Valentine’s Day: Spreading the Love

by Martha Jackson Suquet
Today is Valentine’s Day, and Berkshire Grown wants to celebrate in a slightly nontraditional way. We’ve been thinking about all of the people, farms, and local businesses who we love, and we want to send some Valentine hugs to a few special folks. Consider this newsletter a big Valentine’s Day card to the many Berkshire farmers and producers we admire.

First, our community of farmers and our Berkshire Grown supporters. We’re sending love to all local farmers, big and small - to those just starting out and those winding down – supporting their hard work is at the heart of everything we do. And we sincerely appreciate our members, our partner organizations, our sponsors, our volunteers, and our funders.

Next, the vendors, customers, and venue hosts who help make our Winter Farmers Markets possible. Many of our vendors have been selling at the Berkshire Grown Winter Farmers Markets for years. They brave challenging winter weather to show up at our monthly indoor markets in order to keep our community members supplied with everything from fresh greens to winter squash, cheese, bread, meat, eggs, plus a whole lot more! We often highlight our farmer/ producer members, but we have a few long-time vendors who haven’t shown up in our newsletter before. Since we’re spreading lots of love today, we will take this opportunity to feature them.
Rolling Rock Farm: Tony Carlotto and Darby Weigel are a mainstay at our Great Barrington markets. With a mission to “spread peace, love, and happiness”, they’ve been bringing Tony’s special seasonings, salts, and other goodies to the market for years, along with their warm smiles and humorous product labels. Try their Black Garlic products for something new and exciting!

JK Custom Furniture & Design: Kris and Joshua Kanter share a love of woodworking: Josh focuses on custom furniture while Kris makes cutting boards, cheese boards and other homewares from his project scraps. Stop by their market booth for a visual delight - their products make excellent gifts year-round!

Gray Raven Farm: Daniel and Sharon Bergeron often join us at both the Great Barrington and North Adams/Williamstown market locations. Their wide range of soaps and CBD body products made with their farm’s own goat milk and raw honey are beautifully packaged and really do the trick!
Naji’s Mediterranean Cuisine: Naji Nejaime brings his spread of Lebanese goodness to every Great Barrington Winter Farmers Market. From savory salads and dips to flatbreads and meat pies, Naji has something for everyone. Don’t forget baklava for dessert!

Eric Gabriel, Volunteer Extraordinaire: a special shout out to this incredible volunteer and market supporter. Eric shows up to the Housy Dome at 6:30am to help Berkshire Grown staff roll out the floor covering, he stays throughout the market, greeting shoppers and making sure our Great Barrington Winter Farmers Markets go smoothly. He then stays until we lock the door at the end the day - after sweeping the floor and rolling up the covering. Thank you Eric, for everything!
Something else we love? Apples – especially in the middle of winter. We are lucky that so many delicious varieties of apples grow in the Berkshire area, and that our outstanding local orchards grow apples we can enjoy year-round. Maynard Farms and Orchards will be back at our March market, but as a Valentine to our wonderful market shoppers, Berkshire Grown will sell apples at a special Apple Table in our February market stocked from Samascott Orchards and run by Berkshire Grown staff. Stop by and tell us your favorite apple varieties!

Finally, the local farm and food community is saying goodbye to a beloved goat dairy and cheese producer: Rawson Brook Farm. Susan Sellew, who built Rawson Brook from the ground up and has been making her signature Monterey Chevre for decades, is retiring. You can read about this chapter of her story in the Berkshire Eagle here, and listen to Berkshire Grown’s 2021 podcast interview with Susan here. Big hugs to you, Susan, and thank you for making your delicious goat cheese for so many years. We will miss your delicous goat cheese, but count on seeing you around the Berkshires!

Shop for local food and farm-inspired crafts at
Berkshire Grown
Winter Farmers Markets!

Next Market:
February 18

Black History in the Berkshires
Image courtesy of W.E.B. Du Bois Historic Site
The Berkshire Black Economic Council offers a directory of Black-owned business in the Berkshires. In addition to a broad gamut of services including counseling and consulting, wellness, restaurants and grocers, music, arts, and sports, the directory offers a myriad of resources for people of all ages. A shout-out to organizations advancing equity, growing food, and celebrating Black history and culture in the Berkshires. The following vision statements are courtesy of these organizations. Learn more by visiting their websites. 

BRIDGE (dba Multicultural BRIDGE) is a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing equity and justice by promoting cultural competence, positive psychology, and mutual understanding and acceptance. The organization acts as a catalyst for change through collaboration, education, training, dialogue, fellowship and advocacy. Bridge is a minority and women-run non-profit certified by the Office of Supplier Diversity of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. (SDP). BRIDGE connects vulnerable community members with key resources and networks, while also providing education to both local institutions and the community.
Image courtesy Finca Luna Búho
Finca Luna Búho is a collaborative carespace, majority BIPOC-led, centering and holding the voices and decision making of those living in marginalization and at the intersections of these lived experiences. Located on unceded Mohican land in the northern Berkshire of western Massachusetts. The land collective began in 2007 to create a rural place of refuge, knowledge sharing and intimacy-with-land that centers BIPOC, immigrant, queer, poor, adoptee and disabled communities.
Finca Luna Búho offers space for gatherings, classes, justice organizing, healing, and farming and is a place where people can seek safety and inspiration, creatively grow and collaborate for community restoration and flourishing.
Mumbet’s Freedom Farm is a Black and Brown-led cooperative farm and community sanctuary for connection, creativity, education, and wellness. Nestled at the base of a mountain in the ancestral homelands of the Mohican Nation, also known as Sheffield, Massachusetts - the town where the revolutionary Elizabeth ‘Mumbet’ Freeman resided. Mumbet was an enslaved African nurse, midwife, and herbalist who sued for her freedom in 1781, in Sheffield, MA and won. Mumbet’s Freedom Farm is in-community with a flowing brook, natural spring, waterfalls, forest trails, an array of plant and animal life, Race Brook Lodge, and The Stagecoach Tavern.
Image courtesy Mumbet's Freedom Farm
The Rusty Anvil is an educational platform that connects Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to nature through mindful wilderness trips and ancestral skills workshops. Their goal is to empower people of color with the knowledge, gear, and support they need to feel confident taking their own backcountry trips and find new ways to feel a sense of belonging in the wild. By integrating mindfulness and forest bathing practices into our programs our intention is that people of color will not just learn how to survive in nature but thrive.

The Du Bois Center at Great Barrington is a nonprofit organization dedicated to exploring the African-American experience and issues regarding social justice through programs, events, and exhibitions of artifacts. Learn more about W.E.B. Du Bois, a champion of civil rights and leader for world peace and freedom, and his work that began in Great Barrington, his influences, and his writings.

The African American Heritage Trail encompasses 29 Massachusetts and Connecticut towns in the Upper Housatonic Valley National Heritage Area, and celebrates African Americans in the region who played pivotal roles in key national and international events, as well as ordinary people of achievement. Visit their Resources page to find more local sites for the Study of Regional African American History. Among the key 48 sites along the trail:

W.E.B. Du Bois boyhood Homesite, a national landmark property in Great Barrington, and the Burghardt homestead where young Du Bois lived for a time.

Ashley House in Sheffield where Elizabeth Freeman was enslaved and whose successful suit for liberty set the stage for the abolition of slavery in Massachusetts.

Samuel Harrison House in Pittsfield, home of the black American abolitionist, former slave, preacher, and Army chaplain who protested against slavery and racism, discriminatory pay practices.
Berkshire Farmers Tell Their Stories

Melissa and Peter Martin, Dandelion Hill Farm
Sharon Wyrrick, Many Forks Farm
Topher Sabot, Cricket Creek Farm
Bruce Howden, Howden Farm
Jim Schultz, Red Shirt Farm
This 2022 Guide to Local Food & Farms is the region’s most comprehensive guide to local farms, farmers markets, and restaurants offering local foods - use it to find farm stands, CSA farms, pick-your-own farms and orchards, as well as locally sourced value-added products like charcuterie, preserves, and fermented foods and locations and hours of food pantries spread across the county.

You can also find the best in locally grown food and products near you on Berkshire Grown's searchable map!

Keep your Guide to Local Food & Farms handy and use it frequently!
  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  [email protected].
Follow us at Instagram@berkgrown

Margaret Moulton, Executive Director
Jordan Archey, Program Manager, Business Members
Maeve Dillon, Food Access Program Manager
Martha Suquet, Winter Farmers Market Manager
Alyssa VanDurme, Mobile Farmers Market Program Manager
Sharon Hulett-Shepherd, Membership and Office Manager
Join Berkshire Grown here.