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Winter Fare is a celebration of the amazing local food that is available year-round in the Pioneer Valley. Northampton Winter Fare, on January 14th, brings together vendors from winter farmers' markets around the Valley to kick off the new year. In Springfield on January 28th, we'll be partnering with the on-going, wonderful Forest Park Farmers' Market to add community activities and education to their impressive array of locally grown goods. On both days, bring your shopping bags and stock up on fresh salad greens, root vegetables, local grains and bread, eggs, meat, cheese, yogurt, maple syrup, honey, jam, pickles, and more, all grown by local farmers.


Northampton's Winter Fare runs from 10 am to 2 pm this Saturday at Smith Vocational High School, and farmers and food producers from the weekly winter farmers' markets in Amherst and Northampton, the twice-monthly winter market in Springfield, and the once-monthly market in Greenfield will be present with an amazing variety of foods. Our goal is to inspire shoppers to make farmers' markets a regular part of their winter routine, and to that end, we'll offer workshops on cooking and preserving local products. A fun, lively food-swapping "Barter Market" will begin at 1 pm. Bring your own home-preserved foods and trade with your neighbors to diversify your pantry and get to know other people who can, dry, and freeze the local harvest. The lunchtime Soup Cafe will feature bisques and chowders from local vendors.


CISA strongly believes that healthful, local food should be available to everyone in the community. Northampton Winter Fare will accept SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), and CISA will be matching the first $10 of all SNAP purchases. Springfield's Forest Park Market also accepts SNAP benefits.


All the details, including complete lists of vendors and workshops, are available at Volunteers are still needed to make this event possible -- contact to sign up.  


Claire Morenon

Program Coordinator


P.S. Current CISA Community Members, check your mail boxes for an early bird entrance ticket to Northampton Winter Fare!



For making thriving farms and communities a priority in your life and your giving! Your critical support in 2011 allowed us to strengthen the services we provide to our farms, farmers and food businesses in new and exciting ways. We certainly couldn't do this work without you and we are so grateful. And we would be remiss if we didn't mention the amazing support we have had from the businesses in our communities as well. From the Emergency Farm Fund to our general operating expenses, local businesses have certainly stepped up to the plate (and we mean the dinner plate here) to support our local farms.

From all of us at CISA, we wish you gastronomical good times and great fortune in the New Year!


Seeking Nominations for Local Hero Awards
Do you know someone doing great work for local food and farms? We want to give them an award! Since 2003, CISA has recognized farmers, institutions, businesses, and everyday community members whose work helps sustain local agriculture -- see our all-star recipient list
. This year's awardees will be profiled in the Farm Products Guide and will be honored at CISA's annual meeting in 2013. Nominations are due January 28th. You may email your nomination(s), with a brief description of why you think the nominee is qualified and your contact information, to, or mail them to CISA, 1 Sugarloaf Street, South Deerfield, MA 01373.


Local Farmers are the 99 Percent

If you missed CISA's op-ed about the food system, local farmers, and Occupy Wall Street, find it here.


Winter Workshops for Farm and Food Businesspeople

Upcoming workshops from CISA include an Energy Audit workshop with the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program on January 18th. Energy Audits are an important first step in assessing options for conservation or renewable energy in your business, and are required before applying for funding assistance. Our winter workshop series, "Marketing your Farm Business," begins January 31st with a workshop on Brand Communication. Find the full schedule on our Workshops and Technical Assistance page. We also highly recommend the Department of Agricultural Resources' farm business planning program, which begins on January 16th in Amherst. Contact Rick Chandler at MDAR for more information.


CISA's Emergency Farm Fund Makes First Loans, Still Accepting Applications

Read the Gazette's coverage of the first Emergency Farm Fund loans; find out how to apply here. Thanks again to all of the individuals and businesses who supported this fund!

Special thanks to: The Farm Table at Kringle Candle, Smith College, Deerfield Academy, Whole Foods Market, Easthampton Saving Bank, Florence Saving Bank, The Beveridge Family Foundation, People's United Bank and the businesses of Pioneer Valley Local First. For a full list of our business supporters click here.

Local grain production got great coverage in a Smithsonian article which featured Local Hero farmer Tevis Robertson-Goldberg of Crabapple Farm (who says: "Man does not live by salad alone. He needs croutons.") and Colrain's Eli Rogosa, of the Heritage Wheat Conservancy.


The USDA has unofficially defined a food hub as "a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products." Local Hero farmer Kyle Bostrom of Bostrom Farm describes a future Greenfield food hub, while UMass Professor and sustainability proponent John Gerber asks for feedback on the concept.


Visit CISA's Press Room for recent radio interviews with Green River Ambrosia , Winter Moon Farm, and Pioneer Valley Popcorn.


CISA logo and tagFarm Profile: Sangha Farm - Goat Rising
Maribeth and Derek Ritchie have operated Sangha Farm and Tava Cheese in Ashfield since 2004. This fall, they purchased the goats, recipes, equipment and accounts of Goat Rising, a goat cheese business in Charlemont, and began to move their family and their businesses to recently purchased land in Plainfield. Read more about their journey.


It's Not all Milk and Honey in the News

Massachusetts dairy farmers welcome dairy tax credits from the state. Tax credits kick in when the cost of production falls below the price of milk, but sometimes take months to arrive, and may be too little, too late. The supply of organic milk is short even though demand is high; the Northeast Dairy Producers Association urges consumers to tell processors to pay farmers more. The US government and large honey distributors are working to prevent China from dumping low-priced honey in the US market, underselling US beekeepers. For consumers, buying honey from a local farmer is a simple solution!

Visit CISA's events calendar for a full listing of festivals as well as workshops, forums, films, and more. Here is just a small sample of what you'll find on our website.


Celebrate the bounty of winter in the Pioneer Valley during our one-day Winter Fares, featuring a lively and diverse farmers' market, workshops, bartering, and hot soup! Northampton: Saturday, January 14, 10 am-2pm at Smith Vocational High School. Springfield: Saturday, January 28, 10am-2pm.  

Thanks to our generous event sponsors River Valley Market, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, and Hampden Bank for all of their support!


Northeast Organic Farming Association Winter Conference: January 14th in Worcester. Sixty-five workshops, children's program, keynote from John Jeavons.
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Phone: (413) 665-7100  



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