Seasons at Our Table: Farmers’ Markets

Farmers’ Market Season

At the beginning of the summer we invited our readers to share a family recipe using fresh local produce.  Below we’re highlighting 13 submissions our readers posted, featuring local produce often bought fresh from our farmers’ markets and road side stands!  Get inspired and thinking about how you can use locally grown fresh produce for your family dinner!

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Kat Allen of Northampton writes: I’m not a great cook, and my husband and I don’t have much time, but we do try hard get our family eating well and to have family dinner each night and we’ve landed on something that works well for us… On a day when we do have some time, we’ll cook up a big load of veggies in a little bit olive oil – usually in a big pan on the stove, sometimes on the grill outside. When possible we’ll get our kids involved in picking out the veggies (at our CSA, at the farmers’ market, or at the grocery store), and chopping up the veggies (a two-handled rocking knife and some clear instructions makes it safe even for our 6-year old).

Then we use these veggies in a bunch of easy, quick ways throughout the week:

  • Throw it on top of whole wheat pasta – with red sauce, pesto, or just plain
  • Put it on the table with beans, cheese, and whole wheat burrito or taco shells for make-your-own burritos or tacos
  • Use it as a side dish with rice and beans (when in a real rush I buy prepared rice and beans at the Greenfield Coop) or chicken and rice (sometimes I buy a cooked rotisserie chicken)
  • Throw it on top of a pizza crust (prepared or homemade crust)
  • Mix it in a pan with eggs and milk and call it an eggs bake
  • Throw it in a pie crust (I use the prepared, roll-out kind) with eggs and milk and call it a quiche

Finally, we just throw some fresh fruit, raw veggies and milk in lunch boxes with these dinner left-overs when we pack lunches each day – viola – meals for a week!

Sandra Dias of Holyoke writes: This is a simple dish, but it’s tasty. I like to slice zucchini and yellow summer squash quite thin, mix it with some extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper and sprinkle it with grated asiago cheese, then bake it for a half an hour at 375F. We make this simple veggie side dish every summer on our annual trip to Cape Cod and everyone seems to love it.

Becky Castro of Northampton writes: We love fresh salads with baby spring greens topped in a warm garlic dressing… First, gather up your greens: my little ones used to love picking baby spinach, mescalin leaves, and dandelion leaves out of our garden (what ever you have growing works perfectly). Nowadays, I go to the farmers market and use whatever is in season. I still use the dandelion leaves from my yard as they are plentiful!! Then make a bowl full of greens.

Top it off with this dressing:

  • 1 head of garlic roasted or finely chopped
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 2T balsamic vinegar
  • 1T lime juice
  • 1/8 salt
  • 1 med. shallot, finely chopped
  • Pepper

Squeeze the roasted garlic into a pan. Add oil, vinegar, lime juice, shallot, salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the shallot is softened, like 3-5 minutes. Pour the dressing on top of the greens until coated. You can also add pine nuts and goat cheese. (Once summer and fall come, add kale and beet greens. I have not tried mustard greens or swiss chard but bet they would taste yummy.). Thankfully, both of my kids love garlic and always have.

Miranda Marks of Northampton writes: When I was young, I remember standing knee-deep in rich soil, watching my mom and dad dig, plant and pull up weeds. By the end of the summer, my mom would send us out to pick tomatoes straight off the vine, and basil so fresh I could smell it as soon as I stepped out of the door.- Before my dad died after one of those sun-soaked summers, I was always focused on picking, planting and eating fresh foods. – Last year was the first time I made my own garden, and those hazy memories came back to life. One of my favorite recipes is the classic Italian Caprese, tomatoes, basil, olive oil and mozzarella. – This summer, I can’t wait to eat tomatoes that smell so good your mouth waters.

Ellen Moriarty of Hampden writes: Our family loves veggie pizza on the grill all summer! It has been so much fun for my daughters Hannah and Gracie to work together to create awesome tasting & healthy pizzas. Hannah is our self taught, in-house dough expert. Gracie kicks it into high gear pretending she is an Italian pizza chef. She has the apron, the hat & the accent!

  • Begin with your favorite pizza dough and roll it out.
  • Brush one side with olive oil & sprinkle with salt and pepper, grill for a couple of minutes. Brush the top side with olive oil and flip.
  • You can pre-grill some of the veggies, we like our crunchy so we start piling them on.
  • Tomatoes, onions, peppers, broccoli, spinach, summer squash, carrots, cucumbers, garlic and your favorite cheese. Cook for a few minutes & enjoy.

Gracie says, “We’re eating a rainbow!” We really enjoyed our fresh, colorful, local veggies from C&C farm last year. Ciao Bella!
Beryl Hoffman of Florence writes: We often make a crustless quiche, and it tastes great with local fresh vegetables in the summer. You can add any vegetables to this recipe — we usually put in spinach and zucchini. And sometimes even my son will try it!

Crustless Quiche:

  • some veggies: 1 zucchini shredded, a couple handfuls of spinach, etc.
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • some grated cheese (cheddar works well) blended in and some on top

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden on top. Enjoy!

Jackie MacNeish of Ashfield writes: One summer, my grandmother planted a garden full of nothing but basil, garlic and tomotoes. I remember being confused in the beginning of this garden why it only had three ingredients. Later, when we harvested our first batch of each, my grandmother lined the grandkids up in the kitchen and gave us each a task: wash, peel, chop, slice, puree. I was the washer usually! The kitchen would start to smell of mouth-watering pesto. We’d have pesto pasta that night for dinner, but we’d also have frozen pesto to last for the rest of the year! Yum!

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Seasons at Our Table: Maple Sugar

Maple Sugar Season

At the beginning of Maple Sugar Season we invited our readers to share with us how Maple Sugar Season gets their family outdoors and participating in the harvest with their community. We also invited them to share their favorite recipe that they like to make for/with their family breakfast/brunch hour.

The feedback was warming and the recipes delicious and inspiring!  Here are recipes our Western MA friends and neighbors had to offer:

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When asked how the Maple Sugar Season gets their family outdoors and participating in the harvest with their community, our readers had much to share:

Stephanie Billings of Florence writes: “My children’s preschool takes a field trip to the Hadley Sugar Shack every sugar season. Joe gives a great tour to the kids and adults that includes science, maple facts and hands on demonstrations. It’s a great way to integrate nature, science, and local food awareness. During the sugar season we try different sugar shacks as a great way to explore the valley and experience spring.”

Beth Caissie of Greenfield writes: “I mark the end of winter by the first buckets and tubes I see attached to maple trees on the side of the road. I love to take my family for hikes during this (sometimes muddy, sometimes icy) time of year to look for hidden sugar bushes deep in the woods. The first time I found the tangle of plastic tubes running from tree to tree far from the road, I was exploring the Quabbin Reservoir. We also love to head to the sugar shacks for a meal this time of year, and stock up on syrup, which we do buy by the gallon.”

Rebecca Heath of Pittsfield writes: “We love maple sugaring season… as a family, including our 93 year old grandmother, we head to Ioka Valley Farm for their delicious farm fresh breakfast. Our favorite of course is the fresh boiled maple syrup but they also have the best maple butter…MMMM….this year my husband and four year old daughter tapped the trees on our land. It was amazing to watch her learn which one’s were maple trees by the bark they have. She helped use the hammer and hang the bucket and to her surprise sap started immediately flowing. We don’t have any fancy boiler so we boiled it outside and it took forever but the finished product we are so proud of. It is a great family memory that we will continue each year. So important for our children to learn about trees, animals, plants and our food. Each time we eat our pancakes with our own maple syrup I will think of those memories. It’s priceless.”

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Suggested Events for March 10th-16th, 2012

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Go on a quest for patterns this weekend at Mass MoCA in North Adams! On Saturday families can take guided tours of the galleries to explore shapes and patterns in art. There will be a project for kids and a snack at the end. Registration required. 413-664-4481. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Suggest 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.

Enhanced PublicityServing 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 partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school class, 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.

BEST BETS

Family concert with UNCLE ROCK at Flywheel in Easthampton on Saturday, March 10th at 10am. Free pancakes before the concert, and then a rockin' good time for the whole family with Uncle Rock! (>$) Presented by Hilltown Families, No Nap Happy Hour Series and Flywheel. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

In the Pioneer Valley this Saturday, March 10th from 10am-12noon – FAMILY CONCERT: Uncle Rock returns to the Pioneer Valley this Saturday. Partnering with Hilltown Families and the No-Nap Happy Hour Series, families can enjoy free pancakes and a rockin’ family concert at Flywheel Arts Collective. All are invited to join in a family fun filled morning! 413-527-9800. 43 Main Street (Old Town Hall). Easthampton, MA ($)

In the Berkshires later in the afternoon on Saturday, March 10th 1-4pm – ARCHAEOLOGY: Visit the Williams College Museum of Art to learn about ancient artifacts!  There are fun learning activities for kids where they can learn to decode ancient Assyrian writing, create their own Egyptian-inspired jewelry, and learn about excavation techniques at a simulated archaeological dig.  The event fits into studies of archaeology, art history, and anthropology.  15 Lawrence Hall Drive.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

Then on Sunday, March 11th from 11am-3pm in Hampden Co. – MAPLE HARVEST DAY: Storrowton Village Museum hosts their 7th annual Maple Harvest Day.  Families can learn about the local history and lore of maple sugaring through demonstrations at the museum.  Demos will include boiling sap and tapping trees.  The learning continues indoors too with cooking demos in their 19th century open hearth along with quilting and spinning demos. 413-205-5051. 1305 Memorial Avenue. West Springfield, MA (FREE)

And later on Sunday, March 11th from 3-6pm in Hampshire Co. – FAMILY CONCERT: The Northampton Parents Center is hosting a Family Fun Night! There will be a performance from local hero children’s musician Mister G, and families are asked to bring a dish to share at the dinner potluck. There will be fun activities for kids and a chance to socialize with friends new and old! 413-582-2636. 297 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Saturday, March 17th from 9am-3pm – MAPLEFEST: The annual Chester Maplefest begins with a pancake breakfast at the Church of Chester on Skyline Trail. The during the day, there are crafters in the old schoolhouse, hayrides to High Meadow Farm’s Sugarhouse, animal exhibits and entertainment at the church as well as food vendors. 413-667-3410. Chester, MA

Sunday, March 18th from 4-7pm – CHOWDER CONTEST: Does your family have a blue ribbon chowder recipe that’s been passed down through the generations?  Get a cookin’ in the kitchen with the kids and make a batch to enter into the 4th annual Chowder Fest!  Share the back story behind your recipe with your kids while getting some quality time together in the kitchen before heading out into your community to share a taste of your family’s culinary history. The event is sponsored by the Friends of the Charlemont Fairgrounds- entry is free, and proceeds from the event sponsor the annual Charlemont Fair!  A ticket buys a taste of every chowder entered.  Takes place at the Mohawk Park Campground and Pub with music by Zydeco Connection.  413-339-4305.  559 Tea Street.  Charlemont, MA.  (<$)

BULLETIN BOARD

LOCAL FOOD: Crimson & Clover Farm is happy to announce that 2012 CSA Shares are now available!  Located at the Northampton Community Farm, right near downtown Florence, Crimson & Clover Farm raises a wide variety of delicious, beautiful, and sustainably grown fruits and vegetables for our 20 week CSA program.  As a community based farm we offer a welcoming environment where our members and their families can come and enjoy this amazing community resource as well as receive nutritious locally grown food.  In addition to vegetables we also offer a variety of locally produced products for sale through our farm store.  For more information about the CSA and how to become a member of the farm please visit our website: crimsonandcloverfarm.com.

PURIM CARNIVAL: Temple Israel of Greenfield annual Purim Carnival & Hebrew School Open House.  Sunday, March 11th from 11am-12:30pm at 27 Pierce Street in Greenfield, MA.  All are welcome. Play games, eat hamantashen, meet Hebrew School teachers and families. Students learn Jewish ritual, holidays, culture and ethics, kindergarten through bar/bat mitzvah,  in an open, joyful environment. Inter-faith and gay and lesbian parents welcomed.

"Last year a participant from the Boston area found out about my camp through your website and spent a week out here with her daughter just for my camp!" - Beth Fairservis, Puppets in the Woods Summer Arts Camp

SUMMER CAMPS MARKETING SPECIAL: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, we’re offering camps a chance to partner with Hilltown Families in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer. This spring we will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: Summer Camps and Programs in the Western MA Region. Find out more about how your camp can partner with Hilltown Families..

NUTRITION WORKSHOP: With funding from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and  Community Development, the Hilltown Community Health Center is offering a  free nutrition workshop,”Healthy Eating for Children,” on Wednesday, April 4 from 10-11am at the Cummington Family Center, 33 Main Street in Cummington. Nutritionist, Rachel Keim, will  be sharing tips and techniques to get children to eat healthy food and will share  recipes for easy, yummy, and inexpensive meals for the whole family. Please  call Lee at the Worthington Health Center at 413-238-4155 for more information.

Sabine Prather writes, “On Tuesday, March 13th, at 7pm, members of the Westfield community will meet in the Lang Auditorium at the Westfield Athenaeum once again meet to talk about practical ways to make our home a better place. The evening will begin with a potluck supper and an inspiring film called “The Power of Community.” We’ll have time after the film to discuss how, in the 1990s, Cubans transitioned economically from a highly mechanized, industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local, urban gardens.” For more info call 413-949-3914.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS:
March 10th-16th, 2012

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes
Weekly eNewsletter | Events for Working Parents | Workshops for Parents

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Suggested Events 02/26/11-03/04/11

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Western MA Sugar Shacks are opening up this weekend serving breakfast and fresh maple syrup! Click on the photo for a list of Sugar Shacks in Western MA. Give them a call to see if they've serving up sweet goodness this weekend! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield - Sap drips from a tapped maple tree in the hilltowns.)

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: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the work of Hilltown Families. Hilltown Families has been serving & supporting our local community for over 5 years! Help us continue to serve our community by supporting the work we do! 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. Email hilltownfamilies@gmail.com for more information. — Help us help you!

BEST BETS

In the early afternoon on Saturday, February 26th at 1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: The Deedle Deedle Dees will be a Flywheel in the old Town Hall, with a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song. Presented by Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock. Doors open at 1pm. Easthampton, MA ($)

Later in evening on Saturday, February 26th from 5-8pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Participate in Red Gate Farm’s Fire and Ice celebration. Go sledding under the lights and warm up by the fire afterward. Dinner and cocoa provided- fun for all ages! 4 Norman Road. 625-9503. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (>$)

After brunch at one of the local sugar shacks on Sunday, February 27th, from 2-4pm – SINGALONG: A community singalong happens at the Jones Library in the Amherst Room, lead by Rise Up Singing songbook creators, Peter Blood & Annie Patterson. All are welcome. 43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Friday, March 4th at 7pm- FAMILY THEATER: See “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical” at The Academy of Music. Knuffle Bunny is the story of a simple family trip to the laundromat and the things that go unexpectedly horribly wrong. The show is full of adventure, songs, and, of course, gigantic dancing laundry. 274 Main Street. 584-9032. www.academyofmusictheatre.com. Northampton, MA. ($)

Sunday, April 10th from 4-7pm – BIRTHDAY BENEFIT BASH: Hilltown Families Birthday Benefit Bash at Bread Euphoria!  A celebration to bring the community together while supporting Hilltown Families with a birthday party!  Family concert with Mister G.  Pizza and birthday cake from Bread Euphoria. Save the date now.  More details to come! Haydenville, MA (FUNDRAISER)

BULLETIN BOARD

Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 28th.

SUMMER OPPORTUNITIES FAIR: Looking for that perfect summer program for your 4- to 19-year-old? Come to the 8th annual Pioneer Valley Summer Opportunities Fair at The Williston Northampton School on Sunday, Feb. 27, 12-3pm. There will be over 35 local, national, and international programs for elementary, middle & high school students. Programs include language, service, academic, sports, leisure, or cultural specialties. Ask programs questions, hear about scholarships/financial aid, and collect brochures. There will be 3 workshops: Choosing the best program for your child ages 4-10, Maximizing summer experiences for college admission, and How to find and land a great summer job or internship. ncronan@williston.com. 40 Park St., Easthampton (FREE)

LIBRARY CLOSURE: The Forbes Library Children’s Department in Northampton will be closed from Saturday, February 26 – Monday, March 7 while new carpet is installed.

DONATIONS WANTED: Two hilltown farm families recently lost their barns. The Howe’s barn roof collapsed under the snow load killing a heifer, and the Joyner’s barn and hay was lost to a fire. Donations to assist our neighbors can be sent to The West Cummington Church, P.O. Box 148, Cummington, MA 01026

Deadline to enter to win: March 2nd

VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION: The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts invites you to attend a Volunteer Orientation on Saturday, February 26th. Anyone who is interested in getting involved with The Food Bank, might want to volunteer in the future, or just wants to learn more about The Food Bank can attend. Orientation sessions will introduce you to the work of The Food Bank and the variety of volunteer opportunities we have available. A form is available on The Food Bank’s website where those interested can RSVP. Orientation sessions are held regularly on the second Tuesday and fourth Saturday of every month. 97 North Hatfield Road, Hatfield, MA. 247-9738. www.foodbankwma.org.

THE KITCHEN GARDENER: A free clinic at the Worthington Library on Saturday, February 26th at 4pm will explore low cost strategies for season extension, increasing yield, increasing plant vigor, mitigating pests, disease and predation, reducing water usage, the practical possibilities of a four season harvest in our climate, on site fertility programs and more. You can increase yields, flavor and nutrition without spending a lot of money. Bring your ideas and experiences to share and bring an open mind. This program is part of the Worthington Library’s Omnivore’s Dilemma Program and is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

Deadline to enter to win: Feb. 28th.

COOKBOOK SWAP/BOOK DISCUSSION: On Wednesday, March 2nd, Hilltown Sustainability will host a cookbook exchange and discussion of the book, The Vegetarian Myth. The meeting will be at the Village Congregational Church in Cummington at 7:30. The Vegetarian Myth was written by Lierre Keith, a former vegan of 20 years, and addresses food, justice, and sustainability. Come to share your thoughts and insights, and trade for some new cookbooks, too! For more information, contact Leni Fried at 634-5591.

Lynne Guyette, Easthampton Family Center Coordinator writes: The Easthampton Family Center will hold its first parent meeting this year on Friday, March 4, 2011. The meeting will take place at the family center during its egular playgroup time from 10:30am to 12:00pm. All family center members are invited to attend this meeting. There will be extra supervision and activities for the children while the meeting takes place. I hope to see you all there on the 4th of March. This is your opportunity to be heard and to help support the growth of the Easthampton Family Center.

Deadline to enter to win: March 9th

OPEN CALL FOR ARTWORK: Artists from Berkshire County (and beyond!) are invited to submit artwork (both 2- and 3-D) for the upcoming group exhibit, “Forty Shades of Green: Celebrating Ireland and Irish Culture.” The show will appear at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts in Pittsfield from March 12th-April 9th. Work of any type is welcomed, and submissions should be fully prepared for display. For more information, visit www.culturalpittsfield.com or call 499-9348.

SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS:

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

Hilltown Family Variety ShowTune in every Saturday from 9-10am. Encore episodes are aired every Sunday from 7-8am.

This week Josh Wachtel of Radio Free Earth Guest DJs the Hilltown Famiy Variety Show, spinning tunes by Harry Nilsson, The Holy Modal Rounders, The Blazers, The Mills Brothers, The Gardenias, Michelle Shocked, Merle Travis, Radio Free Earth, and many others! 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!

  • WEEKLY LIST OF SUGGESTED EVENTS

    Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Free Museum Passes | Playgroups & Family Centers | Movies in the Valley | Movies in the Berkshires | Listen Here

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

    Saturday, February 26th, 2011

    Hilltown Family Variety Show6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

    SUGAR SHACK FUNDRAISER: Visit Steve’s Sugar Shack for opening day. The sugar shack will be donating a portion of their profits on Saturday to the Pioneer Valley Humane Society, so bring your appetite and order as many pancakes as you want- it’s for a good cause! Steve’s will be open Saturdays and Sundays for breakfast through April 10th. 34 North Road. 527-0294. Westhampton, MA.

    8am-3pm – WINTER FESTIVAL: Annual Winter Festival happens in downtown North Adams. This family fun event includes hay rides, ice sculpting, carnival games, refreshments, crafts, music, ice skating and more. 664-6180 www.northadams-ma.gov North Adams, MA (FREE, >$)

    9am-5pm – BOTANICAL STUDIES: 2011 Amherst Orchid Society Show at Smith Vocational High School. Visit to see tons and tons of orchids of all kinds of varieties! Plants will be judged- see if you can predict the winners. Northampton, MA. (>$)

    10am-1pm – OUTDOOR FESTIVAL: Five College Outdoor Festival happens at Hampshire College to celebrate outdoor sports and adventures. Demos with Zoar Outdoor, pancake brunch, adventure race, climbing competitions. 559.5536 www.hampshire.edu Amherst, MA (FREE)

    10am-1pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Animal tracking and winter wanderings with Earthwork Programs at the Bullitt Reservation. A fun family outing, go tracking with Frank on the Pebble Trail and enjoy the outdoors with snow games. Register in advance: 628-4485 Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    10am-9pm- GIANT SANDBOX: Didn’t get to go south to enjoy a sandy beach for school vacation? Visit the Eastfield Mall for a healthy dose of sand! A giant sandbox has been built in the mall’s food court, containing more than enough sand for you to get your fix of summer. 1655 Boston Road. www.eastfieldmall.com. 543-8000. Springfield, MA (FREE)

    10:30am – MUSIC SERIES: Music series at the Jones Library. For kids of all ages. 43 Amity St. www.joneslibrary.org 259-3090 Amherst, MA. (FREE)

    11-11:45pm – KIDS YOGA: Karma hosts a children’s yoga class for kids ages 6-10yo. Stretches, poses and yoga/theater games. Pre-register. 727-8143 http://www.bekarma.com Northampton, MA ($)

    11am-1pm: INTERNATIONAL ADVENTURES: A historic and cultural adventure of Pakistan, inspired by Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, will take place at the Town Hall. Kids ages 9-12 can learn to write their name using Urdu letters, leaf through text books used by children in these mountainous schools, dress-up in their traditional clothing, enjoy Nan and tea, partake in a Pakistani craft, and listen to traditional music. 259-1213 www.mnspear.org Shutesbury, MA.

    11am – STORYTIME: Pajama storytime at the Northfield Public Library. Enjoy what’s left of school vacation by lounging in comfy clothes and listening to stories. 115 Main Street. 498-2455. www.northfieldpubliclibrary.org. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

    12Noon – YOUTHFILM: The Northampton Arts Council will host a YouthFilm Fest at the Academy of Music, featuring films directed, crafted, written and starred by local children and teens. Films screened early in the afternoon are suitable for young kids. Films screened later in the day are more appropriate for older kids. To see the schedule of films visit www.northamptonartscouncil.org Northampton, MA. (KIDS FREE, ADULTS >$)

    1pm – MOVIE SCREENING: Despicable Me (PG) will be screened at the Whately Public Library (202 Chestnut Plain Rd.). 665-2170 www.whately.org/library Whately, MA (FREE)

    1pm – CUPCAKES: Decorate cupcakes with Dona at Huntington Public Library. All supplies will be provided, and children ages 9 and up are invited to attend. Please pre-register. 7 East Main Street. 667-3506. www.thehuntingtonpubliclibrary.com. Huntington, MA. (FREE)

    1:30pm – FAMILY CONCERT: The Deedle Deedle Dees will be a Flywheel in the old Town Hall, with a special Black History Month show featuring tunes about Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, Cool Papa Bell, Satchel Paige, Henry Box Brown, and other folks worthy of song. Presented by Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock. Doors open at 1pm. Easthampton, MA ($)

    1:30pm – KNITTING/CRAFT GROUP: Get-Together Knitting Bees & Crafting a Elmer’s. Ashfield, MA (FREE)

    1-3pm – OPEN HOUSE: Visit Sheep Hill for the Williamstown Rural Lands Foundation’s winter open house. Enjoy simple crafts, mulled cider, and a roaring fire, as well as outdoor activities like showshoeing and sledding! 671 Cold Spring Road. 458-2494. www.wrlf.org. Williamstown, MA. (>$)

    1-4pm – ANIMALS STUDIES: Fox Fun for Families Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environmental Center (99 Millers Falls Rd.). Observation of mounts, skulls, books and outdoor tracking. For ages 7yo+ Indoors and outdoors. (800) 859-2960 Northfield, MA (FREE)

    2:30pm – THEATER: The Piti Theatre Company presents the nature fable Elmer and the Elder Tree at the Orange Town Hall. The show is interactive, and includes music and dance. 6 Prospect Street. 978-544-1100. www.townororange.org. Orange, MA. (>$)

    3:30 PM – FAMILY THEATER: Visit the Williston Northampton School for their annual February vacation children’s performances. This year’s show is Story Theater: Journeys of Transformation from Around the World and Beyond, and is based on a collection of folk stories. 18 Payson Avenue. 529-3434. www.williston.com. Easthampton, MA. (>$)

    4pm – SPORTS ADVENTURES: The Mt. Holyoke Lyons hockey team takes on their rival team, the Smith Pioneers, at Fitzpatrick Arena in Holyoke. This is one of the biggest games for the two teams- come cheer them on and see some great women’s hockey! 575 Maple Street. 532-2929. sophia.smith.edu. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)

    5pm – HISTORICAL THEATER: The Norman Rockwell Museum presents, “Ain’t I A Woman: The Story of Sojourner Truth.” Actress Debra Zull performs a one-woman show that chronicles Truth’s life as an abolitionist, evangelist, and civil and women’s rights leader. Great for older students! 9 Route 183. 298-4100. www.nrm.org. Stockbridge, MA. ($)

    5-8pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURES: Participate in Red Gate Farm’s Fire and Ice celebration. Go sledding under the lights and warm up by the fire afterward. Dinner and cocoa provided- fun for all ages! 4 Norman Road. 625-9503. www.redgatefarm.org. Buckland, MA. (>$)

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    Suggested Events 03/14/09-03/20/09

    Mud Season Road Closure

    Mud Season in the hilltown! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

    SUGGEST AN EVENT

    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.

    FEATURED EVENT

    The sugar shack are all fired up!  Point out to your kids as you drive by the plumbs of steam rising up as barrels of sap are brought in from the sugar bushes and cooked down into maple syrup.  Several sugar shacks offer a pancake breakfast to go along with their fresh maple syrup.  Check out the post, Maple Sugar Moon, for area sugar shacks that offer breakfast, tours and demos.  This weekend are a few special events that celebrate sugaring season.  See their listings below.

    On St. Patrick’s Day (Tuesday, March 17), Mariana Iranzi will do a free after-school show at Cup & Top Cafe in the center of Florence, MA at 4pm. Join Mariana for a bilingual musical afternoon adventure for the whole family!

    HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

    Billy Jonas & Robbert Bobbert

    New Music by Bill Jonas & Robbert Bobbert

    We are pleased to offer four free tickets to see the Pioneer Valley Symphony (PVS) featuring Grammy winning storyteller, Bill Harley and Peter and the Wolf in Greenfield, MA at the Greenfield High School Auditorium on Saturday, March 28th, at 7 pm, courtesy of PVS. Deadline to enter is Wednesday, 03/25/09 @ 7pm (EST).   Click HERE for more details and to enter to win.

    Tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show on Saturdays from 9-10am on Valley Free Radio (VFR), 103.3FM (Northampton, MA), or listen via streaming audio at www.ValleyFreeRadio.org. Every Saturday VFR offers four hours of commercial-free, quality family program from 6-10am, including Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child from 7am-9am.  It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons!

    Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Get Directions | Free Museum Passes | School Closings and Delays | Family Centers (Ages 0-4) | Facebook

    Events Happening in the Hilltowns

    Saturday – 03/14

    Bill Harley

    Click here to enter to win free tickets!

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