On a gorgeous summer evening in the Southern Berkshires, Berkshire Grown members and friends welcomed summer at Indian Line Farm in South Egremont. Nearly 200 people celebrated the season with farmers, chefs, friends, and family. Prairie Whale Chef Steve Browning and his crew spit-roasted 3 lambs pasture-raised at nearby Mayflower Farm and at Brattle Farm in Pittsfield, as well as creating a bountiful array of vegetable sides and salads with ingredients sourced from the host farmer Elizabeth Keen at Indian Line Farm and Markristo Farm in Hillsdale.
Just as he does in the Prairie Whale restaurant, Browning, who sourced his ingredients hyper-locally, says “It was great to cook outside at one of our favorite farms and to see lots of familiar faces and meet new people from our community. We got to share ideas and recipes with lots of people throughout the night, which shows that simply preparing great ingredients is the best way to cook. We are lucky to live in an area with so many awesome farms to buy great ingredients from and I hope this event inspires more events like it in the future.
Before the event started Elizabeth made us homemade lemonade, and it was the best lemonade ever! This truly rounded out the experience of cooking at the farm being able to relax and drink some lemonade before we served our food. Indian Line Farm is a very relaxed and generous farm, and their produce is definitely a reflection of this place. It has its own identity and flavor and is a reflection of Elizabeth and the place that it is grown.
I would also say this is the best lamb I have ever eaten. Sourcing locally helps build our local economy, but it means more than that – I get to work directly with the farmers, walk the fields with them, and see where the vegetables and animals are raised. I am grateful to Indian Line Farm and Markristo Farms for their amazing produce, and to Mayflower Farm and Brattle Farm for raising their animals with love and attention. And – I am very lucky to have an awesome kitchen crew to make an event like this possible!”
Elizabeth Keen of Indian Line Farm says “I love the multi-generational aspect. People of all ages gathered together on the farm, eating good food and enjoying each other’s company.”
Planned as a community building event rather than a fundraiser, the event brought together farmers, families, and local chefs to enjoy a meal and have fun on a local farm. Berkshire Grown Executive Director Margaret Moulton said “We had such a tremendous response to this idea – the event sold out weeks in advance. Our community members clearly love hanging out with their farmers!”
Berkshire Grown worked with Indian Line farmer Elizabeth Keen to prepare the farm for a large crowd of visitors. With the rye grass fields mowed, greenhouses groomed to perfection, and the rows of crops carefully weeded, Keen and her farm crew proudly showed off their crops during a farm tour. Kids munched on cookies from the Southfield Store, and played games run by Leslie Svilokos of Greenagers. Everyone’s smiles heightened with delight as they loaded up their plates with grilled lamb, sides, and salads created by the Prairie Whale chef and crew, as well as North Plain Farm hot dogs grilled onsite by Sean Stanton and Tess Diamond.
If you missed Lamb Jam, don’t miss Berkshire Grown’s Harvest Supper – a celebration of local food and farms with over 20 chefs offering tastes of the Berkshires. This year’s Harvest Supper is on Monday, September 23, at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington. And if you want to learn more about food and farming, join us for a conversation with Chef Dan Barber on Sunday, August 18, in Sheffield. To learn more about upcoming events and local food and farms, visit BerkshireGrown.org, or call (413) 528-0041.
Photos by Linda Campos