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The return of seasonal foods, like long-awaited and much missed friends who've been away on a journey, gives us recurring opportunities for celebration, tied to the turning of the seasons.  


Sugaring season is the first such celebration of the calendar year, and despite the year-round availability of local syrup, it's greeted with a particular enthusiasm. After the deep snow and cold of this winter, we're ready more than ever for hints of spring, not to mention the chance to meet friends at a sugar shack and eat lots of sweet and delicious food.


Many vegetable farmers delayed the start of greenhouse seeding due to the cold temperatures right through February. While the rest of us are eating pancakes, they'll be starting up greenhouses, finalizing cropping plans, and hiring summer staff, plus perhaps attending one of CISA's winter marketing workshops and updating their farm information on our website.


If you want to take your maple celebration beyond breakfast, visit our Maple Meal Menu. Meanwhile, enjoy the light and the sweetness of March!


CISA Staff



CISA is hiring! 

CISA currently has three job openings: Office Assistant, Program Associate, and Program Coordinator. Review of applications has begun, and the postings will remain open until the positions are full. Please spread the word! Full job descriptions can be found here.    


Volunteers needed for CISA's Annual Meeting Potluck

We need your help at CISA's Annual Meeting, Friday, March 27th from 6-9pm at the Northampton Senior Center! We need help setting the tables at 5pm; organizing the food in the kitchen as it arrives for this amazing potluck for 150 CISA supporters; and cleaning up both during and after the event. Please sign up for a shift as short as 45 minutes and enjoy the rest of the annual meeting. Email Jennifer or call 413-665-7100.


No interest loan for a CSA from UMassFive College Federal Credit Union

CISA Community Members can obtain a special no interest loan to finance an individual share at any local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm and spread their payments over six months. Loan information can be found here. Visit CISA's website for a list of farms offering CSAs in the Pioneer Valley.


Have we mentioned that it's maple season? Maple sugaring ends quickly, so don't miss your chance to visit a sugarhouse.

Looking forward to the growing season? Many CSA farms are accepting enrollments now, so sign up to receive shares of vegetables, fruit, meat, grains, herbs, and more!

Winter farmers' markets are going strong! Check out our list of winter markets here.
We've got ideas on how to use the market haul in Valley Bounty, with recent articles on eggs, popcorn (with maple, of course!) watermelon radishes, and potatoes.

Local Hero profile: Falls Brook Farm
Eileen and Dick Gates both grew up in urban environments, but they have always shared a love of animals and an interest in farming. Today, they raise goats for fiber and hens for eggs at Falls Brook Farm in Blandford. Read all about them!

Visit our press room for recent news stories about Local Hero farms and businesses, including 'test-tube berries' at Nourse Farms, Johnson's Farm's award-winning coffee cake, and lots of news about maple season. Also featured is a special WGBY CISA segment on wintertime flower production, featuring LaSalle Florists and River Valley Market.

You can also listen to our weekly radio interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses Roadhouse Cafe, Bridgmont Farm, and Sawmill Farm.  


Juanita Nelson's impact on Local Agriculture
Juanita Nelson, an activist who spent her later years in western Massachusetts, passed away on March 9th. She is remembered as a war tax resister and civil rights activist, but we at CISA knew her through her work around local agriculture and seasonal eating. She was involved in establishing the Greenfield Farmers' Market, which recently celebrated its 40th year, and was the driving force behind Greenfield's annual Free Harvest Supper and Greenfield Winter Fare, which led directly to the development of the many winter farmers' markets we see in the Valley today. She was the recipient of CISA's Local Hero Award in 2012, among many other honors in her life. The Recorder published a lovely remembrance here.

Faces of Forever Farmland
The Forever Farmland Initiative shares the stories of five local farmers who have protected their land permanently. Check out the video interviews here.

Visit CISA's events page for events, workshops, conferences and more. Here's a sample of the activities coming up:


Maple Weekend
March 21st-22nd 

March is Maple Month in Massachusetts! Maple syrup is great for cooking and baking, as restaurants around the state will demonstrate when they highlight menu items featuring maple syrup during maple weekend, March 21-22. Try some maple ice cream, a cocktail made with maple syrup, some roast chicken with a maple glaze, and lots more! Participating restaurants are all listed at Many sugarhouses will be offering special events on maple weekend as well, and you can find CISA's list of sugarhouses here.


CISA's Annual Meeting
March 27, 6-9pm
Northampton Senior Center
CISA's community members, donors and sponsors are invited to CISA's Annual Meeting and potluck. We will elect our slate of board members, recognize CISA's 2014 Local Hero Awardees, and get your thoughts on the Massachusetts Food Systems Plan. Bring a dish for six if you can. Beverages will be provided. This event is free, but seating is limited to 150. Please RSVP by calling 413-665-7100 or emailing


Do you value the news you get from CISA? Join more than 600 others in supporting CISA's work. We've been strengthening farms and engaging the community to build the local food economy since 1993!


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Phone: (413) 665-7100  



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