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July 24

What’s Happening

Friday, July 25 – Sunday, July 27

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There are so many things to do, it’s impossible to list them all!  For even MORE activities, events, and attractions, visit www.berkshires.org on your smartphone or tablet…The Red Lion Inn has free wifi!

Outdoor Fun

The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home2 Plunkett Street,  Lenox Friday, July 25 (Weekly on Friday & Saturday until August 31)*Music After Hours: 5 – 8pmRelax on the terrace with a glass of wine while savoring a rousing blend of traditional and modern music.Saturday, July 26 (Weekly on Tues, Thurs, & Sat until August 24) *Shakespeare & Company presents Romeo & Juliet: 12 – 1.30pm A miracle of human expression, Romeo and Juliet reminds us of what it is to swear by the moon, to see the sun in another person, and to risk the consequences hanging in the stars. Performed ‘bare Bard’ style with only 6 actors playing all the roles. $24.50 for adults; $14.50 for students. Tuesday & Thursday, 6pm.
Springside Park874 North Street, Pittsfield Friday, July 25 – Monday, July 28*Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park: 8pm (FREE!)Magic and mayhem take flight in this supernatural romantic comedy. Featuring a cast of local actors and children, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed outdoors, under the stars—so bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs and enjoy the magic.
Naumkeag House & Gardens5 Prospect Hill Road,  Stockbridge Friday, July 25 (Weekly Friday, Saturday, & Sunday until Sept. 2)*English Tea in the Gardens: 2 – 5pmTea & Scones served in the Garden. $10.00 person.Saturday, July 26 *Garden Party: 4 – 7pm Join us for a Cocktail Party in the garden celebrating the completion of Afternoon Garden restoration with a special “Mabel’s Martini” as a featured offering. Ticketed event, please RSVP.
Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary472 West Mountain Road, Lenox Saturday, July 26*Canoe Trip to Upper & Lower Goose Ponds: 8am – 12pmExplore the coves and marshes of one of the Berkshires’ most beautiful lakes. Paddle across Lower Goose Pond to pristine Upper Goose Pond in search of ravens, hawks, herons, and a variety of songbirds. Eat a snack onshore and search for interesting plant and animal life along the Appalachian Trail. We will walk one mile on the AT before paddling back. Previous canoe experience is required. Bring food, drink, insect repellent & sunscreen. Registration is required. Member $25/Non-member $30.Sunday, July 27 *Crickets, Critters, & Cocktails Gala VI: 6.30 – 11pm Our gala has become the not-to-be-missed event of the summer season. Support Berkshire Wildlife Sanctuaries and meet our new sanctuary director. Live music, tasty edibles and drink, silent auction, and a bonfire under the stars make it special. Contact 413-637-0320 for ticket information.
Hilltop Orchards (Furnace Brook Winery)508 Canaan Road, Route 295, Richmond Saturday, July 26 (Weekly on Saturday until August 30)*Live Entertainment with Todd McLeod: 2 – 5pm (FREE!)Cool off on the hilltop on Saturdays with a chilled glass of wine or fresh pressed cider while enjoying the scenery and sounds of Todd McLeod on guitar.
The Bidwell House Museum100 Art School Road, Monterey Saturday, July 26*History Talk: Love & Separation: 10am (Held at Tyringham Union Church on Main Road in Tyringham)The Great Problem for Ordinary Americans in the Nineteenth Century. Nicholas Marshall, Professor of History at Marist College, will talk about the central issues faced in a period of great change, as revealed in diaries and letters.
Ashintully GardensSodom Road, Tyringham Sunday, July 27*Alex Snydman Trio Concert: 4 – 5pmContemporary jazz group, the Alex Snydman Trio performs an intimate concert of original compositions and favorite standards in the famed music studio of composer John McLennan. Alex Snydman has performed at major jazz clubs and festivals on the East and West Coasts as a leader and as a sideman, sharing the stage with artists such as Grammy winner Charles Neville, Avery Sharpe, Joe Sanders, Felipe Salles, Miro Sprague, Tatum Greenblatt, Geoff Vidal, Chris Pattishall, Carl Clements, and Jeff D’Antona. The grounds of Ashintully offer an ideal setting for a picnic dinner and strolls around the property before or after the concert. Presented by The Trustees of Reservations. Tickets: TTOR Members: $10; Nonmembers: $15. 
Downtown Pittsfield33 Dunham Mall, Pittsfield Sunday, July 27*Pittsfield Ethnic Fair & Classic Car Show: 11am – 5pmFeaturing Food & Entertainment From Around the World & Classic Cars by the Piston Poppers Car Club.  Bring the entire family!  Rain or shine.

Special Events at Museums & Historical Houses

Chesterwood4 Williamsville Road, Stockbridge   Friday, July 25 (Friday evenings until August 29)*Chesterfest: 6.30pmNew Americana Music (more than banjos & fiddles!) on lawn seating (rain or shine!), Delicious Traditions snacks for sale, & a glass of Wandering Star beer included in the $10 admission (children under 18 are free). Solo artists at 6.30pm & bands at 7.30pm.  See website for artists playing: chesterwood.org. Chesterwood studio & grounds open 6 – 8pm for viewing sculpture.
The Clark225 South Street, Williamstown  Friday, July 25 (Daily until September 21)*Cast for Eternity:  Ancient Ritual Bronzes from the Shanghai Museum

The thirty-two objects in the exhibition show the range of artistic expression and variety of sculptural forms realized during China’s Bronze Age.

Friday, July 25 (Daily through October 18) *Raw Color: The Circles of David Smith The exhibition (including 9 sculptures & 3 paintings) at the Clark explores the crucial role that industrial color and its relationship to nature played in the work of one of the twentieth century’s most influential and celebrated sculptors.

The Berkshire Museum39 South Street, Pittsfield  Friday, July 25 (Daily until September 1)*Butterflies: 12.30 – 1.30 pm

Experience the live Butterfly Pavilion, filled with vibrant native and exotic species of butterflies, discover the life cycle of butterflies, and learn what we can do to protect their place in the natural environment.

Arrowhead, Home of Herman Melville780 Holmes Road, Pittsfield Saturday, July 26 (Weekly on Saturday – Tuesday until July 29)*Revival of Maids in the Mills: 7pm in the Arrowhead BarnMembers of the original cast will be reprising their roles. Sun., July 13, 27; Mon., July 14, 28; Tues., July 22, 29.  Tickets $25 Adults, $15 Students/Seniors/BHS members.
The Red Lion Inn30 Main Street, Stockbridge  Sunday, July 20 (Weekly on Sunday)*Gentle Yoga with Dharma Coach Kat Mansfield: 8.30 – 10am (Hitchcock Room)Mats, towel, & water available.  $18 per class.

Theaters, Live Performances, Exhibitions & Festivals

Tanglewood

297 West Street, Lenox

 

Friday, July 25*Beethoven, Mozart, & Mendelssohn: 8.30pm in the ShedBEETHOVEN – Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus; MOZART – Piano Concerto No. 12 in A, K.414; MENDELSSOHN – Symphony No. 4, Italian.Saturday, July 26 *Mahler Symphony No. 2, Resurrection: 8.30pm in the Shed Sunday, July 27 *Family Day Family Day at Tanglewood features a host of fun activities for the whole family taking place throughout the afternoon, leading up the 2:30 p.m. Boston Symphony Orchestra concert. Kids can enjoy arts and crafts, face painting, musical demonstrations, and balloon animal creations. A gift bag will be provided for all children. Sunday, July 27 *Rachmaninoff & Verdi: 2.30pm in the Shed RACHMANINOFF – Piano Concerto No. 2; VERDI – Overture to Nabucco; VERDI – Va, pensiero (Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves) from Nabucco; VERDI – Finale of Aida, Act II.
Shakespeare & Company70 Kemble Street, Lenox

Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 24)

*Shakespeare’s Will Passion, humor, and mystery abound in this sensual and provocative tale.  Filled with song, dance, and the poetry of language, Shakespeare’s Will, set in 1616 in Stratford-upon-Avon, explores the uncharted and tumultuous life of Anne Hathaway — Shakespeare’s enigmatic wife, who spent 34 years married to a genius she rarely saw.

Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 23)

*The Servant of Two Masters Resplendent with some of the wittiest knots and twists you’ll ever see, The Servant of Two Masters tells the story of the outrageous and wily servant, Truffaldino, who secretly signs on with two masters simultaneously. Rose Footprint Theatre.

Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 30)

*A Midsummer Night’s Dream Magic and whimsy meet down in the Bayou where A Midsummer Night’s Dream comes to life and the Jazz Era in America explodes! The beloved characters frolic among the mangroves and Spanish moss in this enchanted and unforgettable treatment of Shakespeare’s classic, bawdy comedy.

Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 30)

*Julius Caesar The riveting and bloody story of Julius Caesar heats up the Bernstein stage in this pared down ‘bare Bard’ production, in which 7 actors play all the roles. This psychological drama follows the conspiracy against and assassination of the Roman Dictator by his closest friends and peers and the brutal aftermath of his murder.

Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 24)

*The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) A hilarious medley of mayhem, comedy, and lunacy, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) returns (after too long of an absence) with a naughty new cast, a devilishly fresh take, and feverish pace. Tina Packer Playhouse.

Barrington Stage Company30 Union Street, Pittsfield Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 2)*Breaking the Code (Main Stage)The life story of famed mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, who solved the German’s Enigma code during World War II, not knowing he’d fight a much harder personal battle on the homefront. Tues/Wed at 7pm; Thurs-Sat at 8pm; Sun at 5pm; Wed/Fri matinees at 2pm; Add’l 2pm on Sat, Aug. 2.Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 10) *The Golem of Havana (St. Germain Stage) The Golem of Havana weaves together the music and traditions of two worlds, asking questions about family, community, religion and politics. Tues-Sun 7:30pm; Thurs 4pm; Sat 4pm; Sun 3pm. Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 10) *Hairspray, Jr. (Performed at the Berkshire Museum – children under 3 yrs not permitted in the theatre) Filled with energetic dance numbers and unique characters, Hairspray JR. follows spunky teen, Tracy Turnblad as she pursues her dream of dancing on national television and navigates the racial tensions and stereotypes of the 1960s. Wed-Fri at 7pm; Wed/Thurs at 2pm; Sat at 12:30pm and 3:30pm; Sun at 2pm. Add’l matinee on Mon, July 28 at 1pm.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival358 George Carter Road, Becket Friday, July 25 – Sunday, July 27*Mark Morris Dance & Music Ensemble (Ted Shaw Theatre): Friday & Saturday 8pm, Saturday & Sunday 2pm

Mark Morris is celebrated for his deep, witty, poetic, brazen, joyful dances and an abiding commitment to live music. The Pillow celebrates Mr. Morris and his company with a weeklong “festival within the Festival,” featuring talks, repertory taught in The School, an exclusive seven-show engagement, and a special concert by the Mark Morris Dance Group Music Ensemble.

Friday, July 25 (Wednesday – Sunday until July 27)

*Dorrance Dance Following last season’s sold-out engagement, tap artist extraordinaire and 2013 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award winner Michelle Dorrance returns. The phenomenal tap ensemble Dorrance Dance performs in a new world premiere show, featuring b-girl Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie; innovative tap dance instruments created by Nicholas Young; and live music by the sensational vocalist Aaron Marcellus. Doris Duke Theatre. Wednesday – Saturday, 8:15pm; Saturday & Sunday, 2:15pm.

Saturday, July 26

*Contemporary Program, The School at Jacob’s Pillow: 6.15pm (Henry J. Leir Stage) Dancers from the Contemporary Program of The School at Jacob’s Pillow present contemporary variations coached by program director Milton Myers. Members of the Mark Morris Dance Group serve on faculty this week and will teach company repertory, including excerpts from Grand Duo. 2014 Contemporary Program faculty include Stijn Celis, Mark Morris, and Marguerite Donlon.

Berkshire Theatre Group111 South Street, Pittsfield Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 10)*Cedars (Fitzpatrick Main Stage)Gabe, a 50-ish defense lawyer, finds himself on the more unfortunate side of life and now, by his father’s bedside at Cedars Hospital. His many troubles, some self-induced and others thrust upon him, are quickly revealed as he bares all in unbridled, cathartic conversations with his non-responsive father. A broken marriage, past heartbreak, a dwindling career, family struggles, new relationships, and a slew of mid-life crises take center stage as Gabe tries to find solid ground amid the mess of his world.  Tues, Thur, Fri, 8pm; Wed, 7pm; Sat. 2 & 8pm.Friday, July 25 (Daily until July 27) *Benefactors Skillfully examining the fragility of human relationships, Benefactors sketches an intricate portrait of 1960s idealism and the toll political and psychological sacrifice has on hope, friendship, and love. Unicorn Theatre. Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri, 8pm; Wed, 7pm; Sat 2 & 8pm. Saturday, July 26 *50 Years of P.D.Q. Bach – A Triumph of Incompetence: 8pm Professor Schickele has reached back across the decades to explore the damp vaults and dusty attics of Leipzig to once again celebrate the twenty-first child (out of twenty) of the great J.S. Bach.
Seven Hills Inn40 Plunkett Street, Lenox Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 26th)*Berkshire Cabaret Series  Broadway and Berkshire cabaret singers perform the music of Gershwin, Porter, Berlin, Sondheim and Rogers & Hammerstein. Tickets: $15 per show includes one complimentary glass of wine or beer. Friday & Saturday, 8:30pm & 10:45pm; Sunday, Monday & Thursday, 8:30pm; Tuesday, 8:30pm & 10:30pm.
Guthrie Center2 Van Deusenville Road, Great Barrington Friday, July 25 – Saturday, July 26*Guthrie Center Troubadour Series – Tom Paxton: 8pm (Doors open at 6pm) Tom Paxton has become a voice of his generation, addressing issues of injustice and inhumanity, laying bare the absurdities of modern culture and celebrating the tender bonds of family, friends, and community. Members $50.00/Non-members $60.00.
Cranwell Resort, Spa, & Golf Club55 Lee Road, Lenox Friday, July 25 (Wednesday – Monday through August 31)*Capitol Steps: 8pm Enjoy a hilarious evening of American political satire and song parodies with the nationally-acclaimed Capitol Steps.  Join us for dining before or after the show!
Lauren Clark Fine Art25 Railroad Street, Great Barrington Friday, July 25 (Daily until August 3)*Exhibition: New Frontiers in Pop ArtThe Art of Maurice “Pops” Peterson. ”New Frontiers in Pop Art” reflects Peterson’s distinctive style of Giclee canvas art, which is colorful, whimsical, and full of joy.
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center14 Castle Street, Great Barrington Friday, July 25 – Saturday, July 26*Paul Taylor Dance Company 60th Anniversary Season: 8pmOutside of New York City, no other community has had such wonderful access to the depth and range of Mr. Taylor’s dances.
No. Six Depot Roastery & Cafe6 Depot Street, West Stockbridge Friday, July 25*Oxen of the Sun Concert: 8 – 10pm Great, original band heading down county from Williamstown.
Berkshire Choral Festival245 North Undermountain Road, Sheffield Saturday, July 26*Bach, St. John Passion Conductor: Tom Hall. Symphony: Springfield Symphony Orchestra.
DeVries Fine Art International, Inc.62 Church Street, Lenox Saturday, July 26*The Crucible Series – Clay in Motion: 2.30 – 3.30pmAndrew will demonstrate the creation of his sculpture from Armature to the mold making process.  Bring along your friends for a lively hour and discussion.

 Lion’s DenLive Entertainment every night – never a cover!

Friday, July 25Lady Di & the DukesClassic acoustic rock Saturday, July 26Bigger BoatBlues-based rock, local band Sunday, July 27Jeannie & JohnVocals & piano

 

July 22

Gentle Yoga Sundays

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We are now offering gentle yoga on Sunday mornings!

Time: 8:30 – 9:45 am

What: Gentle Yoga with Dharma Coach, Kat Mansfield

Where: The Red Lion Inn, Main Inn. Second floor in the Hitchcock Room.

Additional Info: Mats, towels and water provided. The class is $18.00.

Walk-Ins welcome! Please register at the Front Desk.  For more information please call 413.298.5545

We look forward to seeing you there!

More about Dharma Coach Kat Mansfield:

Kat Mansfiled teaches yoga, runs workshops and directs yoga teacher training at Yoga Sakti in Salem, MA. She holds an Ed.M from Harvard University and is a Life Potentials Coach/CPC specializing in life transition. She boasts 23 years of experience on the mat and 15 years of instructional and meditation experience.

 

May 23

Chicks Dig It & 5 Other Reasons to Drink Rosé This Spring

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Chicks Dig It & 5 Other Reasons to Drink Rosé This Spring

If you love rosé you can stop reading now. You get it and I love you for that (but skip to the end for some of my favorites.)

On the other hand if you don’t drink rosé: pay attention. This information may change your life! First, a short bit of technical information for the beginner.

  • White Grapes=White Wine
  • Red Grapes=Red Wine
  • ????=Pink Wine

Most of the wine-growing world has a fall harvest and the first fruits of this harvest are released in late winter/early spring in the form of dry rosé wine. All grape juice is clear; color comes from contact with the skins. For a wine guy the most important color of the season is pink.

So here are a few reasons why you should be drinking rosé right now:

  1. It will make you infinitely cooler.
  2. Works well with all types of food. Seafood, poultry, fresh vegetables, pizza, sushi, veal, donuts, leftover Easter peeps, fine meats and cheeses
  3. Brad & Angelina make one.  Jolie-Pitt & Perrin Family Miraval Rosé. Can you imagine drinking pink wine with Brangelina in St. Tropez?
  4. Rosé enhances outdoor activities. Gardening, croquet, bocce, reading, golf, lounging, picnics at Tanglewood, all much more fun with a glass of the pink stuff
  5. Chicks dig it!! (Pay attention guys)
  6. Stop reading my list, you don’t need any more reasons. Just go out and get some!

Now for some of my favorites this year…

bob loblaws wine blog 007Edmunds St. John, Bone Jolly Gamay Noir Rose, Witters Vineyard, El DoradoCounty

  • Only 400 cases made and dangerously enjoyable. Find it quick before I drink it all.

Muga, Rosado, Rioja, Spain

  • A must buy every year for me. Well priced, readily available and always tasty. Plus Muga’s red wines are killer too.

Domaine Saint Andre Figuiére, Cuvee Magali, Provence

  • Some people only drink rosé from Provence. I don’t discriminate that way but after trying these wines I understand the prejudice. It tastes even better out of magnum. That’s how the “ballers” drink it.

Look for them/find them at your local fine wine store or better, come to The Red Lion Inn and have some while rocking on the front porch.

That’s all I’ve got on the subject for now. Go grab yourself a glass of liquid sunshine and enjoy!

bob loblaws wine blog 039bob loblaws wine blog 036

 

February 27

Chef Chat: Interview with Serge Madikians with Flavor Matters

I sat down to write about all the things we have been working on in the kitchen like new menus, James Beard dinners, the Boston Globe Travel Show, WWLP News segments but then I thought WAIT!
I had such a fortunate opportunity to be interviewed on Robin Hood Radio by a local chef  that I admire and respect, at the smallest NPR station in the country! After all was said and done, I listened to the interview I found that it really talked about my beliefs and views as a chef. I thought that anyone that was interested in my blog would enjoy that background and candor that this interview gives…plus it saved me from sitting at my laptop for a little bit!
Hope you enjoy,
Later B
Click here to listen to segment #1
Click here to listen to segment #2
Click here to listen to segment #3
For more information on Robin Hood Radio (really is the smallest NPR station!) click below:
whddrobinhoodblog
January 24

The Red Lion Inn’s Apple Pie

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Red Lion Inn Apple Pie
President Calvin Coolidge said he never ate anything half as good as the pork apple pies his stepmother made.  One hopes he and Mrs. Coolidge tried the Red Lion Inn apple pie on one of their visits.  We bet it’s every bit as good as his Mom’s.
Red Lion Inn owner Nancy Fitzpatrick shares the origins of our apple pie recipe:
“The recipe is based on my grandmother, Mary Pratt’s apple pie, and was the pie my mother (occasionally, for company) made when I was growing up. I remember hearing that when we first opened, Nana May (as we called her), went out to the kitchen and showed the chef how she made her pie. She was a wonderful cook. There was always dessert at her house. My grandfather had a huge vegetable garden that she made great use of.”
Recipe:
5 pounds McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
(if McIntosh are not available, substitute another tart apple such as Cortland)
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Crust for a two-crust pie (recipe follows)
 1 tablespoon butter
 1 egg
 1 tablespoon milk
1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
2. Place the apples in a large bowl. Combine 1 cup of the sugar and the cinnamon, and add to the apples. Toss until well mixed.
3. Fill the unbaked pie shell with the apple mixture, and dot with the butter. Fit the top crust over the filling, and crimp the top and bottom edges together to seal the apples in.
4. Whisk together the egg and the milk. Brush the top crust with this egg wash, and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.  Pierce the top crust in several places with a sharp knife.
5. Bake at 375º for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the apples are tender when tested with a thin knife.
Yields 1 pie.
Pie Crust for Two-Crust Pie
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup shortening
2 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk, cold

1. Blend the butter and shortening together with a wooden spoon in a small bowl.
2. Sift the flour and salt together into a large bowl. Cut in the butter and shortening, using a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the cold milk, and blend until absorbed. Divid the dough in half and roll each half into a ball. Wrap them in plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. (Or, if using a food processor, place the butter, shortening, flour, and salt in the bowl; fit with a steel blade. Process until the mixture reaches the consistency of cornmeal. With the processor on, add the milk slowly through the funnel until the dough forms a ball.)
3. When you are ready to bake the pie, roll each half of the chilled pie dough out on a floured board until it is slightly larger than the pie plate. Fit one half into the pie plate, place a filling inside, add the top crust, and flute the edges together.

Yields 2 crusts.

(From The Red Lion Inn cookbook)
January 11

Recipe: Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey & Fire Cider Hot Toddy

Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey & Fire Cider Hot Toddy
Recipe by Red Lion Inn Sommelier Dan Thomas

Recipe makes one Hot Toddy

 1 ½ oz Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey
½ oz Shire City Herbal Fire Cider 
1 tsp Local Honey
1 oz Local Apple Cider
6 oz Spiced Toddy Water

 To make “Spiced Toddy Water”

Combine in a French press or teapot: Hot Water, Orange Slices, 1 Cinnamon Stick, 6 Cloves. Allow to Steep for 10 minutes.
Combine First 4 ingredients in a mug and fill with “Spiced Toddy Water.” Enjoy.

Perfect for National Hot Toddy Day (January 11) or any time of the year!

 

 

January 10

Alberg Rants…about comfort food

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Ahhhhh… quiet time
! The moment when we finally catch a break from the constant slam of holiday visitors and get a chance to relax and evaluate what just happened. We plan how to make the next rush a little bit smoother, which dishes can be tweaked to taste a little better and how we can improve the guest experience more.

Nothing helps to stimulate thoughts more than the feeling of comfort. And at this time of year, easy comfort comes in the form of food — the aromas and tastes of long-cooking stews and braises simmering for hours, sipping aromatic libations with spice and citrus.

My childhood memories involve my mom starting the crock-pot at 7 am (just before booting me out in the cold to catch the school bus), and filling it with chicken, thyme and root vegetables from the cellar – a hodgepodge of color and texture.

Flash ahead 8 hours to running in the door — always through the kitchen — and catching the aromatics of chicken stock and thyme. I remember the anticipation of opening the cover to see the result of the morning’s ingredients and with every inhale of those delicious smells, I felt a moment of relaxed anticipation.

The coolest thing about being a latchkey kid was having first dibs on the crock-pot creation. Whether potpie, venison stew or beef chili, the smell and taste always warmed me inside.

Although I don’t use a crock-pot in the kitchen at the Red Lion Inn, the cooking technique is similar. We use great, fresh ingredients and cook them long and slow, a method that affords us to make lesser cuts of protein sing more loudly with time. Looking to get into the comfort food mood this winter? Take a look at our new prix-fixe Winter Warming Menu.

Check out our recipe for Chicken Pot Pie, one of my favorite childhood food memories. Enjoy!

Later,
B

December 5

In Memory: Jane Pratt Fitzpatrick, Founder of Country Curtains & Former owner of The Red Lion Inn

Jane Pratt Fitzpatrick, founder of Country Curtains and long time owner of The Red Lion Inn, died peacefully at her home
on Prospect Hill in Stockbridge on November 9th, ten days short of her 90th birthday.

Nancy Fitzpatrick, Jane Fitzpatrick, Sarah Eustis

She was born on November 18, 1923 in Shrewsbury, Vermont the daughter of Mary Townsend Pratt and Mayflower descendant, Carl Arthur Pratt. Hers was the last of several generations born on the Pratt family farm, a heritage that resonated proudly throughout her life. She attended a one-room schoolhouse for eight years and was the sole member of her class for seven of those years. Jane flourished at Rutland High School, where she met her future husband, John H. Fitzpatrick. Their first date was on her 15th birthday. Her competence and leadership abilities were evident early. She was the president of her senior class and at graduation she was elected “Most Likely to Succeed” as well as “Most Attractive”. She opted not to go to college and plunged into the workplace. Supporting herself from the age of 17, she soon became department supervisor of an Army Navy supply depot in Hartford, Connecticut.

She and Jack Fitzpatrick were married on September 7, 1944 at the Little Church Around the Corner in New York City.  Shortly after, Jack departed for a 20-month tour in Germany with the 102nd Infantry Division. After his return, they lived in Middlebury, Vermont and Brighton, Massachusetts as Jack completed his education.  Four moves later, the couple and their two daughters settled in Stockbridge, when Jack became manager of the Lincoln Stores in Pittsfield.

They moved into a large house on Main Street in November 1957, bringing with them their fledging home business, Country Curtains. Started two years prior in Whitman, MA, Jane handled every aspect of the mail order business, from opening the mail to wrapping packages and drawing ad illustrations. In Stockbridge, the tiny enterprise moved out of Jane’s dining room into its own one-room quarters.

Jane Fitzpatrick Photo

Soon after their arrival, the couple threw themselves into town activities and started a ski program for school children. In 1960, leaving a growing Country Curtains in the hands of Jane’s sister, Zoa, the family went to Europe for a year. While their daughters were in school in Switzerland, Jane and Jack criss-crossed the continent, giving Jane lots of ideas for curtains as well as hotel guest experiences that she would later put to good use. Back in the Berkshires, the robust growth of Country Curtains enabled them to pursue their business full-time.

In late 1968, they purchased the shuttered, seasonal Red Lion Inn, opening its doors year-round and making it the new home of Country Curtains. In 1980, they purchased Blantyre in Lenox, and transformed the former Berkshire cottage into an intimate country house resort that is on most lists of top lodging properties in the US. Jane’s eye for detail, her quest for excellence and her intuitive leadership style inspired admiration and respect. A formidable boss, “Mrs. Fitz” (as she was known to her employees) was as generous as she was demanding.

Jane became very active with local arts organizations in the 1970s and beyond.  She was determined to save the struggling Berkshire Theatre Festival. Her passion and grit were instrumental in making that happen. She was the BTF board chair for 22 years, and until her death, topped its masthead as honorary chair. She began a long tenure with Tanglewood and the Boston Symphony as Overseer, Trustee and Life Trustee. She served on the Buildings and Grounds Committee during the planning and construction of Ozawa Hall, and formed a close friendship with Seiji Ozawa, who called her mama-san.

The Norman Rockwell Museum counts Fitzpatrick as one of its founding board members and lead donors. She and Jack were not only friends of Norman Rockwell but models and later, collectors. The Fitzpatrick name can be found on walls from the Berkshire Botanical Garden to Berkshire Country Day School, The Colonial Theatre and MASS MoCA to name a few. Other boards she served include the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and the Austen Riggs Center. Through the High Meadow Foundation, their businesses and personally, Jane and Jack made leadership philanthropic investments in the Berkshires’ cultural life. ­

19701122 Norman Rockwell with Jane Portrait

The Fitzpatricks loved to travel. Jane and her sisters, Zoa and Mary Ann, took an annual bus tour for many years. She and Jack enjoyed repeated trips to Europe, several on tour with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Later, Lismore in Ireland became a cherished destination. While most of her time was occupied by business and community endeavors, Jane loved to shop for antiques and was a welcome regular at Berkshire auctions. She was also an avid reader, and had been looking forward to being Honorary Chair of the Stockbridge Library’s upcoming capital campaign.

She was awarded four honorary doctorates, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, North Adams State College (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts), American International College and Westfield State College. Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick were leaders in Republican politics. Jane was a force in Jack’s campaigns for Massachusetts State Senator. It has been said that when Jack decided to run, Jane decided to win. And he did, serving the First District in the State Senate from 1973 to 1980. They enjoyed attending several White House receptions for Republican donors.

Mrs. Fitzpatrick served on the Massachusetts Cultural Council and was the recipient of its first Commonwealth Award in 1993, honoring her as a patron of the arts and humanities. From 1998 to 2001, she was recognized in Working Woman magazine as CEO and Chair of one of the top 500 women-owned companies in the U.S. Among many awards she and Jack received together was the 1997 Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year for New England. In August 2010, Stockbridge celebrated Jane and Jack Fitzpatrick Day and dedicated the green next to The Red Lion Inn in their honor. She remained Chairman of Country Curtains until her death, taking great pride in its successful catalog, website and 26 stores.

In spite of declining health, she remained full of sparkle and joie de vivre. She was often seen at The Red Lion Inn where she enjoyed chatting with guests, friends and neighbors. With her snow-white hair, striking blue eyes and pink sweaters, it was not unusual for a total stranger to be struck by her beauty– and tell her! In recent years she became known for an upbeat toast of unknown origin:

Here’s to it and to it again,

If you ever get to it to do it and don’t do it,

You’ll never get to it to do it again.

Her husband of 66 years died on July 23, 2011. She leaves behind an adoring and grateful family: her sister Mary Ann Snyder of Largo FL, two daughters Nancy Jane Fitzpatrick (and husband Lincoln Russell) and Ann Fitzpatrick Brown, both of Stockbridge; two grandsons, Casey Meade Rothstein-Fitzpatrick and Alexander John Fitzpatrick Brown, and three step-grandchildren, Sarah Elsom Eustis (husband Timothy and sons Henry and Frederick), Michael O’Shea Rothstein and Morgan Harpin Russell. Aunt Jane loved and was loved by her 14 nieces and nephews and their families. She was preceded in death by her brother Carl A. Pratt Jr. and her sister Zoa Pratt Campetti.

December 1

New York Fashion Week Meets Norman Rockwell

Traditional, classic, and sophisticated are the perfect words that can be used to describe designer Michael Bastian’s new clothing line, “The Stockbridge” for GANT. Like the name suggests, this recently launched collection was inspired by various Norman Rockwell paintings as well as our very own town of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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Going off of the idea of returning to the roots of America, Bastian’s clothing line reflects American culture the way Rockwell showcased it in his various works of art. Using a rich color palette and utilitarian materials and fabrics, Bastian’s collection embodies Rockwell’s classic masterpieces, all while still keeping the clothes modern and current. To even further showcase his appreciation for Rockwell’s art and Stockbridge, Bastian and his 16-person crew from from Stockholm, Sweden and New York City, traveled to the Berkshires in the beginning of April to photograph and film his advertising campaign. GANT took photographs at different locations across the county including Rockwell’s Studio at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Hancock Shaker Village, and even on Main Street and at The Red Lion Inn.

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In August 2013, the entire ad campaign was launched online to great reviews and sales. “The Stockbridge” GANT by Michael Bastian collection can be purchased in GANT clothing stores or on its online retail site at www.gant.com.

November 27

5 Holiday Wines for under $50: The Red, The White & The Bubbly

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The holidays are stressful: fighting the crowds to find the perfect gift, holiday parties to attend or host, decorating and baking that can make the joy of the holidays not so joyful. At The Red Lion Inn, we will welcome around 15,000 guests over the next 6 weeks, so we know a bit about entertaining. In an effort to alleviate the stress of decision making this season, here are my top 5 food-friendly wines to enjoy here at the Inn or in your own home. With Thanksgiving around the corner, these all-American wines honor of our forefathers as well as pair with many holiday staples.

1. Domaine Carneros by Taittinger, Brut

Nothing is more festive then sparkling wine and champagne. While I love true champagne, my pocketbook does not. Prosecco and Cava are nice but I crave the purity and richness of methode champenoise sparklers. Domaine Carneros is located in the Carneros region of California a region known for producing fine Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The Taittinger family has been producing Champagne in France since 1734 so this bottling has all of the knowledge and attention to detail that go into more costly cuvees.

2. Ravines Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York

I have loved these wines since I first tasted them years ago and they are starting to get the attention they deserve. Named to the 2013 Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of the World and according to Eric Asimov of The New York Times,  produces one of the best Rieslings in America. Bone dry, crisp and refreshing with minerality and focus, this wine should be on every table to help cut through the richness of most holiday dishes.

3. Steele Vineyards, Zinfandel, Pacini Vineyard, Mendocino, California

No grape is as rooted in American wine culture like the Zinfandel, so it’s a very appropriate selection for a Thanksgiving feast. Pacini Vineyard was planted in the 1940’s and produces wines with great brambly fruit with spice and bacon on the nose. Medium alcohol levels help to prevent palate fatigue.

4. Hermann J. Weimer, Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes, NY

Back to the Finger Lakes for this pretty red: Cabernet Franc is Cabernet Sauvignon’s hip little brother. Weimer is best known for the making the long lived Chinon from France’s Loire Valley. Soft on tannins, big on fruit and acidity, perfect for roast meats and fowl. Not a hedonistic wine it requires a little thought but is well worth it.

5. The Troublemaker by Austin Hope, Syrah/Grenache/Petit Syrah, Paso Robles, CA

Quite the opposite of my last wine The Troublemaker is big, ripe, lush and viscous. The blend is similar to many Chateauneuf Du Pape or Cotes Du Rhone in southern France. Both elegant and powerful flavors of black cherry, vanilla, mocha and tobacco make this multi-vintage wine unique and very drinkable.

November 19

Alberg Rants…about Thanksgiving

November is turkey time although at The Red Lion Inn it’s always turkey time! We serve more than 10,000 turkey dinners annually.

Days off in my line of work are few and (sometimes) far between, so when I am preparing T-Day dinner for my family (which is never on the actual holiday), I want it to be effortless so visiting time isn’t spent with my head in the oven.

Just 3 words… MISE EN PLACE. Translated to American or, in layman’s terms, having one’s shit together! That is the way to make Turkey Day service for 600-plus guests at the inn or the family meal at home effortless. Take the time in days prior to prepare your dishes. Here are some hints to help make turkey day as smooth as that golden-brown crispy breast in your oven!

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HASH.

Days prior: Dice, season and roast root vegetables. Cool then store in sealed Ziploc bags.
DAY OF… Render bacon, add root vegetables, stock and butter.

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POACH.
Days prior: Clean and dice turnips or use baby hakurei turnips. Cover with olive oil and poach until tender, then store in oil.
DAY OF: Remove from oil, place in an ovenproof container and warm in oven or on the stove top.
(Yes, you can use a microwave to reheat… just don’t tell anyone!)

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BRAISE.
Days prior: Halve Brussels sprouts, chestnuts, bacon, onions, chicken broth and thyme. Sauté and simmer in stock for 45 minutes until fork-tender, remove from heat and cool.
DAY OF: Reheat.

There. Three great side dishes that will only take minutes to serve on Turkey Day. Here’s one last Turkey Day Prep tip:

DAYS PRIOR: Soak cheesecloth in salted butter with fresh thyme sprigs.
DAY OF: Season breast, cover with cheesecloth and bake… The cloth helps the bird self-baste and then as the juices flow, it becomes a sponge for the basting juices…

Spend time enjoying your family rather than sweating in the kitchen. Of course, if you can’t stand your family, screw the Mise en Place and keep yourself hydrated with one of these cocktails, all made with local spirits from one of my favorite distilleries here in the Berkshires.

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Redrum

2 oz. Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ragged Mountain Rum
4 oz. Ronnybrook Eggnog
Pomegranate seeds to garnish
Serve on the rocks

 

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The Field

3 oz. Berkshire Mountain Distillers Corn Whiskey
4 rocks of frozen Hilltop Orchard Apple Cider
Stir with cinnamon stick

 

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The End Zone

3 oz. Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ethereal Gin
2 oz. St. Germain
1 oz. Aperol
Half an orange, juiced.
Pour juice over ice. Top with sparkling rose.

 

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The Cheerleader

2 oz. Berkshire Mountain Distillers Ice Glen Vodka
6 muddled raspberries
4 oz. Prosecco

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4 Fingers

1 rocks glass
1 rock
4 fingers of Berkshire Mountain Distillers Bourbon
(hands down, my fave)

Later,

B

November 13

Let the Holiday Season Begin!

With the colder weather fast approaching, we’re trading sun hats for snow caps, flip-flops for boots, shorts for snow pants, and lemonade for hot chocolate.  The leaves burst with bright colors before falling from the trees; and we tend to hit the snooze button on our alarms a little more frequently to stay snuggled in the comfort of our cozy beds in the morning.  Before we know it, the first snowfall of the season is upon us and everything becomes delicately covered in a blanket of white.

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Halloween comes and goes with spooky scares, clever costumes, and sticky fingers from chocolate and candies. Thanksgiving brings acknowledgment and appreciation for all of the everything in our lives as we gather our friends and family together for a day of seemingly endless food and overflowing gratitude. The Christmas season comes with joy, excitement and eagerness, which grow almost as quickly as the snow piles in our front yards. The New Year brings thoughtful reflection on another year passing, as well as cheerful anticipation and enthusiasm for new beginnings in the year to come.

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Though these months seem to fly off the calendar faster than we even think possible, here at The Red Lion Inn, we make sure that there are countless ways for our guests to fully take the time to appreciate their time spent with us. We transition from sitting in a rocking chair on our cherished Front Porch, and instead opt for kicking our feet up in the cozy warmth of our Front Lobby by the fire.

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If you’re in the mood for games, you can also play a round of chess or another board game on our Lincoln table downstairs.

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Or if you’d prefer, you can curl up with a good book and just relax with a cup of hot cocoa. And if you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to cuddle with Simon the Cat, our beloved and friendly Lobby Ambassador, who loves to make our guests feel welcomed.

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With all of these options and so much more, The Red Lion Inn is dedicated to making your holiday season extra special. So as the seasons change from summer to snowy and time seems to tick by a little bit faster, join us at The Red Lion Inn to keep nice and warm and start making unforgettable memories.

October 31

Alberg Rants: This is October

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Wow September is gone. October is over. I think the older I get, the faster time flies by… holy crap!

Just a brief wrap-up of October… the October issue of Berkshire Magazine came out and I was psyched the cover featured the second year Outstanding in the Field came to dinner in the Berkshires. This September, they joined us at Hancock Shaker Village and we had the pleasure of cooking up a classic all-local dinner featuring many regional farms and food makers. The cover shows Berkshire Mountain Bakery bread in the foreground, the iconic Shaker Round Barn in the background and yours truly in a kilt. (After a crazy experience earlier this year, I was able to convince my crew to wear kilts for this event and we had a blast, raising a few eyebrows all around.)

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Gearing up for James Beard 2014… Like-minded chefs gathered for a meeting to begin planning the next Berkshire Cure-All Dinner. This year’s team includes Adam Brassard, Daire Rooney, Josephine Proul, Jeremy Stanton,and Dan Smith. We sketched out a draft of next year’s menu and will post in a few weeks.

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Got to do an impromptu tasting menu for a couple of friends, one of which I met while doing the WGBH Food and Wine Festival a few weeks back. That was a great event and sparked some cool relationships. Being able to throw down a tasting menu and prepare it for friends who appreciate food is the thing I love most about my job.  Well, I love a few things about my job – it’s the one thing that relaxes me most.

 

I was told later that there should have been Breathe courses throughout the meal… Lightweights, I say!

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Trekked out to Boston for the James Beard TasteAmerica photo shoot and got to meet all the participating chefs and tour Boston restaurants and markets. I love eating my way through different parts of a city. They have their own ‘terroir’ in a way… North End, Faneuil Hall, Cambridge, the Commons, Chinatown… I’m really starting to like this city. It isn’t New York, but it’s not Stockbridge either!

Speaking of NYC… my daughter Megan turned 21, and her brother and I trained into the city where she attends FIT majoring in Fashion Merchandising. (She’s trying to stay out of the restaurant biz like her brother and dad… she’s the smart one!) I am a huge believer that you can learn something every day no matter what. I decided to take my kids to one of my favorite places in the city and by the time I left, I decided I was over it! It was trying to be everything to everyone and while making that effort, it lost its identity and its niche. It made me take a really hard look at who I am and who we are as a restaurant and come back to work invigorated and driven to never let that happen to The Red Lion Inn! So… onto to the next favorite place in NYC… God knows, there are enough to choose from!

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Image Credit: Angela Cardinali

James Beard TasteAmerica Boston – This event was the highlight of my year! Maybe the last few years… What a great opportunity to meet so many foodies, not just the chefs but the guests as well. I was able to talk to almost every guest during cocktail hour. I was asked to present a stationary appetizer which was “Chilled Berry Patch Farm Ratatouille with Howden Farm Sweet Corn Puree Equinox Arugula & Crispy Fried Farm Girl Onions.” Not only vegan, it was the only 100-percent locally sourced item at the dinner! Momma Nature totally hooked us up this year and in the third week of October, I was still getting sweet corn and tomatoes! Crazy shit this global warming!

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Onto to November… Check out a couple of my favorite recipes to make during this time of year:

Poached Hakurei Turnips with Candied Bacon

For your Thanksgiving turkey, goose, capon or suckling pig… this stuffing recipe can be used with any poultry or pork dish.

Apple, Chestnut & Brussels Stuffing

½ pound bacon
1 onion, diced
2 cups celery, diced
½ cup chopped Italian Parsley
1 pound whole chestnuts, meat chopped
4 cups cooked wild rice
2 tablespoon chopped thyme
2 tablespoon chopped sage
½ pound Brussels sprouts, quartered
2 apples, diced
1 cup chicken broth

Render bacon, sauté all ingredients except apples. Remove and mix with apples and chicken broth. Stuff bird but, please note, do not stuff bird until it is ready to be roasted. Sew or skewer openings. Place bird breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Roast in a preheated 350F degree oven for 25 minutes per pound.

Always enjoy!

Later,
B

October 7

Alberg Rants: One Busy September

In September as tourism business slows in the Berkshires, I take a break from working the line and prepping for dinner service and focus on building awareness about the culinary strengths of our region. I do this with The Red Lion Inn supporting my efforts working alongside fellow like-minded restaurants because I believe the whole is made up of the sum of its parts.

My schedule this September made the month fly by; one day the leaves were green, the next day orange! Here’s a rundown of the regional food events that took place this past month. There’s more to come so stay tuned!1234795_10202007300209653_1683121774_n

The Cupcake Wars – On September 2, I got to judge Cupcake Wars at the Columbia County Fair alongside a few of my favorite chefs… Daire, Rachel and Josephine, all chefs at local restaurants here in the ‘Shire and Hudson Valley. All I have to say is 250 cupcakes is WAY too many cupcakes to have to taste in one day! Regardless, the judging will air on a popular food network giving cred to our region! Check out the winners here.

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Outstanding in the Field – On September 7 and 8, the Outstanding team returned to the ‘Shire – this year, adding a second event showcasing the local lamb and views of Lila Berle’s farm. This dinner was prepared by the caring hand of Dan Smith, chef-owner of John Andrews Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont.

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It was a pleasure to work again with the Outstanding crew. My dinner took place at Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, the home of the first farmers to package seeds to sell. Both dinners hosted 140-plus guests at each farm with about 80 percent of the guests coming from outside the Berkshire region in our ‘off-season’…that is a GREAT thing!

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Berkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper – This year’s supper featured local restaurants showcasing regional foods to local residents strengthening our relationships and demonstrating our love for community. The September 16 event was held at Ski Butternut and we welcomed 80 more guests than last year… it was a great success and all were happy with the new location. Learn more about Berkshire Grown here.

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WGBH Chef’s Gala for the Food and Wine Festival in Boston – As the only non-Boston chef playing with the fairly closed clique of the metropolitan chef scene, I tried to break down the perception to Bostonians that the world ends after Worcester. I think we made some headway on September 19! It was a very successful event and a great lead-in to the Artisan Taste and Live Cooking Demo that took place two days later. The amount of work, the distance we drove, and the overall sense of hospitality that my staff showed by being there was really worthwhile. We received great accolades from guests, chefs, restaurant owners and event coordinators… It is very rewarding to feed people who care about food and who are genuinely interested in our craft…

I LOVE and LIVE for this shit!

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We’re looking ahead to October for the James Beard Foundation’s Beard Taste America when we head to Boston to cook in one of the ten-city stops across America and and in November a Chefs Collaborative Dinner at Hotchkiss School for 800. Then, onto a little holiday called Thanksgiving when we serve up 80 turkeys to 675 guests followed by Christmas and New Year’s week. Following the holiday ‘break’ we move onto prepping for the Berkshire Cure-All Dinner at the James Beard Foundation in NYC. Save the date for Wednesday, March 12th!

Later,
B

October 3

It’s September: Time to Preserve the Berkshire Harvest!

September is the month — my favorite — that bridges the gap between summer and autumn. Business in the restaurant is usually down as students go off to school, the cultural venues reduce their hours and families put vacations behind them and settle back into reality.

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The farmers, on the other hand, are working harder than ever, harvesting the bulk of beautiful food from their demanding season. We, as chefs, take on the added responsibility of procuring product to can, freeze, smoke, and cure for the upcoming winter. This translates to hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, sweet corn, kale and cabbage coming to the back door of the kitchen daily. I absolutely love this time of year! (My staff, maybe, not so much.)

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We process these vegetables in various ways to extend the very short season here in the Berkshires and to help provide the farmers with income to carry them through the winter months when their sales are almost non-existent and they need to begin planning the following season.

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Why do we do all of this hard work? Why preserve local food when we can get fresh peas, kale, corn and tomatoes year round? To me, the answer is “Why the hell not?” Let’s break it down… People come to the Berkshires because it is a beautiful region. Yes, it has world-class museums, concert venues, art galleries and fine restaurants, but historically, people came here for the beauty of these hills, and the cultural organizations were borne out of those experiences.

As the community who lives and works here, it is our responsibility to keep the quality of the Berkshires intact. We need to secure our surroundings and maintain the land in such a way so the quality of life remains as it is now. We cannot allow black top development to move in and consume the very reason people come here. Farmers provide a productive and beautiful way of life that creates the backdrop for our thriving tourism industry. This, in turn, strengthens our local communities and provides our friends and families with opportunities to work and play here and most important, an awesome place to live.

Later,
B

30 Main Street  Stockbridge, MA 01262
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