farm

Craft distilling provides jobs to the agricultural, tourism and beverage industries – they also provide Federal and state tax revenue. Both New York and Massachusetts have distiller guilds, which serve to promote local spirits, interface with government and coordinate legislative goals.

We are joined today by two prominent and impressive distilleries in our region.

Berkshire Mountain Distillers was established in 2007 and has created a line of award-winning artisanal spirits including Greylock Gin, Ethereal Gins, Ragged Mountain Rum, Ice Glen Vodka, Berkshire Bourbon and New England Corn Whiskey, currently available in 19 different states. All products are handcrafted in small batches in Great Barrington, Massachusetts at the Berkshire’s first legal distillery since prohibition.

Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery was founded in 2008 on a third generation apple farm in Valatie, New York. Their Core Vodka, Cornelius Applejack, John Henry Single Malt Whiskey, Black Raspberry Core Vodka, Cornelius Cherry Applejack, Cornelius Peach Applejack, and Rare Pear Brandy are all made 100 gallons at a time in their German copper pot still.

Chris Weld of Berkshire Mountain Distillers and Derek Grout of Harvest Spirits join us.

  Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA is open for the with Baby Animals on the Shaker Farm, running daily, 10 am to 4 pm, through Sunday, May 8.

Home to several hundred Shakers from the 1780s to 1960, Hancock Shaker Village is now an outdoor-history museum dedicated to preserving the Shaker legacy.

Right now, the barns are full of chicks, ducklings, lambs, kids, and calves.

We went to Hancock Shaker Village earlier this week and spoke with Shawn Hartley Hancock, Director of Marketing and Communications. After oooing and awwwing at the baby animals, including two lambs born within half an hour our my arrival, we parked ourselves on one side of the round stone barn and talked about what is going on at the Village now - and about some things upcoming over the course of the summer.

Dairy cow
WAMC/Pat Bradley

A number of groups have been warning of dire consequences should New York’s minimum wage be raised to $15 per hour.  The New York Farm Bureau held simultaneous press conferences across the state on Monday, contending the higher wage would negatively affect farms and the cost of food.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will learn about Farm Values: Civic Agriculture at the Crossroads, a community project of the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust in Athol, Massachusetts.

The project focuses on the history of six farms in North-Central Massachusetts and culminates at the Public Library in Athol next Thursday, December 10.

We are joined by Cathy Stanton, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Tufts University, and Project Director of Farm Values, a project that was funded by Mass Humanities. She joins us to explore the value of examining what we think we know about the history of agriculture in the Northeast and why it is important to understand the history of individual farms.

  United States Congress people aren’t subject to term limits.

In today’s Congressional Corner Alan Chartock speaks with New York Congressman Chris Gibson about his self-imposed term limit and potential future plans.

In all of New York State there are only 9-towns that are completely dry. No alcohol. New York specifically allows cities and counties to exercise a local option by public referendum whether to go dry. One of those towns is Argyle, in Washington County, NY. In Argyle, the measure has come up for a vote for decades – only to be defeated by voters.

  On the production line in American packinghouses, there is one cardinal rule: the chain never slows. Every year, the chain conveyors that set the pace of slaughter have continually accelerated to keep up with America’s growing appetite for processed meat. Journalist Ted Genoways uses the story of Hormel Foods and soaring recession-era demand for its most famous product, Spam, to probe the state of the meatpacking industry, including the expansion of agribusiness and the effects of immigrant labor on Middle America.

For The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, Genoways interviewed scores of industry line workers, union leaders, hog farmers, and local politicians and activists. He reveals an industry pushed to its breaking point and exposes alarming new trends: sick or permanently disabled workers, abused animals, water and soil pollution, and mounting conflict between small towns and immigrant workers.

  The story of the Lentil Underground begins on a 280-acre homestead rooted in America’s Great Plains: the Oien family farm. Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness told small farmers like the Oiens to “get big or get out.” But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to grow, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so their farmers aren’t beholden to industrial methods.

http://cricketcreekfarm.com/

  Berkshire Grown will host its first Winter Farmers’ Markets on January 17 and February 14 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Monument Valley Middle School in Great Barrington, MA. These events are an extension of the organization’s Holiday Farmers’ Markets, which enjoyed record attendance this past November and December. These popular events feature locally grown and produced foods, plus live music, lunch fare, and activities for children, during months when most farmers’ markets are not open in the region.

Here to tell us more is Suzy Konecky who manages the creamery at Cricket Creek Farm – her job includes cheese production, inventory, marketing and sales.

  From their humble beginnings as a 2 1/2-acre raspberry field, Earthbound Farm now grows and distributes organic produce nationally. Co-founder Myra Goodman and her daughter Marea are skillful home cooks, and the proximity to their fields of fresh vegetables and fruits made it easy to develop creative—and definitely delicious—dishes that are not only heavy on the produce, they just happen to be vegan!

Myra Goodman joins us to talk about Straight From The Earth: 100 Irresistible Vegan Recipes For Everyone.

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