One of Berkshire County’s most famous part-time residents, Deval Patrick, also happens to be a knowledgeable foodie. The governor, who has been vacationing in the Berkshires for about three decades and now owns a home in Richmond, says he’s had a lifelong interest in food. One day, “when I get my life back,” Patrick says, he hopes to produce his own on his family’s land. “I’d like to get chickens, for the eggs, and maybe grow our own vegetables.” In the meantime, he’s happy cooking up the bounty from farmers’ markets and enjoying the region’s restaurants. Patrick has many favorite culinary experiences; here are five of them.
1. John Andrews
Tucked into a farmhouse in South Egremont, near the New York border, John Andrews is a restaurant popular for special occasions that emphasizes farm-to-table dining in surroundings that are at once simple and elegant. “The menu changes all the time, and it’s very seasonal, which is what’s fun about it,” says the governor. “It’s one of the places where you can occasionally get local fish.” 413-528-3469, jarestaurant.com
“It’s very creative,” says Patrick of this tiny, chic spot in downtown Lenox, a self-described “creative American pasta bar,” where the menu changes constantly according to what’s coming from the farms. In addition to enjoying the bounty of a variety of Berkshire growers, you may end up getting to taste some gubernatorial produce. “There’s a woman across the street from where we live in Richmond who has been foraging for mushrooms on our land,” says Patrick. “I think that mushrooms from our land have ended up at Nudel.” 413-551-7183, nudelrestaurant.com
3. Elizabeth’s Cafe
The governor describes this off-the-beaten-path Pittsfield restaurant as “very low-key,” and says it feels like being in someone’s house. “What they serve is what they got from the farmers’ market,” he says. “They do this incredible whole roasted onion. It just knocks you down, it’s so good.” Most of the items served are vegetarian, and the focus is on pasta, bread, and salads. 413-448-8244
4. Bartlett’s Orchard
For an afternoon snack, the governor likes this Richmond spot, where you can pick your own apples and stroll among the fruit trees. He suggests the cider doughnuts, for which Bartlett’s is famous. “They’re flavored with apple cider, and they’re absolutely delicious,” Patrick says. “You can buy them warm.” 413-698-2559
5. Swamp Road farm stand
Before heading east on the turnpike, Patrick says, try to find an unnamed and unmanned farm stand on the same road as Bartlett’s Orchard (Swamp Road) on the Richmond/Pittsfield line. If there’s still corn available, you can help yourself and leave payment in a lockbox. “I think they have the best corn around,” says Patrick. “But it may just taste so good because the concept of the honor system in these times is so beautiful.”
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