January 2011 Issue
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I am always hopeful as the new year begins. The winter has settled in, with its quiet and honest beauty, and the days are getting longer. I believe more and more people will become involved in the work we are doing together: growing more of our food, closer to home; bringing more local farm products, from flowers to wood to food, into our houses; and strengthening our sense of place by connecting farms, people, food, and communities.

We see it happening every day. All it takes is a little patience and a keen eye.

This Saturday is CISA's Winter Fare in Northampton. Weekly winter markets continue. And the Local Hero program is expanding, increasing our network of farms, businesses and consumers. Quiet, honest work of the best kind. Join us!

Phil Korman

Northampton Winter Fare
From 10am-2pm on January 15th, Smith Vocational and Technical High School will be transformed into a bustling winter farmers' market, featuring an amazing range of food from local farmers, including root veggies, cooking greens, fresh salad greens, cheese, pickles, meat, maple syrup, honey, herbs, squash, apples, jam, and much more. Stop in for free informal workshops on topics including composting, culinary herbs with medicinal uses, or growing grains and legumes at home. Bring some of last summer's home-preserved bounty and trade it with your neighbors during the barter market, or take a break with hot, seasonal soup from a local restaurant. Northampton Winter Fare is a community event not to be missed! To volunteer, contact CISA at volunteer@buylocalfood.org or 413-665-7100, and tell your friends via Facebook!

CISA thanks River Valley Market, UMassFive College Credit Union, Easthampton Savings Bank, Florence Savings Bank, and many volunteers for helping to bring Winter Fare to Northampton.

Seeking Nominations for Local Hero Awards
Do you know a business or individual whose work exemplifies CISA's mission to sustain agriculture in western Massachusetts? Since 2003, CISA has been recognizing farmers, institutions, businesses, and everyday community members with its Local Hero awards. Recent past recipients include the People's Pint, Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Education Center, Sidehill Farm, Gardening the Community, writer Mary McClintock, and specialty food producer Real Pickles -- all have made a noticeable impact on our understanding of local agriculture as an integral part of community life. This year's awardees will be profiled in the Farm Products Guide and will be honored at CISA's annual meeting in 2012. Local Hero Award nominee forms can be found here. Please take a moment to complete and return the form by January 28th. You may also email your nomination(s) along with a brief description of why you think the nominee is qualified and your contact information to communications@buylocalfood.org, or mail them to CISA, 1 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373.

Share the Local Harvest
CISA's Senior FarmShare program has been providing shares of local farm produce to low-income seniors in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties since 2004. Since its inception, more than 1,800 shares have been distributed and local farmers have received over $200,000 for their produce. Government support for this year is highly unlikely as the state faces a $2 billion deficit. Between now and the close of January 2011, CISA needs to raise $30,000 to secure FarmShares for low income seniors and to establish a pool of matching funds for SNAP/food stamp purchases at local farmers' markets. To make your gift please visit our on-line giving page.

Winter Workshop Series for Farmers: Labor Management
CISA's 2011 winter workshop series for farmers will focus on labor management and provide farmers with information and strategies for hiring and managing their labor needs. The series will be made up of six workshops starting February 1st and ending by early April. Visit our events page 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.

Now's the Time to Join 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. We enroll new members all year, but especially encourage winter enrollment because it allows member businesses to be listed in our spring Farm Products Guide. If you know a farm, restaurant, retailer, college, hospital, garden center, or specialty producer that's a good fit for membership, please encourage them to join! Contact Devon Whitney-Deal (Devon@buylocalfood.org) for more information.

Winter Market Outlets
Don't forget that you can find regularly updated information about winter markets and other sources of locally grown product in the cold months on our web page.

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 Threlfalls
New Book explores Amherst Farm History Harvesting History: Amherst, Massachusetts Farms 1700-2010 contains an eclectic and beautiful mix of essays, photographs and memorabilia related to Amherst's rich farming culture, past and present. The result of 10 years of research, interviews, and writing by editors Sheila Rainford and Ruth Owen Jones, the book is available at Atkins Farm and Country Market, A.J. Hastings, Amherst Books, and through amherstareapublications.com. To read a review from The Republican, click here.

New England Apple Cider
For many Americans, breakfast isn't breakfast without coffee and orange juice, neither of which we are going to grow here in New England until our climate changes a lot. But not so long ago, cider was as ever present in the day-to-day lives of New Englanders as orange juice is today. The New England Apple Association notes that cider is versatile, useful not only to quench your thirst but to sweeten winter squash, glaze a pork chop, or, mulled with spices, to warm your belly on a cold night. Cider is available at many Local Hero retailers, most winter markets, or find Local Hero farms selling cider on our website; make sure to call for winter hours and availability before visiting.

Photo of Thistlebloom Farm on South East Street in Amherst by Donald David.
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. Northampton Winter Fare , Saturday, January 15th, 10am-2pm, Smith Vocational High School. More than 20 farmers and local food producers with root veggies, kale, salad greens, cheese, pickles, meat, maple syrup, honey, dried herbs, garlic, squash, apples, jam, and more, plus workshops, a barter market, and informational displays.

2. Northeast Organic Farming Association's Massachusetts Winter Conference, Saturday, January 15th, Worcester Technical High School, Worcester: 60 workshops, exhibits, vendors, potluck lunch. Register here!
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Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture
is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Phone: (413) 665-7100