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In the Berkshires, we have four distinct seasons, which are expressed in the food we celebrate – from early spring when foragers collect wild edibles in our forests to summer, a time when farmers’ markets are in full swing and roadside farm stands are plentiful. The peak of the harvest is gathered and savored in autumn, and throughout the winter, we relish in comfort food sourced from root cellars and preserved pantries. In this small corner of New England, we’ve got a taste for every time of year.

ROOTED IN AGRICULTURAL HISTORY

Situated due west of Boston and directly north of New York City, the Berkshires has a long-standing agricultural relationship to its adjacent urban hubs. One of the oldest farming regions in the United States, our beautiful rolling hills and rich soils are part of a long history of small-scale farming and local food production. The Berkshires’ little- known role in the development of modern agricultural practice is worth mentioning as we celebrate the modern-day farm-to-table movement.

In 1807, "the father of American fairs" Elkanah Watson brought his two prized Merino sheep to Park Square in Pittsfield, the larger of two cities in the Berkshires. This impromptu display quickly drew a sizable crowd of admirers – the Merino sheep, with their extraordinary soft fleece, were a sight never before seen in New England. This event marked the beginnings of the first modern agricultural fair in 1811.

Fast-forward 150 years to the 1980s in the Berkshires. Influenced by European biodynamic agriculture ideas formulated by Rudolf Steiner, the Berkshires became home of the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project in North America. In 1986, the CSA Garden at Great Barrington was created, now being operated as Indian Line Farm in Egremont. Since the 1980s, community- supported farms have been organized throughout North America — now numbering more than 13,000 — mainly in New England, the Northwest, the Pacific Coast, the Upper-Midwest and Canada.

The rich agricultural heritage of the Berkshires lends itself well to our contemporary lifestyle. Our region is celebrated for legendary artistic attractions and beautiful countryside. The Berkshires, where quality cuisine is directly connected to the landscape, is a natural gathering place of people passionate about farm-to-table dining and the bounty of our terroir. MEET

THE MAKERS
What makes the Berkshires’ food scene so worth visiting? It’s got a lot to do with what happens behind the scenes – in the fields, in the kitchens, at the farmers’ markets… that’s where you’ll find the real stories. Our cheesemakers, brewers and winemakers are sourcing ingredients nearby. Berkshire chefs and artisan foodmakers partner with farmers who grow, raise and harvest for their seasonal recipes. The Berkshires are about community and relationships – and a true passion for good, honest food.

Come meet the makers – experience the source of fresh ingredients and meet the folks who craft delicious food by hand. Venture into the countryside for a cider or beer tasting then stop at a dairy farm and sample some artisan cheese. Check into an elegant country inn or a cozy B&B serving up a delicious farm brunch. In between culinary experiences, visit a world-class museum (or three), experience an award-winning performance or explore a Gilded Age mansion.

This is the place where food culture meets arts culture.

ABOUT TASTEBERKSHIRES
At the crossroads of nature and culture, TasteBerkshires is an initiative aimed to reconnect people with the pleasures of taste. The Berkshires attracts chefs, restaurateurs and food makers, many who cook seasonally and offer farm-to-table cuisine featuring local products. Throughout the year, we will be featuring local food, artisan products and regional cuisine, with a spotlight on farmers, foodmakers and culinary experiences in the Berkshires.
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