Hadley Mushroom Grower Among State Farm Grant Recipients

MassLive, January 12, 2017, by Mary Serreze.

A group of “beginning farmers” — that is, those in business for less than five years — have been awarded state grants to expand their operations.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources will provide $55,550 through a matching grant enterprise program, the Baker administration announced Tuesday. Several of the farms are local.

Fungi Ally is a wholesale and retail mushroom-growing outfit at 311 River Drive in Hadley. The group sells fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms, and mushroom extract. Its members teach people how to grow mushrooms, and they sell starter kits. Fungi Ally received $5,500 to expand its cultivation operation.

Sage Farm in Montague will use $10,000 for grain storage, a livestock trailer, and animal housing. Teddy Smiarowski III in Sunderland will invest in farm equipment with the help of $10,000. Yellow Stonehouse Farm in Westfield will devote $10,000 to barn repairs.

The grants require a financial investment from the farmers themselves, and come packaged with technical and business assistance.

The program has provided nearly a half-million dollars to five dozen farms across Massachusetts since 2010, according to state agriculture commissioner John LeBeaux, who said new farmers make valuable contributions to state and regional food systems.

“New farmers bring innovative ideas and enthusiasm to the agricultural industry, and this program helps ensure a sustainable future for Massachusetts farms,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.