Living like a locavore (someone who consumes only locally grown food) is easy in the Berkshires and western Massachusetts. The area's many farms, farm stands, and farmers' markets make everything from produce, dairy, and meat to maple syrup, flowers, and Christmas trees. There's spinach, asparagus, maple syrup, and flowers in the spring, an endless array of fruits and veggies at every farm stand in summer, and apples, cranberries, pumpkins, and squash seem mimic the palette of the fall foliage.
A great place to find farm stands is south of Routes 7 and 8. More than 30 run along or just off these routes
Boardman Farm. Boardman Farm offers fresh vegetables and is open all day, every day, on an honor system from mid-July through Thanksgiving. 64 Hewins St., Sheffield, MA, 01257. 413/229-8554.
Whitney's Farm. Whitney's Farm sells fresh produce, plants and flowers, herbs, and dairy products. There is also a deli and bakery in the main building. 1775 S. State Rd., Rte 8, Cheshire, MA, 01225. 413/442-4749. www.whitneysfarm.com. Mon.-Sat. 8-7, Sun. 9-6.
Sidehill Farm. Sidehill Farm, a little farther east (closer to Route 2 and Interstate 91), has yogurt (year-round) and raw milk (April through November) from grass-fed cows. Vegetables are generally available year-round, although veggie production went on hiatus in 2012. 137 Beldingville Rd., Ashfield, MA, 0133. 413/625-0011. www.sidehillfarm.net.
Farms where you pick your own produce are very popular in Massachusetts. It's often berry farms and fruit orchards, but there are also many pick-your-own pumpkin patches, cornfields, and other vegetable farms. Spend a morning or afternoon wandering these fields and orchards for fresh fruits and veggies right off vine and branch.
Taft Farms. Taft Farms has raspberries from early July through mid-October, and pick-your-own pumpkins from September through October. 119 Park St. N, Great Barrington, MA, 01230-1135. 413/528-1515. www.taftfarms.com. Early July-Oct., daily 9-6.
Blueberry Hill Farm. Blueberry Hill Farm offers blueberries for the picking in late July and August. Bring your own container for berries, and they'll be priced at $2.50 per pound. 100 East St., Mount Washington, MA, 01258. 413/528-1479. www.austinfarm.com. Free. Late July-Aug., daily 9-5.
Howden Farm. Howden Farm has raspberries for picking from mid-August through mid-October and pumpkin picking from late September through October. They also run a bed-and-breakfast. 303 Rannapo Rd., Sheffield, MA, 01257. 413/229-8481. www.howdenfarm.com. Mid-Aug.-mid-Oct., daily 11-5; mid-Oct-end Oct., weekends 11-5.
Ioka Valley Farm. Ioka Valley Farm has strawberries from mid-June to early July—picking times vary, so call ahead—and pumpkins and Indian corn from mid-September through October on weekends only, 10-5:30. For a treat, between late February and early April you can catch a weekend maple brunch, with homemade pure maple syrup atop pancakes, waffles, and French toast. 3475 Route 43, Hancock, MA, 01237. 413/738-5915. www.iokavalleyfarm.com.
For More Information
Berkshire Grown. To learn more about Berkshire farms, food producers, farm-to-table restaurants, workshops, and other events, check out Berkshire Grown. 314 Main St., Great Barrington, MA, 01230. 413/528-0041. www.berkshiregrown.org.
Northeast Organic Farming Association. This organization offers a comprehensive resource for organic produce in Masssachusetts, including an interactive map. 411 Sheldon Rd., Barre, MA, 01005. 978/355-2853. www.nofamass.org.
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