(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – With the help of a $1,550 grant from the Green Pastures Fund, a fund of Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Hancock Shaker Village (HSV) has improved the cold storage capacity of the root cellars built by the Shakers in the 1910 barn complex for use by its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm program. The new air conditioning unit creates optimal storage conditions and gives farm staff the flexibility to harvest ripe produce earlier on distribution days and keep it fresh for shareholders.
Harvest distribution will run for approximately 20 weeks between mid June and late October. Pickup of produce will be available on Tuesdays and Saturdays each week, when shareholders will come to the village, meet friends and neighbors, pick up vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and share recipes.
Shareholders are not required to volunteer with harvesting, but are welcome to do so. “Our shareholders enjoy the convenience of being able to pick up a pre-packaged share when they arrive on their distribution day,” said Bill Mangiardi, HSV director of farm and facilities. “The upgrade to the root cellars gives us more time to pull together the harvest and keep everything in pristine condition on hot days.”
HSV established the CSA last year. Unique features of the farm program include potted herbs and tomatoes at the beginning of the season, as well as eggs from the poultry flocks at the village. “We focus on growing the heirloom varieties passed to us by the Shakers – our vegetables are family-friendly and the best the Berkshires can grow,” said Laura Wolf, HSV director of operations and marketing.
The CSA at HSV is designed to provide produce for up to 80 households. Full-shares (designed for three to four people) and half-shares (one to two people) are available for $500 or $250 per season, respectively. A limited number of shares are still available for the 2012 season, and can be reserved online at Hancock Shaker Village or by calling 413.443.0188.
Situated on a picturesque expanse of farm, field, and woodland in Pittsfield, Mass., Hancock Shaker Village is an outdoor living history museum and center for the study of principled living in the 21st century. The fully restored Village includes 18 historic buildings, heirloom medicinal and vegetable gardens, 22,000 examples of Shaker furniture, crafts, tools, and clothes that depict daily life at the Shakers’ City of Peace through its 220 years, as well as heritage breed farm animals and spectacular hiking trails. There are daily tours, craft and cooking demonstrations, lectures and workshops, and a variety of activities for children and families, as well as a Museum Store and Shaker-inspired cuisine at the Village Harvest Café. The Discovery Room offers hands-on opportunities for kids of all ages to try their hand at chair seat weaving, working at a loom, trying on Shaker-style clothing, or milking a life-sized replica of a cow. An interactive audio tour (free with admission) is available in English, French, Italian, and German. For more information, call 800.817.1137 or go to Hancock Shaker Village.
Hancock Shaker Village is located on Route 20 in Pittsfield, Mass., just west of the junction of Routes 20 and 41. For GPS purposes, the Village is located at 34 Lebanon Mountain Rd., Hancock, Mass. 01237. Or, enter 1843 W. Housatonic St., Pittsfield, Mass. 01201 then proceed 1/2 mile further west on Rt. 20 to the parking lot.