May 2008
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Farmers' Markets Opening
Farmers' Market season is here! The Pioneer Valley boasts thirty farmer's markets --and growing--with at least one open each day of the week. Most of these markets celebrate opening day sometime between late April and early June.

Busy farmers' markets are a great opportunity for farmers. By selling direct to consumers, farmers can take home the full price of the products they sell. In return, consumers have access to a wide variety of farm-fresh produce and other goods. Thanks to several state and federal programs, and the efforts of community groups and market managers, farmers' markets are more and more accessible to low-income shoppers, as well. For a list of farmers' markets that accept WIC coupons, food stamps, and farmer's market coupons for seniors, click here.

Every dollar spent at the farmers' market is a dollar re-invested in the local economy. Markets are also a great place to spend your lunch hour or your Saturday morning. Many markets are now adding to the festive feeling by offering live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, art exhibits, activities for children, and more! This is also your chance to ask your farmers questions--if they grow it best, they'll know it best. Ask them for advice on recipes, storage, and picking the ripest produce. This will also give you a chance to ask the farmer how the product is grown and any other questions or concerns you may have.

To find the farmers' market nearest you, take a look at our online Farm Products Guide. For more tips on how to navigate your way around your farmers' market, check out the "Making the Most of your Farmers' Market Visit" article below.

In Loving Memory
Bob August, a former CISA Board member and long-time supporter, died on April 14th after a long and courageous battle with cancer.

Bob, with his wife, Nancy, was the proud owner of NaSaMi Farm in Whately, named for their three children, Nathaniel, Sara and Michele. His daughter, Michele Marotta, is a former CISA employee.

A lifelong steward of the land, Bob worked for many state and local municipalities in the areas of land conservation and natural resource management. Besides being a CISA Board member for six years, he was also a member of the Northampton Planning Board, the Conservation Committee in Whately, and he was a volunteer at Cooley Dickinson Hospital for many years.

We at CISA are deeply saddened by Bob's passing and send our sympathies to his family and many friends.

"Go with peace, my friends" - Bob

Serving up Salad Greens
Now is the time to indulge in the cool-weather greens that enjoyed the protection of greenhouses in the middle of winter or are unfurling in the fields as the soil warms up and spring rains come down.

Typically--especially during winter months--the salad greens that you'll find in the grocery store have traveled an average of 1,500 miles. Historically, New England mealtimes were not heavy on raw leafy greens, and were particularly lacking in green during the late winter and early spring months. Wild edibles like fiddleheads, nettles, ramps and dandelion greens were the first greens available in early spring.

Now we are fortunate to be able to enjoy a range of salad greens: arugula, Asian greens, spicy and mild mesclun and braising mixes, and leaf or head lettuce. Spring and early summer are prime season for many greens, which tend to bolt (go quickly to seed) and become bitter in the heat of summer--although newer, heat-resistant varieties allow many Valley growers to produce sweet and delicious lettuce all summer.

Where to find spring greens:
  • Farmers' Markets
  • Farm Stands
  • Small Retailers
  • In your CSA Share
Later in the season, several local supermarkets also source lettuce from local growers. It's harder to find convenient prewashed and bagged greens from local sources, however, as many large buyers have food safety protocols and requirements that are designed for large-scale processing facilities that wash and bag massive quantities of greens for shipment to retail and restaurant chains across the United States.

CISA is working with local farmers to see what parts of these industrial-scale food safety standards might be adaptable for the relatively small, diversified farms that grow greens in the Pioneer Valley. More and more large retailers and institutions are interested in sourcing local greens, and an appropriate set of standards could allow them to meet their health and safety requirements while also meeting the needs of local growers.

Ask your farmer how they prepare the salad greens to keep them fresh for you. When you bring them home, wash your greens in cold water using as many rinses as necessary to remove all grit, until the water is clear. Then spin to remove excess moisture and store in a loosely closed bag in the refrigerator crisper bin.

CISA Seeks Volunteers for Farm Products Guide Distribution
Help get the word out about locally grown, farm-fresh products! CISA's Farm Products Guide is the Pioneer Valley's comprehensive guide to eating and buying locally produced food and farm products. We need help getting guides into the hands of residents all over the Valley.

Volunteers deliver the Guide to farms, restaurants, Chambers of Commerce, festivals, libraries and stores in Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and western Worcester counties. We'll need help beginning in early June and continuing though October.

We're looking for energetic, out-going volunteers who are willing to work hard and think creatively. Other desired qualifications include:
  • Strong communication skills
  • Willingness to call contacts at drop-off locations
  • Ability to work well independently
  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends
  • Own car in working condition
  • Valid MA driver's license
CISA will reimburse for mileage. If you are interested, please contact Jennifer Williams at (413) 665-7100, ext. 10.

River Valley Market: Your Locally Grown Food Co-op-Now Open!
After nearly ten years of planning and preparing, River Valley Market opened its doors to shoppers on Wednesday, April 30th. Although the store had a "soft" opening, it's easy to tell that many local residents consider it a "grand" achievement-- there's lots of smiling and animated conversation in the aisles, check-out lines, and parking lot, as shoppers express their pleasure and delight. The official grand opening celebration will come in a few weeks, when all systems are up and running smoothly.

River Valley Market is a full service grocery with an emphasis on locally grown and organic products. The market will help customers identify where their food comes from, with a food labeling system that includes CISA's Be A Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown® signage, newly designed signs denoting 'New England Regional Favorites,' and 'Locavore' signs for products from within a 100-mile radius.

Customer traffic has been heavier than anticipated in the first two weeks of the markets' opening. Rochelle Prunty, General Manager at River Valley Market, reports that 30 new members have joined the market each day since the opening, bringing the membership total to 2,840 as of May 4th. The store is open to the entire community--members or not--so drop by and see what everyone has been talking about!

Local Hero Members Win 'Best of the Valley'
The Valley Advocate "Best in the Valley" issue hit the newsstands in mid-April. Readers of this weekly newspaper voted a number of Local Hero farms and businesses as "best" in agriculture and related categories. Even more Local Hero members received 2nd and 3rd place awards. Congratulations to all of the awardees!
    1st Place Local Hero 'Best Of' Highlights:
  • Hickory Dell Farm -- Best Local Farm; 3rd Best Farm Stand
  • Randall's Farm and Greenhouse -- Best Farm Stand
  • Atkins Farms -- Best Place for Gift Baskets; 2nd Best Farm Stand
  • Chandler's Restaurant -- Best Place for Romantic Dining & Best Wine List
  • Chez Albert -- Best French Restaurant
  • Cup & Top Café -- Green Heroes
  • Paul & Elizabeth's -- Best Vegetarian Restaurant; 2nd Best Salads
  • Green Fields Market -- Best Local Green Business
  • State Street Fruit Store -- Best Deli; 2nd Best Store for Wine Selection; 3rd Best Liquor Store
  • Whole Foods Market -- Best Gourmet Food Store/Best Health Food Store; 2nd Best Local Green Business

Farmer Website Innovations
The internet is quickly changing small business marketing and farmers aren't about to be left behind! An increasing number of Local Hero members are turning to websites and blogs to get word out about their businesses. Here are some great examples of Local Hero members who have made recent website renovations to get the most out of their internet marketing:
  • Australis Aquaculture recently updated their website in time for their featured recipe in the June issue of Oprah's 'O' magazine.
  • Red Fire Farm's renovated website features beautiful photos and information about their new bicycle delivery in Boston.
  • Riverland Farm's new website includes a reading from their solar panels and great on-farm photos.

  • Blogs:
  • It isn't too late to enjoy lambing season! Visit Foxfire Fiber's blog for pictures and stories.
  • Visit Justamere Tree Farm's blog and website for a video clip of their feature on Martha Stewart Living this winter.

  • Online Videos:
  • Check out Mapleline Farm's new YouTube video. A new generation of internet marketing is waiting to be harnessed through online videos. Way to stay ahead of the curve, Mapleline! Mapleline has also updated their website to make online ordering for home delivery easier.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program Applications Available
This popular business planning and technical assistance program provides management advice and grants of up to $75,000 to implement farm growth and sustainability strategies. Farm operators not only receive up front cash awards for signing a 5 or 10 year Agricultural Covenant, but also receive valuable consultations and visits from a team of experts to discuss farm production and management, marketing, and business planning. Typical uses of funds from the Farm Viability Program include building or repairing farm structures, modernizing field equipment, delivery vehicles and tractors, improving marketing structures, purchasing food processing equipment, and establishing a farm website. Learn more about the Farm Viability Enhancement Program or get an application online at the MA Department of Agricultural Resources website or request a copy of the application by calling the Farm Viability Enhancement Program at (617) 626-1723. Or attend an informational meeting on the Farm Viability Program and Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program at the CISA Office, One Sugarloaf Street, S. Deerfield, Mass. on Wednesday, June 11th at 6:30pm. The deadline to submit applications is June 23, 2008.

Making the Most of your Farmers' Market Visit
Navigating your way around a farmers' market can be enjoyable and rewarding, or incredibly overwhelming. In order to make your next trip to the farmers' market a little better, we've put together a few tips:
  • Go Early. Getting to the market when it opens will give you access to the best produce before everything is picked over. Some stands may sell out of an item before the market is done, so timeliness is important.
  • Take a Walk. When you first arrive, take a moment to walk the entire length of the market. This will give you a chance to take a look at what everyone has to offer before buying. You can compare prices for the best deal and you may find things that aren't even on your list.
  • Bring a Bag. Many farmers offer plastic bags for the produce you buy, but if you shop around at multiple stands, you may end up with too many bags to handle. Solve that by bringing your own larger canvas bag to fit all of your goods. Need a bag? Check out the CISA tote bag!
  • Take Cash. Many farmers only accept cash at the farmers' market, so come prepared. If you can, bring smaller bills--no one wants to break a fifty for two tomatoes when a line is forming.
  • Ask Questions. If you don't know what something is, ask. Don't be shy about asking the farmer and other shoppers for cooking tips. You just may come across your new favorite food--or at least an adventure. Feel uncomfortable asking the farmer? Look for the Farmers' Market Manager to answer any questions you have and even introduce you to the farmers.
  • Enjoy Yourself. Stop and enjoy the sights and sounds of the market. Farmers' markets are a great place to get to know your farmers and neighbors. Take a moment to relish in the bounty of local agriculture.

2008 Agriculture Photo Contest
The Massachusetts Department of Agriculture is looking for photos for the 2009 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar. They are looking for active, lively photographs depicting the diversity of agriculture and horticulture within Massachusetts. The winning photos will be featured in the calendar and the photographer will receive tickets to the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), copies of the calendar, and an invitation and recognition on Massachusetts Day (Sept. 18th) at the Big E. They will be looking for seasonally-appropriate photos for each month. For contest rules and an entry form, visit their website. The deadline for submission is June 1st. Click here to see last year's winners.

Call for Nominations: Glynwood Center's 6th Annual Harvest Awards
The Harvest Awards recognize farmers, organizations, and businesses that do an exceptional job of supporting sustainable, regional agriculture. This year's categories include:
  • Farmer Award
  • Connecting Communities, Farmers, and Food Award
  • Wave of the Future Award
  • Good Food for Health Award
Visit their website for nomination details and an application. To receive nomination forms via snail mail, please contact Kim Vargo at (845) 265-3338. Deadline: July 21, 2008.

Bike Tour of 'At Risk Farmland'
Thursday, May 15

Celebrate Pioneer Valley Bike Week and local agriculture with a bike tour of 'At Risk Farmland' in Hadley. The ride will start and finish at the Norwottuck Rail Trail entrance at Whole Foods Market. The ride begins at 4:30pm. This Pioneer Valley Bike Week event is sponsored by the Kestrel Land Trust. For more information, contact Judy Eiseman at (413) 253-2932. To learn more about this and all the great events that are happening in the Valley throughout the week of May 10-18, please visit the Pioneer Valley Bike Week website.

Film Screening: Two Angry Moms
Friday, May 16

Join the Media Education Foundation for a screening of Two Angry Moms. This documentary follows the story of two mothers fighting for the health of America's kids by working to change food in schools. It focuses on the history of the school lunch program and the impact of government policy and private interests on children's health. This event is free to the public, with refreshments and information beginning at 6:30pm. The MEF is located at 60 Masonic Street, in Northampton, Mass. For more information, call (413) 247-9738.

5th Annual Fleece Market at Webs
Saturday, May 17th

Once again Webs will be hosting their Annual Fleece Market on the first day of their Tent Sale. Many local sheep and alpaca growers will be on hand to offer a variety of fleeces, fiber and yarn from their very own animals. Come browse, buy from the producers, talk spinning and even bring your wheel. Check the website for a list of participants as the event approaches. The event will be from 10:00am-5:00pm.

Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair
Saturday & Sunday, May 24th & 25th

Shepherds, spinners, weavers, and other fiber artists come from all over the Northeast to demonstrate their skills and sell their handmade fiber products. But the sheep are the real stars of it all, and there will be hundreds of them attending, both meat and wool breeds. They will be joined by a host of other fiber animals, including angora rabbits and goats, llamas, and maybe even a yak or two! The event is held in Cummington, Mass. at the fairgrounds. Admission is only $6 per car. Come help celebrate 34 years of growing our own Massachusetts sheep! For more information, visit our website.

Greenfield Garden Club Plant Sale
Saturday, May 24
The 13th annual Greenfield Garden Club Extravaganza Plant sale will also include a green thumb tag sale, raffle and bake sale. Plants come from club members as well as from the Trap Plain Display Garden. Fun for all and a great place to get perennials for your garden. All proceeds support the many community projects of the club including a grant program which funds garden-related projects. The event will run from 8:00am to 1:00pm. For more information please contact Debran Brocklesby at (413) 348-5227 or visit our website.

Women in Agriculture Network Meeting-Basic Tractor Maintenance Workshop
Thursday, May 29
Join us for this free hands-on workshop as Nancy Hanson of the Hampshire College Farm walks us through some basic tractor maintenance techniques. Learn to troubleshoot, call parts by their correct names, and most importantly, when to call in the experts! Nancy will also talk about what to look for if you're thinking of purchasing a tractor. This is a great opportunity to get better acquainted with one of your most important pieces of machinery. The workshop will be at Hampshire College Farm from 5:30-8:00pm. As always, dinner will be provided and there will be ample time to meet and talk with other women in agriculture. Please RSVP to Claire Morenon at (413) 665-7100 by Monday, May 26th.

Informational Meeting on Farm Viability Program and Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program
Wednesday, June 11

Craig Richov and Gerard Kennedy from the MA Department of Agricultural Resources will provide information on the above programs at this informational meeting. The session will be held at the CISA office, One Sugarloaf Street, S. Deerfield, Mass. at 6:30pm. For more information, contact Craig Richov at (617) 626-1725.

2008 Grazing Workshop Series
NOFA Mass, USDA NRCS, and UMass Extension have organized seven Grazing Workshops as a continuing education resource for Massachusetts farmers. Topics at each event will vary, but will include pasture management, organic transition and heard health, forage species, soil fertility, fencing and water systems, and summer and winter grazing. For more information about each of these sessions, please visit this website or contact Winton Pitcoff at (413) 634-5728, UMass Extension at (413) 545-2250, or Tom Akin at (413) 253-4365.
Market Opportunity: CISA seeks a produce farmer who is interested in setting up a weekly farmstand at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield this coming season. This is a great opportunity to sell directly to the hundreds of people who work there! Please contact Claire at (413) 665-7100, ext 16 for more details.

Job Opening: Clarkdale Fruit Farms is seeking seasonal farm workers. Work is outdoors and covers all aspects of orchard maintenance. Must be physically fit and able to lift 40 lbs. Position requires 2-3 days/week through April, with potential full-time employment through October for the right candidate. Farm experience preferred, but not necessary. Contact Ben. No phone inquiries please.

Job Opening: Full-time farm help needed for Old Friends Farm. Applicant should have prior farm experience, and must be passionate about growing flowers as well as food crops, and supportive of sustainable, local, organic agriculture. Must have reliable transportation. Compensation will be $9/hr, plus farm products as available. Please contact Missy and Casey at (413) 253-9182.

Job Opening: Farm Help. The Farmstead at Mine Brook, home to Goat Rising and Jersey Maid milk and cheese is looking for a hard working person to help with milking and chores around the farm. The ideal candidate will be clean, energetic, patient around animals and will have a desire to learn about the process of cheese making. Prior experience a plus. Contact John Miller by e-mail, mail to 8 Mountain Road, Charlemont, MA 01339, or call (413) 339-8500.

Job Opening: Communications Assistant. Red Tomato, a nonprofit organization dedicated to working with ecological New England family produce farmers, is seeking a Communications Assistant. Position is 20 hrs/week based in Red Tomato office in Canton, Mass. Compensation is to be determined based on qualifications and experience. Start date June 2008. Please e-mail resume and cover letter to Susan Futrell.

Job Opening: The Amherst Farmers' Market seeks a Market Manager. The Farmers' Market manager is responsible for the daily operations of the market on Saturdays beginning the first weekend in May through the third weekend in November. This is a part-time, hourly position for about 12 hrs/week. Compensation will be $12-14/hr based on experience. For full job description, please contact Casey Steinberg or Sara Porth. To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to Casey or Sara.

Job Opening: Farm Manager. Established PYO orchard in the Pioneer Valley with a loyal customer base seeks farm manager. Experience with tree fruit and marketing preferred. Position is year-round and requires experience with tree fruit and marketing, as well as tractor operation and equipment maintenance. Salary is commensurate with experience. Call (413) 665-4689.

Job Opening: Farmers' Market Staff. Enterprise Farm in Whately, Mass. is looking for Farmers' Market Staff. Position will cover 2-3 markets a week (between 25-30 hours). At least 2 Sundays a month is a must. The right person for the job is someone with experience in sales and farming, and has passion for fresh, organic food. If you are interested, call Alyssa McKim at (413) 320-6652.

Internship: The KO Festival of Performance is seeking two interns for this summer season. The theme of the festival this year is "FOOD: appetites, attitudes, and politics." Interns work closely with the staff and the visiting artists to execute the full range of summer activities, including mounting and running of shows, assisting with rehearsal residencies where new work is being created, hosting the visiting artists and workshop students, and the creation of visual displays about the work. All activities will be held on the Amherst College campus in Amherst, from July 5-August 12. Housing provided. For more information, visit the festival's website or contact Sabrina Hamilton at (413) 427-6147.

Volunteer: Rice Fruit Farm in Wilbraham is seeking volunteers to help out in the orchards from late June- October. Duties would include clearing of weeds & grass, some tractor work and picking of fruit come peach & apple season. This is a great opportunity to learn the skills needed to grow fruit in Massachusetts from a farm that's been in the business since 1894. For more information, contact Amy at (413) 596- 4002.

Volunteer: Greenfield Farmers' Market looking for volunteers to help with regular operation of the market on Saturdays. In particular, we need a crossing guard during the market. For more information, contact Devon at (413) 625- 9907.

Wanted: Beginning farmer with 3+ years experience seeking land tenure/stewardship opportunity to include organic vegetable production using draft horses along with the possibility to graze small livestock. Open and willing to work with your situation, rent or lease. Currently apprenticing at Natural Roots in Conway, Mass. Please contact Anthony at (413) 369-4269. Wanted: G Street Preschool in Turners Falls, Mass is looking for gardening tools and a compost bin to start their garden project. If anyone has any items they would like to donate, please contact Marianne Bouthilette at (413) 475-1415.

For Rent: Farmland. 9 acres of cleared land in Williamsburg available for rent. For more information, contact Donna Gibson at (413) 268-7421.

For Rent: Pastures for Grass-fed Beef. Approximately 20+ acres available for grazing beef animals. One pasture of appr. 10 acres is securely fenced with 4 stands of barbed wire. The other two pastures need work on the fences. All the pastures have running water year round. The rest of the farm produces hay which is of excellent quality. It would be readily available for purchase from our producer. In return, initially, doing fencing and bush-hogging the pastures would be the fee. After that, we might discuss having you raise and sell an animal for us which we would purchase as a calf. For more details, contact Jeanne at (508) 943-0809 or (508) 981-8881.

For Sale: Nubian wethers for sale born the beginning of March. We also have a Nubian buck for sale born the beginning of April. Call or email for more information at (413) 628-0026. Check out our website for pictures.

For Sale: CSA Shares. Shoestring Farm is offering CSA shares for the 2008 growing season. Shares will be distributed from 3:30 - 6:00 PM on Fridays at the farm, 168 Ed Clark Road, Colrain. The season will run for 18 weeks, from June 13th through October 10th. For information about the farm or for a sign-up form, please visit our website.

For Sale: CSA Shares. Common Wealth CSA has shares available for 2008. Common Wealth is a cooperative CSA consisting of several organic farmers, including Red Fire Farm in Granby and Shoestring Farm in Colrain. The mix-and- match distribution is Wednesday afternoons from 3- 6:30pm behind Green Fields Co-op in Greenfield. For a brochure and sign-up information, contact Suzanne at (413) 774-2112.

For Sale: CSA Shares. Three Sisters Farm has two year CSA shares available for their naturally grown vegetables, herb and flowers. Sign up for this 2 yr commitment and a free winter garden harvest for 2008 will be included. Interested participants should contact Tom Fair at (413) 367-0217. A full share for 2 years is $1200.00 and ½ shares are available for $600.00. One year shares are available upon request.

For Sale: Fiber Flock. Border Leicester and Border Leicester cross ewes for sale. I have been breeding for quality fiber for a decade, producing award-winning fleeces. These proven ewes range in age from 2-5 years, are healthy, and are also good mothers. This is a perfect starter flock for someone wishing to raise sheep for wool production and meat. Please call Barb (413) 625-6121 or email for more information.

For Sale: Large classic colonial farmhouse with wrap- around porch, barn, garage, new building previously used for retail, all on 2+ acres in very quiet setting on country back road. Additional land is available for rent or purchase. Perfect for B&B, retreat, stables (plenty of trails for riding), agri- tourism, or small start-up farm. West Northfield. Contact Chee Chee Mamook Farm at for more info.

Farm Camp Enrollment: Little Brook Farm in Sunderland, will be offering two weeks of farm camp this year. Camps will take place June 23 - 27, and July 7 - 11, from 9am- 3pm. The goal for each week will be to provide kids with the opportunity to learn how to safely handle animals and to foster respect for the animals that we care for. Kids will develop a better understanding of where their meat, milk, eggs and fiber come from and what "sustainable agriculture" means. Camp is limited to children ages 8 and up and space is very limited. For more information please contact Kristen Whittle at (413) 665-3802.

Free: Food waste for farm animals or compost. Butternuts Restaurant in Hadley wants to know if you are interested in obtaining food waste from their restaurant. For more information, contact Tracy or Andy at (413) 586- 0234.

All items in classifieds will run for two months unless re- posted. To list an advertisement in the classified section, please contact Allison Neher.

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