|Berkshire Tidbits: Summer BBQs & Garden Tours|
|By Judith Lerner, Special to iBerkshires|
09:37PM / Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Eat on North kitchen in Hotel on North, 297 North St. in Pittsfield, 413 358-4741, will present another Kids Cooking Class of no more than 20 students ages 6 to 15, from 2 to 4 on Wednesday, June 22. $25 per child by advance reservation. The first class was well received.
This time they'll be making quesadillas and Rice Krispie treats. Fun food.
Pittsfield's summer food program at which all children 18 and under can come in and eat breakfast and lunch for free without reservations starts Wednesday, June 22, and runs through Wednesday, August 24 at four locations in the city. Starting Monday, July 11, activities will be offered Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Both breakfast from 8:30 to 9 a. m and lunch from 12:30 to 1 p.m. will be served at Morningside Elementary School on Burbank St. and at Conte Community School on West Union St.
Lunch only will be served at Dower Square apartments, 253 Wahconah St., from noon to 12:30 p.m. and at First United Methodist Church, 55 Fenn St., from 12 to 1 p.m.
Activities will take place at Conte Community School on Mondays, at Morningside School on Tuesdays and at Dower Square on Wednesdays. I do not have any more details.
A bee getting pollen from wild goldenrod. Beekeeping is
the topic at Bascom Lodge on Sunday, June 26.
Cricket Creek Farm cheesemakers will be at Bascom Lodge up on the top of Mount Greylock 6 p. m. Wednesday evening, June 22, to talk about their cow's milk cheese operation and to give attendees free tastings of the cheeses they make on their Williamstown farm.
Their most popular, prize-winning Maggie's Round, a flavorful medium-aged, medium-textured Alpine sort of cheese will most certainly be tasted. They might bring their extra-aged Maggie's Reserve which has an almost Norwegian Gjetost-like creaminess, fudginess and sweetness.
They will probably bring their washed-rind Tobasi, melty and pungent. And their camembert-inspired Berkshire Bloom.
They make soft, white, flavored fresh cheese logs like goat cheese but from cow's milk. And they make a feta.
All worth going to taste.
At 7, there will be a dinner by reservation prepared by chef/co-owner/lodgekeeper John Dudek. Call the Lodge, 413 743-1591. Wednesday's 3-course prix fixe dinner offers entrée choices of seared sea scallops with herb butter sauce $36, cider-braised half chicken with apples and bacon $35 or zucchini, carrot, mozzarella and herb cutlet in a white wine, lemon, butter and dill sauce $34. The dinner starts with a bacon-laced red Manhattan clam chowder and ends with maple mousse and a butter cookie.
Another free talk will take place at the lodge on Sunday, June 26, at 6. Richard Clapper of the Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association will speak about beekeeping, its importance, workings and joys.
Sunday night's 3-course prix fixe dinner by reservation entrée choices will be chicken fricassee, lamb ragout or vegetable stuffed cabbage rolls with a Mediterranean salad as starter and chocolate and hazelnut baklava for dessert.
Food seems to be of interest to lodge visitors. No surprise.
Upcoming programs include a Big Elm Brewers tasting on Wednesday, July 6; a program on herbs and health on Sunday, July 24; local mycological expert John Wheeler will tell us more about Berkshire mushrooms on Sunday, August 14; and John Kozinski will be back to talk about healthy eating and taste bone broth from Red Apple Butchers and healing, tangy fire cider vinegar from the Fire Cider team.
Pittsfield's summer food program, at which children 18 and under can come in and eat Becket monthly community breakfast
Saturday, June 25
The Yoked Parish of Becket presents its all-you-choose-to-eat monthly breakfast on Saturday, June 25 from 8 a. m. to 11 a. m. at the Becket Federated Church, (413) 623-5217, 3381 Main St. across from the Becket Washington elementary school, just past the intersection with Route 8.
Breakfast, served cafeteria-style, is usually homemade scrambled eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, ham, hash, home fries, fresh fruit, juices, tea and coffee.
All are welcome. Adults $6.00; children under 12 $3. No reservations necessary.
The perfect barbecue plate at Wheatleigh's Wednesday BBQ. See the lamb chop and the scallop and the to-die-for summer tomato slice
Wheatleigh's weekly Wednesday summer barbecues will start on Wednesday, June 29 and run through Wednesday, August 29. Cocktails are served starting at 6, food begins at 6:30. It's hard to decide whether Wheatleigh's BBQ is more fun and sweet or more elegant. It is definitely all that.
Chef Jeffrey Thompson features whatever is most delightfully fresh from the local farms he deals with.
"Most definitely, always tomatoes. Something like a summer ratatouille with the local eggplants. And, always a salad whether it is arugula or mesclun or Romaine, depending on what I get that week from the farmers," he said.
He turns the summer's corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, greens, potatoes, carrots, herbs, corn into salads and sauces, sides and slaws, creating new combinations each week.
On the grilling side, Wheatleigh's BBQ proteins sidestep burgers and ribs.
"We will be having a chimichurri grilled flank steak, spice-rubbed lamb leg, the lobster tails, sea scallops and swordfish."
Jeffrey told me he is working with one of his main seafood purveyors, Wes Malzone whose company, BerkShore, supplies Wheatleigh with most of their East Coast seafood, to offer BBQ guests a raw bar this summer.
"Wes will be there shucking oysters as guests want them," he said. And he will have provided the rest of the evenings sea offerings.
Another new part of the BBQ evening will be a martini bar using the distilled liquors from Berkshire Mountain Distillers of Sheffield, Jeffrey said.
And Berkshire native jazz musician Andy Wrba will bring his music to the BBQ.
You might catch your breath at paying $115 for a BBQ (for adults; children 12 to 20 cost $55; children 6 to 11 cost $32; children 5 and under eat free) but it is all-inclusive — tax, gratuity, food and all beverages including wine, beer and other alcoholic drinks. Call Wheatleigh, 11 Hawthorne St., 413 637-0610, for reservations — soon. The whole summer gets booked up quickly. On rainy Wednesdays, Wheatleigh serves its BBQ on their glass-enclosed portico.
When I was there, I shared the evening with a couple who drive over from Springfield after work, enjoy the BBQ, spend the night, have a leisurely breakfast and drive back, a few times a summer.
After dark, a fire might be lighted on the lawn behind the terrace as people sip their coffee and tea and homey final sweets.
"Dessert will be the chocolate chip cookies, housemade sorbet cones and, another new item this year, a cotton candy machine," Jeffrey added.
"We just want our guest to continue having fun, having a nice, casual evening."
This year's Berkshire Food Festival in North Adams will be happening this Sunday, June 26, from noon to 4. Eaters purchase tickets then wander through tents of chef offerings down the north side of Main Street choosing this and that to eat and drink.
Some of the restaurants represented will be Boston Sea Foods, Bousquet Catering, Gramercy Bistro, Krispy Kone, Lickety Split, Mint Indian Lakeside Cuisine, Oh Crepe, Papa John's, Slick Willie's and The 413 Grill.
More details if I can get them.
Oh, sad! Sad!
An incipient gardener inspired by the Pittsfield Garden Tour to begin a garden at the end of July 2015.
The 20th and last Pittsfield Hidden Treasures Garden Tour, 413-822-6272, will happen on the weekend of July 16 and 17. This down-to-earth — literally — close to home, inspiring self-guided tour will reprise a number of beloved gardens from past tours, add a couple new ones, fill a lovely Saturday and a Sunday afternoon and vanish forever.
This tour will feature a retrospective of eight favorite gardens and a permaculture exhibit.
I do not know whether I have gone to all the tours but I have taken many of them. I remember a tiny backyard off Elm St. filled with wisteria that actually flowers and tall black cohosh plantings. I loved seeing the garden on the river side of Holmes Road, more than once. Last summer's garden planted with large, decorative lettuces was striking. I studied ground covers, simple, homey zinnias and pale pink petunias. Self-created koi ponds. Hydrangeas of every stripe. Ditto willow.
I remember visiting Pittsfield's community gardens at Canoe Meadows on one tour. Brattle farm on another. The birdhouse contests. Lots of backyard garden tchotchkes. Water, iced tea, lemonade and cookies some gardeners put out for their visitors. Very sweet.
I even got inspired to start my own garden, finally. Last summer.
The tour always seems to take place on the hottest, sunniest weekend of the summer just after what seems like a week of steady rain that turns all soil into mud.
There are raffles, the best of which is Dig and Dine: getting garden tour gardeners to come to your garden, spiff it up in some short time and then feed you and your family or friends a meal they have made for you.
You find out the actual gardens once you buy your ticket and get your tour book.
So, get your tickets. Wear your wet-tolerant comfort shoes and a sun hat. Follow the map in your tour book in any order you'd like. The pink signs and balloons will let you know you're in the right place. Parking has never been a problem. Take your time.
The tour hours are 10 to 4 Saturday; noon to 4 Sunday. Tickets are $16 up to July 10, $20 after and during the tour. Yes, you can decide at the last minute and just come and buy your ticket on tour day at tour headquarters on the lawn in front of the courthouse on Bank Row across from Park Square between 9:30 and 4 Saturday; 11:30 and 2:30 Sunday.
Before the tour, tickets are being sold during regular store hours at Berkshire Mountain Bakery-Pizza Cafe, 180A Elm St, Pittsfield; Carr Hardware, 256 Main Street, Great Barrington; Carr Hardware, 179 State Road, North Adams; Carr Hardware, 547 North Street, Pittsfield; Crown Jewelers, Allendale Shopping Center, Pittsfield; Different Drummer's Kitchen, 374 Pittsfield Road, Lenox; Dory and Ginger, 299 North St, Pittsfield; The Bookstore, 11 Housatonic Street, Lenox.
Alas, I and you will have to deeply inhale this year's garden possibilities and inspirations to last… forever.
This summer, The Nutrition Center, is holding two weeklong Food Adventures summer programs. One in Lenox from 9 a. m. to 3 p.m. during the week of Monday, July 25, through Friday, July 29, for children ages 6 through 12. One in Pittsfield from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the week of Monday, August 1 through Friday, August 5 for children ages 6 through 14.
As is usual in Food Adventures cooking classes, the children will learn to cook as teams, learn nutrition concepts, seasonal, local and whole foods eating and world cultures through eating using math and science as a natural part of the process. The classes incorporate menu planning, using whatever local produce is ready and how to make healthy desserts.
Daily afternoon snacks are part of the program.
This year, the mornings will be dedicated to food and cooking while the afternoons will be devoted to creative arts led by Eileen Mahoney of Creative Transitions in Lenox and movement led by Berkshire Community College staff in Pittsfield.
Both weeklong workshop series cost $250 per child.
The Lenox workshops will be held at St. Helena's Parish Hall at 245 New Lenox Road. Call The Nutrition Center, 413 420-8110 or email Liz at email@example.com to sign up.
The Pittsfield workshops will take place at Berkshire Community College main campus at 1350 West St. in G-10 of the Susan B. Anthony Center. Register on the website, by calling 413-236-2126 or in person at the college no later than Monday, July 25. Call Liz Weibrecht, 413-551-9331, with any questions about the BCC workshops.