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CISA logo and tagIt's June: the asparagus is coming to an end, strawberries are peaking, school is almost out. In my family, we're preparing for a vacation. That means making sure everyone has a bathing suit that fits, getting the tents out of the attic, and freezing strawberries. Last night, I stood at the kitchen counter, hulling berries and spreading them out on a cookie sheet to freeze. One of my kids will steal them out of the bag in the freezer to gnaw on, frozen. The rest of us will make smoothies, put strawberry sauce on our pancakes, or add the frozen berries into winter fruit salads.


Eating seasonally year round is a great balance of celebration and preparation. During strawberry season, we eat as many berries as we can, all day long if possible (see our tips for three strawberry meals a day here.) In the winter, we celebrate other seasons and tastes: sweet and creamy squashes, savory roasted vegetables, warm soups. But we do like the reminders of summer that we put up for winter eating, so we spend some time in summer and fall to preserve those flavors.


If you are new to food preservation, there are lots of resources to help you get started. Watch our events page to find food preservation demonstrations and classes, or find a friend who can teach you. Enjoy what's in season now, and think about the pleasure it will give you next winter, too.



Margaret Christie

Special Projects Director



Locally Grown:  Farm Products Guide-Tell us what you think!

CISA's Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide is out! If you didn't get one in your daily paper, find one in the produce department of a local retailer, or at farm stands and farmers' markets. We would love to know how the Guide is useful to you. Please take our short survey here, and we'll enter you in a drawing for a CISA hat or water bottle.


Local Food, Local Reading, and Local Conversation

Join CISA and local author Claire Hopley at Food for Thought Books in Amherst, Wednesday, July 11 at 6pm, for an evening of discussion about local veggies. Hopley will discuss her new recipe book, Valley Vegetables (published locally by Levellers Press!), as well as the history and lore surrounding various locally grown vegetables. CISA members who attend will receive 10% off Valley Vegetables, and one entry in a raffle for CISA merchandise! See our book review below.


Special Monday Farmers' Market to Welcome Chef Jacques P├ępin

Monday, July 9, 10am-4pm, free and open to the public

Behind Thornes Marketplace, Northampton

Come welcome Jacques and Claudine Pepin and visit with regional farmers and producers from CISA, Berkshire Grown, Tuesday Market and more. Sample locally grown value-added agricultural products, from bread to cheese, meats, pickles and libations, and celebrate the connections between local farms, families and food, then stay for the presentation and Essential Pepin book signing. Fun for the whole family! Entertainment courtesy of WRSI, 93.9 The River. Children's Cooking classes hosted by Whole Foods Market, Hadley and event organized by WGBY with the help of The City of Northampton, The Northampton BID, CISA, Berkshire Grown and Town Farm. Later that day, Pepin will appear at a gala to benefit WGBY, featuring many Local Hero restaurants. More information here. 

Red Fire Farm Profile

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Farmers Ryan and Sarah Voiland of Red Fire Farm in Granby and Montague are busy expanding their farm operations to their new location and finishing renovating their new energy-efficient geothermal packing barn. Read all about their new campaign with the Mount Grace Land Trust to keep their farm affordable for future generations of farmers.


New Partnership Makes Local Food More Affordable and Easier to Access

Local Hero farm Next Barn Over has partnered with the Alliance to Develop Power (ADP) and Common Capital to deliver CSA shares to SNAP (formerly food stamps) recipients in Franklin and Hampden counties. Using USDA Healthy Food Financing Initiative funds, Common Capital has financed the purchase of the shares and provided an up-front payment to Next Barn Over. ADP picks up and delivers the weekly shares to four affordable housing cooperatives owned by ADP in Springfield, Westfield, and Greenfield. Each week, ADP processes payments for the shares from the shareholders' SNAP benefits (credit and debit also accepted). This system brings locally grown food direct to low-income consumers and enables Next Barn Over to expand their market. Common Capital and CISA will be exploring ways to expand this model to other local CSA farms that could benefit.


Tour a Local Farm-With Your Cell Phone!

North Amherst Community Farm is home to Local Hero member Simple Gifts Farm, a diverse vegetable and animal operation selling through a CSA, a farmstand, and farmers' markets. Their new farm tour makes great use of technology to balance the community farm's interest in welcoming and educating visitors, and the farmers' need to get their work done. Visit the farm anytime during daylight hours, and stop at 15 marked sites to learn more about the farm ecosystem, farming practices, and farm animals by dialing in to a recordedmessage on your cell phone. Read more from the Daily Hampshire Gazette or visit NACF's website for the details.


Farms and Food in the News

Visit our Local Heroes in the News page to find several recent stories about Valley Malt, including a New York Times article; also ServiceNet's Prospect Meadow Farm, Four Star Farm, Nasami Farm, Valley Green Feast, and Red Fire Farm.


Find recent interviews with Diemand Farm, Farmacy Gardens, and Plainville Farm, as well as stories about the new Commissioner of Agriculture and the growth of CSAs, in our Press Room. For a glimpse of the work required to set up a farmers' market (and the fun to be had there) watch CISA's Phil Korman and WGBY accompany The Kitchen Garden to Springfield's Farmers' Market at Forest Park.

Valley Vegetables Book Review
Ever have more vegetables than you know what to do with? Want a cookbook that's fun to read and designed to use crops that are in season together, right here in the Valley-and locally published to boot? Leverett food writer Claire Hopley has written the book for you! Find our full review here.


Senate Begins Debate on the 2012 Farm Bill

As more consumers are looking to local farms and producers for their food, CISA is advocating for federal farm policy that will reflect this shift in consumer demand. CISA is working with organizations such as the New England Farmers Union and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition to ensure that programs that support the family farms in the Pioneer Valley, as well as consumers who value fresh local food, are included in the Farm Bill. The 2012 Farm Bill provides a direction for the country's farm policy for the next five years and CISA shares in the hope that this Farm Bill will promote strong local and regional food systems, open doors to new farmers and ranchers and assist small family farms. Please visit our partners websites for additional information about these and other priorities in the 2012 Farm Bill - NEFU and NSAC. 

As the growing season gets going, the number of food and farm events increases! We include a couple of teasers here, but urge you to visit CISA's events calendar for a full listing of forums, festivals, films, and much more.


Farm Camp for ages 6-12, Little Brook Farm, June 25-29 and more weeks later in the summer, Sunderland. Call Kristen Whittle at 413-665-3802 or visit us online at


Seed Saving Workshop, Crabapple Farm, Saturday June 30th, 2-4 pm, Chesterfield. For more information, contact; there is a suggested donation of $10.

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Phone: (413) 665-7100  



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