Winter Fares to offer local produce, workshops and more in Amherst, Greenfield, Northampton and Springfield

Daily Hampshire Gazette, January 23, 2014. By Rebecca Everett.

With frigid temperatures and snow in the forecast, fresh produce may not be on the minds of many people. But local agricultural advocates are hoping hundreds will head out into the cold for the local food, workshops and other attractions at four Winter Fare events taking place in the next three weeks.

The first will be at the Amherst farmers market Saturday, followed by similar events in Greenfield Feb. 1 and Northampton and Springfield Feb. 8. Details and schedules are available here.

The events, which include food, barter markets and workshops, are organized by volunteers and Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, a South Deerfield nonprofit.

Claire Morenon, program coordinator for CISA, said the Winter Fare events are being held at regular winter farmers markets this year in hopes of building a bigger customer base.

“Winter markets are already these amazing events going on all winter long,” Morenon said. “We want people to come and see what they have to offer and make it part of their regular routine.”

One of things that draws new people to Winter Fares is the opportunity to participate in a free workshop led by a Valley farmer, foodie or herb expert.

At the Amherst and Greenfield events, Aaron Falbel of Sunderland will lead a workshop for the first time on preserving vegetables through lacto-fermentation. He has been an organizer of the Greenfield Winter Fares since it started in 2008.

“People have said over the years that they really look forward to the workshops,” he said. “They attract people to the market that might not come, and that’s the idea of having the Winter Fare.”Falbel works at Real Pickles, a Greenfield worker-owned co-op, and has been pickling for a decade. People can learn how to make pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and other pickled items at the workshop, he said.

“Lacto-fermentation is an older way of pickling and preserving food without refrigeration. It uses brine, instead of vinegar,” he said. In the salt solution, a bacteria called lactobacillus that is naturally present in many vegetables thrives and ferments the food, while the brine eliminates any bad bacteria, he said.

At the Amherst Winter Fare Saturday, there will be a workshop on growing sprouts at home from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Falbel’s lacto-fermentation lesson from 11:15 a.m. to noon, and a workshop on winter gardening from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m.

The event at the Amherst Winter Farmers Market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Amherst Regional Middle School at 170 Chestnut St.


The Greenfield Winter Fare workshops will teach how to raise backyard goats from 10 to 10:45 a.m.; how to garden through the winter and maple sugar without your own trees, both from 11:15 a.m. to noon; and lacto-fermenting vegetables and cooking with medicinal herbs, both from 12:15 to 1 p.m.

The event Feb. 1 will coincide with the weekly farmers market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Greenfield High School, accessible from Kent Avenue.

Mark Lattanzi of Montague will lead the workshop titled, “Maple sugaring without trees.”

“What it really means is how you can maple sugar without owning trees or having trees in your yard,” Lattanzi said Wednesday. “I borrow my neighbors’ trees.”

Starting in 2002, with help from his children and other in the neighborhood, he would tap neighbors’ trees, collect the sap and boil it down with a fire pit and metal pan in his backyard. He eventually built a sugar shack out of an old shed and got a real evaporator. “The neighbors get syrup, we get syrup, and the kids get to help,” he said.

The workshop, he said, will give people a basic lesson in making maple syrup “so they can get started this summer.”


The Northampton Winter Fare on from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 8 will be held at the city’s winter farmers market at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School at 80 Locust St. It will have workshops on “Growing For The Larder: How to Maximize Your Independence from the Grocery Store,” about planning and timing your growing from 10:45 to 11:45 a.m.; using herbs to promote immunity from 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.; and growing mushrooms at home from noon to 1 p.m.


There are no workshops at the Springfield Winter Fare on Feb. 8 due to space limitations, Morenon said, but there will be cooking demonstrations and tasting throughout the day. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Old Monkey House at Forest Park, accessible from Trafton Road.

At all four events, local farmers will sell greens, root vegetables, eggs, meat, maple syrup, honey, jams, pickles, and other products. Barter markets will also take place at the Amherst, Northampton, and Greenfield events at 1 p.m. People can swap home-preserved and other foods to diversify their pantries.

The winter markets accept SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), but CISA will match the first $10 of all SNAP purchases at all Winter Fare events.

For more information about Winter Fare, including complete lists of workshops, visit To volunteer at any of the events, contact CISA at 665-7100 or

Rebecca Everett can be reached at