red lion inn blog
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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.
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.)
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.
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.