March is arriving with a host of food benefits and food-awareness events. Here are some of note:
The Seventh Annual SoupFest sponsored by the Civitan Club of Pittsfield to raise money for Berkshire-area meal sites and food pantries will take place Friday, March 8, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Berkshire Hills Country Club, 500 Benedict Road in Pittsfield
The event will bring together 21 restaurants and other soup-making volunteers to feed endless soup courses to between 250 and 350 diners. The club's caterer, Wilkie's Catering, will offer hors d'ouvres and there will be desserts, coffee and tea.
Last year's SoupFest raised $9,400 for programs at Pittsfield's Christian Center, First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church and more.
Some of the new participants will be J. Allen's Clubhouse Grille, Nook & Cranny, Panda House, Riverbrook Residence, The Marketplace Café and The Pillars Restaurant.
Contact Dawn Giftos firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Moments House, which hosts free programs and services for local families impacted by a cancer diagnosis, will hold its Second Annual Slice of Life Pizza Competition benefit on Saturday, March 9 at 6 p.m. at the Crowne Plaza, 1 West St., Pittsfield.
Tickets are available at www.momentshouse.org or at Moments House, itself, 194 Fenn St. Pittsfield, (413) 443-6800.
Berkshire Grown's Annual March Maple Dinner will take place on Monday, March 18 at 6 p.m. at Cranwell Resort in Lenox.
The event benefits the organization's programs including Share the Bounty, which donates community supported agriculture (CSA) shares of local fresh farm produce to food pantries, meal sites and other entities that benefit those who cannot afford their own shares.
A five-course maple-inspired dinner will be prepared by host chef Carl DeLuce and chefs connected to Wheatleigh or Blantyre, currently or in the past. They include Christopher Brooks, Shirl Gard, Hung Huynh, Michael Roller and others.
See http://berkshiregrown.org/march-maple-dinner-2/ for details.
Fresh Fest, a food-and-farm themed film festival will be presented at Images Cinema in Williamstown Saturday, March 9, and Sunday, March 10.
It is sponsored by the sustainable food and agriculture program at Williams College and Images Cinema
Four feature films will be shown: "Growing Hope Against Hunger," "Edible City," "More Than Money," and "A Home Movie."
Cricket Creek Farm, the Northern Berkshire Beekeepers Association, Pain Philippe and Wild Oats Market will donate food for tastings after some of the films.
Visit www.imagescinema/events for details.
Longtime Berkshire food activist, teacher, author and chef Amy Cotler will be sharing her expertise and love of fresh, local food at one of her now-rarer cooking classes.
On Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to about 1 p.m., in her home kitchen in West Stockbridge, Cotler will prepare and serve a menu of salads and salad dressings including shrimp, rice and spring greens sambal; spring greens salad with pan-roasted potatoes and feta; teriyaki salmon with soba noodle salad and cooked greens.
For details and questions call (413) 232-7174 or visit www.amycotler.com
Maple syrup is the first farm crop of the year. Both Berkshire Co-op Market and Berkshire Grown are celebrating the sweet sap.
The Co-op offers farm tours by reservation throughout the year. The first free tour of the year will take place at 11 a.m. this Sunday at Winter and Jude Mead's maple syrup farmstead in Canaan, Conn.
The in-depth tour will be followed by a pancake and maple syrup brunch including gluten-free options.
Call the Co-op, (413) 528-9697, or sign up at the front desk, 42 Bridge St., Great Barrington.
The Co-op, also, has recently started carrying Brooklyn-baked Black Rooster Baltic/ Latvian pumpernickel 100-percent rye bread. This is for bread lovers who know European breads.
You can read about it on http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2011/07/good-bread-black-rooster.html
Barrington Bites and Guido's Fresh Marketplace have made a connection. Boxes of a dozen of four different assortments of the Great Barrington bakery's mini-cupcakes can be purchased from the freezer case of Guido's Pittsfield store only.
And, right now, the bakery itself, at The Chef Shop, 33 Railroad St., is giving away a dozen freshly made cupcakes to those who have their receipt or their empty box.