For nineteen years—long before every magazine was telling us that "hard cider is easy choice for fall"—farmers and cider makers in western Massachusetts have gathered to celebrate autumn and their region's long relationship with apples. Originally a small harvest festival for local producer West County Cider, CiderDays has grown into the most recognized cider event in the United States.
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When your normal beat is geeking out on snack chips, it's a breath of fresh air (and...uh...fresh breath) to be asked to investigate romantic spots to sip cocktails. I've been living, drinking, and dating in Boston for a few years now and have gathered quite a bit of on-the-ground intel on where it's best to bring a date. Each of these cocktail destinations offers warm lighting, plenty of cozy seating for two, and most importantly, top-notch drinks.
Before I get into why this is the best pasteurized milk I've ever had, I should backtrack and say that I love raw milk and have long been a fan of Mermaid Farm, which for years was Martha's Vineyard's lone source of unpasteurized milk. But the pasteurized milk that Grey Barn and Farm proprietors Eric and Molly Glasgow and their herd of Dutch belted cows are producing in Chilmark, MA is astonishingly good.
The production that goes into making eggnog at my family's holiday party each year is such a ritual that it's borderline sacred, and buying eggnog is considered sacrilege. So forgive me, family, for I have sinned. But when I saw that High Lawn, the Lee, Massachusetts dairy farm that produces some of the most widely available premium milk in the Boston area, had gotten into the eggnog game, I figured it was worth a try.
You don't often hear much about wine from Massachusetts, but the sparkling wines from Westport Rivers Vineyard and Winery on the south coast of the state are too remarkable to ignore. The cool coastal climate and gravel-and-loam soils make for bright, tart, and well-balanced wines that are perfect for celebrations (or any day you happen to have access to some freshly-shucked oysters.)
Healy moves his small heard of cows back and forth between Mermaid Farm and a nearby field, where the ladies have more space to roam and graze. I always figure that it's this variety in the cows' diet—plus the time of year and the lack of pasteurization—that's responsible for the subtle flavor differences in the milk from batch to batch. Sometimes the rich, nutty cream flavor is more forward; other times there's a mellow sweetness, as if a few drops of honey dripped into the bottle.
Finding a fantastic local roaster can be a tough chore in the sea of specialty and non-specialty grade coffee roasters out there. But if you live in or around Boston you're in luck: The coffee community has been growing rapidly and two local roasters in particular seem to be spearheading the movement. Like-minded yet extremely different in selections, George Howell's Terroir in Acton and Barismo out of Arlington offer intelligent and thoughtful coffees in the Northeast US.