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The Recorder - Editorial: Monday Shorts — A paean to sweet corn

Published: 8/17/2020 6:46:11 AM

Here are some brief thoughts on recent happenings in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region.

Sweet corn

County folks have a passion for sweet corn and the more local, the better.

At first, Hadley counts as local because, being just a little further south, it’s the first to appear. But within a week or two, Franklin County farmers are bringing their corn to market, from the roadside farm stand to the big supermarkets.

A common question of customers is, Where did this corn come from? If it’s in town, that’s “the best.” The second question is, When was it picked? For purists, the answer has to be, “Just this morning.” Or, if you have your own crop, first bring the water to a boil and then pick it.

Happily, there’s no shortage of local sweet corn. In Deerfield alone, aficionados can choose from the Ciesluk, Kolakoski and Bars farms. Most other towns have their farms, too.

Some farmers even have their signature varieties. Ciesluk, for example, is famous for its Silver King Corn, which produces fully white kernels. At Bars Farm, the season starts with Sweetness, before switching to Pursuit. Butter and Sugar is one of the most popular varieties throughout Franklin County. Others include Crisp ‘n’ Sweet, Sugar Dots, sugar and Gold, and Honey and Cream.

Cooks have their favorite preparation methods: boiling vs. throwing it on the grill or hot coals. Serving typically involves salt, pepper and butter in any number of guises — Serrano Chile Butter, Gorgonzola-Bacon Butter or Lemon-Parsley Butter, anyone?

The corn season typically lasts until mid- to late October, according to Mike Antonellis of Ciesluk Farm. Lots of time yet to savor this seasonal treat.

Harvest Supper, pandemic-style

The annual Harvest Supper on the common is a local institution started in 2005 by the late Juanita Nelson as a way to celebrate the local harvest. Farmers throughout the area share their crops and volunteers plan a community meal around them.

This year, the 16th annual Harvest Supper, set for Sunday, Aug. 23, has been creatively re-imagined for the times, with to-go meals packed for pick-up between 4:30 and 6 p.m.

Chef Kirsten Levitt of Stone Soup Cafe fame, promises the return of menu favorites including blueberry wheat berry salad, pesto potato salad and turkey peach salad, plus meat, vegan and vegetarian choices.

The suggested donation of $12 will help support Stone Soup Cafe’s weekly pay-what-you-can meals. There is also a live auction and a concert by Seth Glier ($25). So while you’re enjoying your meal at home, you can bid on the auction and livestream the concert. For more information or to order a dinner and/or concert tickets, visit thestonesoupcafe.org.

Garden Cinemas now fully accessible

Kudos to former owners George Gohl and William Gobeille for seeing the new chairlift installation through to completion.

This has been a project fraught with complications, including pandemic-related delays. The Architectural Access Board has been working with Gohl and Gobeille since 2012 to ensure that the 1928 movie palace, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is accessible and safe for people with disabilities.

Now, Isaac Mass and his wife, Angela, the new owners of Garden Cinemas, say they are ready to move forward with the purchase of the historic Garden Block, scheduled for later in the month.

The cinemas recently reopened, allowing 25 people in each theater at one time. Owners also recently announced they are serving beer and wine. Check the weekend lineup in Friday’s paper.

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