Local Love: V-Day Gift Options from the Berkshires

Earlier this week I found myself on medical leave in the middle of a snow storm in the middle of a pandemic, and feeling a threefold-level of boredom.

To quell the ennui, I decided to share a few cool Valentine gift ideas local to where I live on my Insta-stories, and the result is a great mix of products at various price points:

They had me at blush cheese… but this shippable gift box also includes products from other local companies.
I particularly love the names this company comes up with for their candles.
Awesome hand-made soaps, lip balms, and bath products suggested by a follower.
Vintage cuteness paired with the necessary caffeine at Dottie’s.
Shirts, hoodies, masks and more from 413shirts.com!
v1 vodka will also give you countless cocktail recipes for indoor-date-night
One of many young new companies in the Berkshires putting out cool local art and commerce!
Freebie bonus! Download these puntastic Valentines from Berkshire Museum for printing or digital sharing! I collected ’em all.

Call for Blogtoberfest Entries!

I always welcome guest posts at The Jump, but I take the collection thereof more seriously from October 1 to All Hallows Eve. The results have been varied and awesome, ranging in topic from witches to zombies to Neil Diamond.

Over the years, Blogtoberfest Guest Post submissions evolved into a full-on contest, with winners, prizes, and the bestowing of appropriate amounts of online glory.

Winners will be decided by readers via an online poll at the end of the month. There’s no length requirement or limit, and posts need not be spooky. October is also the month of harvest, baseball, and Breast Cancer Awareness. It may be that you or your organization has an annual event this month that deserves a little publicity. Whatever the topic – if it says October to you is fair game!

Prizes will be announced soon, and posts are accepted throughout the month, so get writing and send your entries to writerjax -at- gmail.com!

11 of the Best Foodstagrammers in the Berkshires

I think most people are past the ‘Why would I want to see what you had for dinner?’ criticism of social media by now … right?

Even if that phrase is still relevant in some circles, it never made much sense to me. I, personally, would love to see what you had for dinner — or breakfast, lunch, midnight-snack, whatevs.

To that end, I follow a lot of ‘Foodstagrammers’ — culinary content creators who aren’t just posting pictures of plates but also recipes, ingredients, reviews of new eateries, dispatches from farmers’ markets, and more. In order to serve a manageable portion, I’ve listed 11 of my favorite Foodstagrammers who hail from my own backyard, in the Berkshires. It doesn’t hurt that food is one of our things up here in The 413.

So, let’s start with dessert …

SoCo Creamery

(Great Barrington)

SoCo stages professional food photo-shoots featuring their homemade ice cream and gelato, but doesn’t shy away from crowd-pleasing, recurring content like Throwback Thursday or Wisdom Wednesday.

 

MedicMeals 

(Lenox)

Two medics bring the fire to the EMT kitchen, and the results are amazing. They have particular talents in the Benedict bay, and a fun collection of coffee mugs.

View this post on Instagram

Irish eggs Benedict #DontBeASaltyBitch

A post shared by MedicMeals (@medicmeals) on

 

Chocolate Springs 

(Lenox)

Regularly updated images of the latest creations by chocolatier Joshua Needleman and his team, including candies, cakes, and specialty coffees.

 

James Massey

(Great Barrington)

Chef Massey shares his own creations, but always promotes his fellow Berkshire foodies on the side. The result is a great place to find somewhere to go on a Friday night for the eats, even if it’s your own kitchen.

 

Chez Nous Bistro

(Lee)

A savory stream of photos from the kitchen and other nooks of the restaurant, manned  — or should I say, womanned — by Chef and co-owner Rachel Portnoy. Chez Nous is also great about using the link space in their profile to promote upcoming events.

View this post on Instagram

Crabcake oouhouhouhou

A post shared by Rachel (@cheznousbistro) on

 

The Marketplace 

(Pittsfield, Sheffield, Great Barrington)

The Marketplace team – which operates not just the Instagram stream linked above, but this one, too – has a knack for showcasing their artful cups of coffee, mouth-watering sandwiches, and catering options. Their accounts are as much digital specials boards as they are pure, straight-up food porn.

 

Alchemy413

(Pittsfield)

The Alchemy Initiative’s mission is to use “food as the foundation for creative community building,” so it stands to reason that their Instagram stream would be rich with incredible, edible images. Alchemy is also a constant presence at local farmers’ markets, sharing some of the harvests of the month and where to find them.

 

Brian Alberg

(Stockbridge)

A glimpse into the life of a chef: plated dinners, kitchen candids, ingredient spotlights, and plenty of photos of friends and family make for a balanced diet of content from Chef Brian Alberg, Executive Chef/ Vice President of Culinary Development for Main Street Hospitality and The Red Lion Inn.

 

Robin’s Candy

(Great Barrington)

The go-to stream for dizzyingly colorful displays of vintage, international, and hard-to-find candy items.

 

Rubiner’s

(Great Barrington)

Get your cheese on with Rubiner’s savory snaps… frequent photos and information about the finest fromage and other culinary joys.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BM7Dl62gatf/

 

Mountains of Sugar

(Lenox)

Delectable pastries and plenty of process shots from Kimberly Watson, Pastry Chef at Blantyre Resort & Spa.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQ8Eg77BxBL/

One last thing … my list is woefully low on North Berkshire County establishments. Share your favorites from that corner of the world in the comments – let’s make this list a baker’s dozen!

Hey Mom, I’m an Ambassador!

Don’t worry, faithful readers… I haven’t joined the forthcoming U.S. government’s administration, and I’m not moving to Burma nor the Vatican.

I have, however, signed on for a new program in my neck of the woods as one of the #BFFAmbassadors!

BFF – or Berkshire Family Focus, as it’s known in full – is an online magazine for which I write from time to time. More importantly, though, it’s (IMO) the best resource for things to do in The Berkshires for families of all types. This month, the outlet is kicking things up a notch with a 12 Days of Giveaways promotion, which challenges local online influencers like myself to spread the word about 12 different organizations or businesses in the area by pointing people (like you?) to daily giveaways of great stuff to win!

What makes this campaign particularly awesome is 1) it’s local, and 2) we, the participants, have been given a little incentive to excel, too. It’s like a Game of Posts… the more links, photos, and dedicated hashtags we create, the more points we accrue. At the end of the contest, we’ll tally the points, then pick one of a dozen prizes for ourselves, in order of who scored highest-to-lowest. Everybody wins, but there’s still an element of competition for the Type A Personalities in the group (hi).

I’ll be posting links to the giveaways each day from now until December 16, both here within this post and on Instagram.

berkshire-theater-group-anytime

Today’s giveaway is two tickets to a Berkshire Theatre Group performance of A Christmas Carol. Enter up!

Day 1: http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-giveaways-day-1-berkshire-theatre-group-christmas-carol/

**UPDATES!**

Day 2: You could win one of two $25 gift certificates to Persnickety Toys in North Adams, Mass.! http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-of-giveaways-day-2-persnickety-toys/

Day 3: Win tickets to one of WAM Theatre’s Fresh Take performances! http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-of-giveaways-day-3-wam-theatre/

Day 4: A one-year  membership is up for grabs! http://berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-giveaways-day-4-berkshire-museum/

Day 5: 20 lbs of propane? This livin’ in the mountains mama will take it. You? berkshirefamilyfocus.com/12-days-giveaways-day-5-george-propane

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