West Colebrook Farm- A Hidden Gem

I was so thrilled when someone recommended Oriana and Joe as vendors. I had met Joe when he volunteered his time (and truck) to help Greenagers install raised garden beds for local families two years ago. When I heard he and his partner, Oriana, had started up a farm, I couldn’t wait to see it.

West Colebrook Farm sits on nearly 50 acres-some wooded and some already being used for everything from potato planting to cow grazing to horse training. Oriana and Joe are not horse trainers, but the former owners were and there are remnants of equestrian fanfare throughout the property. On the south end of the farm sits a big, beautiful barn. Renovated in the late 80’s, the barn features a red exterior, a beautiful white cupola and a window in the hayloft shaped almost like a honeycomb. There is even some beautiful, cedar and The stables were primarily for horses, but now the wide stalls house rams, ewes and newly birthed lambs. The hayloft is huge and Joe has plenty of space to store what he collects.

The house is big, to say the least. I joked with Oriana that they only heat a small apartment-sized portion of it during the winter. At least 150 years old, the white farmhouse has a big screened in porch and a well-kept garden winding around the side of the exterior. Along with another older barn, a chicken coop and lots of farming equipment, Oriana’s farm looks like a big operation for just two millenials. The potential is there for not only more production (they’re dying to get into cheese) but also the opportunity to be a teaching farm, offering educational and vocational programming along with a functioning business. The property is so beautiful, having kids there would just add to its magic.

The animals have plenty of space to live and thrive on the property, and this leads to delicious beef, pork and chicken products available at our market. We are so grateful to have these two nice people on board. Come visit West Colebrook Farm on Fridays!

Up the Creek

Driving to Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown is therapeutic. Landscapes sprawling across the purview, and Mount Greylock looming overhead make it a journey worth making at least once a month. I took a nice spring drive (yes, it’s spring now no matter what anyone says) up to Cricket Creek Farm to meet Beth, their Operations Manager, and talk cheese.

Beth gave me a warm welcome and a lovely tour around their milking facility. They have over four different breeds and crossbreeds of dairy cows, and beef cows. That means over 200 acres of pasture is needed to make sure they all have what they need. Beth has only been working for Cricket Creek for over a year but cheese has been her passion for much longer. Before moving to the farmlands, she ran a cheese shop in Brooklyn for 7 years. When she and her husband got tired of the city life, her only requirement for a new home was- cheese. And she found it at Cricket Creek. She discussed all the different types of cheese they make, and how they age some of their flavors for up to two years in specific ‘aging rooms’.

Then we went outside into the Spring sun (yep, still Spring) and visited with the ladies. Some were pregnant and some had just given birth and were in that-as Beth called it- “what is happening to my body?” stage that some of us can relate to. As we talked, the girls streamed out one by one into the sun. They know it’s springtime too apparently.

Beth was sweet, the cows were sweet, and the calves were even sweeter. I stopped into the Farm Store on my way out and grabbed a garlic and herb round of Hillside.

Cricket Creek will be with us for at least the first month of the season offering various cheeses and grilling up sandwiches as well! We are so grateful and excited to have them on board! If you’re ever taking the beautiful drive up north, stop in and grab some aged perfection.

I could get used to this...

I am new at this-very new. I have some marketing skills (pun intended), I love local goods, and I absolutely LOVE Sheffield so I think that’s a pretty good foundation for managing the Farmers’ Market. But honestly, with a busy work schedule, two small ones at home and other miscellaneous responsibilities, the last thing I want to do is get a vendor mixed up with another…or forget what the vendor sells…or give someone wrong directions to a farm.

Luckily, I am a visual learner (and a pretty nice gal) so I was excited when the panelists at the market manager conference told everyone to “get out there and visit your vendors!”

It was so simple, yet I felt silly for not thinking about it before.

So here I am…visiting with vendors. Not only getting a tour of where they grow, harvest, bake, create, package, etc. etc. but also getting to know them. My brief stint as a journalism major (and editor-in-chief of my high school paper- The Daily Gazette-I know, you’re impressed) will come in handy for these interviews.

I hope these visits will also give you the chance to get to know our amazing vendors. That way you will have even more to talk about when you visit us this summer!