August 2008
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Sweeten Up Your Summer
At the height of summer, nothing is more refreshing than biting into a piece of fresh, juicy fruit. If you've never tried farm-fresh fruits, you owe it to yourself to go find some. Nothing compares to the taste and texture of fully ripened locally grown fruits- particularly not under-ripe fruit shipped from far off places. Thankfully, here in the Valley, there are lots of ways to fill your fruit bowl with local fruit:

As local berries and fruits ripen, finding new ways to use the abundance can be exciting. Pies, cobblers, and tarts are delicious ideas, but fresh fruit shouldn't be limited to desserts- add them to salads, breakfasts, or get creative with savory dishes. Want to enjoy these treats year-round? Read up on preserving your fruit for the rest of the year by freezing, drying, and jam making. See the article below, "Putting Food By", for some recommendations on food preservation resources.

You may not always notice it at the grocery store, but summer fruits have their own micro-seasons of availability, so you've got to scoop them up when you get the chance. Keep in mind that harvest times vary from year to year, so it is always a good idea to call ahead to be sure that the products you want are available. For a list of local fruit producers, visit our online Farm Products Guide.

And if you find that you're competing with the fruit flies for all that local fruit on your counter, try this: squirt some dish soap into a mug, add a glug of vinegar (locally available from Apex Orchards in Shelburne), and fill with water. Flies are attracted to the vinegar, but get caught in the soapsuds, especially if you've eaten, or covered, any fruit in your kitchen.

Restaurants Serve Up Local Fare This Month
On Thursday August, 21st, talented area chefs will celebrate locally grown foods during the 5th annual Local Hero Restaurant Celebration organized by CISA.

Participating restaurants will showcase dishes featuring locally grown fruits, vegetables, meats and cheeses. Show your support for local agriculture and good food by dining out at one of the 34 Local Hero restaurants on August 21st. A sampling of the restaurant specials include:
  • Steamed Australis barramundi with black bean sauce and local bok choy at The Great Wall in Florence.
  • Local corn chowder with Pekarski Sausage smoked bacon at Sienna.
  • Local Hero pizza topped with basil pesto, Hillside Gardens organic basil, walla walla onions, and tomatoes at Hillside Pizza.
  • Scallops con pesca-pan-seared sea scallops with grilled fresh peaches and a peach, cognac cream sauce served over roasted fresh Hadley corn risotto with fresh basil and parmigiano at Carmelina's.
  • Steamed Black Sheep Farm haricot verts with olive oil and parmesan cheese to go from The Black Sheep Deli or eat the Black Sheep Farm ratatouille with farm fresh tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and onions from The Black Sheep Deli.
  • Roasted beet and arugula salad with Sangha Farm goat cheese, spiced pecans, and sherry vinaigrette followed by your choice of roasted duck breast with fresh local peach chutney or sautéed ahi tuna nicoise with farm fresh haricot verts, roasted fresh red peppers and baby fingerlings at Butternuts Eatery.
  • Roasted Veggie Platter - vegetables from Riverland Farm including roasted zucchini, summer squash, beets and onions, seasoned with a balsamic dressing and a little goat cheese from Goats Rising Farm served with a baked ricotta cheese spread and grilled foccaccia bread at Bridgeside Grille.
  • Maple Glazed Outlook Farm Pork Chops stuffed with smoked cheddar and apple stuffing, with a side of freestone peach salsa and sides of Hatfield country style mashed potatoes, Native sweet corn, and seasonal vegetables from Union Station Restaurant.
"Our Local Hero restaurants serve the best tasting, freshest foods around. And at the same time, they support the local economy and help our farmers build stronger businesses," says Local Hero Membership Coordinator Devon Whitney- Deal. "Everyone dining at a Local Hero restaurant will eat well and feel good about supporting one of our area's most precious resources: our farms."

CT Launches Buy CT Grown Website
After working with CISA for two years to develop their own statewide Buy Local effort, a group of CT partners launched Buy CT Grown, a website that helps consumers find locally grown food and farm products. At, you can search for local agriculture products, sign up for email alerts, and create your own login that lets you save your favorite searches. To learn more visit Funding for this project was provided by the CT Department of Agriculture and the USDA Rural Development Program.

As a leader in the Buy Local movement for 15 years, CISA provides advice and support to other Buy Local groups across the state and the country. We believe in sharing the lessons we've learned and helping others do their work. In 2003, CISA partnered with the national Food Routes Network to develop the preeminent guide to running a Buy Local Campaign, "Harvesting Support for Locally Grown Food: Lessons Learned from the Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown Campaign." Since then, CISA has provided training and resources for running buy local campaigns to organizations in Connecticut, Canada, and across the continent; we also participate in a statewide coalition of Buy Local campaigns.

Join in the Ag Fun
As the peak season of agriculture hits the Valley, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and celebrate our local abundance. A variety of festivals, fairs, and events are just around the corner, so grab your friends and family and go! Visit our events page for a list of Local Hero Farm events or see the list of agricultural fairs below.
Celebrate Local Agriculture with a Free Meal
Join the community of Greenfield for the Fourth Annual Free Harvest Supper of Local Food on Sunday, August 17 from 5:00- 7:00pm on the Greenfield Town Common. All are welcome to be part of this great community event which will feature a free bountiful meal of locally grown food prepared by local chefs, live music, children's activities, educational displays and a Really, Really Free Market. To conserve resources and reduce trash, all are encouraged to bring their own place setting and napkin. For more information and to see pictures of the 2006 and 2007 Suppers, visit the event's website.

The goals of the Free Harvest Supper are: to encourage everyone to eat locally grown food; to support local agriculture; and to raise money for Farmers Market coupons distributed by the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry. While the Supper is free to all, donations are accepted and are used for the coupons which help achieve the supper's goals. Again this year, gardeners and farmers are welcome to bring the overflow of extra produce they have to share with the community.

It takes a whole community to make a great community event. Over 60 volunteers, 30 farms, a dozen organizations, and countless home gardeners (along with over 600 hungry diners) helped make last year's Supper a success. A core group of volunteer organizers is already at work planning the Free Harvest Supper and they want your help! There are many ways to be involved - with planning, volunteering the day of the Supper, donating food, or providing information for the display area. To volunteer, donate food or provide display information, e-mail the organizers or call 413-773-5029 x3.

Attention All Locavores
How local can you go? Starting August 15th, Northampton's River Valley Market will be hosting a month-long "Eat Local America" challenge, along with seventy other co-ops accross the country, to encourage community members to utilize more local foods in their diet. The local food celebration will feature sales on local products, recipe cards, and cooking demos throughout the challenge. The Co-op will be featuring local foods beyond the produce department including milk, fresh meat, fish, cheese, wine, and even prepared foods in the Quarry Cafe.

Community members are welcome to sign-up for the challenge at the customer service desk at the Co-op. Participants can choose their level of involvement and the duration of their commitment-from local produce for a particular meal to 100% of their diet for a month. Each day, local prizes will be awarded to challenge participants by raffle, including one final grand prize. The sooner you sign up, the more chances you have to win prizes. So, if you want to challenge your regular purchasing patterns, consider taking this opportunity to test out your local food savy with the Co-op's support.

Local Hero Farm Launches Pain Relief Product Nationally
Songline Emu Farm of Gill recently released a new emu oil- based Pain Relief System. The new product, called DuoFlex, was released in January of 2008, and sales are going well. "Customer feedback has been fantastic. Everyone has reported some level of pain and inflammation relief - from minor to life-changingly major," says Dee Dee Mares, co-owner of Songline. "Emu oil has many amazing properties. Various studies are showing a number of properties - it is a strong anti- inflammatory (relieves inflammation, swelling and pain), hypercholesterolemic (drops and balances cholesterol levels), super-oxygenator, and more," reports Dee Dee.

The new product is available online through their website or at their store in Gill. Songline's other emu oil products include remedies for skin care, hair care, burn treatments, and pet care. Geri and Stan Johnson and Dee Dee Mares have been farming emu and selling emu oil-based products since 1995.
Putting Food By
This time of year, when valley farms are bursting with fresh, delicious fruits and vegetables, is the perfect opportunity to enjoy heirloom tomatoes just hours off the vine and to pop blueberries straight from the bush into your mouth. It's also the time of year that home gardeners find themselves with more veggies than they can eat, CSA members strain under the weight of their shares, and inexpensive boxes of canning tomatoes and peaches become available at farm stands and farmers' markets. Why not think about preserving some of the summer's bounty so you can enjoy it all year long? There are lots of ways to get started, from something as simple as throwing raw pepper slices into the freezer to more complicated projects like raspberry jam or canning tomato sauce.

Before leaping into the world of food preservation, it's vital to have enough information to ensure safe and delicious results. Putting Food By is an absolutely invaluable resource for food preservers of all stripes. It contains exhaustive information on exactly what you need to do in order to freeze, can, or dry almost every fruit or vegetable that grows in the northeast. There is also ample information on smoking and salt-curing meat, advice on how to select the best equipment, and diagrams to help readers build their own root cellars. Putting Food By offers an unparalleled level of detail and a staggering array of options. It even outlines three preservation methods (freezing, canning, and drying) for the obscure elderberry.

The thing that really makes Putting Food By such a wonderful book for all preservers, though, is not the thirteen pickle recipes or the detailed drying-rack building plans. It's the complete education that it offers about how each method of preservation works, what the pros and cons are and how to know if something is safe to eat. It's not just a compilation of recipes and instructions. In my edition, before you even get to the recipes, there are 83 pages of information on the various types of salts and sweeteners, the relative safety of different models of canning jar lids, and detailed information on mold, bacteria, and enzymes. The instructions next to each vegetable tell you if something can be frozen but really isn't worth the freezer space, and the section about unsafe but widely used canning methods is charmingly titled "Hair-Raisers." Putting Food By is the next-best thing to having a grandparent with a lifetime of experience in the kitchen with you, guiding you through all the steps but letting you take credit for your accomplishments.

The Farmers' Share
The National Farmers Union recently released their 2008 fact sheet, illustrating how much money farmers receive per dollar spent on food. With the average take home of twenty cents per dollar spent, it is easy to see why farmers are turning towards direct sales to consumers. Buying locally grown farm products from farmers, markets, and farm stands give farmers the income from retail prices. Higher farm income means more working farms-something none of us want to go without.
Northeast Organic Farming Association's 34th Annual Summer Conference
Friday-Sunday, August 8-10
This year's NOFA Summer Conference will feature keynote speakers Mark McAfee and Arden Andersen as well as over 150 workshops on a wide range of topics. The weekend will also include a family contra dance, zydeco drumming, an Old- fashioned Country fair, live music, a farmers' market, games and fun! For more information, visit NOFA Massachusetts' website; walk-in attendees are welcome on the day of the conference.

Unlock the Mysteries of Canning
Saturday, August 9th

Cathy Halberg has canned and frozen an incredible variety of things and will bring examples of her craft and share tips and tricks from her years of home canning experience. Participants will learn basic canning techniques by donning a head-net and preparing a soft fruit preserve and pickled cucumbers at the FCCDC's Food Processing Center in Greenfield, Mass. Participants will leave with samples of both products and the confidence to go forth and plan canning parties in their own home kitchens. The workshop will run from 10:00am-2:00pm. Pre-register by calling (800) 859-2960.

Grow Food Everywhere! Workshop
Thursday, August 14
Join Seeds of Solidarity for a back to school workshop featuring school garden and greenhouse techniques, curriculum connections, and community partnerships. Geared toward educators, all are welcome. PDPs available. $15 covers materials and refreshments. For more information, or to reserve a spot at this popular workshop, please e-mail Seeds of Solidarity or call (978) 544-9023.

Greenfield's Free Harvest Supper
Sunday, August 17

The community of Greenfield is hosting its fourth annual Free Harvest Supper on the Town Common. This celebration of local agriculture includes a free meal, music, exhibits, and the 'Really Really Free Market'. Dinner starts at 5:00pm. All donations are given to the Center for Self-Reliance Food Pantry. Please bring your own place setting. For more information, visit the event's website.

Tabella's Farm & Wine Dinner
Sunday, August 17

Join Tabella Restaurant for a night of flavor, quality, and community. This on-farm dinner will start at Old Friends Farm in Amherst at 6:00pm, followed by a walk/hayride to Bramble Hill Farm for dinner in the barn. The dinner menu will highlight foods from Old Friends Farm and Greenhorn Farm. For more information about the event, please click here.

Tomato Festival
Saturday, August 23
(Rain date Sunday, Aug 24)
Sample over 60 varieties of delicious tomatoes, tour the fields, participate in a 5k race and much more. Red Fire Farm's annual Tomato Festival will be on the farm in Granby, Mass from 12:00-5:00pm. Admission is $5, children under 12 free. For details visit the farm's website .

Deerfield Farm and Music Festival
Saturday, August 23
The fun-filled, family festival is a celebration of local agriculture, and includes a farmers market, vendor booths with food, ice cream and other products, sheep-herding, a barbecue dinner, children's activities, music, and other activities. The event runs from 2:00-10:00pm. The gate fee is $10 for adults; free for children 16 and under. For more information, contact Liz Kidder or go to the Franklin Land Trust's website.

Sunday, August 24
Delight your senses with a walk through Stockbridge Farm's lavender, herb and vegetable gardens in South Deerfield. Enjoy the flavors and tastes of more than twenty varieties of basil. The event will run from 1:00-4:00pm. For more information, visit the farm's website.

New Farmers' Market in Northampton
Mondays, Throughout the Season

Rockridge Retirement Community will host Bloody Brook Farm of South Deerfield for a weekly farmer's market. The market will be held at Rockridge from 10:00am until noon on Mondays. The market is open to the public.

Big Y Native Farmstands
Saturdays & Sundays in August

Drop by your neighborhood Big Y to meet one of the many local farmers supplying Big Y with local produce. Many of the stores will host a weekend-long farmstand for these local producers. Contact your neighborhood Big Y to find out which weekend they will be highlighting local farmers.

7th Annual Honeybee Festival
September 13

Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield will be hosting the 7th Annual Honeybee Festival from 10:00-4:00pm. The event will feature bee talks and live bee demonstrations, entertainment, and a farmers' market. And don't miss the honey treats from area chefs. The festival is free & open to the public.

Fall Harvest Feast in the Fields
Saturday, September 20

Come celebrate the plenty of fall with a splendid feast in the Red Fire Farm fields. Tickets are limited, so make your reservation now by calling (413) 467-SOIL. For more information, visit the farm's website.

North Quabbin 10th Annual Garlic & Arts Festival
Saturday & Sunday, September 20 & 21

Mark your calendars for a scent-sational tenth anniversary celebration of The North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival. Come find out what brings over 10,000 people to this phenomenal event for the whole family. Festival Admission: $5.00 per day for adults, weekend pass $8.00, kids 12 and under free. Wheelchair accessible parking and restroom facility. Follow your nose to beautiful historic Forster's Farm, 60 Chestnut Hill Road, Orange, MA. Visit the festival's website for directions, pet policy, and the 2008 schedule of vendors, music, performances, chef demos, activities, workshops, and all you need to come have a scent-sational time.

Harvest Festival
Saturday, September 27

Join Nuestras Raíces, at their farm, Tierra de Oportunidades in Holyoke for their annual harvest festival. This celebration of community and local food will include exciting presentations for the whole family. The event will run from noon-6:00pm. For more information visit the organization's website.
Job Opening: Assistant Farm Manager. Atlas Farm, certified organic vegetable farm in Deerfield, MA seeks applicants interested in learning about running a vegetable farm, and willing to make a multi year commitment to the farm. We are interested in training the right person and are looking for someone with 1-2 years experience on vegetable farms, some tractor experience and mostly a strong desire to learn. This person would assist the farm owners with all aspects of farm management including production, marketing, equipment work and field crew supervision. For more information, visit their website or contact Sara.

Volunteer: Greenfield's Free Harvest Supper organizers are looking for help! There are many ways to be involved-planning, volunteering the day of the Supper, donating food, or providing information for the display area. The organizers are looking for folks to help create the "Map of the Meal" and the supper program and to help with the Really, Really Free Market, as well as people to set-up, serve, and clean-up. To volunteer, donate food, or provide display information, contact info@freeharvestsup or call (413) 773-5029, ext. 3.

Wanted: Part-time farm work. Experienced in organic vegetable production and orchard work. Looking for seasonal work in or near Northampton area. Please contact Daniel by e-mail or phone (413) 584-4090.

Wanted: Farmer with 3+ years experience seeking land tenure/stewardship opportunity to include organic vegetable production using draft horses along with the possibility to graze livestock. Open and willing to work with your situation, rent or lease. Currently apprenticing at Natural Roots in Conway, MA. Please contact Anthony by e-mail or phone at (413) 369-4269.

For Rent: 3-4 acres of prime farmland in Whately, Mass. This land is incredibly rich and was formerly used for nursery stock, but has been out of production for several years. Terms of lease are negotiable. Please contact Phil Nash at (413) 539-0433.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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CISA | 1 Sugarloaf Street | South Deerfield | MA | 01373