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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Farmers Markets, CSAs, & More

Fresh local produce is bounteous in Western Massachusetts, and while I do try to keep a list of farm stands in the area, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) does a better job of it than I do.  CISA keeps a list of farmers markets, farm stands, CSAs, and pick-your-own farms.  It also tracks what's available when on a wonderful harvest calendar.  CISA is a great resource -- use it frequently!

Open CSA week is coming soon, and both The Kitchen Garden and The Next Barn Over in Hadley are participating. 
Visit this informational page for details.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Asparagus + Strawberries = Good Local Fun

If you missed the Strawberry/Asparagus Supper at the First Congregational Church of Hadley last weekend, you missed your chance to participate in a multi-generational community dinner, a long-runnning local tradition, celebrating one of Hadley's most famous crops -- asparagus.  (Did you know the Queen of England used to order in Hadley's asparagus?)  But you didn't miss your only chance ever -- get ready for it to return next year -- the First Congregational Church's Strawberry/Asparagus Supper has been going on for more than 80 years, and it's not looking to end anytime soon.

You don't have to be a church-goer or even of the older generation to go and enjoy the food and the friendly community spirit.  Mr Madley and I went for the first time this year after Mr Madley heard  Monte's spot on The River, and we're awfully glad we did.  There's something comfortingly and uniquely New England about sitting down to a dinner in a 200-year-old church and eating and sharing stories with community members who have been attending the annual dinner for more than half a century.  (Ninety-year-old Marge Barstow has been participating since the very beginning.  She says that in earlier days, the serving men would wear formal white jackets; now they wear jeans.)  Reverend Sarah Buteux calls it a "retro-cool" experience, and she's not wrong.
For only $12/adult and $6/child ($1 discount with early payment), we were able to enjoy a menu featuring ham, rolls, potato salad, and, of course, asparagus (picked that very morning).  There's even coffee from Rao's, for those so inclined.  And for dessert: strawberry shortcake, with vanilla ice cream from Cook Farm and sweet shortcake from Barstow's (that was super delicious shortcake).  There are two seatings for supper, to make sure everyone who wants to attend can.

The supper is definitely a new family tradition for the Madleys.  I can't wait until it's back next year.  I hope that maybe we can meet you there. Bring your family and friends and enjoy local food and local community.

The official online invitation.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday Folk Traditions 2012

Wednesday Folk Traditions are coming back to the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum this summer -- check out the listing below for the great performance lineup.
All these performances are also listed on the calendar for easy reference.


 June 6 The Art Steele Blues Band, a staple on the New England scene, perform quintessential American music: "When we play we want to sweep people into our framework, paint a picture in their head and a feeling in their heart." "Blues is like religion for Steele...he has carried the mantle with fervor and zeal."- Donnie Moorehouse, BLUESWIRE magazine.

 June 13 Trine Cheile with Rosemary Caine- Trine Cheile, Gaelic for cheerful disorder, play an eclectic Celtic mix of chestnuts, including songs of those 'Wilde Irish Women' inspired by local Irish harpist and songster Rosie Caine and performed by a stunning quintet of Valley artists.

 June 20 Viva Quetzal- World/Afro-Andean/Latin/Jazz Fusion ... an astonishing array of exotic and familiar instruments and folkloric themes that creates a link among the rain forests of Central and South America, the carnivals of Brazil, the high plateaus of the Andes, and the urban barrios of Latin America and the United States. "more than eclectic or rhythmic, it's spiritual, it's all cultures existing as one. That's universal music!"- Rafael Charres, Cashbox Magazine (NYC)

 June 27 Gokh-Bi System - African hip hop ambassadors from Dakar, Senegal perform music that is both ancient and contemporary. They combine traditional drums with the forgotten ekonting, a beautiful and haunting string instrument from southern Senegal, adding unique four and five language rhythm-poetry, village dance styles and urban hip storytelling. "Hip hop takes a joyful, respectful place alongside traditionalism." -The New York Times

 Happy 4th of July

(Performances scheduled for after the Fourth of July will be posted in a few weeks.)

WEDNESDAY FOLK TRADITIONS 2012- 31st season. Performances are held Wednesday evenings at 6:30 pm. in the Sunken Garden at the Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum, 130 River Drive, Route 47, Hadley MA 01035. Admission is $10, $2 children 16 and under. Picnickers are welcome on the museum grounds starting at 5:00 pm. This is a smoke-free site.

For further information please call (413) 584-4699 or view
Wednesday Folk Traditions is funded, in part, by grants from: the Marion I. And Otto C. Kohler Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts; and the Hadley Cultural Council, a local agency, supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; and with generous support from many local businesses, including Hadley's Mountain Farms Mall and Easthampton Savings Bank, and the Walmart Foundation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

All Things Local

I found this article on MassLive today reporting on a group of people who would like to take the idea of the Winter's Farmer's Market in Amherst and expand it into a cooperative store that sells "all things local" -- everything from soap to candles to produce to wool to art and more.

There will be a meeting tonight at Amherst Town Hall at 7pm (and another on May 29) to discuss the project and gauge interest.  People from the local communities are invited to attend and weigh in.  This initiative is in association with Transition Amherst.

I think this sounds like a fantastic idea.  I would love to see a store that offers more of the great things we have in the Valley; a permanent location where local vendors could really display their wares -- and where it's all in one place.  I can imagine so many grand possibilities....

Transition Amherst

Sunday, May 20, 2012

C/WMARS Library Catalog Migration

There are some big changes coming to the online library catalog Memorial Day Weekend -- namely, a whole new catalog system.  If you use the current online catalog system to make requests, build wishlists, or track your reading, there are some things you're going to need to do before the migration to the new catalog is complete.  If your reading history and wishlists are as important to you as mine are to me, be sure to export them and then save them to your computer or email them to yourself -- these lists will not be converting with the new system.  Exporting your lists is easy to do:
  1. log in to your account
  2. go to your reading history or wishlist (select one list if you have multiples), 
  3. click on the "export list" button,
  4. select "full display" or "brief display" at the top of the page (I recommend "brief"),
  5. then enter your email address if you wish to email it to yourself or click in the "screen" button if you simply wish to save it,
  6. and finally, click "submit."
For more information about the new catalog system, visit the C/WMARS website -- there are other changes you may be interested in finding out about (like the fact that your PIN will change...).

Enjoy!  I look forward to seeing how the new system operates.
Looking for more information about the Hadley public library?  Check out their NEW website.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

This Week's News

A few recent news articles for your perusal:

The Hadley Schools Superintendent Search
Report on the Hadley Town Meeting
US Wildlife Service Buys Hadley Conservation Land

I alluded to the new town website on the previous post.  While I like the sharp, clean look of the old website better, the new website has much more functionality.  And though not all the pages are populated yet, there is much more available information than there had been previously.
The library has its own site-within-a-site with links to the catalogs, databases, events, and more; the town by-laws are accessible from the town's homepage; minutes and agendas are available for viewing; bills can be paid online; and there's now a comment form.  You can also sign up for email alerts from the town here:
I'm sure more information will be added to the website over the next few months, filling in some of the blank spaces and making it even more useful.

Were you at the Town Meeting Thursday night?  If you weren't, I encourage you to make space in your schedule for the November meeting; if you were, keep up the good work and come back to the next one!  (One of my favourite parts of this year's meeting was picking up my very own copy of the Annual Town Report, in which there is plenty of useful information and one of my photos.)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Calendar Reminder: Town Meeting

Just a friendly reminder that the annual town meeting is scheduled for tomorrow night (Thursday, May 3).  For more information, visit the *NEW* town website.