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Last week, Charlie Sayer of River Rock Farm stopped by the CISA office to drop off more than 25 pounds of beef he is donating to CISA's annual feast and fundraiser, Taste the View. He'd never visited our office before, and CISA staffer Abby Getman made sure to take him around for introductions. During his tour of the office, we learned that Charlie and his wife and farm partner Lindsay Sayer are planning an important transition on the farm.

After the untimely death of River Rock's founder, Jon Konove, his parents Ron and Kay Konove have worked hard to sustain the farm created by their son. Charlie and Lindsay are the current managers, and they'd like the buy the farm. Ron and Kay support the transition, but reaching a successful conclusion will require careful planning, good communication, and creative financing. While Charlie was here, we referred him to experts in farmland transition, business planning, and farm financing, and urged him to call us back if they hit a roadblock. Land and business transitions like this one are both challenging and essential, and our goal is to help this one succeed.

River Rock Farm was created by one person's dream, and sustained by his family and a dedicated community. Likewise, CISA's work couldn't be done without the support of thousands of people in western Massachusetts. Taste the View, our annual dinner, symbolizes this cooperative effort, with donations of food from more than 40 Local Hero businesses, work from many volunteers, and support from sponsors, contributors to our auction, and more than 200 people who buy tickets. It's a one-night version of the work that CISA, local farmers, and local residents do all year long to ensure that local agriculture continues to thrive.

We hope you'll join us at Taste the View next week, on Friday, September 19th, at Quontquont Farm in Whately. Act fast, since there are only a few tickets left! Purchase your tickets here. We'd also love to see you at Mike's Maze on October 4th.  


Margaret Christie 

Special Projects Director

CISA Day at Mike's Maze at Warner Farm
Come on out to Mike's Maze to support CISA on Saturday, October 4 from 11am to 1pm! This year the maze explores the game of life and the future of local agriculture. You'll also find games, a petting zoo, a mini-maze for kids, and tasty meals at the Corn CafĂ©. If there is heavy rain, this special day to support CISA will be held on Sunday, October 5th. Maze fee is $10. For more information about the maze, click here.  

Volunteers sort produce from Riverland Farm at the Mason Square Senior Center in Springfield.
CISA's Senior FarmShare program in full swing

From July through September, CISA's Senior FarmShare program provides low-income seniors throughout the Pioneer Valley with mini CSA shares valued at $110. This summer, we're serving 400 seniors through partnerships with twelve local farms and fourteen distribution sites. Learn more about this program here

Farmer workshop: Introduction to Whole Farm Planning
Tuesday, September 16th, 6-9pm
The Food Bank of Western MA, Hatfield
Crystal Stewart, Cornell Extension Vegetable Specialist and certified Holistic Management trainer, will discuss goal setting, business decision-making, identifying the weakest aspect of your business, and using financial planning to make a profit. This is a great opportunity to build your farm business using a holistic approach to best meet your goals. This workshop is open to all, and for women who have been farming for less than ten years, this session is a great opportunity to preview the 10-session course Whole Farm Planning 2014-2015 series (applications accepted until Sept. 30th.). Please RSVP to Devon Whitney-Deal or call 413-665-7100. The class is free and dinner will be provided. This workshop is supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of NIFA, USDA, Grant #2012-49400-19591, by individual contributors, and Local Hero members.

We've got recipes and food preservation tips for tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, and fennel in Valley Bounty, and the list of what's in season now just keeps growing! As the crops keep pouring in and the temperatures dip, September is a great month to preserve the harvest. Looking for resources? Valley Bounty always includes preservation information, and we have a food preservation resource list on our website.

Not sure where to find it all? We can help! Search our online database or download our app to find a particular food or farm product, look for the farm stand or farmers' market closest to you, and discover which restaurants, retailers, and other businesses are doing a great job supporting local farms.  

Josef, Linda and Edwin of Twin Oaks Farm in Hadley

Farm Profile: Twin Oaks Farm
Linda Kingsley, Edwin Matuszko, and their son Josef grow lots and lots of squash and other vegetables at Twin Oaks Farm in Hadley. Their produce reaches people across New England through supermarkets, farm stands, and The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Read about their farming roots and their cooperative community of Hadley neighbors in our profile.


Visit our Press Room to read a CISA opinion piece about the relationships between large grocery stores and local farms, plus some hopeful pieces about local food distribution and flash-freezing produce at the Franklin County Food Processing Center. You can also listen to our weekly interview series on WRSI with local businesses: The Kitchen Garden, Kosinski Farms, Little Brook Farm, The Great Wall, Champney's Restaurant, and more!

Let your kids grow up to be farmers?
In August, the New York Times printed an opinion piece entitled "Don't Let Your Children Grow Up to Be Farmers."  The piece, written by a shellfish and seaweed farmer on Long Island Sound, argued that most new farmers are not making a living, and that the modern "food movement" isn't serving their needs. This has sparked a lot of interesting discussion on opinion pages everywhere, on social media, and in the CISA office. The most measured response we've seen was "Raised to Farm," published on the Huffington Post, which acknowledged the structural challenges new farmers face and offered different solutions. Read them both!

Grow Food Northampton Seeks Executive Director

Grow Food Northampton (GFN) seeks an Executive Director to provide vision, leadership, and hands-on administration. GFN owns and operates the largest community farm in Massachusetts, which hosts a large community garden, four successful farm businesses, and educational programs for children. We are pleased to partner with GFN on our Senior FarmShare program, and want to thank founding director Lilly Lombard for her leadership during GFN's creation and early years. More information is available here.

Visit CISA's events page for festivals, film screenings, workshops, and more. Here's a sample of the activities coming up this weekend around the Valley:

Warm Colors Apiary's Annual Honey Festival
September 13, 10am-4pm
Warm Colors Apiary, South Deerfield
Warm Colors Apiary's 12th Annual Honey Festival is a celebration of the honeybee and our native pollinators. The event is free and open to all who have an interest in bees and beekeeping. Talk with county beekeepers, walk the Busy Bee nature trail, sample this season's honey, Green River Ambrosia's mead, or purchase honey ice cream, made by Beth Cook (Flavors of Cooks Farm) with Warm Colors wildflower honey. Bring the family and a picnic, stay for an hour or for the entire day. Click here for more information! 

The Kitchen Garden's Chilifest!
Saturday, September 13 - Sunday, September 14, 12-5pm
Mike's Maze, Sunderland
Come to Chilifest! for a full weekend celebrating all things spicy! Come on down to the farm for a chili cook-off and hot sauce competition, spicy food and local beer, great live music and local art! Get a chili pepper tattoo or try your luck at the chili pepper eating contest. Check out the full schedule of events for the lineup of music, cooking demos and kids' activities for this year's festival here

Farm Fancy Field Dinner at Old Friends Farm
Sunday, September 14, 5-8 pm
Old Friends Farm, Amherst
Chef Pengyew Chin has created a ginger-inspired menu that complements the bountiful harvests of their fields. With Old Friends Farm's signature salads and edible flowers, heirloom tomatoes, and many other vegetables at the peak of ripeness, as well as the beef of Cow Belle Farm, it will be a meal to remember. The evening will begin at 5 pm. with a tour of the farm and light appetizers followed by a buffet dinner amidst the fields. Details here

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