My favorite running path is a hilly and treacherous two-mile loop that runs down my driveway, along a creek, past a development bordering our farm, and next to our pastures. Each day, as I run along the fence line where our sheep graze, I hear a deep-throated roar of a bark as a massive, white dog trots towards me. At this moment, the sheep glance at me before returning to their calm, methodical grazing as I yell to the white polar bear, “Good boy, Thor! Good man!”

What began as a night of drinks became an evening of thin- crust pizza, chickpea fries and good beer. In the fading heat of a Saturday afternoon, my friends and I met at the Lord Jeff for drinks and appetizers. We had planned a cozy start to our evening of sitting at one of the outdoor fire pits and tasting some small dishes. Unfortunately, the Lord Jeff was incredibly busy hosting a beautiful wedding. After sitting outside for a few moments, enjoying the cooling fall air and warm glow of the fire, we decided we could wait no longer and headed further into town.

My ma once ate our rented bull at a restaurant. To some, it might seem absurdly sadistic to order the chili special featuring the bull that once roamed our fields, but as farmers it came as a pleasant surprise. Our burgers are literally homegrown, raised in the pastures around our house and sent to market once they have reached finishing weight. At home, I don’t ask the questions I might about meat at a restaurant because I know our Black Angus cattle are purely grass-fed (unless they snuck some grain from the chickens) and they have lived pretty darn peaceful lives.

We are in the thick of it. School will be out soon, and the campus buzzes with activity. Every Saturday brims with various events, from thesis performances and dance shows to sports games and track meets, all of which keep us moving from morning to night and leave little time for leisurely meals. As the sun evaporates those crisp morning gusts and brings in warm and reassuring breezes that remind us of summer, I simply do not want to spend a meal sitting inside. I want to be out in the fresh air, taking advantage of some of the first days of heat after a brutal winter.

26 Main St, Amherst
Casual Italian Restaurant
Prices: Affordable
Recommended Dishes: Crazy Alfredo and Calamari

Autumn Juice. Are you curious? Would you choose a restaurant based on one drink? Maybe I’m strange, but I couldn’t resist. So, of course I chose the Roost in Northampton purely because it offers Autumn Juice, the simple but excellent combination of ginger beer and hard cider.

I finally achieved my summer goal on Friday night. For some, this objective may be reading a book, seeing a movie, meeting a boy. For me, it was eating at Oriental Flavor, the new dim sum restaurant in the center of Amherst, next to Bank of America.