CISA's February 2010 eNewsletter
February 2010 Issue
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Phil Korman, Executive Director

Last week's cold snap reminds us of the dual nature of late January-the season's coldest temperatures, coupled with noticeably longer days and more sunlight. It is a time when the land seems fallow to our eyes, but much activity is still going on under the surface. During these cold days, our desire for connection and community needs nourishment. Fortunately, our farms continue to meet our needs--giving us good food and opportunities to gather in our homes and communities.

At CISA's first Winter Fare event in Northampton, over 1,500 folks braved the cold temps to fill their pantries with locally grown items, barter preserved goods, attend workshops and warm their bellies with hot soup. And what could be better than another opportunity? Don't miss the Greenfield Winter Fare on Saturday, February 6, from 10am- 2pm at the Greenfield High School.

The approaching maple syrup season provides another way to taste the season's bounty with our friends and neighbors. Soon, we will see days above freezing and nights below freezing. Whether you gather around a boiling evaporator (large or small) or over pancakes at a sugarhouse, we hope both your hearts and your bellies will be warmed and sweetened. Hope to celebrate community with you soon!


Phil Korman
Executive Director

Photo by Jason Threlfall.

El Jardin sells bread
Building creative financing options for local food producers
CISA has joined with eight organizations to develop new economic opportunities for small businesses linking together the food system in the Pioneer Valley. Formed and funded as a pilot project in late 2009, the Pioneer Valley Grows Infrastructure Finance working group is identifying financing solutions for businesses working on packing, processing, and distribution along the local food chain. These efforts will strengthen market options for local farms and bring more locally grown food to Pioneer Valley communities. See this Greenfield Recorder article for more information about PVGrows.

In the coming weeks, the group plans to invite entrepreneurs to partner with them to test new financing models and to help fill the gaps in our food system. Contact Jess Cook if you are interested in being invited!

Get Inspired at Annual Meeting
CISA's annual business meeting and potluck will take place on March 12th at Amherst College. We'll be celebrating the 2009 Local Hero Award winners (The People's Pint, LaSalle Florists, and Seeds of Solidarity Farm & Education Center). Postcard invitations were sent to CISA's community members and donors. If you didn't receive a postcard, but would like to attend, contact the Development Office at 413-665-7100.

Whole Foods' Shoppers Raise $ for Seniors
Thank you to Whole Foods Market and their shoppers for contributing $5,000 to Senior FarmShare through the store's 5% Day on January 13th! We turned to the community to help save CISA's Senior FarmShare Program when the state eliminated all funding for the program. Businesses and individuals responded to our request for financial contributions. Thanks to all of you, the program will continue and hundreds of low-income seniors will get the freshest produce available this summer--grown by our local farmers!

Volunteers Make Northampton Winter Fare a Huge Success
More than fifteen hundred shoppers came through the doors, workshops were full, and many of our farmers reported record sales at the Northampton Winter Fare. Hats off to everyone who participated, especially our local farmers for growing such a wonderful winter bounty. Congratulations as well to Jessica Adamick of Florence for winning the tote filled with farm-inspired gifts at our raffle. And we couldn't have done it without the resourceful talents of the organizing committee: Megan Butow, Robin Claremont, Marie Despres, Rebecca Fletcher, Lisa Laprade, Shira Lynn, Judy Sanders, Molly Sauvain, Danya Teitelbaum, Ben Winter; and the many other volunteers who helped on the day of the market.

Can You Lend a Hand?
CISA's success at promoting local agriculture is due in a large part to the many volunteers who work in our office, help with our events, or staff booths at local events. A volunteer training session will be held from 9 am to 11 am on February 20 at the CISA office (One Sugarloaf Street in South Deerfield, Mass). The session is aimed at potential community outreach volunteers but open to all who want to volunteer with CISA. To register for this training, contact Tracie Butler-Kurth at 413-665-7100 x 12.

Local Hero enrollment
Open enrollment continues for farms and qualified businesses until March 1. In addition, businesses interested in advertising in the 2010 edition of Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide should contact the Development Office 413-665-7100 or for more information.

Photo by Rachel Chandler-Worth.

West County Cider
Sad News to Report
CISA was saddened to hear that long-time Local Hero farmer Terry Maloney of West County Cider in Colrain died suddenly and unexpectedly last Friday (January 29) due to a head injury received while processing cider. Terry was a much beloved craft- cidermaker. Ben Watson, author of Cider: Hard and Sweet and a friend of the Maloneys, wrote a tribute to Terry which we excerpt below. Our condolences to Terry's wife, Judith, and son, Field.

"The Maloneys came to western Massachusetts with experience from California vineyards. The beautiful hill towns of Franklin County, Massachusetts, are a traditional apple-growing and cider-making region, so Terry and Judith began a winery that focused on locally grown fruits like apples and blueberries. Over the years, they have made everything from unfiltered Farm Cider (still one of my favorites) to artfully crafted cidre doux and a whole range of distinguished varietals that included Reine de Pomme, Baldwin, Roxbury Russet, Kingston Black, and the astonishingly good, copper-colored Redfield, a signature product of West County Cider and an example of Terry's skill as both a cidermaker and fruit grower. In addition to making their own cider, Terry and Judith have been central players in promoting craft ciders from all over the US -- as founders and organizers of the annual Cider Days festival, which over the past 15+ years has provided an ever-expanding showcase of the best American ciders."

Robinson Farm goes for the Cheese
At the end of December, Ray and Pamela Robinson of Robinson Farm in Hardwick stopped selling their milk in bulk to Agrimark, a regional dairy processing cooperative. Going forward their milk will be sold raw, fed to calves or made into cheese. The Robinsons graze their 40-cow herd on certified organic pasture and plan to sell most of their cheese through their farmstand and farmers' markets in Hardwick, Worcester and East Grafton. Additionally, they will sell to local retailers and restaurants, with their sons Keith and Ben marketing the cheese in Boston. If you have a specialty cheese shop that you think the Robinsons should try, please let them know. And if you would like to learn more about their decision to stop having their milk processed off the farm, check out this article from the 2009 Fall issue of Edible Boston.

Photo from CISA files.

Tevis of Crabapple Farm
Northampton Winter Farmers' Market Extends Season
Due to popular demand, the Winter Farmers Market in the basement of Thornes Market in Northampton will continue each Saturday from 9am to 2pm through the end of April. In addition, a couple of new vendor slots are available. Contact Andrew Huckins at (413) 522-1129 if you are interested in selling your products.

Spend Summer Vacation at Farm Camp(s)!
With the annual February school vacation just days away, many parents are starting to plan summer activities for their children. Several of our local farms are putting together summer day camp opportunities for kids young and old. We've put together a listing on our web site and will update the information throughout the spring as we learn about different options.

Micro-loans Available for Western Mass Farms
The Strolling of the Heifers Microloan Fund for New England Farmers will be accepting prequalified applications through February 26th, 2010, for loans of $15,000 or less. Applicants must live in one of the four counties of western Massachusetts, and must prequalify. For more information, please go to or contact Dorothy Suput at 617-666-9637.

Public Comment Sought on Forest Stewardship
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) manages over 300,000 acres of forest throughout the Commonwealth. Through the Forest Futures Visioning Process, a draft of recommendations for the stewardship of this public resource has been created, but additional public comment is needed. Written comments can be submitted to MODRDCR or interested parties can attend one of the public forums being held across the state in February (including one in Amherst on Tuesday, February 9).

Students Bare it All for Local Food
The Mount Holyoke Food and Justice Society's 2010 calendar, Bare Nutrients, features artistically unclothed students posing with local and seasonal produce--and little else. "We are real people posing with real foods that we love to eat," state the student producers. The calendar is available to the public for $15. To get your copy, email

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) also produces a beautiful calendar celebrating Massachusetts agriculture. Proceeds from the $10 calendar support Mass Ag in the Classroom.

Photo by Rachel Chandler-Worth.
Below are a few upcoming farm and farm-related events of interest. Find out about workshops, farm festivals, film screenings, farm summer camps and other local farm-related events on the Events and Education page of our web site.

  • Steve and Susan Rice are hosting an Open Farm and Valentine Sale from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday, February 13 and 14, at Craigieburn Farm Alpacas in Pelham. Pick up gloves, scarves, socks and more to warm your loved one. And meet the whimsical creatures (the alpacas, not the farmers) that produce this soft, warm fiber.

  • The Whately Library is hosting a viewing of and discussion of the documentary Fresh on Monday, February 8, at 6 pm. Margaret Christie, CISA's Special Project Director, will lead the discussion and talk about how you can get more involved in local agriculture.

  • One of the first signs of spring is the annual shearing of sheep in preparation for lambing. Come see what it is all about at Shearing Day at Little Brook Farm in Sunderland on Saturday, February 20, from 9:30am to noon. The event is free, but please call or email Kristen at 413-665-3802 or, if you plan to stop by.

Be sure to check out CISA's events page for updates and additions throughout the month.
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Phone: (413) 665-7100