We just returned from a week in the Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts. There has been a lot of rain in the area but it didn’t rain every day, all day and that was a good thing. It’s a pretty area and there is plenty to see and do.
A Prairie Home Companion-Tanglewood 2013
Our week ended by attending (for the second year in a row), the live radio broadcast of a Prairie Home Companion (PHC) at Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass. It’s the 40th on air anniversary of PHC and the host Garrison Keillor and his weekly show are well-known. Well, that might be a stretch. Let’s say they are well-known within the National Public Radio (NPR) followers and people who like music, humour, stories and a host who is a singer, humorist, author and an observer of life. I wish we’d started attending this concert years ago and would like to attend for years to come. While I am wishing, why not include staying longer and taking in more summer concerts at the summer home of the Boston Symphony. The performances cover a broad range of tastes. This year the Barenaked Ladies and Vince Gill are examples of artists who will be at Tanglewood.
It’s quite a spectacle. Thousands of people stream onto the lawn around the Koussevitzky Music Shed up to two hours before the PHC performance. They bring picnic lunches, fancy set-ups with tables and chairs and linens, wine glasses, candelabras, flags and flowers arranged in vases. Many of the attendees have purchased lawn tickets and they sit outside as the sun sets and the show goes on. The encores are legendary. I heard one attendant tell someone the encores may last 1.5 to 3 hours! The audience joins in, singing along until either they or the performers finally give in to the advancing hour.
Cricket Creek Farm, Stephentown, Mass.
We visited Cricket Creek Farm, where you can buy raw milk and milk products (legally available in Mass) where their beef are completely grass-fed, and the pigs feed on grass and whey and veggie compost – no grain. Blog edit update: thank you to Topher from Cricket Creek Farm who kindly corrected my original blog on what the animals are fed. You can buy sausage, free range eggs and chickens (you can see them ranging freely), fresh-baked goods and more. You are welcome to explore the farm and advised to stay clear of working machinery and the various animal plops found on a farm.
The farm has an honour store. All the products are at hand. You find what you want, add up the total on the calculator, put your money in the box making change as necessary and away you go. We bought some butter (ingredients: cream), locally made blueberry spread, soap and raw cheese. While we didn’t really check we thought it unlikely you could bring raw milk products back into Canada, so we brought them back on the inside (Of us, not the car. We ate them.). It would be great if there was an enterprise like this closer to where we lived. We should investigate.
I was raised on a farm in Saskatchewan and our neighbours provided our milk and thick cream (unpasteurized) and in turn our mother gave them eggs. From the milk Mom made butter, buttermilk and cottage cheese. It’s been decades since I have tasted homemade butter. On our trip we were listening to the book “Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. It makes you think about what you eat, where it’s been raised and what happens to our food as it makes it way from producer to consumer. And it’s not all that pretty, nor comforting.
Have you eaten raw milk and raw milk products? Would you, if you had access to them?
Have you been to the Berkshires and if so, what did you see and do?