Valley Green Feast: From Farm to Front Door

Valley Green Feast: From Farm to Front Door

On a sweltering Friday in July, I drive out to Breezy Acres Farm in Granby, home to Valley Green Feast (VGF), a year-round food delivery service. I spend the afternoon with Rebekah Hanlon and Bekki Szlosek, two of three worker-owners behind the cooperative. Before founder Jessica Harwood left the then-solo operation in 2010 after running it for three years, she turned it into to a cooperative model to ensure her initial vision lived on.

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Hope & Olive’s Soup & Game Night

Hope & Olive’s Soup & Game Night

On the first Monday in December, I head out to Hope & Olive’s free Soup and Game Night. Now in its 14th year, Soup and Game Night raises money for underfunded charitable organizations in and around Franklin County.

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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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Behind the Kitchen Door at Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen

By Nikki Gardner

I walk into Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen on a booming Thursday morning. The tables are packed with the breakfast crowd, still lingering into the 10 o’clock hour. I take in the vintage charm, including a figurine of Betty Boop next to the bakery case, before wandering back to the kitchen where Auntie Cathie herself plates orders from tickets the servers tear from their order pads and pin to a clothesline, old school style.

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Nothing fancy. Just a pen, notepad, calculator, and cash register, and it all works together seamlessly. We chat about her homemade coleslaw, jam, pickles, and gluten- and allergy-free baking mixes, all made and served in house. She and her team shop locally for daily specials and seasonal breakfast and lunch menus for eggs, meat, maple syrup, honey, goat cheese, blueberries, vegetables, and fruit from Blossoming Acres (Southwick), The Kitchen Garden (Sunderland), Barnum & Buckley (Southwick), Scantic Valley (Somers, CT), Sweet Pea Cheese (Granby, CT), and Gray Dog’s Farm (Huntington).

Beneath the cool retro vibe and mountain-high frosted cupcakes, there is a sense of home and being nourished by loved ones. As I watch plates of big beautiful pancakes, vegetable-laced omelets sidled up to home fries and gluten-free toast, and grilled salmon salads being carried out to one table after another, I understand why Auntie Cathie’s is West Springfield’s daytime hot spot.

217 Elm St., West Springfield | 413-788-0022 | www.AuntieCathies.com

Closed Sunday and Monday. Open Tuesday–Friday 8am–2pm, Saturday 9am–2pm.