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Food & Drink

Dried tomatoes: Summer’s bounty becomes winter’s secret ingredient

Juliete tomatoes on the vine; photo by Jason Velázquez
Juliete tomatoes on the vine; photo by Jason Velázquez

As you who follow my food rants know, I’m a big fan of the dehydrator. In mid-September mine has one major task—drying tomatoes. This year the fruit of choice is the Juliet grape tomato. A bounty of them will provide the special touch to the soups, stews, and pasta dishes of winter.

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Green beans and carrots: Good individually, spectacular baked together

I sing the praises of my 30” X 72” back and knee-saving stand planter. It has yielded early crops of lettuce, chard, basil, bok choi, bunching onions, parsley, oregano, more. But where it shines is in producing later crops, planted when the others have been harvested, leaving beautiful, rich soil that begs, “More, we can do more.” And we can.

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Savoring Homegrown Onions

A photo of a pile of assorted onions on a table: A treasure trove of oniony goodness; photo by Sheila Velazquez
A treasure trove of oniony goodness; photo by Sheila Velazquez

I stepped out into the cool morning air, coffee in hand, and thought, time to pull the onions. When you’ve gardened or farmed for a long time, things sometimes hit you suddenly. You don’t have to think about them. The day was warm but dry, mid-August, and the beginning of the harvest season. My harvest for one is not time-consuming, and it recharges my seasonal battery as nothing else can.

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Confessions of a prepper: Freeze it, dry it

My kids will tell you that I have been something of a prepper since the 70s. It’s true, because it was then that I began to be concerned about food security. We built a house in the country, and a barn, and then added every conceivable farm animal. Well, maybe we went overboard on the animals. We had a cold cellar under the porch where we kept 600 pounds of potatoes over the winter and a storage area where shelves of canned foods lay in wait. We sold at farm markets and on site. I have held on to some version of this lifestyle during the years. It’s who I am.

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Plenty #15: Eating the Landscape with Chef Brian Alberg

Photo of Hancock Shaker Mill vegetable gardens: The gardens at Hancock Shaker Village are a key educational component of the annual activities on site. Now, visitors can eat their education, both at Seeds cafe and through food awareness workshops; submitted photo.
The gardens at Hancock Shaker Village are a key educational component of the annual activities on site. Now, visitors can eat their education, both at Seeds cafe and through food awareness workshops; submitted photo.

Hey food enthusiasts! In this episode of Plenty, number 15 to be precise, we hear once again from Chef Brian Alberg, a nearly ubiquitous culinary presence in the Berkshires and beyond. Since it’s been quite a while since catching up with him last, we had a lot of ground to cover.

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Farmers market coupons distributed to Williamstown seniors

Franz Burnet-Gocht receives his farmers market coupons from Marion Quinn-Jowett; photo by Sheila Velazquez.
Franz Burnet-Gocht receives his farmers market coupons from Marion Quinn-Jowett; photo by Sheila Velazquez.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Elders lined up bright and early on the first day coupon books became available at the Williamstown Council on Aging’s Harper Center. Each book contains ten coupons valued at $2.50 each, which can be used to purchase fruits, vegetables, and honey in markets across Massachusetts.

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Unsung Eats: Valhalla, Adams — mythic taste, priced for mere mortals

The aptly named burger, "The Balder," bravely adorns itself with lettuce, roasted tomatoes, and onions, allowing it's brave flavors to shine through. Highly recommended side item? The hand cut wedge fries; photo by James Kennedy.
"The Balder" burger bravely adorns itself with lettuce, roasted tomatoes, and onions, allowing its flavors to shine through. Recommended side item? Amazing hand cut wedge fries; photo by James Kennedy.

Here at Unsung Eats we usually have to search out the rare gems for great food at a good value but in this particular case the eatery found us.  We kept hearing, “Hey, have you tried Valhalla yet?” and when the Greylock Glass ran its Greylock Nation’s Greatest: 2019 readers poll, it was Valhalla Eatery in Adams that kept on popping up, so we knew who was going on the short list.

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Forget Everything You Think About New York State Wine

Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels
Photo by Kai-Chieh Chan from Pexels

by Nancy Koziol

I was living in Brooklyn on September 11, 2001. I was three years into the dumpster fire of my twenties and in more danger than I’ve ever been in my life. It wasn’t the attacks—the carnage and violence erupting in my city—that put me at risk. I was safely across the river. No, it was me who was responsible for the aforementioned inferno, but 9/11 that helped me start to put out the blaze.

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Unsung Eats: The Corner Lunch, Adams — 40 years of home cooking to please the palate…and the wallet.

House-made comfort foods for weekday specials are always big hits — and at the Corner Lunch prices, they're even hittier.
House-made comfort foods for weekday specials are always big hits — and at the Corner Lunch prices, they're even hittier.

With Unsung Eats there is only one thing better than a great meal at a good value, and that is if it is served with a side dish of a good old fashioned success story.

Today Unsung Eats finds itself in the historic town of Adams at a very cool little place called the Corner Lunch. The Corner Lunch is located at 50 Summer Street at the intersection of Spring Street.

Once inside, I felt as though I had stepped back in time. The original menu board, the round floor mounted stools at the counter, the nicely dressed tables with a flower vase placed next to the napkin dispensers all spoke to me with their old school charm and flavor.

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Unsung Eats: Desperados
North Adams — fresh Tex-Mex for the frugal

Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.
Desperados, at 23 Eagle Street in downtown North Adams, is part of an expanding constellation of restaurants that send your taste buds south of the border; photo by James Kennedy.

The rise in popularity of Tex-Mex restaurants in the U.S. is of no surprise when you consider the increasing cultural and culinary diversity of Americans and America itself.

When we consider what makes for a good comfort food, Americanized Mexican food (known as Tex-Mex) can hold its head high with its shredded meats and melted cheeses, the deep rich sauces, the contrasts of crunchy and creamy and spicy and cool.

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Glyphosate: Why we need a clean food revolution

Pl77 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Liquid spraying equipment at work in a corn field, by Pl77, [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

“If it was bad for us, they wouldn’t sell it.” This was the response I got from the maintenance man when I objected to his spraying weeds with Roundup. Well actually, that isn’t true. “A number of cities, counties, states and countries throughout the world have taken steps to either restrict or ban glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer,” notes Baum Hedlund Aristei Goldman PC here in a recently updated list. The firm has links to several lawsuits brought against Monsanto by plaintiffs who claim their cancers were caused by Roundup, including the action of Edwin Hardeman, which was settled on March 27, for more than $80 million in damages.

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Unsung Eats: Berkshire Palate
Williamstown—Little Bun, Chicken & Waffle

Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.
Ordering up both the "Little Bun" cheeseburger and the "Chicken and Waffle" sandwich with a side of salt and vinegar fries turned out to be a good way to size up Berkshire Palate, this week's Unsung Eats; photo by James Kennedy.

Unsung Eats is all about finding great food for a great value all over North county, and today we find ourselves in picturesque Williamstown at a cool little eatery called Berkshire Palate. 

Berkshire Palate is located in the Colonial Plaza on Route 2 where there is plenty of parking.

Once inside, I sat down in the front window at the high counter and looked around. The place is cozy and clean with an upscale feel, and there were other diners there happily chatting away. A man named Paul came to greet me and take my drink order. We talked a bit and I discovered that Paul was part owner, going into business with his sons, opening Berkshire Palate less than a year ago.

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