You Get What You Give

You Get What You Give

Food is one of the first things we share with our children, and one of the first things they share with us. We give a bottle or breast almost immediately after a baby is born and later, when that baby becomes a child, she offers a bite from her tiny spoon, a plateful of play food, and serves up seemingly empty bowls filled with the invisible concoctions she’s cooked up.

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Dig In! Taking Action Through Urban Farming

Kale, collards, blueberries, and salad greens are just some of the many fruits and vegetables that are produced from the urban garden on Hancock Street in downtown Springfield. The garden space, which is also home to a weekly community-supported agriculture (CSA) pickup, sits atop a previously vacant space owned by neighboring company Mitchell Machine. This urban garden is one of the three (and soon to be four) formerly abandoned spaces that Springfield-based food justice organization Gardening the Community (GTC) has transformed into flourishing community gardens.

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Blended Bliss: Tea Guys

Blended Bliss: Tea Guys

Roasted cocoa, barley, coffee. Caramel, maple, walnut. Raspberry, rhubarb, honey. At first glance, these may seem like ingredients on an exquisite dessert buffet. Instead of being baked into pies, brownies, or cakes, these ingredients make up just three out of 100 plus blends from Tea Guys, a tea company based in Whately.

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Make and Share: DIY Food Gifts for Cooks of all Ages

Make and Share: DIY Food Gifts for Cooks of all Ages

When my family moved to Northampton two years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that our new street had an annual holiday tradition. Just days before Christmas, each neighbor arrived at our door bearing a gift—mostly homemade goodies, and all quite delicious. There was a jar of honey one had harvested from his backyard hives, a bottle of boozy raspberry syrup, cookies, chocolates, and more.

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Know Your Roasters: Share Coffee’s Hadley Tasting Room

Know Your Roasters: Share Coffee’s Hadley Tasting Room

There’s an open-door policy at Share Coffee’s tasting room in Hadley. While they do have store hours, if the door’s open you’re free to stop in and meet Ken Majka and Patrick McCaughey, the founders of the recently launched subscription coffee service. The tasting room sits in the front of the coffee roasting facility tucked between the bike path and Pioneer Valley CrossFit. The place is “industrial cozy,” as Ken calls it, with a high ceiling, a refurbished mid-century coffee roaster visible in the back, and music playing from a laptop that’s also analyzing data from their latest roast.

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Healthful Herbs Build a Healthy Community

Healthful Herbs Build a Healthy Community

For many centuries, people have been using herbs in their daily lives for both medicinal and culinary purposes. Use of herbs for food and medicine has long been tradition amongst many, and these roots inform the work of a new community of herbalists and growers working to sustain this custom. Here in the Pioneer Valley, there is a longstanding, as well as a growing, community of people who are incorporating use of herbs in their daily lives.

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A Farm-to-Table Dinner with Common Ground

A Farm-to-Table Dinner with Common Ground

On a warm summer evening, I gathered alongside the folks at Common Ground for a family-style farm-to-table church dinner held at Valley Malt Farm. The farm was filled with good food and hearty laughter. Kids ran around chasing balloons and sliding down a zip line tied between trees. Others toured the garden and chicken coop in back while the rest of us dressed salads, made pesto, and topped pizza crusts from Hillside with tomatoes and basil grown from their backyard beds or communal garden plot at Grow Food Northampton. Local beer made with the hops right off the farm was served alongside gingered teas and water. By the time the tables were set and the pizzas came steaming hot out of the wood-fired cob oven, Reverend Sarah Buteux and the 30 or so folks in attendance broke bread, sang, and spoke of nature and sacred meals before they sat down at the communal tables and blankets to enjoy the feast and setting sun.

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Last Bite: Miso

There are many types of miso at the market. All of these recipes were tested with shiro (white) miso and chickpea miso from South River Miso. Experiment with other miso types, and use more or less to your taste.

Miso Cookies

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The Edible Pioneer Valley Gift Guide

The Valley’s bounty runneth over, especially as a resource for gift giving! There are endless options for locally produced presents. We asked some of our favorite local foodies for their recommendations and are pleased to serve them up to you!

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Thank you to the members of our food-lovin’ crew

The whole crew at CISA 

 Kim Nyiri,

Meat & Cheese Department Manager,

Franklin Community Coop

 Lisa Ekus, The Lisa Ekus Group

Rus Peotter, General Manager, WGBY Springfield 

Michael Kusek, Publisher, Take Magazine 

Aurora Sjostrom, Culinary Demonstration Specialist, Whole Foods Market 

Natasha Latour, Marketing Manager, River Valley Market 

Scott Soares, State Director, Rural Development, United States Department of Agriculture 

Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director, The Western Mass Food Bank 

My favorite small gift (for adults) is a bottle (or more … ) of Black Birch Winery Corot Noir. It’s local, made by great people who run a wonderful, fun, responsible, and committed operation.  Even better, it’s a relatively unknown varietal and, frankly, pretty good wine. (At press time, Black Birch had sold through its stock of Corot Noir, but they have other varietals in stock and ready for gifting!) blackbirchvineyard.com––Rus Peotter 

Picked up a bottle of Valley Vinegar’s apple cider vinegar at Atkins and loved it! Plus it’s cool that they have vinegars named after places in the Pioneer Valley, and a New England collection too. valleyvinegar.com ––Lisa Ekus

An oyster or shiitake mushroom-growing kit from Mycoterra Farm—these make a great gift for kids (who love to water them and watch the mushrooms grow) or adults (who can enjoy several rounds of delicious mushroom harvests). mycoterrafarm.com ––CISA

Gift baskets are a fun and delicious way to give the gift of local flavor. Here at Franklin Community Co-op we have a generous selection of locally produced cheeses, charcuterie,  grocery items, and gift cards that would make a delicious gift basket anyone would enjoy! franklincommunity.coop ––Kim Nyiri

Sriracha from The Kitchen Garden for its perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and sassy. I keep one bottle in my fridge and one backup in my cupboard at ALL times. kitchengardenfarm.com––Lisa Ekus

A local beverage—to add local flavor to holiday festivities; this could be a bottle of local wine or mead (paired with local cheese?), aStoneman Brewery beer jug, or a bottle of local hard cider (maybe together with local apple or pear varieties in a taste-of-the-orchard basket?) stonemanbrewery.squarespace.com––CISA

Farmers’ market tokens––a great gift to encourage the ones you love to pick out exactly what they want! ––CISA

Here at the Food Bank we’re huge fans of Shabadoo Black and Tan Ale from Berkshire Brewing Company. 10% of all Shabadoo sales benefits the Food Bank! berkshirebrewingcompany.com ––Andrew Morehouse

Old Friends Farm Ginger Syrup for sure! It’s great for cocktails and warm drinks. oldfriendsfarm.com ––Aurora Sjostrom

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A taste of summer from Bug Hill Farm for when winter hits and you forget what fresh fruit tastes like. (They offer cute gift boxes as well.) bughillfarm.org ––CISA

Hilltown Blue Cheese from Grace Hill in Cummington is among my favorites. It has a great flavor sure to make any cheese lover happy. gracehilldairy.com––Scott Soares

Grace Hill’s Wild Alpine is a gruyere-style raw milk cheese that will grace any table. ––Natasha Latour

Pekarski’s sausage in South Deerfield has a range of great products … but I particularly like their linguica, a Portuguese sausage that brings me back to New Bedford and my heritage. Don’t be fooled by the Polish name, great job on a Portuguese favorite! pekarskis.com ––Scott Soares

Shelburne Honey Company’s creamed honey is great on toast, or on a cheese plate. apexorchards.com ––Aurora Sjostrom

Maple cream!northhadleysugarshack.com ––Michael Kusek