Ashfield Fall Festival and a Little Southern Somethin’

Notes from Nan: Fall Festival and a Black Gospel Choir, All in Ashfield on the very same weekend !
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati


First off, you know that this weekend is Fall Festival in Ashfield! (All of you who do not live in Ashfield should talk among yourselves right now as this particular part will probably not interest you. I’ll let you know when to come back in.)

So! This weekend (Saturday and Sunday) all a y’all come back around to Elmer’s for our good old

  • Authentic New Orleans Crawfish Pasta

which has become an annual tradition for us at Fall Festival.

For Breakfast we will not have our sit-down breakfast of usual, but instead will have our Breakfast Burritos out front at our tent. You can come inside and get other things, (including a few surprises this year!)

Then, Saturday night we will have a special added Fall Fest event: 

The Gospel Tent

at the Congregational Church!

Gregarious, powerful, uplifting, inspiring evening of gospel music   held October 11 at 7:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church of Ashfield, Main Street.  Rollicking after-party at Elmer’s following for ticket holders.  Ticket sales at Elmer’s starting October 1.

This is a benefit concert for C.E.C. a non-profit organization encouraging and supporting inner city children who want to ride horses, join the world of equestrian sports, and make new friends. Tickets in advance: $15

Tickets night of the show: $18.

Children seven and under free.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a real, live black gospel concert, but it will pick you up and shake you out before turning you loose!  At the Jazz Fest in New Orleans we have an entire stage devoted entirely to Gospel groups, and the place is packed, all day long.  I do not care whether or not you are religious, it will be a fine, fine night of entertainment!  And it supports an excellent cause:  The Children’s Equitation Center, which does just what Roberta up there says it does.  Save the world and your soul, all in the same evening!

Then, after the concert, dance on over to Elmer’s for our post-concert party.  Guaranteed fun, food and more of the music!  This, again is something one doesn’t usually find in tiny towns in New England and so bring yourself and your Festival guests on over to the Congregational Church and be transported to a Black Gospel Tent down south!  ‘Cause children, we gonna have CHURCH!

Friday night dinner:

Fall Festival taken into consideration, we are still doing our Friday night dinner this week with

Lemon and Herb Marinated Chicken

over Pasta Fagioli  (Cannelini Beans, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Zucchini, carrots, celery, onions, Parmesan Cheese, Oregano, Fresh Basil)

Field Greens Salad

Vegetarians will have the Pasta Fagioli

With the Field Greens Salad

Okay, now the out-of-towners can jump back in here.

So, with last week’s edition of “Grocery Talk with Rob” which had nothing in the world to do with groceries at all, I think I have to concede the Funny Title to Rob.  We got the most fan mail off of that article than we’ve ever gotten in life—and most of it was good!  (If you missed reading it then you’re going to want to go back.  It was freakin’ hilarious!

National Fame for Elmer’s!

If you happened to be listening to NPR Weekend Edition with Scott Simon last Saturday morning when Scott was talking with Howard Bryant about baseball and Howard said,  “I was eating dinner at Elmer’s General Store last night . . .  ”  that was us!  That was Elmer’s!  Howard lives in Ashfield and gave a shout out to Elmer’s on Weekend Edition this morning!

Surprised the heck out of me!

He did not mention where in the country Elmer’s actually is as he doesn’t want anyone to know where he lives.  I don’t blame him.  I did get e-mails from friends all over who heard it and recognized it and that’s good enough for me!

And now that I got my own recognition plug in, here is

Rob’s Grocery Talk with Rob

I am writing this to the accompaniment of hammers just outside Elmer’s Store World Headquarters. And you know what hammers mean, don’t you? Construction! Yes, the economy is in full recovery with a sharp increase in New Enclosed Walkway Construction as the leading indicator. When this construction is finished, we will be able to open a door that previously lead outside but now leads to a corridor where you can, for some reason, walk to the barn in comfort. I’m still trying to figure it out but Nan assures me that all this makes perfect sense.

On the grocery front, I want all you bakers to know we have a TON of really good quality bakers yeast in our cooler. Don’t ask me why we have a ton of yeast (I screwed up) but Kim and I spent a lot of time measuring it and putting it into little bags with twist ties. You get four tablespoons for only 99 cents. So get baking.

Now that we have that horrible summer weather behind us, have you seen our beautiful new “Autumn Display” as you walk in the store? Neither have we ‘cause we haven’t built it yet! Hah! But we’re going to build one just as soon as Kara gets impatient and ends up building it herself, which always happens. However, if you look around the store, you will find seasonal items like apples, apple cider, sparkling apple cider, pumpkins, pumpkin pie filling, and sparkling pumpkins.

Farmer Paul has informed me that Sidehill Farms intends to produce its line of delicious yogurt year round! Usually, they send the cows to Arizona to play golf all winter, but those days are over.

Okay, I gotta wrap it up. See you at fall festival!


Ed. Note: Whoa, whoa, whoa.  I brought you into this organization Rob and I can take you out!  Do not ridicule the building of the corridor.  You know how when it snows and Mike Skalski comes to plow and he pushes the snow up against the barn, and then it snows 35 more times, and then the barn is completely encased in snow until mid-August and we can’t get to anything that’s out there and we forget what we put in there or even that we ever had storage space at Elmer’s at all?  THAT’s why we’re building the Bridge to Nowhere.  Because in Massachusetts, Seemingly Nowhere is Somewhere!  It’s where we keep our stuff!  And is that important?  You betcha it is!

The Proverbial Gloves are Off!

Remember when Rob and I were running against each other for president?  Remember our negative, destructive campaign speeches against each other?  I think we should both get back in the race just for the last few weeks and see how much smack we can talk about each other until the beginning of November.

Remember Rob’s platform of change?  Well, where do you think all that change went?  Right in Rob’s pocket.  You want to know why the economy is falling apart not just in the US, not just in Germany or France, not just in Japan, but why Iceland is falling into the ocean?  Because Rob Taft took his change and just lent it out with reckless abandon.  Rob Taft is responsible for the 700 squillion dollar bailout.  Rob Taft is responsible for the failing of Bear Sterns, Lehman Brothers and he voted 687 times, let me repeat that, Rob Taft voted 687 times to change the picture on the gold dollar coins.  My friends, and I know you are all my friends, changing the look of that gold dollar was costly and wasteful, but Rob Taft wanted all those pictures of different people on those gold dollars just so he could add them to his change collection!  When I am president, we’ll just use old money that’s already been printed.  I will put a freeze on new money.  We’ll use Confederate bills, Susan B Anthony dollars, two-dollar bills, even foreign currency because I say,  Why spend money on money when it’s already money?  You won’t hear Rob Taft say that.  You hear Rob Taft say,  “I want more change!  I just got a new big jar to put it all in!”

I am Nan Parati and I approve this message.

And now it’s time for the Farm Report!  (And looking at it, Little Donna Elwell seems to be whooped up, herself!)



APPLES: Macintosh from Scott;s Orchard, Ashfield

APPLES: Macoun from Scott;s Orchard, Ashfield

GRAPE: CONCORD from Springwater Farm, Ashfield

PEACHES from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield

TOMATOES from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield


APPLES from Alan Surprenant, Ashfield

BEETS from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

BROCCOLI from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

CABBAGE: RED from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

CABBAGE:SWEET from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

CARROTS from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

GARLIC from Goosefoot and Garlic Farm, Amherst

KALE from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield

LEEKS from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield

ONIONS: RED from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

ONIONS: STUTTGART from Spring Water Garden, Ashfield

PEACHES from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield

PEARS from Whitney Acres Farm, Ashfield

PEPPERS: GREEN from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

PEPPERS: RED from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield

PEPPERS: YELLOW from Paddy Flat Farm, Ashfield

SALAD GREENS from Sidehill Farm, Ashfield

SQUASH: ACORN from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

TOMATOES: SUNGOLD from Sangha Farm, Ashfield

Fundraiser for the FRANKLIN LAND TRUST : Two-thirds of the proceeds from the sale of our pumpkins go to the Franklin Land Trust:  PUMPKINS, PUMPKINS, PUMPKINS from Susan and Dick Todd, Ashfield


Organic (Ecuador) Bananas

Organic (CA) Ginger Root

Organic (CA) Lemons

Organic (CA) Mushrooms: Crimini

Organic (CA) Onions

Organic (CA) Potatoes: Gold


Organic (CA) Carrots

Organic (CA) Oranges

To make specific produce requests, email me at


And don’t forget that we begin:

Dinner 3 Nights a Week at Elmer’s!

Beginning October 23, 2008

Thursday nights: Dinner from 5 – 8 pm and it will be Meat and Potatoes night.  Nothing fancy, still changing from week to week, but simpler, easier, not-as-gourmet-but-still-as-good fare—a night where you say, “I don’t feel like cooking” so let’s just go out night.  Some nights like that you go to the Lakehouse, some nights like that you get pizza, and some nights like that you can now go to Elmer’s, as well!  Down Home night will also include vegetarian offerings, just like usual.

Friday nights: Dinner from 5 – 9pm Elmer’s regular Friday night dinners, exactly like before.  More local food, more gourmet, (but not elitist) more date night sort of fare.  Meat and vegetarian offerings, just like always.

Saturday nights: Dinner from 5 – 9pm and live music at 9pm!  Dinner will be Tapas—smaller, appetizer-sized dishes that you can order as little or as much as you like of!  Order a variety or concentrate on what you love.  Mix and match and share with your friends!

And then at 9pm on Saturday nights we will have live music—a variety of sorts:  Blues, Bluegrass, Folk, Classical, R&B, changing with the week just like our menus do!   Come early and have dinner with no music, or come later and have dinner with music and switch over to hanging out and listening to good stuff with good desserts and a glass of wine or beer!

We are kicking off the festivities with

Compton Maddux and the Dirt Simple Band. A 40-year stage veteran of
nightclubs and concert halls, Maddux writes acoustic-based blues which
blend humor and irony along the lines of Allison Krause and Steve
Earle. He is a founding member and frontman of the Outer Space Band,
and has led many other roots music ensembles in his long career.
Appearing with Maddux will be electric hammer dulcimer virtuoso Bill
Ruyle of New York, bassist Klondike Koehler of Wendell, and special


See you at Fall Festival and at the Gospel Concert!

Big E

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