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Farmers tell Healey of potential impacts of disease, produce quality after continued flooding
07-19-2023 2:03 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

DEERFIELD — After more rain pounded the region on Sunday, Gov. Maura Healey and other state officials visited Deerfield on Monday afternoon to hear firsthand accounts of the damage from the continuing rains to farms in the region — including...

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CISA reaches Growing Resilience campaign goal, awards more no-interest loans to farmers
07-11-2024 8:53 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Fresh off awarding $222,000 in no-interest loans to farmers affected by 2023’s flooding, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has also reached its $1.8 million goal in its Growing Resilience capacity-building...


Building agricultural resiliency: During tour with Senate leaders, Oliveira shows off research at UMass Cold Springs Orchard in Belchertown
05-28-2024 10:46 AM

By EMILEE KLEIN

Among UMass Cold Springs Orchard’s 35 acres of apple trees hang little orange tents at the top of the trees that, despite the blazing color, are discretely managing pesky moths.These prism-shaped moth traps release pheromones to attract male moths...


Regional farming alliance strengthens educational, networking opportunities for apprentices
05-06-2024 5:38 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

In 1994, a new movement began to grow out of the Pioneer Valley, Berkshires and Hudson Valley, as a group of organic farmers banded together to form a cooperative educational program for farm apprentices.That year marked the birth of the Collaborative...


Valley farmers spotlight agricultural drainage ditch troubles
04-04-2024 4:54 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — During a summer in which area farms dealt with significant rainfall and flooded fields, keeping agricultural drainage ditches cleared became essential to protecting crops by ensuring excess water could be removed.Often, though, farmers found...


Longtime employees buy Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland
03-24-2024 2:15 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SUNDERLAND — The change of the seasons, as farmers know, often brings a slew of other changes along with it, and at Kitchen Garden Farm, this spring brings the largest change of all.Soon the farm will change hands for the first time since its founding...


Sweet spot: Area sugarhouses start tapping season early after warm winter days
03-10-2024 1:47 PM

By DIANE BRONCACCIO

The groundhog predicted an early end to winter: did that also mean an earlier start to maple sugaring? Apparently so, according to several maple sugarers in the region.“This is the earliest we’ve ever started,” remarked Chip Williams of the...


$1M in grants to boost local food system in Hampshire County
02-23-2024 9:55 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

NORTHAMPTON — Area organizations are welcoming grant awards that will boost the supply of fresh, local food available to those in need and provide support for local farmers.“We’re really thrilled to have been selected,” said Lev BenEzra, executive...


$85K grant to boost CISA’s Buy Local initiative
12-26-2023 11:05 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s Buy Local campaign will get a boost in the coming months on the heels of a Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources grant.CISA received the $84,737 grant on Nov. 27 and will...


A farming intervention: The new Farmland Action Plan offers long-term ideas to help farms statewide
12-15-2023 11:16 AM

By MADDIE FABIAN

For farms across western Massachusetts, the effects of climate change were tangible during the 2023 growing season.At Red Fire Farm in Granby, co-owner Sarah Voiland said that after the May frost event, the farm’s full harvest on multiple acres of...


CISA seeks $500K to bolster farm fund
11-22-2023 6:11 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — With farmers facing two straight challenging summers, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture is launching a fundraising campaign that will expand access to local produce and prepare farmers for a changing climate.After a soft...


Three County Fair back for another ride: 35K expected to attend annual event that kicks off Friday
08-31-2023 5:18 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

NORTHAMPTON — With a sunny forecast and a schedule packed with agricultural events, music, motor sport activities, food and local art, the 206th Three County Fair is set to kick off Friday and run through Labor Day on Monday.First been held in 1818,...


Federal lawmakers meet with farmers, speak to post-flood support
07-19-2023 2:09 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

DEERFIELD — As farmers assess the impact of last week’s flooding on their livelihoods and the future of the season’s crops, federal lawmakers visited the area on Saturday to see the damage firsthand.U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Jim...


In Easthampton, Mountain View Farm’s major CSA crop mostly wiped out
07-13-2023 2:45 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

EASTHAMPTON — On Wednesday morning, rather than walking into the field to pick the first sweet corn of the season, Ben Perrault, co-owner of Mountain View Farm, kayaked through the inundated field to assess the damage caused by the worst flooding the...


Get Growing: Symposiums back to stir gardening anticipation
03-16-2023 7:22 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

One of the many casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic was the series of annual spring gardening symposiums hosted by the Western Massachusetts Master Gardeners Association (WMMGA). These popular events helped gardeners of all abilities expand their...


South Deerfield native Ashley Randle named state agriculture commissioner
03-02-2023 9:17 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

BOSTON — With a background in showing cattle at fairs and working on the family farm in South Deerfield, the state’s new agriculture commissioner has a regional flair to her.South Deerfield native Ashley Randle has been tapped by the Healey-Driscoll...

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