Northampton Winter Fare: Eat Locally Year Round

Northampton Winter Fare: Eat Locally Year Round

Photo credit: (ccl)

In recent years, more and more consumers have become convinced of the benefits, to themselves and to their communities, of eating local food. Farmers’ markets and farmstands bustle all summer long, CSAs have long waiting lists for the summer season, and local retailers and restaurants proudly advertise the local products they offer. Even when the prime growing season comes to an end, residents in Western Massachusetts are increasingly interested in continuing to eat seasonally and locally – and local farmers are meeting that demand.

On January 9th from 10am-2pm, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) is bringing a vibrant, diverse farmers’ market and community event to Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton, MA. The first annual Northampton Winter Fare is based on Greenfield’s very successful Winter Fare celebration, which is held annually on the first Saturday in February. In addition to perusing the amazing array of local foods, shoppers can mingle over hot soup provided by local restaurants (bring your own mug!), attend one of the several educational workshops scheduled during the market, and barter home-preserved local food with their neighbors (bring your excess, and go home with your neighbors’ goodies!).

Creating direct market opportunities for local farmers, like Winter Fare, is vital to increasing local food availability during the winter, but support for local farmers interested in entering those markets is central as well. Because many local farmers lack suitable on-farm storage facilities, CISA has been working with consultants to develop case studies for on-farm storage facilities of varying sizes, which will be available as a resource to farmers on CISA’s website by February. CISA has also been assessing interest in local food during the winter through a survey of local retailers and through informal surveying of consumers at farmers’ markets.

Northampton’s weekly Saturday winter market, held in Thorne’s, will not occur on January 9th. Instead, most of the weekly market vendors will be selling at Winter Fare.

For more information on Northampton Winter Fare and other winter farmers’ markets, visit Winter Fare volunteers are needed; contact Claire Morenon at or 413-665-7100. More information about the Greenfield Winter Fare can be found at


CISA is a community organization comprised of farmers, consumers and professionals working together to sustain agriculture and the unique rural character of our communities. CISA is the creator of Senior FarmShare, the Pioneer Valley Women in Agriculture Network, Farm to School projects, a workplace CSA program, and the ‘Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown®’ public awareness campaign. Learn more about CISA at or call 413-665-7100.

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