Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Celebrating all things apple!

Last week’s article about rendering lard sparked several messages from readers. April Weeks from Gray Dog’s Farm, who had encouraged me to try the process, said , Another nice thing about lard is that, while vegetable oils oxidize into toxic byproducts with cooking heat, animal fats are much more stable. While polyunsaturated fats may be better for you raw, there’s a pretty convincing nutritional argument to be made for good quality animal fats in cooking.”

Diane Sievers, who lives in South Deerfield and grew up on a farm in Iowa, wrote, “Lard makes great pie crust.

“And I’m sure my grandmothers must have deep fried potatoes and fudjens (Danish/German Christmas bread dough) in lard before Crisco came along. Old cookie recipes call for lard instead of butter.”

I had heard that lard is preferred for pie crusts, and Karen Helbig from Deerfield confirmed that. Karen sent me a pie crust recipe (see below) as well as recipes for apricot bread using lard and for bird food using lard instead of suet along with seeds.

What better time to have a good pie crust recipe than during CiderDay! This weekend’s CiderDay is the 18th annual celebration of all things apple and cider in Franklin County.

Events will happen all over the county, ranging from kid-friendly farm visits to adult-only hard cider tastings. Some events require pre-registration and fees, some are free and open to all. For a full schedule and ticket information, check The Recorder or visit

Here are just a few of the CiderDay events:

■ Amy Traverso, “Yankee Magazine” senior editor and author of “The Apple Lover’s Cookbook,” will lead a workshop about “Overnight Apple Butter” at Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield, on Sunday, Nov. 4 from 11 a.m. to noon.

■ Then, from noon to 1 p.m. at Clarkdale, Rebecca Clark, Lori Clark and Betsey Clark Dickson will lead a tasting and workshop on “Apples for Baking.”

■ On Saturday, Nov. 3 from 11:15 a.m. to noon, at the Buckland Shelburne Community Center in Shelburne Falls, Ben Watson and Mark Lattanzi will lead “Tasting Dried Apple Varieties.”

■ Carolyn and John Wheeler at Wheel-View Farm in Shelburne will have an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3 and 4. Help make cider and see them boiling cider to make cider jelly. Carolyn said, “There is enough pectin in the apples so that once the cider is boiled to the right density and cooled it gels into jelly! There’s nothing added. No sugar, no pectin, no high fructose corn syrup. Just pure cider!” Wow! For directions to Wheel-View, check out or call (413) 625-2900.

Many orchards also have pears available. Martha Thompson at Clarkdale suggested making grilled sandwiches with slices of Magness pears and Chase Hill Farm Dutch Gold cheese. Cider, apples, pears, jelly, and more. Enjoy CiderDay!

Pre-Thanksgiving Greenfield Farmers Market, Saturday, Nov. 17, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Court Square next to the Town Common, Greenfield. Stock up for your holiday meal.

Greenfield Winter Farmers Market, Saturdays, Dec. 1, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, March 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Greenfield High School, 1 Lenox Ave., Greenfield (wheelchair accessible). Interested volunteers and vendors, contact Devon Whitney-Deal at or (413) 625-9907.

This week we’re eating …

Pie Crust

By Karen Helbig, Deerfield

Lard is a more natural fat. My parents always used lard in frying foods and in baking. Lard makes a better pie crust.

8 C. flour

1 pound lard

1 stick oleo (Mary’s note: also known as margarine)

Dash of salt

Soften lard and oleo. Mix 4 C. of flour and half the lard and half the oleo. Repeat with the rest of flour, lard and oleo. Put into containers and refrigerate. For a 2-crust pie, use 2 C. of the mix and 4 T. of cold water. Mix and roll out for pie.

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