Have you ever felt a calf lick your elbow with a rough tongue? Ever walked down rows of leafy greens and felt the earth give under your feet? Textures like that follow me into farmers markets. Even on a downtown street a few miles from the fields, they bring me close to the interconnected lives on a farm.

Whatever I touch, whatever I taste, grew here. The berries ripened and the bees foraged for nectar, and someone planted the peas and cultured the milk and set the curds in the cheese press … Walking through a raft of tents, I remember conversations out in the fields. Farmers have told me how they’re re-imagining what farming means, while free-range pigs snuffled around my knees.

A new web of local farms and food makers are emerging, and out here in a way I’m part of it. With voices around me and the colors and scents of cut flowers and and iced coffee and sandwiches toasting on the grill, I can feel the pulse of it. Even when I’m just picking up a molasses cookie.

Some days I’ve come closer. I’ve put in some summer days working on a farm in college summers, and now I have a CSA share at Caretaker Farm. I’ve helped apprentices there to pick beets. It was a sunny afternoon (a few years back, pre-pandemic), and I remember the sun and the quiet between the rows, the feel of stalks and roots, and the group talking around me about what they would make for dinner from what they had picked that day, soups and salads, and the live music they would play together afterward, just relaxing, maybe on fiddle and guitar.

You don’t have to know a farm though to feel drawn to a farmers market. They can have the appeal of street food and unexpected variety — herbs, fermented pickles, strawberries. Sometimes live performers appear — sometimes local artisans. On a good day, when an afternoon stretches out ahead for exploring, I can wander through and pick up lunch as I go, to eat out of hand — Cricket Creek Farm cheese maybe with Berkshire Mountain Bakery sourdough bread.

Roots Rising's teen-led farmers market runs year-round in downtown Pittsfield, on the common in summer and in the church next door in winter.
Roots Rising

Roots Rising's teen-led farmers market runs year-round in downtown Pittsfield, on the common in summer and in the church next door in winter.

Berkshire farmers markets

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Courtesy of the Williamstown Farmers Market

Williamstown Farmers Market

Duck egg tacos with hot sausage and greens? Baklava and fresh moussaka? The Williamstown Farmers Market brings Farmers, food producers, artists and artisans to Spring Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday from May to October.

Photo by Susan Geller

Lenox Farmers Market

The 2020 Lenox Farmer’s Market returns on Friday afternoons from June to early October in downtown Lenox, with farm cheeses, meats and eggs, locally grown vegetables and cut flowersand more, layer cakes and fresh breads.

BTW Berkshires