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CISA reaches Growing Resilience campaign goal, awards more no-interest loans to farmers
06-21-2024 12:01 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...

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Valley Bounty: Pea time is upon us: Dave’s Natural Garden in Granby grows a variety of the seasonal favorite
06-14-2024 11:32 AM

By LISA GOODRICH

After the cold of winter in New England, spring on our region’s farms is a treat for the senses. While locals may argue over whether asparagus or strawberries declare the arrival of spring, Meghan Hastings, owner and farm manager of Dave’s Natural...


CISA’s first Pedal to Pasture event offers ‘a unique way to learn about farms’
05-30-2024 3:55 PM

By SAM FERLAND

HATFIELD — Bicyclists will be able to savor the local scenery while learning about the struggles farmers in the Connecticut River Valley are facing as they pedal a flat 12-mile loop on a guided tour of three different farms.This is the first year that...


Extreme weather forces valley farmers to adapt
05-11-2024 3:50 PM

By TANISHA BHAT

Ben Clark, the owner of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, received $120,000 from the $20 million Natural Disaster Recovery Program created last year after he lost the entirety of his peach crop and 70% of his apples and pears due to sudden cold...


Valley Bounty: Fibers for farmers: Western Massachusetts Fibershed turns local ‘throw away’ wool into fertilizer pellets
05-10-2024 2:58 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Local wool for your wardrobe … and for your garden?That’s the idea behind a new project from Western Massachusetts Fibershed, an organization working to strengthen our local fiber economy, right alongside our local food economy.Peggy Hart is a core...


Growing along with the land: Piyush Labhsetwar joins Grow Food Northamton as new farm and land stewardship manager
03-21-2024 2:08 PM

By PAT JAMES

Visiting his great-uncle’s farm in central India was a “magical experience” for Piyush Labhsetwar, Grow Food Northampton’s new farm and land stewardship manager. He relishes memories of picking ripe mangoes and oranges, drinking fresh cow’s milk, and...


Streak of hardships plague valley farmers
03-17-2024 1:01 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

Farming is already a tough field to make one’s living. Throw in three consecutive years of extreme weather and personal burnout and you’ve got a recipe for what is shaping up to another difficult year for valley farmers, as they prepare their fields...


Longtime employees buy Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland
03-10-2024 10:39 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...


Adding up fire losses at Red Fire Farm: $1M in damages includes barn full of supplies and memories
02-20-2024 5:52 PM

By EMILEE KLEIN

GRANBY — Days after a large fire engulfed Red Fire Farm’s barn and farm store on Carver Street on Saturday afternoon, farm staff slowly recounted the equipment and inventory lost in the fire, as well as the memories attached to them.The fire caused an...


Four-alarm blaze at Red Fire Farm in Granby causes an estimated $1M in damages
02-18-2024 5:02 PM

By AALIANNA MARIETTA

GRANBY — A blaze engulfed Red Fire Farm’s barn and farm store on Carver Street on Saturday afternoon, leaving the west side of the barn “completely obliterated” and causing an estimated $1 million in damages, according to co-owner Ryan...


Valley Bounty: Farming in a winter wonderland: Lombrico Farm in Whately coaxes fresh produce from soil year-round
01-19-2024 11:07 AM

By JACOB NELSON

‘The best carrots you’ll ever eat are picked in January or February,” says Erik Debbink, owner of Lombrico Farm in Whately. In the dead of winter, their sweetness shines through.Lombrico Farms is one of a growing number of local farms working hard to...


$85K grant to boost CISA’s Buy Local initiative
12-17-2023 1:00 PM

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...


In visit in wake of flooding, Markey talks of prepping farmers for changing climate
08-03-2023 11:56 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

CONWAY — As farms around the region determine their plans going forward following unprecedented rainstorms, U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and several other state and federal partners used a Wednesday visit to Deerfield and Conway to emphasize the opportunity in...


Farmers speak to potential impacts of disease, produce quality after continued flooding
07-17-2023 8:41 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...


Federal lawmakers meet with farmers, speak to post-flood support
07-16-2023 1:23 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...


Whately farm recalls mung bean sprouts over contamination concerns
05-11-2023 12:44 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

WHATELY — Chang Farm on River Road has voluntarily recalled mung bean sprouts due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination, according to the state Department of Public Health.The farm recently recalled all 10-pound bulk bags, as well as...


CISA to host annual storytelling event at the Academy of Music Theater on Sunday
04-28-2023 9:21 AM

By Maddie Fabian

NORTHAMPTON — For the first year since the pandemic, the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture will host its annual storytelling event, Field Notes, in person Sunday at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton.The event, which was first...


Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield honored for strengthening local food economy
04-26-2023 12:46 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

DEERFIELD — Since the Clark family helped Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture get on its feet decades ago, the experience has come full circle, with Clarkdale Fruit Farms receiving an award from the nonprofit earlier this month.The...


Peaches pummeled: Area farmers report massive peach losses reminiscent of 2016
04-10-2023 9:22 AM

By DOMENIC POLI

The 2023 season isn’t looking too peachy for New England farmers waiting to see if any of their buds survived mid-February’s sub-zero temperatures.It appears that month’s cold snap crippled the growth of the beloved stone fruit typically harvested...


Valley Bounty: Gill livestock farm converts getting their legs under them
04-08-2023 7:31 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Spring is springing up at Everyday Farm in Gill. Actually, it’s bouncing all over the place.“We’ve had about a hundred lambs born so far this year,” says farmer Hannah Sol. Once all their mother ewes give birth, the number of bleating babies will more...


Valley Bounty: Westhampton dairy’s creamery expansion sweetens future
03-13-2023 3:30 PM

By JACOB NELSON

The Parsons family of Mayval Farm have stewarded their land in Westhampton for a long time.“It was actually a grant from the king to Noah Parsons III,” says Margie Parsons. That would be King George III of England, back in 1778.Currently Mayval Farm...

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