(GREAT BARRINGTON and WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.) – Owing to their popularity in past years, Berkshire Grown is expanding its schedule of Holiday Farmers’ Markets this fall and winter. These popular events feature locally grown and produced foods and gifts, plus live music, lunch fare, and activities for children, during months when most farmers’ markets are not open in the region. Admission is free.
In addition to the traditional Thanksgiving Farmers’ Markets and the December Holiday Farmer’s Markets, Berkshire Grown will host markets in January and February. The markets kick off the season on Saturday, November 22, 2014, at Monument Valley Middle School (313 Monument Valley Road in Great Barrington) and on Sunday, November 23, at Williams College Towne Field House (82 Latham Street in Williamstown). Both markets will run from 10am to 2pm.
The Thanksgiving markets will showcase the late fall Berkshire crop of squashes and root vegetables, such as delicata, honey nut and butternut squashes, onions, carrots, and beets, as well as locally-roasted coffee, baked goods, meats, cheeses, apples, jams, chutneys, cordials, cider, maple syrup, and honey. Gifts will include soaps, hand and body lotions, candles, dried flower arrangements, and wreaths.
“By shopping at our Thanksgiving Holiday Farmers’ Markets, community members can buy delicious food and at the same time put money into the pockets of our hardworking local farmers,” said Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. “The variety of cheeses, breads, and apples are especially exciting to me as I love serving combinations of these items throughout the holidays. And I know I’m strengthening the local economy when I shop, so it’s a win-win.”
Best-selling author Ruth Reichl is a regular shopper at the Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets. She said, “I miss the farmers’ market so much when it ends in the fall. Thankfully, there are the holiday markets to look forward to. They’re such a treat — a chance to buy great local products, talk to friends and farmers before winter sets in and taste new foods. I always discover something I haven’t seen before, and it’s a great source of holiday presents.”
The Great Barrington Thanksgiving market will feature the Fiddling Femmes playing traditional fiddle tunes from home and across the pond at 11am and Hicks O’Lydian, featuring Erika Ludwig and Memrie Kelley on fiddles and Eddie Sporn on guitar and dobro, at noon. Children’s activities will include a find-the-rutabaga scavenger hunt and hands-on snack-making with Food Adventures. The Williamstown Thanksgiving market will feature traditional acoustic music by the MoCA jam band and face painting and seasonal crafts activities for children.
Berkshire Grown will host additional winter Holiday Farmers’ Markets from 10am to 2pm on Saturdays: December 13, January 17, and February 14 at Monument Valley Middle School in Great Barrington, and on Sunday, December 14 at Williams College Towne Field House in Williamstown.
Major sponsors of the Holiday Farmers’ Markets include Iredale Mineral Cosmetics, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), and Williams College. Berkshire Grown received funding from MDAR to promote Massachusetts Grown…and Fresher! at the markets. As part of Williams College’s ongoing commitment to sustainable food and local agriculture, the college is again co-sponsoring the markets by donating the Williamstown venue, as well as providing funding toward the event. The Williams College Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program and The Zilka Center for Environmental Initiatives are supporting the markets as a community partnership to further incorporate the principles of sustainability into the fabric of campus life. For more information on the college’s ongoing commitment to sustainable food, visit sustainability.williams.edu.
Berkshire Grown supports and promotes local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community, economy, and landscape; its mission is to “Keep farmers farming!” Through events, workshops, promotions, advocacy, and education highlighting locally grown and produced food, Berkshire Grown helps to create a thriving local food economy. For more information or to become a member of the non-profit organization, visit Berkshire Grown or call 413.528.0041.