Cellars and Cave Tour with the Heath Agricultural Society

  • Post published:03/11/2014
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The Heath Agricultural Society gave us all a chance to  go exploring the cellars and caves of our neighbors  this past Saturday. Root cellars, cider cellars and a cheese cave. Who could resist this opportunity? Over 50 people signed up for this tour, many of them from towns beyond Heath. Even Springfield! I took one group around beginning with Sheila Litchfield who first explained the basics of cheesemaking. Chemistry. Bacteria. Sheila is a nurse so she knows all…

Welcome to the Greenfield Garden Club Tour on Saturday, July 6

  • Post published:07/05/2013
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Welcome to the Greenfield Garden Club Garden Tour. Welcome seems to be the theme on the Greenfield Garden Club Tour which will be held on Saturday, July 6 from 9 am to 4 pm. This beautiful garden on a challenging slope in Gill has several garden rooms, from the small sunny garden with its fountain and pool surrounded by astilbes, ornamental grasses and bright coreopsis to the woodland garden with its gravel paths and colorful mushroom ornaments. Each garden…

Sunday Afternoon with Mozz, Feta, Chevre, Cajeta and more

  • Post published:01/12/2012
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Actually my neighbor Sheila of Dell Farmstead started her cheesemaking workshop at 9 am! Fortunately, she included a beautiful lunch in the day's schedule. By the end of the day we had made: chevre, a goat cheese; 30 minute mozzarella; feta; cheddar; creme fraiche, soft goat cheese, and a Tomme unique to Dell Farmstead. We learned that all cheese begins with separating the curds from the whey - with the help of additives like citric acid, and starter…

Festival of the Hills – A Crop of Authors

  • Post published:10/03/2011
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The Conway Festival of the Hills is a grand autumnal event in our region. This year I got to share tent space with other authors like Marie Betts Bartlett (left in blue) who brought her book The (true) Story of The Little Yellow Trolley Car and Heidi Stemple (right oogling the baby. Heidi is the daughter of and co-author with Jane Yolen of many books, true, mysterious and delicious.  In the center is Jessica, owner of The World…

The American Grove

  • Post published:09/29/2011
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Our house is surrounded by fields, and the fields are surrounded by woodlands.  Trees are an important part of the New England Landscape and I just learned that Massachusetts is about to join Connecticut, Vermont, Maine and 34 other states in an online organization called The American Grove. Their website is full of useful information about planting trees, even coming at how to choose a tree in an unusual way. We have planted trees for our each of…

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

  • Post published:09/26/2011
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In yesterday's NY Times Mark Bittman asked the question, Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? Can you really feed a family for less at McDonalds than at your own table filled with home cooked food.  In spite of the protestations that a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli and other such, the answer is NO!  A meal for a family of four at McDonald's will come to between $23 and $28.  How many groceries can…

Growing a Garden City

  • Post published:03/22/2011
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Sometimes a garden is more than a garden. Sometimes a garden is comfort, safety, job training, real good food for  the hungry and a supportive community. Growing a Garden City by Jeremy Smith (Skyhorse Publishing $24.95) has an all inclusive subtitle - How Farmers,  First Graders, Counselors, Troubled Teens, Foodies, A Homeless Shelter Chef, Single Mothers and More are Transforming Themselves and their Neighborhoods Through the Intersection of Local Agriculture and Community and How You Can, Too. Whew!…

Winterfare and Ice

  • Post published:02/08/2011
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Saturday dawn cold with another storm promised. I dashed right out to the Greenfield Winterfare to stock up, and I wasn't the only one. Every booth was busy. These young women from Wheatberry Farm and Bakery were selling the wheatberries AND delicious muffins. Ben and Adrie Lester, the founders of Wheatberry are also founders of The Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA. At the Simple Gifts booth I bought lots of roots - and make a shredded vegetable slaw…

Plumpy’nut and Profits

  • Post published:09/07/2010
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Every food pantry welcomes donations of peanut butter because it is so nutritious, and every mother has it in her kitchen because no matter what else the kids refuse to eat, they will almost always accept a pb&j sandwich. Peanuts were the answer to Andre Briend, a French pediatrician, who was trying to find a way to treat malnutrition. He knew about F100, a fortified dry milk that could counter the biochemical effects of nutrition in children. But…

A Field for the Hungry

  • Post published:07/23/2010
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Ev Hatch will never forget the seed salesman who talked to him about his upcoming retirement.  Instead of selling seeds, he was  going to plant a lot of vegetable seeds, tend the plot and donate all the vegetables to food pantries. Over his career Hatch has planted a lot of seeds, in the ground, and in the community as he worked for the Cooperative Extension Service and 4-H. After his  retirement in 1977 from these agricultural state enterprises …