WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Berkshire Grown will host its popular Holiday Farmers’ Markets in Great Barrington and Williamstown Nov. 17-18 and Dec. 15-16. The markets feature locally grown and produced food during months when farmers’ markets are not open in the region and extend the opportunity for community members to purchase directly from area food producers and farmers.
"We’re thrilled to host our fourth annual farmers’ markets," says Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. "We’re extending the season for our local farmers, and offering the community an opportunity to support our local farmers and food producers. The success of these markets depends on everyone participating - we count on the community to celebrate our local food and farmers." The Thanksgiving markets will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17 at Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School, 318 Monument Valley Road, Great Barrington, and Sunday, Nov. 18 at Williams College Towne Field House, 82 Latham Street, in Williamstown. Locally grown, produced and prepared foods for the holiday table will be offered from farmers and food producers in the region including produce, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, bread, pies and other baked goods, and preserves, including pickles and jams.
The Christmas markets will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15 at Muddy Brook Regional Elementary School in Great Barrington, and Sunday, Dec. 16 at Williams College Towne Field House in Williamstown Pre-order pickups will be available at the Holiday Farmers’ Markets as well as lunch items and live entertainment. Activities for children will be offered at the Williamstown markets, including crafts, face painting and a scavenger hunt. Admission to the markets is free of charge. Visit berkshiregrown.org/holiday-farmers-markets-2012 or call 413-528-0041 for additional details.
The Holiday Farmers’ Markets began in 2009 with two market locations and were held the weekend before Thanksgiving. Given the success of its first markets, Berkshire Grown increased the number of markets to four in 2010, adding the weekend before Christmas as a second economic opportunity for the food and farming community. Last year the four markets were attended by 5,100 people and generated more than $100,000 in revenue for local vendors, a nine percent increase over the previous year’s figures.
A major sponsor of the markets is the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Berkshire Grown received funding from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to promote Massachusetts Grown and Fresher at the Holiday Farmers’ Markets. Massachusetts Grown and Fresher is a major sponsor of the markets in addition to Williams College, which has contributed significant funds to the project.
As part of Williams College’s ongoing commitment to sustainable food and local agriculture, the College is again co-sponsoring the markets by donating the Williamstown venue as well as providing funding toward the event. The Williams College Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program and The Zilka Center for Environmental Initiatives are supporting the markets as a community partnership to further incorporate the principles of sustainability into the fabric of campus life. For more information on the college’s ongoing commitment to sustainable food, visit http://sustainability. williams.edu.
In addition to generous support from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and Williams College, a major sponsor of the event is The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce. Additional sponsors include Berkshire Co-op Market, Berkshire Organics, Kimball Farms, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Mezze Bistro + Bar and Allium Bistro + Bar, Sweet Brook Farm and The Red Lion Inn. Berkshire Grown supports and promotes local agriculture as a vital part of the Berkshire community, economy and landscape. The non-profit organization’s mission is to "Keep farmers farming!" and is the "go-to" network linking farmers and the Berkshire community. Through events, workshops, promotions, advocacy and education highlighting locally grown and produced food, Berkshire Grown helps to create a thriving local food economy. For more information or to become a member, seeberkshiregrown.org or call 413-528-0041.