February 2011 Issue
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Winter Fare

"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." - Thoreau

For many of us, an interest in eating locally was sparked by the sensory pleasures of strawberries in June or tomatoes in August, and the simple joy of eating can be enough to turn anyone into an ardent local food devotee. But the revelatory nature of a crisp cucumber on a broiling hot day is about more than flavor alone -- it's about seasonality, the amazing way in which our needs are met by what is available to us. Our appetites are satisfied in many ways by the first tender greens poking up in the spring, the onslaught of flavors and colors in the summer, and the fall vegetables that demand to be roasted and turned into soups throughout the winter.

On January 15th, CISA's 2nd annual Northampton Winter Fare drew 1600 people to shop, attend educational workshops, barter their home-preserved foods, and enjoy hot seasonal soups from local restaurants. The 27 vendors presented an incredible showcase of the range of foods that are available locally during the winter. The growth in winter market outlets allows us to appreciate the seasonal pleasures of winter eating -- crisp radishes, creamy squash, sweet maple, and savory meats.

While Northampton Winter Fare was a one-time event, there are plenty of other chances to stock up on local edibles this winter. Greenfield Winter Fare is coming up this Saturday, February 5th, at the Greenfield High School, and Northampton, Amherst, and Springfield all have weekly or biweekly winter markets. We hope to see you there!

Claire Morenon
Program Coordinator

Photo by Jason Threlfall.

Get Inspired at CISA's Annual Meeting
CISA's annual business meeting and potluck will take place on Friday, March 11, at Amherst College. Our guest speaker this year is Vern Grubinger, who will speak about the Future of Food. We'll also be celebrating the 2010 Local Hero Award winners--Belle Rita Novak, J & J Farms and Real Pickles. This is a great opportunity for CISA staff, Local Hero farmers, and community members to come together. 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. P.S. If you are attending and would like to help, we could use a few extra hands in the kitchen to ensure that all the food gets out on the table. Please let Jennifer know if you can take a kitchen shift (we promise we won't trap you in the kitchen all night).

April Young@Heart ChorusTM performance to benefit CISA and SafePassage
Attention music fans of all ages! Join CISA on April 10, 2011 at John M. Greene Hall for a special concert featuring the Northampton-based Young@HeartTM Chorus. Young@Heart TM has performed world-wide and is the subject of an award-winning documentary. Performers, ages 73 to 89, consist of professionals, amateurs and those who never stepped onstage before age eighty! Check the CISA website later this month for additional information, to purchase your tickets on-line, or to find ticket sale outlets.

Reach locally grown food and farm products enthusiasts with an ad in CISA's Farm Products Guide!
Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide is the Pioneer Valley's comprehensive guide to eating and buying locally produced food and farm products. With a print run of 55,000, the 2011 Guide is distributed directly to consumers throughout the three counties and used as a reference all year long. Advertisements from local farms and growers, restaurants and specialty food producers, food retailers, and agricultural based businesses and organizations in western Massachusetts are now being accepted. Contact CISA's Development Office at 413-665-7100 to request advertising rates and placement information; ads due by March 4th.

Send us your recipes!
Do you have a favorite way of preparing kale, collards, bok choy, or spinach? We're looking for recipes for cooking greens to feature on the recipe page on our website, so send along your favorite to Claire Morenon, Program Coordinator.

Winter Workshop Series for Farmers: Labor Management
Wintry weather gives you another chance to attend CISA's labor workshops! The first workshop in our series, Introduction to Labor Law, has been postponed to February 8th. Additional topics in the series include Employer Obligations; Employee Management; Apprentices, Volunteers, and other possibilities; Hiring the Right Employees; and Farm Manager as Employer, Landlord, Parent, Partner, and Friend. Visit the Technical Assistance page on our website for more details and regular updates! Funding for this series is provided by the Northeast Center for Risk Management Education, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and USDA Risk Management Agency.

Sign up now for the Local Hero Program!
CISA's Local Hero program promotes farm and food businesses growing and sourcing locally grown products, provides labeling materials, and offers training and networking opportunities. The "Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown" brand is a valuable asset to member businesses. Enrollment now ensures that your business be listed in our 2011 Farm Products Guide. If you know a farm, restaurant, retailer, college or hospital that's a good fit for membership, please encourage them to join! Contact Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100 for more information.

Office Space Available in CISA's Building
Looking for office space? Join CISA at our location in South Deerfield. Details can be found on our classifieds page.

Photo by Jason Threlfall.
Real Pickles = Good Food
Real Pickles' owner Dan Rosenberg and partner Addie Rose Holland traveled to California last month to receive a Good Food Award for their garlic dill pickles. The Good Food folks rightly rewarded the pickles' great taste, but also picked products that "support sustainability and social good."CISA's recent profile of Real Pickles explores the challenges that their commitment to locally grown, organic ingredients and energy-efficient production methods has presented as Real Pickles has grown.

Local Hero Members in the News
Visit CISA's Local Hero Members in the News page to see news stories involving Local Hero businesses. Recent additions include both a WFCR and a Daily Hampshire Gazette story about Valley Malt and a great series by Richie Davis about young farmers returning to work on three Valley farms --Upingill Farm, Clarkdale Fruit Farms and Hager Brothers Farm.

Benson Place Builds Community into Land Preservation
If there's any wind blowing you'll know it at The Benson Place in Heath. The low bush blueberries hug the ground, allowing the winter wind to howl across the hilltop. Winter or summer, the hilltop environment is strikingly different than the valley below it, reminding us of the variety of habitats and ecosystems even in a small region.

In concert with the Franklin Land Trust, the Commonwealth's Agricultural Preservation and Restriction Program, several other community organizations, and loyal farm supporters, co-owners Ted Watt and Dave Gott have permanently protected 54 acres of land and assured continued public access to the farm. The farmland includes sustainably grown lowbush blueberries, beautiful vistas, wildlife habitat, and the former site of artist Robert Strong Woodward's Heath studio. On February 12th, they will celebrate these accomplishments and the land itself with a nature walk led by Ted, who is a naturalist at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment in Amherst (read more about wind, animals, and tracks on the farm at their website). Following the walk, Dave will conduct a raffle of locally-made arts and crafts pieces to benefit the farm preservation effort. If you are interested in resources for farmland preservation, see CISA's land page or www.foreverfarmland.org.

Photo courtesy of Real Pickles.
Greenfield Winter Fare
The 4th Annual Greenfield Winter Fare Farmers' Market takes place Saturday, February 5 at the Greenfield High School, 1 Lenox Ave., Greenfield, MA (wheelchair accessible). The Market will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for everyone to shop, attend a workshop, enjoy a cup of soup, and participate in the Barter Fair at the Farmers' Market. The Week of Winter Fare continues with local food potlucks, a film and more. The Greenfield Winter Fare Farmers' Market accepts credit cards and EBT/SNAP benefits. Double your money! The Greenfield Winter Fare organizers will match the first $5 spent by SNAP users, so $5 spent using SNAP gets you $10 of produce.

What will be available at the Farmers' Market? From apples to yams and lots in between: baked goods, cheese, cider, eggs, greens, honey, maple products, meat, preserves, pickles, root vegetables, squash, and more. Volunteers are still needed to help make Greenfield's Winter Fare Farmers' Market a great event. Contact Devon at (413) 665-7100 or devonwd@gmail.com.

USDA Approves Unregulated Planting of Genetically-Modified (GMO) Alfalfa
From our perspective as supporters of market opportunities for farmers and knowledge of food's origins for consumers, we have two main problems with USDA's decision not to impose any restrictions on growing GMO alfalfa. First, the risk of contamination of organic alfalfa is high -- alfalfa cross-pollinates easily, and organic growers found to be growing GMO alfalfa risk losing their organic certification, markets, and livelihood. Alfalfa is important as winter hay for dairy animals, and this decision risks the loss of an important crop for organic producers. Second, no labeling is required of GMO crops, making it difficult for consumers to make their own decisions about what they choose to eat. Read more at the Wall Street Journal or the Atlantic.
Below are a couple of upcoming farm and food-related events of interest. Find out about workshops, farm festivals, film screenings, and other local farm-related events on our web site.

1. Locally Grown Pancake Breakfast to benefit the Amherst Survival Center, Saturday, February 12, 9am-1pm, at the Food Shed at Enterprise Farm, 72 River Road, Whately. Pancakes made with local whole wheat flour from Four Star Farm , local bacon and sausage from Austin Brothers Farm, and local apple cider and locally roasted coffee from Pierce Brothers. Adults $10 and children $5. To buy tickets, email Katey Tobin.

2. Pioneer Valley Grows semi-annual networking meeting, February 16, 9:30am - 1:00pm. Featuring an interactive session, "Making Local Food Available to Everyone: Whose Job Is It?", networking, a working lunch, and a special session from 1-2pm on local food system financing. The event is free, and includes lunch ($5 lunch donation encouraged), register here.
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Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Phone: (413) 665-7100