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The end of summer is perhaps the most delicious time of year in New England. Western Massachusetts is home to hundreds of farms and some of New England’s most productive farmland, so when it comes time for the late summer harvest, there’s a lot to savor.
We love our produce so much in Western Massachusetts that we throw big parties for it…
… from the Asparagus Festival in June to the Garlic and Arts Festival in October. Late summer is all about tomatoes and Granby’s Red Fire Farm hosts its 16th Annual Tomato Festival on Saturday, August 27. The day is filled with fun for the whole family, from hay rides to cooking demonstrations, but the main event is surely the tasting of the farm’s 75 varieties of award-winning tomatoes.
Photo credit: Rzescotti Photography for Red Fire Farm
Agricultural fairs are also a late-summer must, giving a chance for our hardworking farmers to showcase and celebrate the fruits of their labor. Paired with entertainment, classic fair food and games, agricultural fairs are a true American tradition. The Three County Fair in Northampton is the oldest consecutively run agricultural fair in the country, turning 199 this year, September 2-5.
Starting in 1999, Outstanding in the Field introduced the dreamy experience of dining at a long communal table set in the fields at farms across the world. With four locations in Massachusetts on their 2016 Northeast Tour, the only one that’s not sold out yet is at Lila’s Farm in The Berkshires on September 8.
Photo credit: Berkshire Farm and Table
As more people want a closer connection to their food, these in-field dining experiences have popped up on a more local scale.
Wheelhouse Farm Truck has two of its “Feasts in the Fields” lined up this September, and more scheduled throughout October. On Labor Day Weekend, Wheelhouse will work with Crimson & Clover Farm in Northampton on a five-course dinner, and on Sunday September 11 they’ll host brunch at Red Fire Farm in Granby. These farm meals include a special field walk with the farmers, further strengthening the relationship between our food and where it comes from.
Every August, the Pioneer Valley’s Buy Local champion CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) works with our restaurants to showcase the local farmers and food producers they work with on a regular basis.
“There’s such amazing food available from the farms here…”
Photo credit: Lynne Graves for Visit Hampshire County
Savor the summer harvest with a five-course tasting menu at The Gill Tavern on August 23. Try your hand at Food and Farm trivia on August 25 at Taylor’s Tavern & Restaurant in Greenfield. Enjoy a New Englander’s take on a Southern specialty at Bread & Butter’s Chicken and Waffle Dinner on September 16th. Share a meal with the farmers and producers who work with Bistro Les Gras in Northampton on August 29.
“There’s such amazing food available from the farms here – it’s better quality, more efficient, it fosters a sense of community, and it puts a name and face to the food,” said Brian Knox, owner and chef at Bread & Butter in Amherst.