whether you like to pick your blueberries off of the high bushes, or rake them off the low ones, there are many places to PYO in Western MA and a couple of festivals to celebrate all things blueberry this weekend. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest an EventIf you have a family friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

SPONSORSHIP: Serving Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community! Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to support Hilltown Families through sponsorship and enhanced publicity.  Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout Western Massachusetts while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Click HERE to find out more.


On Saturday, August 6th from 11am-5pm – BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL:   10th Annual Wild Blueberry Jubilee at The Benson Place.  Learn about low bush blueberries through fun and educational activities. Celebrate the harvest with your community.  PYO low bush blueberries in small quantities. 413-337-5340  182 Flagg Hill Road. Heath, MA (FREE)

On Sunday, August 7th from 12Noon-4pm – BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL: 9th Annual Blueberry Days of Summer at the Kelso Homestead Blueberries. A festive day with PYO high bush blueberries, live music, pie eating contest, animals, Birds of Prey program, games and great food. Take a wagon tour of the farm and enjoy a day with the family. 413-354-7897 207 Bromley Rd. Chester, MA (>$)

Also on Sunday, August 7th from 12Noon-6pm – ETHNIC FAIR: Pittsfield Ethnic Fair returns with food, music, and costumes to the first block of South St. (between Park Sq. & Housatonic St.). International music and dance on two stages, the fair highlights the diverse culture found in Pittsfield. Come with the kids and enjoy delicious food, music, crafts and dancing. 413-443-6501 South St. Pittsfield, MA (FREE ENTRANCE)


This week on Thursday, August 11th at 10am-4pm – LITERACY: “LittleFest” happens at the Springfield Museums.  The event is designed to promote literacy and a love of reading in young children.  There will be science demonstrations, art activities, crafts for kids, food vendors, free books for the first 500 visitors, and performances by storyteller/musician John Porcino and musician Brian Chevalier.  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE w/Museum Admission)

On Saturday, August 13th at 1pm – FAMILY CONCERT: Mister G rocks the Berkshire Museum with a family concert in their auditorium. With his newest release, BUGS!, kids can learn about insects and the natural world through music, and then after the concert check out the live exhibit, “Geckos: Tails to Toepads”. Within the exhibit are 14 different types of geckos all living within their natural (museum-created) habitats!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)


LEARN TO CAMP: Do your children/grand kids want to go camping but you just don’t have the experience or confidence to go alone? The DCR and DFW’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman Program will be offering a Becoming an Outdoors Family Camping Weekend next weekend, Aug. 13-14, at Myles Standish State Forest in Carver, MA. If your family is just beginning their camping adventures, join other like-minded families for a weekend of skill building for outdoor recreation, including camping, canoeing, fishing, hiking and outdoor cooking skills. Enjoy a night hike, camp fire and outdoor adventures with other families learning the skills of camping. $30 per person, includes 2 meals. Register by Friday, Aug. 5th. Call for more info. 508-389-6300

SCREENINGS: The Family Resource Center in North Adams offers FREE Ages and Stages Screenings. Infants and young children have so many developmental changes and milestones in the early years, it’s helpful to know where your child is developmentally and how to best support their growth. Ages and Stages is a well respected screening tool that will guide families in understanding their child’s development. The FRC staff will spend an hour with you and your child to go through this screening tool. Please contact their office for more information or an appointment at mzepka@ccberkshire.org or 413-664-4821

Find out more about our enhanced publicity options and how you can advertise your event, class, camp - or join our team of amazing sponsors!

SPONSORSHIP & ADVERTISING: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Let us help get the word out about your event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business or announcement. Find out more about our Enhanced Publicity options and how we can with your marketing.

INSTRUMENT DONATIONS WANTED: Have an old piano, violin, flute, or other instrument taking up space in your home? Donate it to the Artspace’s Used Instrument Sale. Donations or consignment both accepted. All proceeds will benefit Strings for Kids, free weekly group lessons for grades 3 – 6 at Greenfield Public Schools. Artspace’s mission is to encourage and nurture the appreciation of and participation in the arts. Artspace serves 350 students annually with weekly lessons and classes. For more information, call  413-772-6811 , email info@franklyarts.com or visit www.franklyarts.com.


Hilltown Family Variety ShowHope Harris will Guest DJ the HFVS this weekend show playing tunes by Annette Funicello, John Prine. The Sippy Cups, The Subdudes, Ella Fitzgerald, Sly & The Family Stone, Johnny Cash, Julie Andrews, and many others, including selection off her new CD, Cousins Jamboree.

Tune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am. Families have several ways to tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show:

  • Streaming Audio: Surf on over to ValleyFreeRadio.org on Saturday & Sunday mornings and listen to us live via streaming audio.
  • On Your FM Dial: Tune in to WXOJ 103.3FM if you live near Northampton, MA.
  • Podcast: Listen to the most recent episodes of the Hilltown Family Variety Show anytime you wish! Click here to see our current select of episodes, and be sure to subscribe to our podcast too!

Aug 6th-12th, 2011


Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Farmers’ Markets | Weekly eNewsletter

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Blueberry Bake Off with Local Blueberries

Get the Kids a Cookin’ for the Blueberry Bake Off
Hosted by the CISA and Greenfield Farmers’ Market

Gluten-free Blueberry Cake (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Gluten-free Blueberry Cake (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

On Saturday, August 1, CISA and the Greenfield Farmers’ Market will host a contest featuring desserts made from locally grown blueberries. Participants should drop off their blueberry creations at 9am that day. No need to pre-register. A CISA staff member, a local farmer and other judges will determine the winning recipe. A $50 Greenfield Farmers’ Market gift certificate and a CISA Community Membership valued at $60 will be awarded to the winning entry; a $25 market gift certificate and a CISA tote bag will go to the runner up. Look for entry details soon on the CISA website and at the Greenfield Farmers’ Market.

Suggested Events 08/02/08-08/08/08

Eat & Dance the Blues Away

Pick your own blueberries
Organic blueberries at Running Fox Farm in South Worthington, MA. – (c) Sienna Wildfield

It’s a banner blueberry season! My family has already gone pickin’ a handful of times and our freezer is getting stocked with these blue gems. There are three different blueberry festivals happening this weekend for the local food enthusiasts. Plus, this weeks episode of the Hilltown Family Variety Show has several blueberry songs along with Robert McCloskey’s story, Blueberries for Sal. So don’t be blue … eat it instead! – And if blueberries aren’t your thing, you can dance the blues instead (or in addition too!) at the Ashfield Blues Festival on Saturday. Details below.


If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page.

Suggest an Event | Local forecast | Get directions | Free Museum Passes
Farmer’s Market | Family Centers (Ages 0-4)

Events Happening in the Hilltowns
The following key represents the sum cost of one adult and one child:
(>$) Under $10; ($) Between $10-$19; ($$) Between $20-$44; ($$$) Over $45

Saturday – 08/02

7am – 9am – FAMILY RADIO – (Air Waves) Are you prepared to rock?! Join Bill & Ella on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child every Saturday on The River 93.9FM (101.5FM in Brattleboro), or 103.3 FM WXOJ-LP to hear two hours of quality family-friendly music. [All ages] (Free) LINK

8am – COUNTRY FAIR – (Chester) 87th Annual Littleville Fair. Begins Friday at 4pm and runs all weekend. 667-3987 [All Ages] ($) MORE INFO

9am-10am – FAMILY RADIO & STORYTELLING – (Air Waves) Join our Hilltown Family! Spend a little time with The Hilltown Family Variety Show every Saturday on WXOJ-LP 103.3FM to hear a full hour of commercial-free, quality family-friendly music and storytelling. [Families] (Free) LINK

10am – SKULL DETECTIVES – (Easthampton) Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary will host an animal skull in the woods workshop. [Ages 8 & older] ($) MORE INFO

11am & 2pm – GEOLOGY – (Turners Falls) Join Steve Winters on the Riverboat to discover local geology. 800-859-2960 [Ages 10 & older] ($) MORE INFO

11am & 2pm – FAMILY THEATER – (Pittsfield) Jack and the Beanstalk at the Berkshire Museum. It’s “Jack and the Beanstalk” as you’ve never seen it before as the giant tells his side of the story in this funny and thrilling show. [All Ages] ($) LINK

2pm-8pm – BLUEBERRY CELEBRATION – (Heath) Benson Place Blueberry Festival. 337-5340 [All Ages] (n/a) MORE INFO

4:30pm – BLUES FESTIVAL – (Ashfield) Elmer’s 1st Annual Blues Festival with Chris Smither and Jeremy Lyons and great food. 628-4003 [All Ages] ($) MORE INFO

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