Winter Farmers’ Markets & Seasonal Food: Intersection of Culture, Tradition and Creativity

Cooking Seasonally

The beauty of New England living is that each season offers a new way to learn and engage our communities. Locally grown and produced food is a community-base resource that can help us understand how to connect to local agriculture, even in the winter.

For winter cooking, it’s time to utilize the heat of the oven, something often avoided during the heat of the summer months.  This is the season to bake, roast, and stew.  It’s the time of year when the preserved and canned foods from the summer and fall harvests can be taken out of storage to enjoy.  It’s a different way of eating – one that is intended to be hearty and warming – perfect for greeting the cold weather.

Winter is a time for gathering with friends – and what better way than with a home-cooked meal to be enjoyed together using locally produced ingredients? Preparing a meal together is an opportunity for intergenerational exchange (passing down recipes from older family members or neighbors) as well as for skill-sharing (what cooking technique are you interested in learning from a friend?). Start by visiting the local winter markets for inspiration and then gather friends and family for a warming meal shared together!

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37 Community Highlights: Ice Harvest to Winter Farmers’ Market. Chinese New Year to Tu B’Shevat.

This weekend, January 26th & 27th, Old Sturbridge Village celebrates Fire and Ice Days! Families can visit the village to take part in the annual event, which includes many of the activities typical to an 1830’s New England winter. Families can skate on the pond, go sledding on vintage sleds, take a horse drawn sleigh ride, and learn about (and try!) ice harvesting. Indoor activities include a fireside magic show, a talk on the history of ice skating, a thaumatrope-making craft, and opportunities to learn about 19th century methods of staying warm throughout the village. Pair a visit to the village with studies of American history and culture or a look at the evolution of technology, and compare the ways that early New Englanders battled winter to the ways we have adapted to handle cold weather today. Kids get free admission through the month of January!

Ice Harvest to Winter Farmers’ Market. Chinese New Year to Tu B’Shevat. Wind Turbines to Meteorology. Hendrix to Ben-Hur… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Get out into your community and learn while you play!  And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or check them out from the public library!

It’s that time of the year when families are being to think about their next step with their children’s education. Several schools will be offering open houses this weekend, along with a preschool resource fair for families just starting their investigation in various learning institutes and establishments offered in the region. Here are seven upcoming opportunities:

  1. Saturday, Jan 26th at Montessori School of the Berkshire in Lenox Dale from 9-11am
  2. Saturday, Jan 26th at The Common School in Amherst from 10am-12noon
  3. Saturday, Jan 26th at UMass OFR Preschool Resource Fair in Amherst from 10am-1pm
  4. Saturday, Jan 26th at Hartsbrook School in Hadley from 10am-12noon
  5. Sunday, Jan 27th at The Academy at Charlemont from 1-3pm
  6. Sunday, Jan 27th at Cloverdale Cooperative Preschool in Florence from 1-3:30pm
  7. Next Sunday, Feb 3rd at Greenfield Center School from 1-4pm

CULTURAL STUDIES

Celebrate the Chinese New Year with the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School on Saturday afternoon, January 26th in Northampton! Families can learn about Chinese culture, as well as the traditions surrounding the event. Then later in the week, pay a visit to the Smith College Museum of Art’s Asian art exhibit to learn more about Chinese culture – it opens on February 1st!

In the morning on Saturday, celebrate the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat – also known as Jewish Earth Day- with Jewish entertain-ucator Felicia Sloin and puppeteer Kate Holdsworth at Temple Beth El in Springfield. This free performance is filled with music, puppets, and stories that will teach kids about the holiday. The show is designed for young children, but all are welcome to come and learn about Jewish culture and traditions. Then on Sunday morning, January 27th, continue the celebration at Temple B’Nai Israel in Northampton! Tu B’Shvat is a celebration of trees, and calls for reflection on our relationship with the natural world. Families of all backgrounds can take part in this free celebration, which will include lots of fruit and environmentally-themed games.

LOCAL FOOD

Celebrate CISA’s Winter Fare Week at the Northampton Farmers’ Market and the Springfield Winter Market this Saturday, January 26th. These markets are filled with a wide variety of local produce and locally produced foods – shop tables filled by farms, bakeries, orchards, and more to find foods your family will love. At the Northampton event there will be special workshops on food preservation, sustainability, and self sufficiency, too! Families who preserve their own food can participate in a barter market, too – trade your homemade pickles for local blueberry jam, or eggs from your chickens for homemade local applesauce. At the Springfield event, stop by the market for workshops and fun kids’ activities. The workshops offered will be on teaching kids to cook and preparing efficient, eco-conscious, and affordable family meals.

Another way to enjoy food locally is by joining in a community dinner or breakfast! This Sunday morning, January 27th, bring your family to fill up on pancakes with the Belchertown Fire Department at a community pancake breakfast! … Maple season is just around the corner! Get your pancake chops ready now!

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math)

This Saturday morning, January 26th, learn how to be a mad scientist – safely! – using ingredients found in your kitchen! Kitchen Ka-Boom at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield is a special program filled with wacky kid-safe experiments that can be easily replicated at home and will help kids learn about basic scientific principles.

In the afternoon on Saturday, kids can build crazy LEGO creations at the Dickinson Library in Northfield! LEGOs are a great creative medium for kids interested in design and architecture, and can help them develop their own creative stories based on characters and structures that they build.

On Wednesday evening, January 30th, the Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a free parent workshop, “Tech for Tots,” focused on developmentally appropriate use of technology. The workshop takes place at Hatfield Elementary School, and parents will learn about the impact of use of technology on normal child development – technology use can impact social skills, learning, and brain development if not done appropriately.

Students at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School will present their own unique, independent science research on Wednesday evening, January 30th, at the school’s annual science fair! Students choose their own topics to research, then are mentored by an expert in the field that they have chosen in order to help them learn how to do accurate research, provide them with necessary background information, etc. The process helps students learn how to be a scientist, and the role that scientific research plays in our lives. Families can learn about many different scientific phenomena by viewing the exhibits, and can learn about ways to conduct their own scientific research at home.

On Thursday afternoon, January 31st, meet an actual television meteorologist! Sprout Homeschool Science Program is offering a field trip to a television station in Springfield where kids will be able to learn about how air temperature, the water cycle, weather monitoring, and knowledge of climate all help meteorologists make their weather predictions. Kids will be able to see meteorology equipment and can ask questions, too! Fits perfectly into elementary-aged studies of earth sciences, especially the water cycle and climate.

Also on Thursday afternoon, in preparation for the Science and Sustainability Expo happening in April, there will be a KidWind Workshop for educators and parents of youth in grades 4-12 to learn how to build a mini wind turbine in Greenfield. Build and take home a free model electricity generating wind turbine with your own blade design. Learn about the knowledge, skills and resources needed to bring wind energy education to your youth using standards-based activities in an engaging, hands-on manner.

MUSIC/FILM STUDIES

Enjoy some mid-day Baroque music at the Pelham Library on Saturday at noon, January 26th! The library’s monthly tea will feature a free performance by The Montague Consort, featuring music for piano and recorder. Great for older students interested in learning about music history!

On Saturday evening, The Academy of Music Theater in Northampton screens Hendrix 70: Live at Woodstock, a documentary about Hendrix’s road to Woodstock, as well as footage of his most famous (and probably most memorable) performances. Young music buffs will love seeing Hendrix’s Woodstock performance and hearing live version of his classic songs. Older students interested in music history can learn about the early days of classic 70’s rock and will learn more about the history behind the sounds that influenced much of today’s music. Then on Sunday, January 27th, head over to the Springfield Museums to check out GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked the World, an exhibit which shares the history and science behind this iconic musical instrument. Families can also learn about over 60 rare, unique, and antique instruments, learn about playing music through hands-on interactive exhibits, and more!

The Clark Museum’s Widescreen Wonders series continues on Saturday in Williamstown with a free screening of Ben-Hur, a 1959 epic about the Roman Empire in Palestine. The film, directed by William Wyler, included a cast of thousands of actors and swept in eleven Oscars. Older students interested in film will love seeing this classic!

LITERACY

Celebrate the 151st birthday of prolific writer Edith Wharton on Saturday, January 26th at The Mount in Lenox Wharton’s beautiful and historic home! The mansion will be open for visitors of all ages to explore for free – guides will be available for tours throughout the day. Kids can do a scavenger hunt and make their own journals to write down their thoughts and ideas – just like Edith! Tie the celebration into family studies of classic literature and/or historic homes and architecture.

Monday evening, January 28th is the first meeting of First Steps to Reading, a free workshop series for parents of kids from birth to five years old in Belchertown. Parents will learn ways to prepare their children for reading at home by sharing books, writing, playing, exploring and singing. The workshops run weekly through March 4th, and each meeting will focus on a different aspect of reading preparation, teaching parents how to support their children’s budding literacy.

Families with early readers can take part in a free literacy workshop at the Lee Library on Tuesday morning, January 29th! The workshop is part of a six-week series, and is open to families with kids ages 5 and younger. The program will focus on teaching skills that will eventually help children learn to read in school – parents can work on these basic skills at home with their kids in order to help them be ready to read!

Do you ever wish that you could recommend your favorite books to other library visitors? The Forest Park Branch Library in Springfield invites Forest Park Reads, a free series where families can read new books (or chapters of books) and then rate them using a star system so that other library visitors can choose great new things to read on Tuesday afternoon, January 29th!

SNOWSHOE HIKES & ANIMAL STUDIES

Snowshoe under the full moon at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox on Saturday evening, January 26th, or spend the entire day and evening outdoors on Sunday, January 26th, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and snow hiking at Stump Sprouts Cross Country Ski Area in Hawley!

Learn about the secret lives of amphibians on Saturday afternoon, January 26th at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield. Berkshire Community College professor Tom Tyning will present information about frogs and salamanders, as well as his new book – A Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles.

SPORTS

Smith College’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day celebration takes place in Northampton on Sunday afternoon, January 27th! This free event, open to girls in 3rd-5th grade, celebrates girls and women participating in sports at all levels – from professional ice hockey to high school basketball to recreational summer soccer. Girls participating in the event will learn about (and get to try!) many of the sports played by women at the collegiate level, including rugby, cheerleading, field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, rock climbing, and more. The event is a great opportunity for girls to learn about advanced levels of sports, and the female athletes they meet can serve as role models for budding athletes of all abilities.

If your girls are interested but can’t make the Smith College event, girls in grades 3-8 can participate in a similar free event on Saturday, February 2nd at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ National Girls and Women in Sports Day event in Williamstown! There will be separate workshops for kids and adults, all of which will teach girls and women about participating in sports and the many different athletic opportunities available to them. The event celebrates the female presence in athletics, and young participants will learn about the hard work that it takes to be a higher level athlete.

THEATER STUDIES

By special arrangement with Hilltown Families, Shakespeare & Company in Lenox is pleased to offer our readers a rare opportunity to take in a classic Shakespearean performance paired with a guided tour backstage. On Friday, Feb. 15th at 10am, schools and homeschooling families are invited to a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Tina Packer Playhouse, followed by a backstage guided tour where participants can learn how the process of theatre is crafted in the costume shop, prop studio, and production workshop. Tickets for this package are only $8/person and a Study Guide for educators is available to download before attending. To reserve discounted tickets, contact Alexandra Lincoln, and let her know you are a Hilltown Families reader: 413-637-1199 x131. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox. www.Shakespeare.org.

List of Weekly Suggested EventsFind out about these events and over 100 other events & activities happening all next week in our List of Weekly Suggested Events. All of our listed events are “suggested.” Please take a moment to confirm that these events are happening as scheduled, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before heading out.

SUPPORTING BOOK TITLES

Winter Fare: A Week of Winter Farmers’ Markets

CISA’s Week of Winter Fare
January 26 & February 2, 2013

In addition to perusing the array of local foods, shoppers can attend educational workshops scheduled during each market. Workshops range in topic from simple cheese-making and canning to growing grains and herbal medicine. All the workshop leaders are local people who practice these skills at home. The workshops are free and do not require pre-registration. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

It is possible 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 26th and February 2nd, CISA will kick off its 20th anniversary year with Winter Fare, a celebration of the winter bounty. In collaboration with regular Winter Farmers’ Markets in Greenfield, Northampton, Amherst, and Springfield, Winter Fare will highlight the array of local food available in the deep of winter with workshops, bartering, music, and more! 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.

Amherst, Greenfield, and Northampton will all host Barter Markets, a fun, lively food-swapping event. 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.

This special event is designed to showcase the amazing local food that is available year-round in the Pioneer Valley of Western MA, and to introduce new people to the incredible farmers’ markets that run all winter long. For a complete list of winter farmers’ markets, including regular markets in Athol, Easthampton, and Hampden, visit www.buylocalfood.org.

More details about Winter Fare, including complete lists of 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.

Winter Fare is sponsored by River Valley Market, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, and Whole Foods Market.  All four markets accept SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), and in honor of Winter Fare, CISA will be matching the first $10 of all SNAP purchases.

– Submitted by Claire Morenon

Holiday Farmers’ Markets in the Berkshires

Holiday Farmers’ Markets in the Berkshires

Berkshire Grown will host its popular Holiday Farmers’ Markets in Great Barrington and Williamstown on November 17 -18 and December 15 -16. The markets feature locally grown and produced food during months when farmers’ markets are not open in the region and extend the opportunity for community members to purchase directly from area food producers and farmers. (Photo credit: Peter Cherneff)

Local food isn’t only available during the growing season!  A bounty of locally grown and produced foods are available year-round in Western MA, and Berkshire Grown is making these products even easier to purchase by hosting two annual pre-holiday farmers’ markets!

“We’re thrilled to host our 4th annual farmers’ markets,” says Barbara Zheutlin, Executive Director of Berkshire Grown. “We’re extending the season for our local farmers, and offering the community an opportunity to support our local farmers and food producers. The success of these markets depends on everyone participating – we count on the community to celebrate our local food and farmers.”

There will be markets in both Great Barrington and Williamstown, taking place just before Thanksgiving and just before Christmas.  Families can stock up on local foods for their holiday meals, as well as to store for use throughout the winter…how delicious does a locavore’s Thanksgiving dinner featuring locally-grown pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, roasted Turkey, sautéed greens, apple cobbler and cider sound?!  And wouldn’t friends be excited to receive applesauce made from local apples or locally fermented pickles as a holiday gift?

Shop the array of locally grown produce and animal products, baked goods, preserves, handcrafted gift items and holiday decorations offered by local farmers and vendors at the Holiday Farmer’s Markets, and center your family’s holiday celebrations around your community! Plus have a fun time with activities for the kids at the Williamstown markets, including crafts, face painting and a scavenger hunt.

Markets will take place at Muddy Brook Elementary School in Great Barrington on Saturday, November 17th and Saturday, December 15th, and at the Williams College Field House on Sunday, November 18th and Sunday, December 16th.  All markets take place from 10am-2pm, and are sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Williams College.  For more information visit www.berkshiregrown.org or call 413-528-0041.

Greenfield Winter Fare Celebrates Local Food in Franklin County!

5th Annual Winter Fare in Greenfield
Kicks off on Saturday, Feb 4th for a Weeklong Celebration

There will be four local food community potlucks scheduled throughout the week, including the towns of Greenfield, Gill, Ashfield and Conway. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Greenfield’s annual Winter Fare will take place on Saturday, February 4th! Along with the farmers’ market, workshops, and barter market that Winter Fare offers, there will be several events happening across Franklin County to celebrate local food, too!

Greenfield’s first Winter Fare took place five years ago, spearheaded by Juanita Nelson, and was designed as a celebration of local food during the season when local farms are least visible.  However, despite the cold, ice, and snow, there’s still an abundance of local food available during the winter!

At the Greenfield’s Winter Fare, community members can come together to enjoy local foods, share their own home-preserved foods, and learn more about growing, preserving, composting, etc. at the many workshops offered.  The main Winter Fare event will take the place of the Greenfield Winter Farmers’ Market at the Second Congregational Church (Main Street) from 10am-1pm.  Other events include a local foods brunch spotlighting local honey and a new show from Piti Theater Company on Feb 5th., a screening of the documentary, “King Corn” on Feb. 8th, a seed swap and composting workshop on Feb. 12th, and four different local food potlucks throughout the week.

Greenfield’s Winter Fare celebrates delicious locally grown and produced foods, and provides numerous learning opportunities to the community.  Visit the farmers’ market and explain to your kids how it’s possible to buy local greens, squash, carrots, and apples during the winter when nothing grows outside, or teach them some kitchen skills and create a local dish to contribute to a potluck.  You could even do some canning with your kids to trade at the barter market!  The possibilities are endless.  To learn more about the many events taking place all over Franklin Count, visit www.winterfare.org.

Northampton Winter Fare Helps Families Eat Locally Year Round

Northampton Winter Fare
Saturday, January 14th, 2011

Bring your shopping bags and stock up on fresh salad greens, root vegetables, local grains and bread, eggs, meat, cheese, yogurt, maple syrup, honey, jam, pickles, and more, all grown by local farmers. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Claire Morenon, CISA Program Coordinator writes:

CISA’s Winter Fare, a vibrant, diverse farmers’ market and community event, is coming to Smith Vocational High School in Northampton on January 14th, 2012 from 10am-2pm. Winter Fare is a celebration of the amazing local food that is available year-round in the Pioneer Valley, bringing together vendors from winter farmers’ markets around the Valley to kick off the new year.

Twenty-two vendors, including many from the weekly winter farmers’ markets in Amherst and Northampton, the bimonthly winter market in Springfield, and the once-monthly market in Greenfield, will be present with their goods to inspire shoppers to make farmers’ markets a regular part of their winter routine.

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 $10 of all SNAP purchases. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

In addition to perusing the array of local foods, shoppers can attend one of the several educational workshops scheduled during the market. Topics include home food preservation, cheese and yogurt-making, and herbal medicine. 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 11am, the Soup Café will open for business so shoppers can take a break and enjoy a hot cup of soup made from local ingredients by Local Hero restaurants. 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 claire@buylocalfood.org to sign up or for more information.  Read the rest of this entry »

Springfield Winter Fare: Eat Locally Year-Round


Springfield Winter Fare: Eat Locally Year-Round

Locally grown wheat. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

This winter, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture), is bringing a vibrant, diverse one-day farmers’ market to Springfield. On December 18th from 10am-2pm, the first annual Springfield Winter Fare will be held at Springfield Technical Community College. The market will feature an amazing array of local foods, including root vegetables, squash, salad and cooking greens, fruit, herbs, bread and grains, meat, cheese, maple products, honey, pickles, and jam. Shoppers can mingle over hot soup from local restaurants (bring your own mug!), attend one of the several educational workshops scheduled during the market, and barter home-preserved local food with their neighbors (bring your excess, and go home with your neighbors’ goodies!).

Winter Fare is an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of local food that is available year-round. Nancy Hanson of Snow Moon Farm in Northfield says, “Winter growing and seasonal eating are a natural progression of the local food movement, and local farmers have expanded their offerings to meet the demand.” In addition to filling the consumer desire for local food, winter markets provide an income stream for farmers outside of the traditional growing season. “Farmers’ markets keep our business alive, since our farmstand is somewhat remote,” says Roxanne Austin of Austin Brothers Valley Farm in Belchertown, “and winter markets fill a vital gap by giving us a way to sell directly to consumers all year round.”

CISA strongly believes that healthy, local food should be available to everyone in the community, so both the 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 the Springfield event, CISA is coordinating the second annual Northampton Winter Fare, January 15th from 10am-2pm at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School. For more information on Winter Fare and other winter farmers’ markets, including an independent biweekly winter market that begins on December 11th in Forest Park in Springfield, visit www.buylocalfood.org or call (413) 665-7100.

SATURDAY WINTER FARMERS’ MARKETS ALL WINTER LONG

  • In Northampton from 9am-2pm — Winter Farmers’ Market in the basement of Thornes through April 30th. Food, live music and art.
  • In Amherst from 10am-2pm — Winter Farmers’ Market at Amherst Middle School (170 Chestnut St.).
  • In North Amherst from 10am-2pm — North Amherst Farmers’ Market happens a the Big Bule Barn at SwartzFamiy Farm (11 Meadow St.). www.northamherstmarket.com

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 18th, 2010

  • 9am-1pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Berkshire Grown will host a holiday farmers’ market at the old railroad station on Castle Street in Great Barrington. 528-0041 www.berkshiregrown.org Great Barrington, MA (MARKET)
  • 10am-2pm – FARMERS’ MARKET: Berkshire Grown will host a holiday farmers’ market at the Williams College Field House on Latham Street. 528-0041 www.berkshiregrown.org Williamstown, MA (MARKET)


 

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