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Valley Bounty: Grass-fed animals that feed the grass: Gwydyr Farm in Southampton focuses on ‘restoring the connection between land, food and people’
04-12-2024 3:39 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Every piece of farmland has its strengths and weaknesses. Often, the most successful farmers are those that learn to see their land’s potential clearly and — with other things in mind like finances and what customers want — build a business around...

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Valley Bounty: Central Chicopee no longer a food desert: Couple buys and revives Fruit Fair grocery by turning to local farms and vendors
03-29-2024 12:26 PM

By LISA GOODRICH

Samaita (Sam) Newell is a first-generation immigrant from India. She met Jared Newell as a student in the five-college area. Following graduation and getting married, the young couple dreamed of buying a farm with a store.Without collateral, their...


Valley Bounty: Fermentation meets cooperation: Real Pickles in Greenfield supports and supplies the regional food system
03-22-2024 9:58 AM

By JACOB NELSON

A knock on the door interrupts the conversation. Someone is here to trade cheese for Real Pickles’ fermented veggies.Kate Hunter, a marketing coordinator, assistant sales manager, and worker-owner at Real Pickles, gets up to confirm the terms. Out the...


Valley Bounty: Maple syrup time: After year-long prep, Hickory Hill Farm readies for Massachusetts Maple Weekend
03-15-2024 3:35 PM

By JACOB NELSON

It turns out pancakes and hot air balloons have at least one thing in common: they both pair well with maple syrup.“Flying over the woods is a good way to find maple trees,” offers Paul Sena, owner of both Worthington Ballooning and Hickory Hill Farm....


Valley Bounty: Building community, year-round: Holyoke Farmers Market is a source of positivity and local fare
03-01-2024 11:50 AM

By JACOB NELSON

‘When I was a kid in Puerto Rico, I always liked going to the roadside markets and farm stands,” says Alexis Diaz DeJesus. “People had their fruit and vegetables all displayed, and you could negotiate prices or even trade for things. Then there were...


Valley Bounty: Empowering our local food system: River Valley Co-op invests in regional farms and the interests of community
02-23-2024 2:22 PM

By JACOB NELSON

In just 15 years, River Valley Co-op has grown into an indispensable part of the local food economy. For local farms, food businesses and community members who want easy access to local food, their continued growth is something to celebrate.“River...


Valley Bounty: Micro but mighty: At a new farm in South Hadley, small is beautiful — and delicious
02-02-2024 11:50 AM

By JACOB NELSON

If there’s a lesson to be learned from Love Leaf Farm in South Hadley, it’s this: don’t judge a farm by its size … or the size of their crops, for that matter.In the words of farmer-owner Michael Fredette, “Love Leaf Farm is a very small, indoor...


Valley Bounty: New horizons for a small dairy farm: O’Brien Farm in Orange opts to strategize, not pasteurize
01-26-2024 12:39 PM

By JACOB NELSON

‘We do a little bit of everything,” says Andrea O’Brien of O’Brien Farm in Orange. “But mostly we milk cows.”Running a successful dairy farm requires commitment, perseverance and creativity. That’s especially true in recent times, as the costs of...


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...


Valley Bounty: One good thing to come from pandemic: Mass Food Delivery service maximizes access to farms
01-12-2024 12:15 PM

By LISA GOODRICH

Farms are the foundation of our local food system, with farmers markets, farm stands, and community markets providing the predominant means of providing local food to customers. And for some members of the community, the ability to order fresh, local...


Valley Bounty: Deep-rooted sugaring farm has a few new tricks
03-03-2023 6:24 PM

By JACOB NELSON

‘We call it liquid gold,” Erik Lively says of maple syrup. This is his favorite time of year at Sunrise Farms in the hills of Colrain, when they reap the sweet amber rewards of a year’s hard work.Lively and his brother Jordan, who both work full time...


NOLA in the Valley: Wells Provisions in Charlemont sources locally, serves Big Easy flavor
02-12-2023 11:50 AM

By LISA GOODRICH

At first glance, Charlemont may seem an unlikely place to open a restaurant that features New Orleans cooking. When the pandemic offered a chance to try something new, Wesley Janssen and family saw the opportunity for a homecoming.The Northfield...


Valley Bounty: Custom cuts: Bostrom Farm in Greenfield pivots from dairy to grass-fed meat
02-03-2023 4:45 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Talk to most farmers raising animals on pasture, and they’ll tell you the same thing – from a farming perspective, the animals are secondary.“Our mantra is creating good food from grass,” says Kyle Bostrom of Bostrom Farm in Greenfield. “Basically, we...


Valley Bounty: Hilltown traditions, with a modern twist
01-20-2023 3:44 PM

By JACOB NELSON

‘When people think about farming, a lot of specific imagery may come to mind,” says Miana Hoyt Dawson of Pause and Pivot Farm in Williamsburg. “We’re probably the opposite of that.”For one, soil and sunlight have nothing to do with it, as their main...

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