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Asparagus Fest in Hadley this Saturday: Music and spears in the Valley's 'grass capital!

When I am traveling, sometimes I tell people about the part of the USA where I live. If I’m traveling in May or June, I often explain that I come from the part of the world where the finest asparagus on Earth is grown. That’s one of the best ways to describe our Happy Valley, we’re where Hadley Grass makes us all famous. If you, like me, love asparagus and all that it symbolizes as a rite of summer-a-coming, and even love that first whiff 0

Armagnac is the lifeblood of Le Gers, Southwest France

Throughout my visit here in Le Gers, Midi-Pyrenees, there has been one consistent element that has bound together every person we met, every place we saw, and even what we ate. That has been the ancient, sacred drink of Armagnac, which we have sniffed, sipped and quaffed in elegant salons, mold-covered barns, dark ancient cellars and in elegant tasting rooms. Even the little railroad track machines we rode in Nogaro are named for this 40-47% alcohol distilled beverage. It's as much a part of the 0

She’s bluer than blue at Bleu de Lectoure in Le Gers, France

Denise Simeon-Lambert has a blue Jaguar parked outside her blue shop which is called Bleu de Lectoure. Her house is blue and she wears a lovely blue scarf on top of a shirt that's stained with blue dye. Behind her sit vats of dye and every imaginable thing you can think of is colored this dusty color blue. [caption id="attachment_7978" align="alignleft" width="300"] Denise Simeon-Lambert in her dye shop in Lectoure, France.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7981" align="alignleft" width="300"] But depending on what the dyes is applied to the 0

Midi-Pyrenees: France’s largest region and home of Armagnac

I"ll be blogging for the next six days from the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, located in the central southern part of the country just above the Pyrenees, with the center being the big capital city of Toulouse. I learned that this is France's largest region by geography, but that there aren't a lot of people here. I'm one of eight bloggers who are fanning out across the entire country to spend the week blogging, tweeting and paying a lot of media attention on the many 0

Running in Toulouse, before the city wakes up

Today I took advantage of a time zone difference to rise and shine at 4:45 am. It was the perfect time to go running here in downtown Toulouse, and when I hit the streets at 5:15 am, there was no one to be seen. Years ago, a resident told me, Toulouse was a dirty city. Now the mayor insists on sweepers and washers like this who clean up every morning making the streets shine. Canal du Midi, the famous watery highway that you can navigate 0

Three men vie for Deerfield town manager job, one clearly is the right choice

Zimmerman, Bissonette and Golas I joined my neighbors at Deerfield Town Hall last night to meet the three candidates for town administrator. After meeting each one in person, and then listening to their extensive answers, I've created a Zagat-style summary of each man, and some of their mannerisms and quotes. Then I'll tell you which one, by far and away, is the rightperson for this job. Andrew Golas Andrew Golas, executive assistant for town of Palmer Appears to be less than half the age of 0

Arts and Humanities Awards from WFCR at the Log Cabin

WFCR honored author Jane Yolen, Easthampton City Arts +, and The Performance Project/First Generation tonight with an evening of thoughtful commentary, some jazz, some performances and provocative ideas from Robert The Performance Project/ First Generation. Krulwich, of NPR's Radiolab. It was a fun evening of familiar people and impressive honorees tonight at the Log Cabin. In charge and happy that his big project is just about to come to fruition, WFCR General Manager Martin Miller thanked his family for putting up with the long and 0

Electric bikes: A workshop and a test ride in Gill

On Saturday morning I awoke to grey skies with promise for a nice-looking day, and joined a dozen others up at the Gill Town Hall. There, Peter Talmage, a science professor at GCC was giving a talk about the current state of electric bicycles. Peter explained that he was looking for an easier way to commute to Greenfield and realized that the new pedal-assist electric bikes provided a sweat-free means of transport, and at 20 mph, it's a great alternative to the car. Peter Talmage 0

A chance to interview candidates for Deerfield Town Manager

I got this message today by email:  The Deerfield Board of Selectmen invites town officials, members of the public and all interested parties to meet the three candidates for the position of Town Administrator at a Candidates Reception on May 14, 2014 at the Deerfield Municipal Offices from 5-6 p.m. Formal interviews will follow this reception beginning at 6 p.m.  The public is invited to submit questions via email or postal delivery to Patricia Kroll at patk@town.deerfield.ma.us no later than May 13, 2014 at 2 p.m. All 0

Under the Dome, a fascinating group of people and a rockin' party

I had big plans on Saturday night, and happy to report, they did not disappoint. My two cousins, Paul and Steve, were joining me on an excursion to Bernardston, to the pictured dome here. It turned out to be a tremendous party filled with many friends and a great sound from being inside a domed soccer stadium. It seemed like many of the people who were there, some of whom were dressed in appropriately 'sporty' apparel like gym shorts, cheerleader's skirts and cleats, knew Dre 0