CISA's March 09 eNewsletter
March 2009
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Dear Jennifer,

It's sugaring season, and I've set up my backyard sugaring rig, thanks to friends sharing a hand-me-down boiling pan and stovepipe. My family and I really enjoy sugaring, and we hope to make about two gallons of syrup this year. Much as I love the things we grow ourselves -- the syrup, lots of sweet corn, and some other veggies -- my home production doesn't make me a farmer. I don't have to worry about whether I'm going to cover my costs, how I'm going to sell my crops, and if this week's weather will affect our take-home pay. I just enjoy hanging out around a fire for hours at the end of winter with my family and any neighbors who pass by, talking and watching the sap boil (not to mention the end result of homemade syrup gracing our breakfasts for the rest of the year).

I thought of this distinction when the new Census of Agriculture came out. The great news is that the number of farms in Massachusetts and in our region has gone up. Statewide, the number of acres in agriculture has stabilized, bucking a decades long trend of steady decline -- and here in the Connecticut River valley, acreage increased by 4%! We know that our work has had a huge impact, as Massachusetts continues to be a national leader in sales directly from farmers to consumers -- that's all of us who are clamoring for locally grown food!

The Census of Agriculture data also reveals the challenges we face. Many of the farms counted in the Census are very small, with sales under $1000 a year, and there's actually been a loss in the number of small-to-medium farms (with sales of $40,000- $250,000 a year) in our region. So our work is making a difference, but there's a lot more to do to help make sure that the farms that feed us -- and our communities and our economy -- continue to thrive and grow.

Even though I make my own syrup, I still like to go out to a sugarhouse for breakfast during sugaring season. See our online guide for a listing of farms that make and sell syrup, and maybe I'll see you at one of our Local Hero pancake houses (Williams Farm, North Hadley Sugarshack, Maple Corner Farm, or Davenport's).

Phil Korman
Executive Director

Photo by Jason Threlfall.

CISA's Annual Meeting and Potluck at Amherst College
Join us Friday, March 13, from 6pm to 9pm at the Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons in Valentine Hall at Amherst College. The annual potluck for CISA members and donors is a great opportunity to meet farmers and CISA supporters of all kinds and to learn more about what we do. Everyone is welcome, and everyone will be invited to join CISA if you're not already a member.

We've put together an evening of good food, great conversation, a salute to our 2008 Local Hero awardees, and some local entertainment. Details about the evening can be found on CISA's website.

Please RSVP to Jennifer Williams at 413-665-7100 by March 10 so we can have enough tables and chairs available, as well as a name tag for you. We could also use a few extra hands before, during, and after the meeting to work on setup, food coordination and clean up. Be sure to let Jennifer know if you can assist.

New Note Cards Available
CISA is pleased to offer "Sustaining Notes," a collection of note cards with photographs of our local landscape. The cards are presented in memory of Barbara Kunhardt Greenstein, a CISA Board Member from 2000 to 2007 and a true friend of farmers. A five-card packet of "Sustaining Notes" is available for $7.50 (plus S+H) at CISA's online store or buy calling Jennifer at 413- 665-7100. Don't forget, Community Members at our Growers Collective and Harvest Society levels receive 10 percent off their purchases.

Local Hero Award Nominations
CISA is looking for nominees for the 2009 Local Hero awards. Award recipients will be featured in the 2009 edition of CISA's Farm Products Guide and will be feted at the annual meeting in 2010. The nominee should:
  • embody CISA's mission of linking farmers and communities to strengthen agriculture and enhance the economy, rural character, and social well-being of western Massachusetts;
  • have made a noticeable impact on sustaining agriculture in the Pioneer Valley;
  • have demonstrated long-term vision, social responsibility and/or environmental ethic in their work.
Nominees must reside or work in Franklin, Hampshire or Hampden County, or in the Greater Quabbin region. Members of CISA's Board of Directors, staff and their families are not eligible for nomination. Self-nominations are allowed. A nomination form can be found on CISA's website. Nominations must be received by March 31, 2009.

Call for Volunteers
CISA is looking for volunteers to assist with a number of ongoing projects. Whether you are looking to help set up for an event, want to flex your artistic muscles to promote local farms, or can manage the details of data, CISA has a volunteer task for you.

    Data Entry Volunteers
    CISA is looking for computer-savvy volunteers to help capitalize on a recent upgrade to our constituent database (Exceed). Good data entry skills, an understanding of data management, attention to detail and a willingness to learn are required. This position(s) requires a minimum of 2 hours per week during business hours. Project is ongoing. Hours are flexible.

    Local Hero Administrative Support Volunteers
    CISA is looking for volunteers to help strengthen our Local Hero program. Volunteers will gather information from Local Hero farms and business members and accurately enter data into Excel and other database programs. Attention to detail, good phone and data entry skills a plus. Some of the work can be done remotely, but in-person meetings will be required for trainings and to exchange documents. The bulk of the work needs to be done in March and April, but we will need additional help beyond these months. This position(s) requires a minimum of 2 hours per week. Hours are flexible including some evening hours.

    Eat the View volunteers
    CISA is looking for volunteers to help with our major benefit, Eat the View. This year's event is scheduled for Friday, October 2. The evening will include an elaborate and sumptuous feast of the Valley's finest locally grown food, a short program of remarks from CISA staff and supporters, a silent and live auction and other special surprises. We are seeking volunteers for the following committees and tasks:
    • Ambiance & Hospitality Committee (help design and execute event theme)
    • Auction Committee (plan and execute the live and silent auction portions of the event)
    • We are also looking for volunteers to help on October 2 to decorate, pick-up food items, serve food items, and work with the post-event clean-up crew.
Please go to the Get Involved section of CISA's website and fill out the volunteer application or contact Jennifer at 413-665-7100.

Photo submitted by CISA.

Traditional barn-raising at Natural Roots Farm
On the first day of March, David Fisher of Natural Roots Farm in Conway used his draft horses and the hands of many community members working together to hoist hemlock timbers into place to form the frame of a new barn. No crane, no tractor, and no nails were used; instead, the farm-harvested timbers were notched and held in place with oak pegs. The new 1,000 square foot barn was built to accommodate the farm's growing CSA membership. Previously, shareholders picked up their distributions from one of two open-sided sheds on the farm. The barn construction reflects the farm's commitment to the support of a sustainable, local economy and features the craftsmanship and trades of several neighbors of the farm, including Steve Stange, Will Elwell, Scott Barrows, and Ron Sweet. Natural Roots was awarded a Farm Viability Enhancement Program grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources early in 2008; half of the allocated funds were used for this much needed facilities upgrade. The balance of the grant monies were used to expand the CSA-member parking lot and to purchase a variety of horse-drawn haying and farming equipment to improve and diversify farm operations.

CSA update
In the February 2009 edition of our e-newsletter, we inadvertently left Town Farm and Crabapple Farm off of our list of CSA farms accepting new shareholders. Town Farm is located in Northampton near the Tri-County Fair Grounds and is committed to ecologically-grown vegetables and meat. Crabapple Farm in Chesterfield is rooted in principles of ecological stewardship and sustainability and believes that health must be built from the ground up. An updated list of CSA farms in the Local Hero program can be found on CISA's website.

Local Hero farmer passes away
CISA staff members are saddened by the death of Lenore Paul of Downhill Farm in Ludlow. Known for her commitment to education and her passion for agriculture, Lenore served a diverse client base in the Springfield area, providing families with poultry and other meat products and making agriculture an important part of learning in her 5th grade classroom. Lenore once boasted that her animals were "pre-basted" since they fed on waste from Hot Mama's salsa and hummus for much of the summer. A complete obituary for Lenore can be found at the Ludlow Funeral Home website.

Fiber farmer chronicles farm life for yarn lovers
Local Hero farmer Barb Parry of Foxfire Fiber and Designs at Springdelle Farm has written the first in a series of articles about small-scale fiber production and the life of a shepherd. Read about the "lamb storm" of 2006 at on-line fiber magazine Twist Collective. To hear Barb speak about farm life in person, and to see and feel her beautiful yarns, visit her Trunk Show on March 21st .

Congratulations, Cinda Jones
The Massachusetts Forest Landowners Association has elected Cinda Jones, of the 9th generation North Amherst-based Cowls Land and Lumber Company, its 2009 President at its January members meeting.

Emu partnership proposed
DeeDee Mares of Songline Emu Farm is looking to form partnerships with people interested in raising emus for her business. Demand for emu oil and meat is increasing, but she cannot increase her flock due to space and time limitations. DeeDee is offering to hatch the chicks and arrange for the full-grown birds to be processed, if you agree to raise the birds for her. Six foot fencing, minimal shelter and state permit required. If you are interested in learning more, contact DeeDee at 413- 863-2700 or email her at

Photo submitted by Natural Roots Farm.

Greenfield native appointed to number two USDA post
Sustainable agriculture supporters were delighted to learn last week that President Obama has appointed Greenfield native Kathleen Merrigan to be Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. Merrigan is currently the director of Tufts' Agriculture, Food and Environment program, but she has lots of hands-on experience with agricultural policy and how it impacts Northeastern farmers. She's worked for Massachusetts Congressman John Olver and was on Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy's agriculture staff while the national organic standards program was developed. Merrigan also has USDA experience, working in the Agricultural Marketing Service during the Clinton administration. Read more at Civil Eats.

Even before Merrigan's arrival, the USDA announced a plan to plant community gardens at their offices around the country. To read about Michelle Obama's visit to the garden groundbreaking at the USDA's offices in DC, and other Obama family remarks related to locally grown food, visit An advisor to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack is even predicting a White House vegetable garden by summer!

Photo from
Be sure to check out CISA's events page for updates and additions throughout the month.

Saturday, March 7
Workshop: Women Sustaining Woodlands - Forest Stewardship 101

A one-day workshop at the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Mass., from 9am to 4pm for women interested in forest stewardship and management planning -- from hands-off conservation to active management for sustainable timber production. At this workshop, professional foresters and wildlife experts will introduce skills for "reading" a forested landscape, and techniques to formulate personal stewardship goals. In addition, the workshop will head into the woods for hands-on practice in evaluating forest resources and developing a stewardship plan. Advance registration is required. A $25.00 fee includes lunch and take-home materials. Financial assistance is available. This workshop is made possible by the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Becoming an OutdoorsWoman®, Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D, USDA Forest Service, and the Mass. Forest Stewardship Program. For more information, contact Marcheterre Fluet, Mass. Forest Stewardship Program, 413-256-1201, Ext. 3.

Sunday, March 8
Benefit for Samuel Smyth

Benefit dinner will be held on March 8 from 5 to 7 pm at Trinity Church (361 Sumner Avenue) in Springfield, Mass., to help the Smyth family of Trinity Farm in Enfield, Conn. with mounting medical bills. Samuel Smyth, a fourth generation dairy farmer, was severely injured in a farming accident in October when a 900 lb. bale of hay fell on him and severed his spine. Sam is now a paraplegic and faces extensive rehabilitation. Trinity Farm has been a member of the Springfield Farmers' Market at the X for several years. The free-will fundraiser is being organized by Belle Rita Novak and members of the market. To reserve a place at the dinner, please send a check for any amount c/o Belle Rita Novak, 112 Manchester Terrace, Springfield, MA 01108-3456. The check should be made out to Dale and Mike Smyth (Sam's parents). For more information call 413-737-1724.

Tuesday, March 10
Mass Agriculture Day at the State House

There are 7,691 farms in Massachusetts generating $489.8 million in sales and helping to maintain some 517,879 acres of open space. Each year farmers and agriculture officials from across the Bay State visit their legislators on Massachusetts Agriculture Day at the State House to discuss issues and legislation affecting their farms and communities. The event includes a speaking program, 'Agriculture Day' awards, informational exhibits and a reception featuring Massachusetts's farm and specialty food products.

Wednesday, March 11
A Website for Your Farm

Location: CISA Office, One Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA
Farmers will learn about Internet tools such as websites, on-line stores and email newsletters. Web designer, Mary Hager from Function First Design, will outline goals every farmer should consider when developing a website and will talk about the various tools and techniques farmers can implement to increase traffic and sales. Cost is $10.00 for Local Hero members and $15.00 for non-members; dinner is included. Please register prior to each session by contacting Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100 or via email This marketing workshop is based on work supported by USDA/CREES under Award Number 2007-49200-03888.

Friday, March 13
CISA's Annual Meeting and Potluck

If you love sharing great food and want an opportunity to enjoy both the gustatory and the social benefits of local agriculture, CISA's annual meeting and potluck dinner is for you. Our annual potluck will be held from 6pm to 9pm at the Lewis-Sebring Dining Commons in Valentine Hall of Amherst College. Note the new location!!! We'll be celebrating the 2008 Local Hero award winners (Sidehill Farm, Mary McClintock, and Gardening the Community), voting on a slate of new board members, and talking about CISA's plans for the future. Everyone is welcome, and everyone will be invited to join CISA if you're not already a member. RSVP to Jennifer at 413-665-7100 or

Saturday, March 14
Shearing Day at Winterberry Farm

Winterberry's annual wool harvest festival is here! Come see sheep, fleece, and wool in all forms. Great food, music, and beautiful wool and angora will be everywhere. There may even be a spinner or two in action. The event is free of charge, but farm scholarship donations are cheerfully accepted. Come between 10:30am and 2:00pm to see the actual shearing of most of the farm's sheep. Come between 9:30am and 4:00pm to buy wool, eat, and talk with the animals and farmers. Contact Jill Horton-Lyons at or (413) 548-3940 for more information.

Wednesday, March 18
Bioenergy in Soil, Food and Health

New Perspective on Natural Organic Farming and Food discussion led by Joseph Heckman, PhD, Professor of Soil Science, Rutgers University, NJ. 7:00pm, Forbes Library, Northampton. For more information, visit or call Trish Corbett or Michael Mannion at 413-238-4433.

Thursday, March 19
Regional Agriculture through Renewable Energy

This seminar will focus on the benefits of renewable energy for the agricultural industry of New England, including various support programs, renewable energy generation technologies, including anaerobic digestion technology, and energy efficiency opportunities. Presentations will address the aggregating of various feed stocks in order to enhance the economic viability of projects. Farm waste, food processing plant waste, and municipal sludge are just a few examples of feed stocks. Sponsored by the Environmental Business Council of New England. 7:30am to 11:30am at the Hilton Garden Inn (800 West Columbus Avenue) in Springfield. Registration fee is $25.

Thursday, March 19
Renaissance Night at Carmelina's
Carmelina's at the Commons (96 Russell Street in Hadley) is hosting complimentary mead tasting, with the purchase of dinner, in the main dining room from 6pm to 8pm (dinner served until 10pm). Local Hero member Green River Ambrosia of Greenfield is providing the mead. There will be live music including Celtic tunes played by local archguitarist Peter Blanchette; special menu items using mead as a featured item including a Mead Martini and Lamb Shank served with baby carrots, fingerling potatoes and a mead sauce. For more info or to make a reservation call 413-584-8000 or e-mail

Thursday-Sunday, March 19-22
Forum on the Solidarity Economy: Building Another World
The first U.S. Forum on the Solidarity Economy aims to bring together a diverse array of people and organizations to share ideas and practices, to forge new connections, and to build a more powerful and cohesive movement for a just, democratic and sustainable economy. Local Hero member Nuestras Raíces and other Local Hero farms will be among the western Massachusetts ventures that are examples of the "solidarity economy" in action. Held at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Sponsored by the Universidad de los Andes (Venezuela) & RIPESS- NA (Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy - North America).

Friday, March 20
Franklin Conservation District Tree Sale Ends

The Franklin Conservation District's Spring Tree, Shrub and Plant Sale ends today. Offerings this year include an affordable selection of evergreens, hardwoods, woody shrubs, perennials and edible garden plants. Locally grown perennials will be available, as well as local compost, honey and maple syrup. As quantities of some items are limited, it is best to order early. Pick-up day for all orders is Saturday, April 25, from 9am until noon, at Williams Farm on Route 10 in Deerfield. To request a brochure for this year's plant sale, call the District office at 413-772-0384 ext. 110.

Saturday, March 21
Master Gardener Spring Symposium:
Feeding Soil, Soul and Self

Workshops on topics such as extending the season, farming the fringe, low maintenance fruits and nuts, intro to permaculture, pollen bees in agriculture and gardens, preserving the herbal bounty, garlic 101, cooking, worm composting and much more. Keynote speaker is Julie Moir Messervy, who will talk about "Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love." The symposium will be held at Frontier Regional High School in South Deerfield, Mass. $25 for the day; $15 for keynote only. Seating is limited for workshops. Register early to get your first choices. Info and registration forms at or contact Rae Davis at or 413-625-0168. Snow date March 28.

March 21, Saturday
Adventures in Yarn Farming

Join Barbara Parry of Foxfire Fiber and Designs at Springdelle Farm at Webs in Northampton for a trunk show and slide presentation about her farm in Shelburne. Gorgeous yarns and lots of information about where they come from. Don't miss it. Trunk show 10:30am-5:00pm, slide presentation at 11:00am.

Tuesday, March 24
Marketing Plan Review

Location: CISA Office, One Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA
This workshop is for participants who enrolled in the whole series to share their marketing plans with classmates and speakers in order to receive feedback and advice. Participants will also sign up for the additional limited One-on-one support to begin to implement their marketing plans. Cost is $10.00 for Local Hero Members and $15.00 for non-members; dinner is included. Please register prior to each session by contacting Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100 or via email This marketing workshop is based on work supported by USDA/CREES under Award Number 2007-49200-03888.

March 28
Western and Central MA Ag Commissions Gathering

Deerfield Town Hall, 8 Conway Street, South Deerfield
Western and Central Massachusetts Agricultural Commissions invite you to discuss climate change and agriculture, food for tomorrow, and innovative marketing of local farm products. Join us whether you are an ag commission member, farmer, farm support group, local planner and or interested citizen. To register ($10 fee), call or write CISA, 1 Sugarloaf St., So. Deerfield, MA 01373, or 413-665-7100, For all other inquiries, contact Pete Westover, 413-665-4077. For more information and a registration form, download the event flyer.

Saturday, April 4
Master Gardener Spring Symposium:
Let Your Garden 2009!
Workshops on topics such as preserving the harvest, ferns and native plants, space saving gardens, cooking with herbs, managing insect pests, winter seed sowing. Keynote speaker C.L. Fornari will talk "Myths, Lies and All the Latest Dirt." Classes fill up fast. Registration material available at Held at Dean Technical High School, Holyoke, Mass. from 8am to 1:45pm. Register by March 22.
Job opening: Intervale Farm in Westhampton, Mass. is seeking 2 - 3 crew workers for the 2009 season. We are a family run farm with a greenhouse and vegetable operation, a small flock of sheep and laying hens. Intervale has a CSA, operates a farm stand and sells at local farmers' markets. Experience is preferred but the willingness to work hard and learn is a must. Please contact Maureen Dempsey or Rick Tracy at or 413-527-5440.

Job opening: Small Ones Farm,a family-owned 63-acre farm in South Amherst, Mass, is seeking teachers for its Seedlings (ages 5-6) and Harvesters (ages 11-13) programs scheduled August 3 through August 14 Mandatory training day in June. Program descriptions can be found at The farm uses natural, earth-friendly and people-friendly farming techniques (no synthetic chemicals) to grow peaches, apples, pears, vegetables and herbs. Its summer programs are designed and led by teachers, and provide children with an opportunity to have fun in a safe and supportive environment, participate in a working farm, and learn about the natural world. Salary based on experience. Contact Sally Fitz, Program Director, (413) 253-6788 or

Job Opening: Atlas Farm, a 35-acre certified organic and diversified vegetable farm in its fifth year of production in Deerfield, Mass., has a management apprentice position available. The intention is to hire several people as part of the regular farm crew who are also interested in taking on greater responsibility in a certain area of the farm (greenhouse, famers' market, harvest management, etc.). The ideal candidate for this position has had a season or two working on vegetable farms and has a strong desire to learn more about farm management. The hope is that people who join Atlas Farm as apprentices will be able to move up in the farm management by staying on for multiple seasons and moving into roles of greater responsibility. Competitive salary, one week paid vacation and bonus at end of the year for apprentices who stay on for a second season. Please contact Sara at for a full job description.

Job Opening: The Forest Landowners Association is seeking a part-time Executive Director to help develop a consistent and strong public posture in Boston and across the state. Applicants should understands forestry and private property issues; be a respected and reasonable communicator (written and verbal); be known and respected within the State House and Ag, Forestry, and Fish & Wildlife departments; be able to develop and pursue legislative priorities; help the 600 members improve their economic positions and maintain their forested open space through wind, solar, biomass, broadband and other initiatives; be able to educate the public about the value of forestry and forests to the commonwealth; be willing to protect private property rights and watch dog threats. For more information about the organization visit Resumes should go to

Intern: Golden Thread Apothecary is offering a new and unique internship called "Field to Pharmacy." Students are taken through the whole cycle of herbal medicine....from seed, to nurturing plant growth, to harvest, to medicine making, including courses in herbal medicine, plant identification, organ systems, energetics, physical diagnosis, disease catagorization and more. The internship culminates in a supervised, low-cost health clinic, including patient interview, treatment plan development, follow-ups, and round table discussions. This is an amazing opportunity to become involved in, and learn about a localized, grassroots medical system...hands on! A program description, along with a downloadable pdf form, can be found at

Intern:The Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Life Skills Apprenticeship unites the physically demanding work of farming with the techniques one needs to lead a balanced and productive life. Farming combined with a balanced life is essential for a truly sustainable agriculture. The farm philosophy emphasizes soil building and worm production through permanent, no-till raised beds in which high quality vegetables are grown intensively for restaurants, food co-ops and schools. The farm uses solar greenhouses to expand the growing season, solar electricity to power buildings, and biodiesel to power farm vehicles. Apprentices learn how to envision life goals, the organizational skills to get there, then how to implement one's vision. Apprentices work Monday through Friday from mid-May to end of October. Room, board and a monthly stipend provided. Opportunity to participate in "Grow Community," a neighborhood effort to become food and energy secure, and the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival. Learn more about the farm at, then ask for an application, which includes an in-person interview. Ricky Baruc, 978-544-7564 or

Job wanted: Young farmer (21 years old) and hard worker looking for work on organic farm in April and May. Previously was a WOOFer, then apprenticed on an organic farm for three years in Hawaii, and now manages a small farm there. Very interested in sustainable agriculture and pitching in where needed to support small, organic farm enterprises. Farming experience includes vegetables, fruits, and coffee, as well as processing coffee and nuts. Preference for Hampshire County but open to anything within 20 or so miles of Northampton, Massachusetts. Please call 413-584-3360 evenings or email

Volunteer: CISA has a number of volunteer opportunities available. Whether you want to join a committee, help out in the office, or table at an event, we've got it all. Training provided for people interested in volunteering. Visit the CISA listing on the ACT Community Service Center website for detailed description of volunteer positions. of opportunities.

For Rent: Join with leading community groups in a centrally located office space in South Deerfield that puts you at the heart of the northern Pioneer Valley. Space available from 200 to 1,000 square feet, which includes access to conference rooms and a kitchen. Heat and electricity are included. Call Jennifer at (413) 665-7100 or email at

For Sale: TARM - Wood/Oil dual fuel hot water boiler - Type OT70 - rated at 270,000 btu. Older unit, ideal for green house operation. Unit has domestic twin hot water internal tanks as well. Unit is complete with all controls, Carlin oil burner, etc, all in working order. All manuals for installation & operating instructions. Reason for sale - we installed a new Tarm gasification boiler with extra large storage system. Can be seen at Saw Mill Site Farm Horseradish Products. Call Terry Grinnan at 413-665-3005 or 1-888-798-7232 for further information or to arrange viewing.

For Sale: Emu chicks available for sale. $150.00 per bird, sexing guaranteed. Also looking to form partnerships with people interested in raising emus for her business. Call Dee Dee at 863-2700 or email her at

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

Please do not take images or content to use on your own site or project without the CISA's explicit permission. Please feel free to link to our newsletter. Archives can be found at

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