Bartlett’s Orchard grows heirloom tomatoes

On Sunday morning, I went looking for tomatoes — and found them in Richmond. Valencia, Indigo Rose … heirloom tomatoes have names as richly varied as their hues. According to a recent Facebook post, by the end of August Bartlett’s had “16 varieties of hybrid tomatoes, 18 varieties of heirlooms, and 6 varieties of cherrys” on offer.

The ones I saw came in sizes and colors from plum-dark golf balls to firm yellow-orange ones I could barely fit in one hand. I know Barlett’s Orchards as a farm shop with No. Six Depot coffee beans and as a source for cider and cider doughnuts — crisp, warm and spiced. But I hadn’t come on their summer harvest before. This weekend they had peppers and eggplant and sweet corn too, and the first of the early apples. They have many facets and seasons.

To get there: From Route 7 in Pittsfield, turn onto Route 20 just south of the downtown circle). Go through the first immediate light and past Clapp Park, and about 3/4 of a mile down you’ll come to a light with a left-turn lane; turn left onto Barker Road. It’s a winding, quiet back road and a good way into West Stockbridge, if you follow it all the way to the end. It will turn into Swamp Road in Richmond, and at 575 Swamp Road, not far from a marshy stand of cat-tails, you’ll find Bartlett’s Orchard on the left as you head south.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

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