Dawning of the Age of Aquarius in Ashfield

Notes from Nan
BY HF Contributing Writer, Nan Parati

When the Moon is in the seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, then love will rule the planets and peace will steer the stars.

Guess what this Saturday is? It is the Dawning of the Age of Aquarius, Age of Aquariuhhhhhs! Aquar-ri-uhhhhhhs! A-QUAR-ri-uhhhhhhs! At 7:25, to be exact.

So get up early, find your old love beads and come to Elmer’s for our Dawning of the Age of Aquarius breakfast! We will open at 7:15 am JUST for this event. This was not my idea; it was the idea of some of our customers, and so I made them ask Chef Jim if he would come in early for this event. (I could not IMAGINE he would agree to it) but he did and so, the place to be to usher in the next thousand years of Love and Peace is Elmer’s Store on Saturday morning. At 7:15. AM.

My sort of beatnik parents took me to see Hair when I was in the ninth grade and it was GREAT! Nekkid people and all! (Remember that? They had the 6 second naked scene?) By the way, you must wear clothing to breakfast that morning, unless you look like a young and fabulous Broadway actor in great shape. I think the Double Edge actors can come in their nekkid costumes, but I think everyone else should wear clothes to breakfast. Double Edge actors are encouraged to attend nekkid, in fact, come to think of it.

And then that night, to further encourage a thousand years of love, we are having our

Second Annual

Valentine’s Day Night Dinner!

And so, accordingly we will be having a very fancy Valentine’s Day Dinner!  With white tablecloths!  And sultry music!  And once again, by reservation!

For Dinner we will have:

  • Prime Rib with Roasted Baby Fingerling Potatoes and the vegetable of the season
  • Pan Sauteed Barramundi (fish) with a Creole Mustard Shrimp Sauce
  • Spinach Crepes with wild Mushrooms and a Red Pepper Coulis

And for your entertainment:

  • Vocalist Jill Connolly with Joe Belmont on guitar and Guy DeVito on bass! Jill sang with the New England Swing and Soul Orchestra at the Ball and will sing her softer, sultrier songs for your love on Valentine’s Day Night.

They will begin at 7:30; Dinner reservations will begin at 5:30.

Rob’s Grocery Report with Rob

As you may have heard, I am no longer the grocer here at Elmer’s Store. I’m not quite sure if this qualifies as a promotion or demotion, but I’m more than willing to hand the keys over to Donna and help her in any way I can. If you’ve ever bought produce from Elmer’s, or just read about it every week, you know she’ll bring that same commitment and attention to detail to the grocery side, too. So please join me in giving Donna a warm welcome!

As for me? Look, I’ll be honest here. The only reason I ever became grocer is because we needed one in a hurry and I volunteered. Although I improved little by little over time (carefully tracked by the “Whipple Rating” system) I knew I was hitting a wall; too busy maintaining the status quo to really get a fresh perspective. A lot of unpopular items continue to languish on our shelves while fresh, new, and exciting products remain undiscovered by us and, by extension, you. Here’s hoping a fresh set of eyes can remedy that.

I will also add that, amongst my many responsibilities here at Elmer’s Store, being the grocer was definitely in the “up for grabs” category. Meaning- if you want to take that job from me, it’s yours (however, there are certain responsibilities you will have to pry from my cold, dead hands).

Aside: Also up for grabs would be sweeping, mopping,

opening, closing, and dishes. Let me know if you’re interested.

So all this leads to the Big Questions: What will become of Rob’s Grocery Report with Rob?  Will he still have to write it? If so, will it be about groceries? Has it ever been about groceries?

Well of course I still have to write it. That’s because I rarely write about groceries. Get it? I brought this on myself. If I had just stuck to the subject, I’d be signing off right now. But no! I had to write about a bunch of other stuff and therefore developed a cult-like following (if you can call three people a cult). So Nan is ordering me to continue producing this drivel for the foreseeable future. After all, Nan reasons, now that I don’t have to order groceries, I’ll have more time to write Grocery Talk (never mind that I put far more time into writing about things other than groceries for Grocery Talk than I do ordering groceries which is how I got into this predicament in the first place).

Oh, speaking of Nan, I can’t wait for what’s coming. Every thing she says to me from now on will be something like “So Rob, now that you don’t have to do groceries anymore, could you paint my house?”  That’s Elmer’s for ya. Stop in and fill out an application!

So let’s all hail Donna! The new Grocery Queen! And from now on, my new column will be called Rob’s Politics Report with Rob. See you next week!

No, no, no.  I think the new title will be “Rob’s Talk with Rob.” I don’t think you are allowed to talk about politics now that you lost the election to Barak Obama, primarily because we want to keep our audience here.

Now, interestingly enough, Donna Elwell (quiet Donna Elwell) is characteristically mum in the Farm Report about her new position here.  I think she was trying to get a few more days under her belt, but since Rob has now outed her, I, too will say a few words:

Donna Elwell is the new grocery manager at Elmer’s, y’all!

For Rob it is not a demotion at all, but I really like everyone doing what they’re most interested in and best at and during his reign as Grocery Manager, many of his manly-man duties got left out.  When Rob first came to work here he put up a sign on the wall that read:  “Rob’s Manly Man Duties” and the list included things like building shelves, installing stuff and manly man things like that.  Painting my house.  But then he became the Whipple Man and the Manly Man stuff started falling apart with out his undivided attention.

At the same time, the grocery department had to go someplace.  It needed more attention than Rob could give it with everything else he does here, and it seemed we had gotten big enough that the department needed its own manager and needed to stop vying for attention with the coffee department.

So one day I was sitting there with my head in one hand (I mean, it was still attached to my neck and all—that’s just kind of a figure of speech) trying to figure out what to do, when Peggy said,  “How about Donna Elwell?” And I yelled, “That’s it!”  (And Peggy tumbled backwards heels over head like Linus always did when Lucy yelled that.)

Donna, as you know, took the produce section from baskets of semi-dealt-with vegetables and turned it into a real department!  So I called her and asked if she would be interested in taking on the whole cotton-picking grocery department and she said, Yes!  And so she did and there was rejoicing throughout the land.

And now for Donna’s Farm Report: (Except when she’s talking about Barak Obama, she’ very quiet.)

The Farm Report


(Another “Joy of Cooking” soup recipe)

Cook (bake or steam)

1 medium to large butternut squash (about 3 1/2lb)

Heat in a soup pot over medium heat:

3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil

Add and cook, stirring, until the leeks are tender but not

browned, 5 – 10 minutes:

2 large leeks, white part only, chopped

4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger

Scrape the cooled squash flesh from the skin and stir it in

along with:

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth

Bring to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring and

breaking up the squash.  Puree the soup in a blender and

food  processor until smooth.  Return to the pot and stir in:

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or broth

1 ½ teaspoons salt

Heat through. Serve garnished with:

Chopped parsley or cilantro

Soup croutons

(Squash seeds, toasted)


APPLES: FORTUNE from Clark Brothers Orchards, Ashfield

ONIONS: RED from Sangha Farm, Ashfield


Organic (Ecuador) Bananas

Organic (Native) Beets

Organic (CA) Broccoli

Organic (CA) Cabbage: Green

Organic (CA) Garlic

Organic (CA) Mesclun

Organic (CA) Onions: Yellow

Organic (CA) Spinach: Baby

Conventional (CA) Tomatoes: Cluster


Organic (FL) Beans: Green

Organic (Canada) Carrots

Organic (CA) Celery

Organic (CA) Ginger Root

Organic (CA) Kale

Organic (CA) Lettuce: Romaine Hearts

Organic (PA) Mushrooms: Large White

Organic (CA) Oranges: Navel

Organic (VT) Parsnips

Organic (CA) Potatoes: Yellow

Organic (Native) Rutabaga Turnips

Organic (CA) Shallots

Organic (VT) Sprouts: Alfalfa

Organic (CA) Tangelos

Organic (Vermont) Turnips: Purple top

Organic (CA) Squash: Butternut

Organic (CA) Yams

Conventional (CA) Lemons

Conventional (CA) Peppers: Green

To make specific produce requests, email me at


New Breakfast Menu!

Hey, we have new breakfast menus at Elmer’s—both for the weekdays and for the weekends!  And I want you to know that I did not raise a single price of anything already on the menu!  We are the only people in the country who did not raise any prices on a menu, so please remember that when you are making out your wills and you think,  “Who loves me most in the world? Why, it is Elmer’s!  They didn’t raise their prices when it was perfectly accepted that everyone would!  I will leave everything I have to them!”

But we did add some new things and I think it’s worth coming in here to find out what they are!

Unbelievable performances at Elmer’s!

I know you’re not going to believe this, but it’s true!

Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem

are (is?)

going to come and play during dinner at Elmer’s

February 19th!

It’s kind of a spontaneous jam with them and some friends of theirs that they want to play with.  Thursdays are dinner nights at Elmer’s and they are going to play during dinner from about 6 to 8 pm.  Dinner on Thursdays generally costs less than $10, so come on and get some good food and some great music!

And then!

We have re-scheduled

Swing Caravan!

Remember–they got iced out by the big Ice Storm of Oh-Ought.  So we’ve got them re-scheduled at Elmer’s and will not cancel this time for anything less than a SIMULTANEOUS ice storm, flood, earthquake and a hurricane.  They will be playing at Elmer’s on

March 7th, at 8pm!

Elmer’s Third Annual Come-Out-A-Few-Paragraphs-Smarter Series

March 1st  3 – 5 pm  Tax Time! With Helene Leue Helene is a certified tax preparer with H and R Block and so, who better to explain to you what the hell you’re supposed to be doing with all those itemizations!  Come and ask her questions about your own taxes! 

February 15th 3-5pm  Feldenkrais – Awareness Through Movement with Victoria Ahrensdorf
A Feldenkrais workshop right here at Elmer’s with 2 movement sequences to improve flexibility, balance and grace.  This afternoon is for adults of all ages and abilities. We will be exploring these simple and interesting movement sequences while sitting.  “To make the impossible, possible, the possible, easy and the easy, elegant.”  M. Feldenkrais
Victoria began to study the Feldenkrais Method in 1978 while living in Maryland and Wash., D.C. and then studies directly with Moshe Feldenkrais in trainings and then a 4 year training program from1978-1983. For more info, please feel welcome to call Victoria at 628-3225 or go to http://www.feldenkrais.com

February 22nd 3-5 pm  Brain Health

When we know how something works, we are better able to care for it.

Q: What does your brain need to stay healthy?

A: Fuel, oxygen and activation.

Q: What happens when there is a deficiency of any of these three factors?

A: Decreased function.

Explore the fascinating complexities of the human nervous system in order to better understand your own functional needs.

Learn about how your brain works and how to better care for it.

Dr. Megan Hudson, board eligible chiropractic neurologist and educator practices in Florence and lives in Chesterfield.

March 8, 15, 22, and 29th at  3pm American Sign Language with Elissa Gallup. (You may recognize Elissa as the Elmer’s waitress who signs to herself while she’s talking—or thinking.) This will be a four-week class in learning to communicate through American Sign Language.  The class will be a building each week on what you learned the week before, so it’s important that participants sign up for the full 4 week course.  This one (unlike our other seminars) costs $25 for the full course.    (Ed. Note:  I erroneously reported that the price for the course was $35, but it’s only $25.) For more information and to sign up, call Elissa at 628-4003.

Big E

Elmer’s Store, 396 Main St, Ashfield, MA 01330 (413) 628-4003

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