Summer is indeed the most active and abundant season in the Berkshires. Glorious weather, nonstop cultural experiences, breathtaking outdoor excursions, endless entertainment and food. Glorious food! From farmers’ markets to farm stands and casual cafes to fine restaurants, visitors can tap into the bounty of the Berkshire hills at prime vacation time. Summer dining is one of life’s simple pleasures and Berkshire chefs are bringing some inspiring dishes to the forefront.
The fresh tastes of summer are already making their way to the table. As farms and markets showcase the vibrant greens, roots and early fruits of the season, excitement for summer flavors abound. Chefs and small batch foodmakers are in their element.
The Church Street Café in Lenox is gearing up for summer menu items including their most popular Equinox Farm Baby Kale Salad with Beets and Goat Cheese as well as Burrata and Heirloom Farm Girl Farm Tomato Salad. Cod en Papillote, cooked in parchment, will be back by popular demand. For a summer barbeque flavor experience, Church Street has an in-house smoker and offers Barbeque Baby Back Ribs on their summer menu. The kitchen team works with many local farms including Rawson Brook Farm and Cricket Creek Farm for cheese, Equinox Farm, Forthill Farm and Farm Girl Farm for produce and Misty Knoll Farm for poultry.
The Prairie Whale in Great Barrington is excited to welcome guests for their second season. The restaurant menu changes daily, depending on what is available from local farmers. In addition to sourcing ingredients from Farm Girl Farm, Mill River Farm, Indian Line Farm, The Berry Patch, North Plain Farm and Kinderhook Farm, they will be supplementing with produce grown by members of their waitstaff in the vegetable/herb garden on property as well as at the owners’ farm in Monterey. The kitchen team does its own smoking and cooking with wood (ribs, brisket, goat) and will soon be serving their housemade prosciutto. They also offer the very best fish and shellfish from BerkShore, including Plymouth Bay oysters.
The Castle Street Café in Great Barrington will be featuring some new farms on their summer menu this season with dishes including Cricket Creek Farm Veal Scallopini, Climbing Tree Farm Pork Chops with Turner Farm Maple Glaze, Penne Pasta with Zehr Farm Mushrooms and Truffle Oil and Warm Equinox Farm Spinach Salad with North Plain Farm Poached Egg. Their very popular Bruschetta features Berkshire Mountain Bakery Bread with Maplebrook Farm Burrata cheese, Roasted Tomatoes and Pesto, and the Ioka Valley Farm Grass-fed Burger is a staple for guests who crave a more casual farm-to-table experience.
Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington changes their menu daily depending on what is available from local farms. New this year, is a raw bar, charcuterie and five-course tasting menu their chef will be changing on a regular basis. Whole pig roasts featuring local, heritage breed pork are a specialty of this restaurant plus spit-roast chicken, lamb and beef offered as specials throughout the week. For the barbeque aficionado, Route 7 cooks with local fruitwoods — mostly apple and some cherry — to grill steaks, chops, fish and vegetables. They also house smoke award-winning chicken wings, ribs, brisket and pulled pork. They are excited to work with Tilldale Farm, Mill River Farm, Moon in the Pond, Farm Girl Farm, Equinox Farm, Indian Line Farm, Taft Farms, Mayflower Farm, Flying Pigs Farm and Blue Hill Farm this season.
The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge uses local and seasonal ingredients year-round from a long list of local farms. In summer, the opportunities are plentiful and the kitchen takes full advantage. Courtyard cookout happens every Friday from July through Labor Day. A Prix Fixe menu features Chimichurri Grilled Tri-tip Steak, BBQ Shrimp and Misty Knoll Chicken Paillard all served with Equinox Farm Greens, Grilled Vegetable Salad and Dessert.
The Freight Yard Pub in North Adams is a great destination in summer. The kitchen team tends their own herb garden, works with Berkshire Organics for fresh produce, dairy and other products and visits the North Adams Farmers Market every week to highlight what’s in season. They cook out on the patio and offer specials featuring mesquite or apple wood with best dishes including BBQ Ribs, Burgers and New York Sirloin Black Diamond Tips. The Beer Garden features a different brewery alongside meal parings every weekend and the pub features a variety of summer specials including light summer salads, gazpacho and a refreshing melon soup.
Berkshire menus are just beginning to show signs of summer. Enjoy a taste of the Berkshires during your stay with more flavor to come at the height of the season.
Visit here for more great restaurant options.
Don’t miss Pittsfield’s Ethnic Fair. This Fair which now includes a Classic Car Show will take place on July 27th. Music and dancing will fill the downtown streets of Pittsfield and local food vendors will be offering up an eclectic array of cultural cuisine.