We had some friends up for the 4th of July, and as promised, hit a few local shops for the freshest produce, cheeses and meats we could find. We didn’t make the Lenox farmer’s market because it opened at 3:00pm when we wanted to start cooking (plus we had an early afternoon hike scheduled), but we did hit Guido’s, a market I like to think of as the Berkshires’ Citarella in New York. Kind of expensive, lots of fresh – but not always local – produce. From what I hear, the Guido’s butcher is local. So we got some great stuff and pulled together a feast of corn & tomato salsa, spice rubbed grilled steak, french potato salad, and some grilled zucchini we were too stuffed to eat. After dinner, we hit the Chatham fair to watch the fireworks, and guiltily got a few fried doughs. At the New England fairs I visited as a kid, I remember maple syrup on my fried dough, but alas, Chatham only had powdered sugar and cinnamon. Not that it slowed me down.

Earlier in the day we went on a hike on a trail maganed by the Columbia Land Conservancy, a local organization whose mission is to protect Columbia County’s farmlands and forests. After the hike, we hit Old Chatham Sheepherding Company for some cheese to nibble on before dinner. The farm was closed, but the “store” was open.

It’s self-serve, so you pay by the honor system. Take your cheese, leave your dough. We miscalculated how much we’d need. The block of Camembert was gone in about fifteen minutes.

Saturday morning we decided to make the dessert we were supposed to make the night before: plum and berry crisp. The recipe called for blueberries and blackberries, but we couldn’t find any local – so we used strawberries instead. I cooked up the crisp and served with vanilla ice cream for our breakfast. Yum. Our friends left that afternoon after picking up some more Old Chatham Sheepherding cheese for their train ride home.

We then headed over to Hinsdale, Mass for another feast. This time, it was huge, sweet Berkshire beef meatballs, salad, and a cucumber-dill-yogurt dish. Kind of like raita. We rolled home and then spent Sunday working off the food. I weeded, Anuj vacuumed – a perfect ending to the long weekend.