CISA's May 09 eNewsletter
May 2009
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Dear Jennifer,

All around the region, farmers' markets are opening this month. Great local food and farm products are the number one reason to go to the farmers' market. But seeing your neighbors, meeting the people who grow your food, and supporting the local economy are also high on the list.

The Pioneer Valley has more than 25 markets, with new ones opening each year. There's a market every day of the week somewhere in the region. Even if you have a favorite market near your home, it's fun to visit other markets if you happen to be close by on market day--and your support can also help to get a new market off the ground.

To find markets near you, customize our on-line Farm Products Guide with your own zip code. Click on the market name to see information about hours, location, and opening day. Or select markets by the day of the week or the payment method-cash, EBT, or WIC coupons, for example.

CISA often receive inquiries from people interested in starting new markets in their community or workplace. We're delighted by the growth in farmers' markets, but we also talk regularly to market managers and we know that establishing a new market can be hard. Selling through a farmers' market is time- and labor-intensive for farmers, and new markets sometimes don't have the customer base to ensure strong sales. On the other hand, consumers like to visit markets with a broad array of booths and products, and may feel that a small, new market has more limited selection than they would like. Balancing farmers' needs for active sales and customers' desires for market diversity is a challenge, but can be done. If you are thinking about ways to improve your local market or trying to start a new market, let us know--we're happy to share our thoughts and experience.

Community support can help markets create activities that draw both customers and farmers: music, tastings, kids' activities, and information tables--not to mention hula hoops, vegetable costumes, or street theater--all help to make a farmers' market a hub of community life. Visit your local market this week, and enjoy the taste of spring!

Devon Whitney-Deal
Local Hero Member Services Coordinator

CISA staffer Devon Whitney-Deal has particular reasons to be enthusiastic about farmers' market season: on top of coordinating Local Hero member services for CISA, she's the market manager for the Greenfield Farmers' Market and sells her own jams and jellies in at the Belchertown Farmers' Market and at Winter Fare.

Photo by Jason Threlfall.

Mother always said "Eat Your Veggies"
When you were a kid, your mom was always trying to get you to eat your veggies or try new things. Show your mom how much you appreciate her persistence with a gift from CISA's online store or gift membership to CISA's new Community Membership initiative. Mom will thank you for it!

CISA debuts on Youtube
CISA has been promoting the Local Hero brand on the radio and in newspapers for years. Now we've made our first foray into the social media arena with a short video on Youtube. We emailed out the video as part of a fundraising appeal last week. If you missed it, or want to view it again, visit

We encourage you to promote our work and the Local Hero brand. Post the video on your web site or on Facebook, Twitter, Myspace or other social networking sites.

Volunteer Training
CISA is looking for a volunteer or two who would be available during weekday afternoons and early evening hours to represent us at local markets and retailers on a regular basis. If you have a few hours available on a weekly or monthly basis, please contact Tracie Butler-Kurth, Community Membership Coordinator, at 413-665-7100 to discuss community outreach volunteering with CISA.

Photo by CISA staff.

Farmer profile: The Morse Family of Outlook Farm
When Dave and Mary Lee Morse bought Outlook Farm in 1962, the farm and orchard were a mere ten acres. Mary Lee did not know much about farming, but Dave had worked on dairy farms. Their son Brad started helping out on the farm at age 5; his wife Erin joined the business in 1989. Then, in 1994, Brad and Erin took over ownership of the farm, which is perched on a hilltop along Route 66 in Westhampton.

Over the years, the small orchard has grown to sixty acres. The land produces an abundance of apples, peaches, cherries, raspberries, melons, corn, and squash. The farm has also diversified its operations. Brad focuses on cultivating the land and orchard, along with the pick-your-own operation, while Erin oversees the farmstand and deli, where Mary Lee has baked her delectable straight-from-the-orchard fruit pies since day one.

In the early days, the Morses raised their own pigs. Today, their hormone and additive-free pork comes from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, Outlook Farm continues to smoke their own kielbasa and make their own brisket and sausages. Hog roasts have been an essential part of the business since the 1970s. "It evolved from a fun party thing to a business, which works pretty well," says Brad. Other changes have come to the farm as well. Brad now grows more lettuce because the water crunch in California has made growing conditions there more challenging. At the moment, Brad is working to rebuild a historic barn moved from Leeds, Mass. The "new" building will showcase the farm's fresh fruits and vegetables. "We felt it important to reuse this historic building and its resources. The local farmer has always understood the concept of recycle, renew, and rebuild," said Brad.

In the meantime, Outlook Farms sells its fruits and vegetables at a number of farmers' markets, including the Springfield Market at the X. The Outlook Farm delivery truck can be seen at many local grocers and on the Smith College campus, which they have supplied with farm products for almost fifty years. They also sell to the Williston School in Easthampton. And, of course, you are always welcome to stop in at the farmstand or come for the pick-your-own season.

Brad observes, "People love to come pick apples. People who came with their parents are bringing their kids now."

For more information on Outlook Farm or on planning a backyard pig roast, call (413) 529-9338. Or visit the farm's Bloomin' Festival on May 16th (see details in the "Events" section below).

Our Local Hero Members are the "Best"
The votes are in! The Valley Advocate's annual reader's poll of "Best of the Valley" confirmed what many of us already know; Local Hero farms, restaurants and retailers are the best - especially when it comes to supporting local agriculture. A sampling of Local Hero winners who were touted by the Advocate for their commitment to buying locally grown can be found on our website.

Last Call for CSAs
If you still want to purchase a share in a CSA, now is the time to do it. Shares are still available at a few farms. It's a great opportunity to connect directly with a farm. Can't get to the farm? Some CSAs have the option of delivering the share to your home or business. We've been keeping a list on our website.

Planning Ahead for Winter
The Massachusetts Woodlands Coop, a Local Hero member, is studying the feasibility of offering firewood as one of its products. Please take a minute to fill out a survey to help determine the market for responsibly harvested firewood from western Massachusetts. It only takes a minute: Buying responsibly harvested, locally grown wood is as important as buying locally grown produce. It helps conserve land, diversify and improve the health of ecosystems, support the local economy, and reduce your carbon footprint. Western Massachusetts offers great sources of locally grown wood, but now that the nation's economy has slowed many mills are either shutting down or running far fewer hours, creating an economic crisis for wood producers in our region. Your commitment to purchasing local wood is crucial to support our region's forest landowners and practitioners such as foresters, loggers, and sawmills.

Farm Bureau profiles Justameretree Farm
J.P. and Marian Welch of Justamere Tree Farm were profiled on the American Farm Bureau's "Meet the Farmer" web page. They grow Christmas Trees and produce great-tasting, certified organic maple syrup on their farm.

Learn to Hand-Dye Yarn
Barbara Parry, owner of Fox Fire Fiber and Designs at Springdelle Farm, released her new book Teaching Yourself Visually Hand-Dyeing (Wiley Publishing). The book is available on her website and at major distributors, bookstores and yarn stores. In addition, Barbara's yarn was reviewed by Clara Parkes, a leading voice in yarn critique, for the Knitters Review, a newsletter that reaches more than 71,000 knitters internationally. When it comes to farm yarns, Clara really gets the whole picture.

Photo of Brad Morse from file.
Five Farms airs on WFCR
Hager Brothers, a Local Hero farm located in Colrain, is featured in Five Farms, a public radio documentary about farming in the United States. Each episode is about a different part of the farm cycle. Episodes will air Fridays at 7pm on 88.5 FM WFCR and Sundays at 5pm on 640 WNNZ through May. WFCR is the producing station for this nationally broadcast series and Wes Horner of Leyden is a producer.

Agawam Growing an Ag Commission
In April, the Agawam city council unanimously voted to endorse a petition to create an agricultural commission, after nineteen people signed a petition calling for its creation. John Spineti, who owns an organic farm on Mill Street in Agawam, spoke in favor of the proposal, noting that the commission would educate city residents about locally grown food available in the area. The commission will represent all types of farming, including forestry, greenhouses and wood products. (Republican 4/23/09)

Attention Job seekers
Looking for a job in agriculture? The Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development has a number of online job postings from area farms. In the job category, choose Farming, Fisheries and Forestry Occupation. Then enter your zip code, search radius and press "search."

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

Ongoing in May
Fetish: Food and Flowers
Mary Nelen, the ValleyLocavore, has her photographic work on display at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke (238 Cabot St, Holyoke, MA). The "food fetish" images concentrate on locally grown and foraged food featuring images from Riverland Farm, Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Bashista Orchards and several other local farms. The exhibit runs through May 30. $5.

Saturday, May 9
Goat Raising Workshop

Little Brook Farm in Sunderland will be holding a hands-on goat workshop from 9am to 2pm. Topics will include bringing home your first goats, selection, handling, nutrition and management. Bring a bag lunch and your own questions and join us at the farm! CISA Community members $40, non-members $50. Register by calling Kristen at 413-665-3802 or by email:

Saturday and Sunday, May 9 and 10
Mothers' Day Weekend Spring Dig Sale
Buy hardy, field grown perennials directly from the grower, directly from the field, at Wilder Hill Gardens (351 South Shirkshire Rd, Conway). Rain or shine from 9am-5pm. Phone: 413-625-9446

Monday, May 11
Winter Fare 2010 Meeting

Open meeting for anyone interested in getting involved in the third annual Greenfield market or in winter farmers' markets elsewhere in the Pioneer Valley. We're seeking input and opinions. We hope some folks will volunteer to help organize winter farmers' markets, but coming to this meeting does not imply commitment to future involvement. The meeting will be held at 6pm on May 11th at the CISA office (1 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield). Help support year-round sales of local food! Visit the Winter Fare website at to learn more about what happened in 2008 and 2009. For more information, email

Tuesday, May 12
Food Doesn't Grow in Aisle 1:
Bridging the Gap Between You and Your Local Farmers

A multimedia photo and audio exhibit featuring the lives and voices of local farmers in western Massachusetts. The exhibit is open for one night only. 7pm to 9pm at the A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton (126 Main Street). This student-directed project is working to put the farmers in the minds of policymakers and voters and to raise general awareness about food policy.

Thursday, May 14
CISA's Women in Agriculture meeting

CISA's Women in Ag Network is sponsoring a discussion on "Making the Internet Work for Your Farm." Sarah Swartz of Swartz Family Farm and Barbara Parry of Foxfire Fiber and Design at Springdelle Farm will talk about their excellent use of the Internet to promote their farm businesses and communicate with customers. Barbara's blog, Sheep Gal, has been an effective, fun tool for sharing the story of her farm and helping people feel connected to it. Sarah's online store has helped the Swartzes reach new customers and market their produce year-round. Come hear them talk about how they incorporate Internet marketing into their busy farm lives and unexpected ways that their websites have helped their businesses. Some CISA-developed resources on a variety of online tools will also be available. Open to women who farm or are interested in agriculture, and others who support them. Held at CISA's office at 1 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield. Begins at 6pm. Cost of $8 for dinner. Please RSVP by Monday, May 11, to Claire at 665-7100 or

Friday, May 15
The Making of Mead

Garth Shaneyfelt of Green River Ambrosia (a Local Hero specialty products business) is talking about mead - a fermented "honey wine" that has been around for centuries at 6 pm at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke (238 Cabot Street). 6 pm. $5 with sampling of local edibles included.

Saturday, May 16
Farm Babies

Lambs and baby chicks are all here waiting to be greeted in their new home! Feel the fuzzy wool of a small lamb, or gently cradle a young Wyandotte chicken in your hands. Learn more about each of these animals and how they are raised. It is an experience every child will remember. 10am - 11:30am. All ages welcome. Please call the Farm Office to register. $5 for Red Gate Farm member families/$10 for non-Red Gate Farm member families. Red Gate Farm Office (413) 625-9503

Saturday, May 16
Outlook Farm's Bloomin' Festival

Come experience the wonders of Spring on the Farm with 40 acres of orchards in bloom. Tag sale, plant sale, kids games and crafts, and a pig roast and BBQ. Visit CISA's table to learn about supporting Outlook Farm and other local farms. 9am to 2pm at Outlook Farm on Route 66 in Westhampton.

Sunday, May 17
Growing Native Orchids

Ron Wik, Nursery Business Director at NASAMI Farm, will present this free seminar in Whately. Offered by the New England Wildflower Society. Begins at 1pm. No registration required. For more information, visit

Monday, May 18
Ecological Intelligence Lecture

Will Raap will speak on Ecological Intelligence, the new guiding principle for sustainable land use and economic development, during a public lecture at the Conway Town Hall at 7 pm. Raap is the founder of the Intervale Center in Burlington, Vermont. Sponsored by the Conway School of Landscape Design.

Sunday, May 24
Dividing Native Perennials

Matt Kunze, Plant Propagation Specialist, will lead this free seminar at NASAMI Farm in Whately. Offered by the New England Wildflower Society. Begins at 1 p.m. No registration required. For more information, visit

Sunday, May 24
Hadley Antique Tractor Show

Hadley is celebrating 350 years of supporting local agriculture with an Antique Tractor Show. Over 100 antique tractors will be on display, many that have farmed Hadley's soil for decades. There will be hay rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, hot air balloon rides, a farmers' market, tractor and agricultural vendors, food, beverages and more. Be sure to stop by the CISA table. Free admission. Held 10am to 5pm at the Long Hollow Bison Farm (272 Russell Street/Rt.9) in Hadley.

Friday, May 28
Baking Bread with Local Grains

Artisan bakers Ben and Ardie Lester of Amherst will discuss baking bread with local grains at 6 pm at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke (238 Cabot Street). As the owners of Wheatberry Bakery in Amherst , they are also heading up a local grain growing effort in partnership with the The New England Small Farm Institute. There will be a tasting of their products and local cheese. All talks are $5 with sampling of local edibles included.

Saturday, May 30
Container Gardening with Native Plants

Container plantings are an excellent way to add accents to your outdoor spaces whether large or small. Learn which natives are ideal for containers and how to combine them effectively. Please bring your own container to assemble your own pot under the instructor's guidance. The class fee includes plant materials and potting mix for your container. 10 a.m.-12 noon at NASAMI Farm in Whately. Instructor: Kate Pawling, Nursery Administrator. Fee: $56 New England Wild Flower Society member/$64 non-member. Registration required at 508-877-7630, ext 3303.

Saturday, May 30
Hilltown Spring Festival

The 3rd annual festival features great local food from Hilltown eateries, live music and entertainment by professional and student performers, and children's entertainment. Also includes a Hilltown Business Expo, an Art and Craft Exposition and a Focus on Sustainability featuring environmental education and renewable energy displays. Be sure to visit the CISA table. Held at the Cummington Fairgrounds from 10am to 6pm. For more info visit,

Sunday, May 31
Butterfly Gardening with Native Plants

Ron Wik, Nursery Business Director at NASAMI Farm in Whately, will lead this free seminar. Offered by the New England Wildflower Society. Begins at 1 p.m. No registration required. For more information, visit
Job opening: Farm Helper wanted for June 20-27, July 17-22, and August 27-31. Small dairy goat farm located in Leverett with chickens and roadside farm stand needs help during these dates. Approximately 4 hrs/day - morning and then evening. Includes milking 8 goats, routine farm chores, some weeding/hoeing or picking of vegetables/flowers. Contact Stillwagon Farm at Stipend dependent on experience.

Job Opening: Executive Director of SEMAP (Southeastern Mass. Agricultural Partnership). Actively seeks economic development opportunities for the region's commercial farmers and is responsible for securing funding to implement the SEMAP mission, meet operating needs, and assure long-term fiscal stability of the organization. Supervises 2 to 5 full and part-time staff members, as well as consultants, contractors, and/or interns. Bachelor's Degree in marketing, economics, or related business field or equivalent experience. See the complete job description on Idealist.

Job opening: Community Organizers wanted. Out of work? Want to get paid to schmooze and network in your community for a couple months? Common Good Finance is looking for experienced community organizers to start common good bank(TM) community divisions anywhere in the world, at $10 to $20 an hour. At first, each organizer will be responsible for starting a community division just in his or her own community, full or part time over the course of a month or two. Successful organizers will likely be invited to continue this work in nearby communities. Organizers will be responsible for promoting the common good bank idea, raising funds and getting people to sign up as future depositors. To apply, see the full job description at Not for you? Get someone else to start a common good bank in your town. Put up this poster.

Internship opening: The Heritage Seed Farm ( has openings for interns in Colrain to help grow rare world wheat and vegetables with Cr Lawn of and Eli Rogosa. Stipend available. Work on an ecological farm will include seed-saving and biodiversity conservation, wild habitats for beneficial pollinators, organic soil fertility, composting and rotations, worksongs in Hebrew, artisan cuisine with heritage foods. Call 413-624-0214.

Vendors Needed: Help celebrate Hadley's 350 years of agriculture! A special farmers' market will be held in conjunction with the Antique Tractor show on Sunday, May 24, at Long Hollow Bison Farm (Rt. 9 Hadley) from 10am to 5pm. Rain date May 25. Free 12x12 space. If you would like to sell your produce or other locally grown farm product, contact Bruce Jenks at or 413-588-1716.

Vendors Needed The Bernardston Farmers' Market is looking for vendors. If you want to sell your produce at this market, contact Ed Gray of Silvery Moon Farm at The market is held in the Bernardston United Church parking lot on Tuesdays from 4 pm to 7pm from June to mid-October.

For Sale: Organic Compost approved for organic farming and gardening, picked up or delivered. $36 per cubic yard. Delivery fee varies. Inquire for details. Call Bob at 413-774-5631 or visit

For Sale: Lots of healthy goat kids! Robust and free of goat diseases such as CAE, Johnnes, Scrapies, etc. Our herd is bred for quality milk production while on grass pasture and minimum grain. Alpine and Alpine x Nubian. $40-$75. Hillman Farm, 413-624-3646 or

For Sale: Mirroring the global economic climate, Cowls Sawmill is pretty slow on orders these days. We need to keep our guys busy. We have hundreds of thousand of board feet of 1" and 2" pine that we'd love to use to make any product folks in the agricultural community may need. Do you need boxes or crates for your produce? Shelves? Siding to repair that old barn? Please let us know what your farm could use and we'll see if we can impress you with an attractive price. Thanks in advance for any ideas on how we can keep our men busy and our pine selling. 413-575-2900.

For Sale: Valley Land Fund (VLF), a regional land trust, is selling two farmland properties in Hadley, MA.:
  • Eight acres of flat, tillable land with excellent soil on the corner of Moody Bridge Road and South Maple Street. The land is protected under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR), and purchasing farmer must meet APR requirements. These mandate active agricultural use and prohibit residential or other non-agricultural use. Minimum bid $30,000.
  • Approximately 27 acres of prime farmland along the Connecticut River in North Hadley, with direct access from Meadow Road. Access to the Connecticut River for irrigation is available. The parcel is flat, tillable, and well suited for cultivated crops. VLF is offering the parcel to a farmer, subject to an Agricultural Preservation Restriction or Conservation Restriction with agricultural use. Minimum suggested bid $165,000.
More information including pictures, maps and bidding instructions at

For Sale: Grass-fed bulls and heifer calves available for sale from Chase Hill Farm dairy operation. Call Jeanette at 978-544-6327 if interested.

Pasture Land available:
1-2 acres of pasture available in North Amherst, no charge. You'll need to provide temporary fencing. We can provide water, attention, and perhaps shelter if needed. Please call Debbie at 413-549-0924

Farm land available: One-acre tilled field in Hatfield backing up to CT River for seasonal use free of charge. Access to field for exploration in farming. Irrigation possible, barn access for storage, tractor with implements. We're excited to have good things happening on the land and to help someone realize a dream. Call Sarah or Tom 413-303-9121.

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.

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