Farm-To-Table | Berkshire Farm & Table Taste Trails

Explore the farms and restaurants of the region and uncover a new level of flavor and freshness. More than ever, it’s important to know where the food on your plate comes from. The good news for all you foodies out there is that the Berkshires in Massachusetts boast some truly outstanding farm-to-table restaurants. Supplying those restaurants are the locally owned and operated specialty farms that raise and produce everything from beef, pork and chicken to a variety of cheeses and vegetables.

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Visit the small niche farms of the Berkshires and taste the craft beer, cider, cheese and charcuterie that have driven the farm-to-table movement.

Situated between the Pioneer and Hudson Valleys, the Berkshire-Hudson corridor boasts beautiful rolling hills, fertile soil and a rich history of small-scale family farms and local food producers. With an abundance of fresh and locally sourced ingredients at their doorstep, many of the region’s chefs and restaurants have become fiercely dedicated to the culinary movement known as “farm-to-table.”

For visitors to the region this means the opportunity to experience some exceptional high quality specialty food and libations at the farms and restaurants. A great source for all things farm-to-table in the Berkshires is the Berkshire Farm & Table website. Dedicated to developing and fostering the food culture in the region, the organization not only lists all of the farm-to-table restaurants in Western Massachusetts but also has mapped out three self-guided tours known as the Berkshire Farm & Table Taste Trails, which make it easy to navigate your culinary adventure.

CharcuterieBerkshire Farm & Table Charcuterie Trail

The time-honored preservation method of curing and smoking meat is popular due to the intense flavor and character it adds to various meats. In the Berkshires local chefs and farmers work together to ensure that the farm-raised animals are honored by utilizing every part of the animal to create mouth-watering  smoked hams, sausages, salami, and other cured meats.

Start your meat exploration at The Meat Market in Great Barrington. A nose-to-tail butcher shop and cafe, The Meat Market works with three local farms to fill their case with pasture-raised  pork, lamb, chicken and beef. Patrons can choose from American and European cuts of meat or select from the ever-changing menu of specialty sausages like the rosemary lamb, hot Italian or garlic. Of course the real treat is the house-made charcuterie which includes pâté, bacon rillettes, pancetta and a large variety of dry-cured sausages.

Head south from Great Barrington to Sheffield where Moon in the Pond can be found. A small educational bio-dynamic farm,  Moon in the Pond has been open for 22 years and focuses on producing chemical and additive free vegetables along with free-range organic fed  beef, pork and chicken.

While the farm is one of the smaller ones in the region, their charcuterie delivers a large punch of flavor. In addition to traditional New England charcuterie the farm offers a cornucopia of European styles which include liverwurst, weisswurst and Italian inspired selections such as prosciutto and capocollo.

Berkshire Farm & Table Cheese Trail

stock-photo-13023145-blue-cheese-still-lifeOf course nothing complements charcuterie like a good  creamy or hard cheese. Luckily for cheese aficionados there is an excellent selection of farms in the region creating a variety of cheeses to satisfy the palate.

Begin your cheese adventure in Williamstown at one of the oldest grass-based dairy farms in the Berkshires, Cricket Creek Farm. Visitors to the farm can meet the animals, talk to the farmers, watch cheese being made and best of all, sample the farm’s award-winning cheese such as Maggie’s Round. Winner of the 2011 American Cheese Society Competition, Maggie’s Round

is aged over 60 days and is a semi-firm whole milk cheese inspired by Italian toma and features a sharp, bright flavor with notes of citrus and a rustic rind that adds earthy tones.

Continue in Great Barrington at Berkshire Blue where the best blue cheese you have ever eaten is hand crafted. Developed over a 12 year period in Somerset, England, Berkshire Blue is now made in Massachusetts under a strict licensing agreement. Made in small batches with unpasteurized milk from a local dairy,  the cheese is hand-turned and needled more than 24 times before being wrapped and aged for 60 days. The final result is a creamy blue cheese with a subtle taste.

Hard Apple Cider AleBerkshire Farm & Table Beer & Cider Trail

Tasting charcuterie and cheese all day is sure to make one quite thirsty. The Berkshire Farm & Table Taste Trails’ newest member solves that with a tour of the breweries and cideries that dot the landscape.

Start at New England’s premier regional craft brewery in South Deerfield, Berkshire Brewing Company. Specializing in ales and lagers, each of the beers is unfiltered, unpasteurized and contains no chemical additives or preservatives.

Open for tours on Saturdays, the brewery offers nine styles of beer year round and seven seasonal beers throughout the year. Be sure to try their flagship brew, Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale. A light colored medium bodied ale that exhibits freshness through its two-row pale malt backbone, Steel Rail has been a local favorite for more than 20 years.

Next, stop in at Hilltop Orchard and Furnacebrook Winery in Richmond. The first farm winery in the Berkshires, Furnacebrook produces award-winning wines and ciders available for sampling seven days a week at their picturesque tasting room.

While enjoying the view of the surrounding Berkshire Mountains sip on a refreshing Johnny Mash, their nationally recognized hard cider. Made only from New England apples, Johnny Mash has no preservatives or additives and was named the number one U.S. hard cider by Yankee Magazine’s Brew Review. If you can’t make it to the brewery you can find Johnny Mash in local restaurants.

Please visit the the Berkshire Farm & Table website for current information on Berkshire Farm & Table Taste Trails, events and more in the rich farm-t0-table region that is The Berkshires.

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