The Bounty of Local Food and Farm Products Grows in Western MA!
UPDATE: Read about CISA’s 2011 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide HERE.
CISA’s 2010 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide
Summer is almost here, and the bounty of locally grown produce and agricultural products continues to grow. Western Massachusetts farms are geared up to provide everything from asparagus and alpaca wool to zucchini and zinnias. But where to begin your search for the best that Valley farms have to offer? With the annual Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide, a free full-color publication distributed by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) during the week of May 24th.
This year’s Guide contains more than 60 pages of farm and local agricultural products listings, including 202 farms, 46 restaurants, 28 retailers, eight landscape and garden centers, and 24 other businesses and institutions that make, sell, or serve locally grown goods. Readers will also find a farm product seasonality calendar, a farm and garden locator map, profiles of this year’s Local Hero Award recipients, and information on the growth of the area’s local food system.
During the week of May 24th the Guide will be distributed in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Amherst Bulletin and The Recorder, and will arrive in portions of Hampden County through the Springfield Republican after the Memorial Day weekend. The Guide can also be found in the produce sections of several local retailers, including Atkins Farms Country Market, Big E’s Super Market, select Big Y stores, Cornucopia Foods, Foster’s Super Market, Green Fields Market, McCusker’s Market and Deli, Randall’s Farm and Greenhouse, River Valley Market, State Street Fruit Store, select Stop & Shop stores, and Whole Foods Market.
“We are delighted to celebrate local agriculture and provide this free resource” says Philip Korman, Executive Director. “The bounty of local produce grows and grows, with more farms, restaurants and farmers’ markets — including winter markets — providing the best of the harvest to our community throughout the year.”
This year, the number of farms and restaurants involved in CISA’s Local Hero program increased by 7% and 15% respectively. CISA has also seen an increase in the number of Community Supported Agriculture farms (CSA) in operation, up to 33 from last year’s 27. Last year, Local Hero CSA farms provided 5,000 farm shares, which in turn supplied produce to more than 20,000 people. According to Korman, “This is in line with the trend over the last five years, where the number of farms selling directly to the public is up, and direct sales doubled to $9 million in Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties.”
An online version of the Guide (www.buylocalfood.org) lets users search by product and location. It provides comprehensive lists of Local Hero farms, restaurants, grocery stores, and more, along with a continuously updated report of what’s ripe and where to find it.
The 2010 Locally Grown: Farm Products Guide is a service of CISA with support from Berkshire-Pioneer Resource Conservation & Development Area and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.