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Our 2015 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide has hit the streets! Isn't she lovely? This free annual publication is the definitive resource on local farms and businesses that source local products.

This year's Guide is the biggest yet, with information on 256 farms, 70 restaurants, 39 retailers, 20 dining services, 17 specialty producers, and 4 garden center/landscapers, plus local farmers' markets, a seasonality calendar, and more. It also highlights CISA's 2015 Local Hero Award winners, which are: Appalachian Naturals, a specialty foods producer based in Goshen; Enterprise Farm, a Whately vegetable farm; and Randall's Farm and Greenhouse, a Ludlow retailer. You can read all about them here


Many of you have already received a copy of the Guide through your local newspaper subscription, and we're hard at work dropping copies at Local Hero retailers, farmers' markets, libraries, and other locations. Pick up your copy, and then let us know what you think right here!  


You can also find the information contained in the Guide in our searchable online database, or through our free app.  

CISA Staff



Job opening: Financial Manager

We're hiring! The Financial Manager performs all maintenance and analysis of accounting records according to generally accepted accounting principles and performs grants management tasks for CISA. Review begins 5/20, position open until filled. Full job description here

Senior FarmShare distribution at the Mason Square Senior Center

Senior FarmShare enrollment open!
CISA's Senior FarmShare program provides 400 low-income seniors with access to local produce at the height of the growing season! For $10, participants receive $110 of produce over 10 weeks. The application period is open until June 1st, so find the eligibility requirements, a list of participating farms and distribution sites, and instructions on how to apply here. Please spread the word to anyone you know who may be eligible! For background information on the program, click here.  


CISA Membership has its Benefits

CISA Community Members, don't miss out on these special spring discounts at Local Hero farms. Not a member? Join here


From now until June 7th, visit Couch Brook Farm in Bernardston and save 10% with your Community Member card on healthy, organic plants that thrive in New England growing conditions, including hanging baskets and many varieties of vegetable, herb, and cut flower starts. Couch Brook Farm is open now through June 7th, Thursday through Sunday 9am - 5pm.


Throughout May and June, Old Friends Farm is offering 10% off to CISA Community Member card-holders at the Tuesday Market in Northampton and the Saturday Farmers' Market in Amherst. Old Friends Farm specializes in salad greens, cut flowers, and vegetables.


CISA t-shirts, onesies, and more!

Springtime often means lots of gift giving occasions. Visit CISA's merchandise page to order a onesie for your next baby shower or a new ladies cut t-shirt for your 2015 graduate. Father's Day is coming up -- how about a stylin' CISA apron for when your dad is grilling or gardening? See all the options here


Auction Items Needed

CISA is looking for unique and fabulous items for our 2015 auction at Taste the View: A Local Harvest Dinner to Benefit CISA. Do you have a vacation home that you are willing to share? A skill that you could teach someone? A one of a kind item that you make? Last year, we had a week in Ogunquit, Maine, gift certificates to local restaurants, handcrafted items, a CSA share, and lots more. If you would like to donate something, please fill out our online donation form or contact  Jennifer. (And be sure to save the date for this great annual event: Friday, September 18th at Quonquont Farm.)


ASPARAGUS! The first major green crop inspires a lot of passion, and we've had a lot to say about it (in recipe form!) over the years. See our recipe collection here, and find local farms growing the stuff here

More and more crops are coming -- stay on top of it all with our lists of summer farmer's markets and farm stands.

If you're celebrating a graduation or planning another summer party, why not choose a caterer with a commitment to local? Here's our list of Local Hero caterers.

Gardening season! Find hardy locally grown plants at farm stands, farmers' markets, and Local Hero garden centers and retailers. Look for the yellow "Local Hero" logo or check out our list of farms growing plants here.

Looking for recipes and cooking ideas? Our Daily Hampshire Gazette column is packed with ideas every single week, year-round! Click to read our recent Valley Bounty columns about beef, jams and preserves, and wheatberries.

Local Hero profile: Meadow View Farm
Ben Nascimbeni on how he got his start in farming: "I had a few acres of tomatoes and I thought to myself 'Hey! This is an easy way to make money!'" Forty years later, he and his wife Carolyn are still at it, growing plants for sale in the spring and mums, pumpkins, and other decor for sale in the fall on their farm in Southwick. Read all about them here.

Tom Zuzgo, Twenty Acres Farm
Local Hero profile: Twenty Acres Farm
The Zuzgo family's farm is open to the public for just a few months each spring, so get to Hadley soon to stock up on flowering annual and vegetables plants, hanging baskets, and more! If you miss them, you can find their vegetables at the Rt 47 Flea Market during the summer months, and you can read the farm's story here.
Visit our press room for recent news stories, including the Local Hero businesses honored in the Valley Advocate's "Best Of" poll, news about an upgrade to the Springfield Mobile Market bus, and a piece from CISA about the future of the CSA model. Also featured is a special WGBY CISA segment on spring plants, just in time for the change of the season!

You can also listen to our weekly radio interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses. Featured this month: The Greenfield Farmers' Cooperative Exchange, Sawyer Farm, Martin's Farm, and Songline Emu Farm.  



Grinspoon Foundation awards $75,000 in small grants to local farmers

The Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation awarded 33 grants of up to $2,500 to western Massachusetts farms through a new grant program developed in partnership with CISA and Berkshire Grown. The awards support physical improvements that contribute to farm business success. Grinspoon, who named the awards for his father, Simon, initially intended to give a total of $50,000, but the number and quality of the applications convinced him to increase the amount to $75,000. Based on this year's positive response, the program will continue next year. We at CISA were thrilled to be involved in planning and promoting this effort to our Local Hero membership, and we're excited to see the difference that these strategic investments can make for small farmers. 

PVGrows seeking steering committee members

PVGrows is a collaborative dedicated to enhancing the ecological and economic sustainability and vitality of the Pioneer Valley food system through networking and innovative partnerships. If you are excited by the mission and potential of PVGrows, nominate yourself or someone else to join the PVGrows Steering Committee. Serving on the Steering Committee is an opportunity to work closely with people and organizations from across the Pioneer Valley food system. Nominations are due May 29th; details here.

Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest
Have you captured a gorgeous farm shot in the last year? Submit it by June 1st for consideration for the 2016 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar. The contest and calendar are sponsored by Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Details about the contest here.

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

41st Annual Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair
May 23 - May 24    
Cummington Fairgrounds
Fiber and woolcraft vendors, sheep shearing demonstrations, fiber and woolcraft workshops for adults and children, and lots of delicious food. Find details here.

WGBY's Asparagus Festival
June 6, 10am-4pm
Hadley Town Common

Admission is free and open to the public, suggested donation is $5. Spend the day and savor food and beverages in the Beers & Spears Pavilion. There will be entertainment and activities for all ages including: cooking contests, outdoor games, arts & crafts projects, sing-alongs and much more! More details here


Do you value the news you get from CISA? Join 1,100 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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