Thriving and Lively - Farmers Markets in the Berkshires
By Martha Jackson Suquet
If you haven’t been to your local farmers market this season, now would be a great time to check it out. While we think there’s something to be excited about during every market season, it’s hard to deny the appeal of late summer. And this year, many of the elements that make farmers markets into true community spaces are returning: live music, kids programming, and more. (Pictured left: Brian Cole, Big Foot Farm, is a weekly vendor at the Williamstown Farmers Market.)

As we wrote last year, 2020 posed unique challenges for farmers markets. Farmers markets scrambled to stay open while complying with safety guidelines. Safety measures and protective supplies were costly in time and money, and many markets navigated the world of online ordering for the first time. Most markets in our area were able to operate in some capacity last season and provided an important venue for community members to access fresh food.

While farmers and customers were grateful that markets continued to operate despite obstacles in 2020, many supporters also missed some of the “extras” that make markets special. This year, local markets are able to bring back at least some of the favorite elements, including sampling delicious cheeses, and sitting down with a fresh baked good to chat with friends as live music enlivened the market. In Williamstown, market manager Anne Hogeland says “Our 2020 season was pre-order only, and was limited to foods and face masks. Our 2021 season is a return to in-person markets with all types of vendors we've had in prior seasons: farmers, prepared foods, artisan crafts, community info booths, plus live music and picnic tables.” The Williamstown market is continuing its Community Essentials Initiative, begun in 2020, through which shoppers can donate funds toward market products given to local food pantries, as well as matching WIC and Senior Farmers Market Coupons.
The Millerton Farmers Market is another local market seeing a return to something more normal, at least compared to last year. “We're witnessing a gradual return to our 2019 levels in terms of vendor participation, visitor attendance, and enhancements such as live music, contests, and kids’ activities,” says manager John Nowak. One challenge for this year is that many prepared food and other vendors had to find other outlets for their products last year, and haven’t returned to the market. But new vendors, including Horton House Scone Company and CR Woodwork, are filling the gaps to ensure a thriving market. The Millerton market is also now a Double Up Food Bucks site, where customers using SNAP receive matching funds to buy fruit and vegetables.
Other markets around the region have returned to in-person settings after a year of virtual, pre-order offerings. New Lebanon recently opened an indoor market, with online pre-orders still available and an outdoor option on Sundays. Their website highlights the amazing local products they have to offer. In Pittsfield, Roots Rising transitioned to a virtual market for the 2020 season, but this summer the region’s first teen-run farmers market is back. (Roots Rising Market Crew at the Pittsfield Farmers Market, image courtesy
What will you find when you visit your favorite market? Late summer’s highlights include sweet corn, stone fruit, tomatoes, melons, peppers, fresh onions, plus meat, dairy, and baked goods. And now, at many markets you can enjoy your purchases along with live music and some much-needed socialization with your community. Visit to find the farmers markets nearest you, and a click-through listing to their websites to find locations, schedules, and to learn about their Covid-19 policies.
Berkshire Grown Summer Podcast Series-tune in weekly!

Our Summer Podcast Series features farmers and agricultural professionals from in-and-beyond the Berkshires. Tune in each Monday in August for a new episode produced by Berkshire Grown. Visit our website to see the complete list and read descriptions, and catch up on episodes you may have missed!

Throughout this Summer Podcast Series, Berkshire Grown hears from farmers and agricultural professionals from in and beyond the Berkshires to learn about the different ways farmers farm and get their products to market. In these 30-45 minute interviews produced by Berkshire Grown, farmers share their experiences in the field, in the barn, and talk about marketing their farm’s products.

The series began with Emmet Van Driesche, owner of Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm in Conway, MA and continues with Sara Davis, Oak Hollow Livestock in Shelburne Falls, MA, Evan Thayer-Null, Abode Farm in New Lebanon, NY, Ben Blaustein of Rock City Mushrooms in Columbia County, NY, and concludes with Susan Sellew, Rawson Brook Farm in Monterey, MA on August 30.

These podcasts are a part of Berkshire Grown’s Technical Assistance program to connect farmers with other farmers in order to learn from each other. The series will air new episodes each Monday in August – tune in weekly!
Emmet Van Driesche,
Pieropan Christmas Tree Farm
August 2
Sara Davis,
Oak Hollow Livestock
August 9
Evan Thayer-Null,
Abode Farm
August 16
You May Ask, How Does My Membership in Berkshire Grown Help?
With your financial support, Berkshire Grown continues to address the needs of farmers, food producers, and our community members.
  • Our new Farm to Food Access project is establishing direct purchasing connections between farmers and food pantries and our long-standing Share the Bounty program delivers CSA shares to food access sites across Berkshire County, New Lebanon and Northern Connecticut.
  • The Berkshire Grown program staff organize workshops, 1:1 technical assistance, and networking events that help local farmers and food producers build their capacity and grow their business.
  • Our Guide to Local Food & Farms connects you to Berkshire resources for farms and food. This year the Guide includes two new sections: locations of local farm stands and two pages of listings for community food pantries in the Berkshires. Keep a copy handy and use it to support local food and farms!

  • Together -- you as consumers and Berkshire Grown as organizers, we support local farmers at our eight indoor Winter Farmers Markets in Great Barrington and Williamstown.
For two decades Berkshire Grown has worked to keep farmers farming. We advocate for sound agricultural policy, we support local food and farms, and we strengthen connections in our community between those who grow food and those who eat it.
Please renew your membership today. Thank you in advance for believing in the power of food to nourish this community, its people, and its soils. 
Margaret Moulton
Executive Director
Join or renew using this printable membership form or online securely at today! Check out our membership benefits, and consider a monthly Sustaining Membership to receive benefits at the next highest membership level!
Join or Renew your membership with Berkshire Grown at the $100 (or above) level and receive this signature Berkshire Grown mesh produce bag.

Use it while you shop local at Farm Stands, Farmers Markets, and your favorite grocery stores!

Offer is valid while supplies last!
Find Food and Farms Near You - all across Massachusetts
Download the Eat Local MA Mobile App Today!
Berkshire Grown and the Massachusetts Coalition of Local Food and Farms recently launched the Eat Local MA mobile app to help eaters find local food and farms. Just download the app on your iOS or Android device, and use the map directory or mobile searchable directory to find farms, markets, fisheries, specialty food producers, craft beverages and more -- all locally made!

"The Eat Local MA mobile app is an excellent example of a new initiative from the Buy Local grant funding that helps consumers find local food and farms, supporting the local food system throughout the Commonwealth," said John Lebeaux, MDAR Commissioner.
What We are Reading

Think Sustainability Is Simple? This Sheep Farmer Would Like a Word.
By Kristin Kimball for the New Times Book Review
August 1, 2021

A Farmer’s Journey
By James Rebanks
Far too little of the ink spilled on the ethics of food production has come from those who are closest to the subject: farmers themselves. Thank the gods of agriculture for James Rebanks, whose new book, “Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey,” tackles the confounding problem of how to make money from land without wrecking it.
Rebanks’s 2015 memoir, “The Shepherd’s Life,” told the story of how he, a dropout kid from a hardscrabble farm in England’s Lake District, fell into Oxford, got a posh education, became wildly homesick for his land and sheep, and returned home to figure out how to make a life there for himself and his family. It became a best seller, and since then, Rebanks has used his platform to address the complex issues of sustainable agriculture.
Rebanks is generous with his descriptions, and patient in explaining the choices farmers make every day that will decide the fate of rural communities and the planet itself, choices “rarely spoken of, shared or understood outside of the closed world of farming.” He addresses what sustainability really means, challenging the myth that simple solutions, like raising all plants and no livestock, or using yet more intensive farming methods, will solve our environmental problems. Read the book review here.
Should Corporations Control What You Eat?
Morning Consult/OPINION
By Rob Larew, President of the National Farmers Union
August 6, 2021
Perhaps one of the most personal decisions you can make every day is deciding what to eat. But what happens when multinational corporations in the agricultural industry take that power away from the individual by using their size, wealth and power to determine the price and selection on our grocery shelves?

For these conglomerates to influence what we consume, they first need to control the people who produce our food. That is where the corporations’ real power lies: dominating what is grown, how it’s produced and, most critically, how they can make the most money by paying farmers as little as possible.

Read the entire opinion piece here.
The 2021 Guide to Local Food & Farms is here, pick one up and keep it handy!
The 2021 Guide to Local Food & Farms is the Berkshire region's most comprehensive reference for finding local food, farms and restaurants that source from local farms and food producers.

This valuable resource connects you to farmers markets, CSA's, farms stands and farm stores, specialty producers, Berkshire County food pantry sites, local food & lodgings, and other business members who support Berkshire Grown and its mission to keep farmers farming.

Complete with contact information and a handy map, the 2021 Guide is now on the news stands throughout Berkshire County and the surrounding region. In addition you can find the 2021 Guide digital version and the Find Food and Farms searchable map on the Berkshire Grown website.
Berkshire Grown connects you with local farmers, restaurants, and food producers. DONATE TODAY to celebrate local farms and food, sustain our Berkshire food economy, and Keep Farmers Farming! Support your favorite local eating establishment.
  To pay via check or phone, make payable to Berkshire Grown, mail to:
PO Box 983, Great Barrington, MA 01230 or call (413) 528-0041.
Contributions are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
Stay in Touch
Berkshire Grown's e-newsletter comes out monthly. 
Please send information to
Follow us at Instagram@berkgrown

Margaret Moulton, Executive Director
Jordan Archey, Program Manager, Business Members
Kate Burke, Program Coordinator, Farm to Food Access
Sharon Hulett-Shepherd, Community Membership and Office Manager
Join Berkshire Grown here.