By Jake Levin
Spring is upon us! Everyday more flowers blossom, the trees grow new buds, and delicious edible wild plants start to emerge from the earth. Pastures and barns are alive with frolicking calves, kids, lambs and chicks. All around the Berkshires new life is emerging and there are lots of exciting opportunities to see and taste all of it.
As all Berkshire food lovers know the first culinary sign of spring is when Monterey Chevre appears back on the shelves of our local markets like Guido’s in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, and Spirited in Lenox. You can also find this delicious local product- made at Rawson Brook Farm in Monterey- on the menus of restaurants like Castle Street Cafe in Great Barrington and Mezze in Williamstown.
Monterey Chevre is back because the goats have all just given birth to adorable bouncy kids. All of these baby animals make it the perfect time to visit farms. Right now Hancock Shaker Village has a myriad of baby animals including calves, lambs, and chicks as well as many other exciting events. The baby animal tours run everyday from 10am till 4pm, through May 5th. Admission is free for kids 12 and under on family visits, general adult admission is $17; youth ages 13-17 are $8. The Berkshire Co-op is getting ready to kick off their farm tours The first farm tour this year will be of McEnroe Organic Farms in Millerton, NY on April 21st. On May 24th you can go on a tour of the famed Indian Line Farm, the site of the first Community Supported Agriculture in America!! And on June the Berkshire Co-op takes us to Rawson Brook Farm to hear farmer Susan Sellew talk about her cheese operation.
As the barns stir with new life, so do the woods. Here, where the wild things grow, are a myriad of delectable spring greens. Fiddlehead ferns, ramps, wild watercress, and mushrooms are starting to push there way out of the recently frozen soil and water. You can go out foraging for them on your own- if you know what you are doing- or you can arrange for a foraging tour with local forager and mycologist John Wheeler. If you’re not up to traipsing through the muddy woods you can find them at markets like the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington or check out the variety of farmer’s markets we have here in the Berkshires for some of the freshest and tastiest seasonal ingredients. And if you are not confident about cooking these delicate greens yourself, you can find them at local restaurants like the freshly relocated and reopened Café Adam in Great Barrington and at the farmhouse restaurant John Andrews in Mount Washington or if you are further north try Mezze in Williamstown .
When the peepers start their songs and the fields turn green it is the time to come out and explore the culinary bounty that our woods and pastures have to offer. It is once again time to celebrate new life and everything our county has to offer.
Click here for a comprehensive list of all the great Food & Wine venues in the Berkshires.
Jake Levin, born in 1984, is a Berkshire native who grew up in New Marlborough, spending his days wandering through the woods and playing at the neighbor’s farm.
In 2012 Jake moved back to New Marlborough, with his wife, Silka Glanzman, with whom he has a local food blog- the Butcher & the Baker. For the last year he worked as the head butcher and manager at the Meat Market– a local, pasture raised butcher shop and cafe in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He is also on the board of directors of Berkshire Grown. Recently Jake started his own company- the Roving Butcher. His mission is to assist farmers, chefs, interested individuals, and marketplaces in sourcing, processing, and utilizing locally raised pastured whole animals.