New Brunch Series Joins the Saturday Farmer’s Market in Greenfield

The Recorder, July 10th, 2016, by Aviva Luttrell. The Arts Block has brought a fresh idea to the Saturday farmers market.

Its new “Fresh Chef” brunch series, which debuted this summer, features a new cook each weekend who comes up with an original menu using local ingredients.

Ben Goldsher, co-manager at The Arts Block and the mastermind behind the series, said the goal is to give the chefs a platform to create a small, unique menu that showcases both who they are and the local products they’re working with, which often come from the farmers market outside the Arts Block’s doors on Court Square.

Goldsher said the series began on a whim when he was approached by Ben Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, who runs a stand at the farmers market. Clark asked whether The Arts Block would be interested in serving coffee on Saturday mornings because of its proximity to the market.

“It just seemed like we would be a good fit because we are right in the vicinity of the farmers market, directly next to it,” Goldsher said. “The first farmers market I opened and had just coffee, but quickly realized that wasn’t enough for me to be up at 7 in the morning, and thought, ‘OK, I need to do a little more.’ I started to brainstorm what I could make happen, and something that would be different than what else was going on in town, and came up with Fresh Chef Saturdays.”

So far, the guest chefs have been mostly owners and employees at local restaurants, but Goldsher hopes to eventually include public figures, such as the mayor. Recently, Emily Bork, a part-time radio host at 93.9 The River, cooked a savory brunch including eggs, andouille sausage and vegetables, as well as a sweet french toast bake.

“I really want it to be a spotlight of different people to showcase them in a different way than everybody usually sees them,” Goldsher said of the series.

Past menus have included breakfast pizzas, tacos, open-faced sandwiches and honey-based fruit compotes during Bee Week. He said waffles, smoothies, mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are served each week, so people know they can come back and get those staples, even though the menu is always changing. The setting is family-friendly and relaxed, he said.

“We’re very accommodating,” he said. “If somebody just wants some cheesy eggs, we’ll make that happen.”

Each week, Goldsher asks the new chef for a short biography and a menu, and works with them in the kitchen throughout the day on Saturday. He said the brunch usually begins around 8 a.m. and ends around 1 p.m.

“It’s really a nice way for me personally to learn something each week,” he said. “I get to learn new dishes or learn about new people and how they work, and it’s a very unique kitchen experience where we are creating things, sometimes on the fly. It’s not like we’ve been working with this menu for a year and really had time to iron it out.”

Goldsher said while it’s been a slow process, everything is starting to fall into place. In recent weeks, The Arts Block has seen 10 to 20 regular customers come in for brunch, and many new faces.

Eventually, he hopes to coordinate other events with the brunch series, such as art shows and possibly even a vintage clothing flea market. Before starting Fresh Chef, Goldsher’s original idea was to host an arts market that coincided with the farmers market.

“Saturday mornings here in Greenfield are such a great thing due to the farmers market,” he said. “It’s a wonderful thing for the town. It brings people together in downtown Greenfield and on a nice sunny day, we can get hundreds to thousands of people in the downtown area to support the local businesses. It really brings this town to life, and it’s on a weekly basis, which is so great.”

Goldsher said he may slow down or stop the series all together once winter rolls around, but that’s still up in the air.