Monday shorts: Fruitful festivals, an energy boost and enlightened drivers

  • Apex Orchards in Shelburne recently celebrated the peach with its second annual festival. Staff Photo/David McLellan

Published: 9/9/2019 8:55:33 AM

Here are brief thoughts on some of the events taking place around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area.

Blueberries, peaches and apples, oh my!

Perhaps one of the most valuable features of Western Massachusetts is our reverence for the locally made and the homegrown. We can witness that reverence firsthand at farmers markets in the summer and at holiday bazaars in the wintertime (which feels just around the corner right about now).

Another display of our appreciation for all things local comes in the form of festivals to celebrate the arrival of seasonal crops. Asparagus has its own festival in Hadley, for example. Blueberries have multiple festivals devoted to them at Yankee Candle and Quonquont Farm.

And then there are peaches. Apex Orchards in Shelburne honored the juicy fruit with a second annual festival, with promise for a third next year. The festivities involved “all things peach,” in the words of orchard manager Courtney Basil, such as a cooking demonstration, peach-picking and a peach recipe contest.

As with these other wholesome festivals, we’ve appreciated the peach’s time in the spotlight. Produce-inspired fests certainly prove that if you grow it, they will come.

Next, we’ll turn our attention to apples. Cider Days, which is celebrating its 25th year, is less than two months away. Let the good times grow.

Experiencing the dangers of distraction

The road is naturally a dangerous place, what with hazards like downed trees or power lines, unpredictable animals like deer, and simply because of our close proximity to other drivers. But in the 21st century, we’ve introduced an additional variable that’s making the road more dangerous: cellphones.

In an attempt to curb bad habits young and get fresh drivers off on the right foot, Arbella Insurance launched Distractology, a distracted driving simulator that visited Pioneer Valley Regional School last week.

According to Arbella’s website, to date, more than 17,000 New England teens have experienced the simulator. Drivers who have completed Distractology are proven to be 19 percent less likely to have an accident and 25 percent less likely to get traffic violations.

That’s good news not just for teen drivers, but for everyone on the road. What a crucial difference it makes to learn about the dangers of distracted driving in a safe environment, instead of on one of our winding country roads or city streets, where there’s no way to press “Start over.” We should all take a lesson from Distractology.

Going green goes a long way

There is no time to waste when it comes to improving energy efficiency for the sake of sustainability.

In Northfield, members of the Energy Committee are stepping up to celebrate recently completed energy improvements by hosting Northfield Energy Day on Sept. 14 at the Northfield Elementary School. Those improvements – which involved the sealing of doors and ceilings at Pioneer Valley Regional School and adding insulation at the elementary school, for example – are estimated to save the school district $80,000 per year.

Not too shabby, Northfield. Even better, the improvements were made possible by a Green Communities grant. Certainly, in a time when our rural schools are struggling financially, finding ways to cut costs is essential. In this case, the schools and the planet will both benefit. If that’s not a win-win, then what is?

Fair fun for all

And just like that, another Franklin County Fair is in the books. After not operating a booth in the Dole Building last year, we were thrilled to be back interacting with fairgoers Thursday through Sunday. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to say “Hello” or to inquire about our newspaper. We can’t wait to see you again next year.




Greenfield Recorder

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

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