hill country observerThe independent newspaper of eastern New York, southwestern Vermont and the Berkshires

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With federal ban lifted, local farms rediscover hemp

Seth Jacobs and Martha Johnson have been growing vegetables organically for more than 30 years, but this year they’ve made a big shift in their business model. Although their Slack Hollow Farm in Argyle, N.Y., still raises organic produce, three of its seven acres are now devoted to growing hemp. About two miles to the east in the town of Hebron, Richard and Kelly Taylor also decided to get into the hemp business this year. The two couples are in the vanguard of a new agricultural movement that’s taken off since Congress ended decades-old restrictions on the cultivation of hemp, the non-intoxicating variant of marijuana. read more



Exploring vinyl’s greatest grooves

Listening parties revisit classic works from the LP era.
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Berkshires town weighs new steps to save its history

A plan to tear down a Victorian-era house near the main intersection in Lenox, Mass., has prompted local preservationists to push for a new layer of protection for the town’s older buildings.

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In Saratoga, small winery grows into major destination

Saratoga Winery’s transformation into an all-day destination for visitors is a far cry from its quiet beginnings a decade ago with a small tasting room and eight varieties of wine.
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At Arrowhead, a trove of local history

Inside the Berkshire Historical Society’s headquarters at Arrowhead, the best-known objects relate to Herman Melville, who wrote “Moby Dick” there. But the society’s mission and collection cover much more. read more
















Belcher Hollow Forge, Handforged iron