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Lively and bustling farmers' markets are an asset to a community. They draw shoppers to downtown, offer good food, keep dollars in the local economy, support farm businesses, and provide community space for conversation, music, civic engagement, and fun. No wonder more and more towns and businesses want to host a farmers' market!


Farmers' market transaction
Northampton Farmers' Market
Photo credit: Jason Threlfall

As the list above indicates, farmers are not the only people who benefit from farmers' markets. But if markets don't work for farmers, they don't work for anyone. If farmers can't make enough money to justify the time they put in picking, packing, unloading, setting up, staffing, cleaning up, repacking, and delivering leftover product to emergency food providers, they'll stop coming to a market. And if there are not enough farmers providing a wide enough array of food and farm products, the market won't attract enough regular, reliable shoppers, and all of the benefits of a successful market will be hard to achieve.


This basic arithmetic explains why successful markets don't always allow any farmer who wants to set up a booth to do so and why they work to achieve a diversity and balance of products. And we all have a part to play in making market economics add up for farmers. Visit your local farmers' market! Talk to your neighbors, ask farmers for cooking and gardening suggestions, sample the wares, and do your shopping. We can all help to ensure that western Massachusetts farmers' markets continue to grow and thrive.


Read on to learn more about CISA's new SNAP & Save program, which is doubling SNAP/Food Stamps up to $5 at participating farmers' markets.

Find our list of all markets in the region here, and watch a recent CISA spot on WGBY about farmers' markets here.


Margaret Christie 

Special Projects Director




Farm tour and cooking demo at Natural Roots  

Saturday, July 18, 1-3:30pm
Natural Roots, Conway

Join CISA for a tour of Natural Roots Farm in Conway, and then enjoy their freshly picked produce in a cooking demonstration led by Stockbridge Herbs. The tour and demo cost $15. RSVP by July 15th to Judy at 413-665-7100, ext. 29. 


SNAP & Save makes farmers' markets more accessible 

This week, CISA launched a new program called SNAP & Save at participating farmers' markets, giving anyone with SNAP benefits (formerly Food Stamps) up to a $5 match per customer per market for the rest of the market season. For more details about the program and each participating market, click here. We need your help to support this new program -- please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to SNAP & Save.  


Participating markets are: The Farmers' Market at Forest Park, GoFresh Springfield Mobile Farmers' Market, Holyoke Farmers' Market, Mason Square Farmers' Market, STCC Farmers' Market, Westfield Farmers' Market, Amherst Farmers' Market, Florence Farmers' Market, Northampton Tuesday Market, and Northampton Saturday Farmers' Market. Hampshire County SNAP & Save is the result of a collaboration with Healthy Hampshire.     


What it really costs to produce milk in Massachusetts 

Massachusetts dairy farms are a vital component of our agricultural land base, food production system, and economy, but they function in a pricing system that puts them at a serious disadvantage. CISA worked with Dan Lass of the UMass Department of Resource Economics on a study to determine the actual costs of production for dairy farmers in Massachusetts, and you can read all about it in the summer edition of Edible Pioneer Valley, here.


CISA Community Member discount at Red Fire Farm

Through September 30th, Red Fire Farm is offering a discount on all bulk orders to CISA Community Members. Receive $2.00 off any summer bulk order of organic pickling cucumbers, saucing tomatoes, peaches for jam, and more. Join CISA's Community Membership program today to access this and future benefits!


Volunteer opportunity to help CISA
You can help make our fall fundraiser, Taste the View, a success. This event is on Friday, September 18, 2015 from 6-9 pm, and volunteer opportunities are available all that week. From decorating to auction layout to clean up help, we've got a job for you! Contact
Judy at 413-665-7100, ext. 29 to help out.

This is the time for pick-your-own! Blueberries, raspberries, cherries, and more are in season now, so get out there and stock up. Freezing berries for year-round smoothies and baking couldn't be simpler: freeze your berries on a cookie sheet so they don't all stick together, and then move them to a labelled bag when they're frozen solid.

We're entering the height of the growing season now! Stay on top of it all with our lists of summer farmer's markets and farm stands.

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 sugar snap peas, simple DIY cheese, and edible flowers!

Local Hero profile: Art's Farm
Art Valonen is more than just the "Blueberry King of East Longmeadow"! Art's Farm is a favorite pick-your-own destination and offers a wide variety of berries, flowers, and vegetables. Read all about them!

Visit our press room for recent news stories, including some great coverage of CISA's visit to the Agri-Mark plant in West Springfield, a spotlight on local farm wineries, and continuing coverage of this summer's weather!

You can also listen to our weekly radio interview series on WRSI with Local Hero businesses. Featured this month: Gran-Val Scoop, Johnson Hill Farm, Grace Hill Farm, and Wild Rose Farm. We also visited Auntie Cathie's Kitchen and Blossoming Acres in a special WGBY segment



Water, Agriculture, and Farm Policy

Changes in the climate, rainfall, and population distribution in the arid west may eventually impact what is grown where in some of our biggest agricultural states-and those changes could have a big effect on production here. A recent Fresh Air interview  

explains how the history of western water allocation, usage rules, and contradictory federal farm policy all add up to current water policy that discourages conservation and rewards water-intensive farming.  



CISA's events page is absolutely packed with farm tours, field days, festivals, and more! Here are a few highlights:   


Gran-Val Scoop 25th Anniversary Weekend
July 10-July 12
Gran-Val Scoop, Granville
Celebrate The Scoop's 25th Anniversary with a weekend of family activities! Includes an outdoor family movie on Friday; hayrides and pony rides, face painting, visits with the animals on Saturday; and a live concert Sunday evening. Full details here.

Springfield Food Policy Council Community Garden Workshop Series

July 14, July 21, July 23, July 28, August 13, 6-7pm 

Various locations

Join the Springfield Food Policy Council for a workshop series focusing on building skills to develop community gardens and some of the nitty-gritty of soil testing, working with transplants, and garden planning. Details and RSVP info here.     

Clarkdale Centennial Open House
Sunday, July 19, 1-4pm
Clarkdale Fruit Farms, Deerfield

Come celebrate 100 years and 4 generations of Clarks growing fruit in Deerfield! We will have free cider, cake and ice cream, and facepainting for kids. Recognitions by our legislators and an oral history of the farm by Tom and Ben. Guided orchard walks and a mini-farmers' market, featuring local farms whose products we carry.


2015 NOFA Summer Conference
August 14-August 16th
UMass Amherst

Have a passion for organic farming, backyard gardening and food justice? Join NOFA-Mass for a weekend of workshops and fun, strengthening and transforming the food system and our communities! This year's theme is "Healing the Climate, Healing Ourselves: Regeneration through Microbiology." Choose from 144 workshops in eight 90-minute sessions. Learn more and register 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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Phone: (413) 665-7100  



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