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CSA – Community Supported Agriculture is for You

Winterfare Market February, 2012

For some people the initials CSA are just another of those annoying acronyms that can make our conversations sound like an unintelligible inter-office memo. For some CSA means Community Supported Agriculture which encompasses delicious local food, help for the farmer, and a community of like-minded folk who enjoy fresh food, and enjoy knowing they are supporting farmers and farms, and the very land and environment that surrounds us.

Small farmers never think they are going to get rich doing what they love. They only hope they won’t go broke after a bad season. In the 1980s a new idea came on the scene when the first community supported agriculture farms were first organized. The idea is that people would buy shares in the farm and its harvest at the beginning of the growing year, essentially sharing the risks the farmer would face over the course of the season. Would there be flooding rains? Drought? Would blight kill all the tomatoes? Mother Nature can throw all kinds of disasters at a farmer. CSA members are essentially buying the harvest as crops are planted and becoming a part of a community – a “we’re all in this together” community sharing the risk, the worry and the joys of the farm.

When I first became aware of Community Supported Agriculture some years ago, there were not many CSA farms or people buying shares. The organizational elements were fairly standard. An individual or family would buy a share in the spring, and then as the May and June harvest started coming in they would pick up their weekly boxed or bagged share of greens, beans, radishes and vegetables of every type in season. Because man does not live by carrot alone, many CSAs also included a bouquet of summer flowers.

Now there are many more CSAs in our area. I spoke with Phil Korman, Executive Director of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) who said that in the three counties, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden, in 2009 there were about 4550 farm shares sold, but in 2012 that number had increased to about 7300 farm shares sold. Some of those shares were to people outside the three counties. The expectation is that the number has continued to increase but statistics are only collected every five years. Korman pointed out that those farm shares did not include winter shares which are now available.

In fact, there are now many more kinds of CSA shares that people can buy. In addition to the regular vegetable garden shares, there are shares for meat, fish, eggs, flowers, and grain.

The last few years have seen other changes in CSA distributions. Originally, a shareholder paid up, and then picked up that share weekly at the farm. Nowadays CSA shares can be delivered to various sites including schools, retirement communities, and work sites.CooleyDickinsonHospitalallows staff to pay for their share with a payroll deduction, and the share is delivered to the hospital.  Some people share a share with a neighbor

Hager’s Farm Market and Upinngill Farm sell vouchers. The Hager vouchers are dated for use throughout the season, but they can be used at the Market on Route 2 in Shelburne with the shareholder making his own choices, for produce or pies, eggs or yogurt. Upinngill’s vouchers are not dated. Several can be used at one time. In both cases, at the Hager Farm Market and the Upinngill farmstand, the vouchers provide for a discount, so you are saving money, as well as getting wonderful produce.

There are 15 CSA farms inFranklinCounty, inGreenfield, Montague, Gill, Leyden, Colrain,Sunderland, Ashfield, Whately, and Berndarston. Each CSA farm delivers its share one day a week. All of them are now signing up shareholders for the 2014 season.

Western Massachusettshas been “an incredibly receptive community” to desiring and buying local farm products Korman said. The first local, and now longest running CSA farm is Brookfield Farm inAmherst. The first Winterfare was created inGreenfieldby volunteers just a few years ago. Now farmers plant winter storage crops for the 30 winter farmers markets that are ongoing across the state. CISA was the first non-profit organization in the state and created the Local Hero marketing project.

Currently there are 55 Local Hero restaurants using local produce for a total of about $2 million a year. There are also 240 Local Hero farms. They sold between 2002 and 2007 $4.5 million worth of farm products, but that amount has now doubled to $9 million. Food coops account for $16 million in sales. Right now in the three counties between 10%-15% of our food is fresh local food, but CISA’s goal is to have 25% of our food grown and enjoyed locally.

I was shocked that we are eating so little local food, but Korman gently pointed out that the whole population ofFranklinCountyis only half the population of the city ofSpringfield. I can see that it will be a great day when everyone inSpringfieldgets 25% of their dinners from local farms. I have to keep reminding myself that not everyone lives in our beautiful and fertile valley or near a hilltown farm where fresh food is available for a good part of the year.

It’s finally getting warmer. It’s time to think about fresh salads, grilled vegetables and corn on the cob. It’s time to think about the possibility of joining a Community Supported Agriculture farm.

You can find a full listing and information about local CSA farms on the CISA website.

Between the Rows  April 5, 2014

Cellars and Cave Tour with the Heath Agricultural Society

Sheila Litchfield in the Dell

The Heath Agricultural Society gave us all a chance to  go exploring the cellars and caves of our neighbors  this past Saturday. Root cellars, cider cellars and a cheese cave. Who could resist this opportunity? Over 50 people signed up for this tour, many of them from towns beyond Heath. Even Springfield! I took one group around beginning with Sheila Litchfield who first explained the basics of cheesemaking. Chemistry. Bacteria. Sheila is a nurse so she knows all about bacteria. When Sheila isn’t milking her three goats to make cheese, serving as Rowe’s town nurse, and serving as a member of Heath’s selectboard, she spends ‘her spare’ time canning the produce from the large Litchfield garden. Oh, and she also gives cheesemaking workshops!

Cheese Cave

Sheila built her cheese cave in the cellar. Here, with carefully monitored temperature and humidity, she stores cheese that needs aging.  She explained that she can only have one kind of cheese in this small cave, because the different cheese bacterias will infect each other, to the benefit of neither.

Litchfield Root storage

Our group got a bonus! Sheila showed us how she stores root vegetables, in crocks, on the bulkhead stairs. Not too much left at this time of year.

Andrew at Benson Place Blueberry Farm

Then it was off to the Benson Place Blueberry Farm, where noted artist Robert Strong Woodward  often painted, and where  I often took young grandsons to pick their own low bush blueberries. Andrew and his family have been farming here for three years. When the basement was given a cement floor in the 1960’s a corner space was left unpaved, in expectation of a root cellar. Andrew finally finished the root cellar which now has two cement foundation walls, and two walls built of rigid silvery insulation panels, extra fiberglass insulation and heavy weight black plastic. His root cellar has a window which makes it possible, with the help of flexible ductwork, to bring extra air circulation. At this point Andrew says they buy bulk vegetables from farms like Atlas Farm to store. They also use the root cellar for other foods like yogurt and meat when the refrigerator is too full.


Draxler root cellar

Andy and Sue Draxler could not put their root cellar in the cellar because their furnace made that space too warm. They poured a cement floor in their large garage/workshop, but left one corner unpaved to provide the necessary moisture for their root cellar. While Andrew’s root cellar is a little room with a window, the Draxlers built what is essentially a large closet. It is divided in two, with the intention of providing dry cold storage on one side, and moist cold storage on the other.  That has not worked out as they expected, and both sides are quite moist. Sue Draxler explained are working on a fix  for that. They do have their potatoes on one side and apples on the other. These two should never be stored together because the apples produce ethylene gas as they ripen, and this will cause the potatoes to sprout more quickly. Like, Andrew, the Draxlers have very little left in their root cellar at this time of the year.  Sheila, Andrew and Sue all acknowledged that they had some produce loss because of the extremely cold temperatures for an extended period this year, made it impossible to keep root cellar temperatures above 32 degrees. Generally speaking root cellars should be keep between 40 and 55 degrees.

Bob Bourke and his cider press

After root cellars, we went off to explore cider cellars.  Hard cider, that is. Bob Bourke took everyone down to  his cellar to show his equipment  and fermenting carboys of cider. Then we all went up to the porch to see his cider press. Bob  bought his house and property about five or six years ago and was happy that it came with a cider orchard. He has 45 trees of various apple cultivars like Golden Russets, Baldwins, Northern Spy, Gravensteins, Jonathans and others. Good, complex ciders depend on a flavorful mix of apples.  Making cider also depends on controlling the yeasts, which means cleanliness and isolation in air-locked barrels and carboys. Bob explained that it is not really difficult to make cider, but cleanliness is vital. It is also very  timeconsuming when it is time to sterilize the bottles, fill and cap them.  He gave out samples to our thirsty crew.

Doug Mason in his cider cellar

Doug Mason gets most of his apples from Bob. They  do a lot of work – and tasting – together. He has some additional equipment that we hadn’t seen at Bob’s. To cut down on the time required for washing and sterilizing bottles, he has bought several stainless steel kegs, like those that beer  comes in. Much easier to clean a keg than  bottles for an equal amount of beer. He also has a bottling and capping gadget that, with a two man crew, makes this operation fairly quick. He also gave out samples. Warming!  And very nice. This cider cellar is about 50 degrees. Chilly. Doug ferments his cider in the barrel for  about a year or so, then bottles it, and keeps it for another year. Bob’s cellar is warmer, and it takes the cider longer to mature in Doug’s colder cellar. So much to learn.


Back at the Community Hall we could warm up. Hours spent talking about food and drink prepared us for a fabulous lunch, chilis, soups, breads, pies and cider! All prepared for tour participants by members of the Heath Agricultural Society. That is Justin Lively, Society President, in the center rear of the photo. Lots of enthusiastic conversations! The big question? What other kinds of tours can we have in Heath? What kinds of tours might other towns create?

Green River Ambrosia – Fit for the Gods

The Green River Ambrosia crew – standing L-R Brendan Burns, Will Savitri, Garth Shaneyfelt.  Kneeling L-R Sandy Pearson, Sam Dibble

Mead is an ancient drink, essentially a wine made with honey instead of grapes. The great Norse hero Beowulf drank mead and feasted in a great mead hall 1500 years ago. Somewhere along the line mead fell out of favor as a popular drink, even in Scandinavia, but three young Greenfield men, Garth Shaneyfelt, Will Savitri, and Sam Dibble are brewing a mead they are calling Green River Ambrosia.

The first batch of Green River Ambrosia went on sale in the spring of 2008 and rapidly sold out, as have all subsequent batches. Currently the newly renovated meadery that shares space with Katalyst Kombucha at the Franklin County Community Development Center (FCCDC) brews mead, cyzer a hard cider fermented with honey instead of sugar, and an alcoholic ginger beer. As a participant and sponsor of this year’s Winter Fare events, they are brewing a special local Ginger Libation that uses ginger from Old Friends Farm in Amherst, Clarkdale cider, and Chang Farm schizandra berry juice. I am warning you right now, this is a very limited run. I tested it and it is delicious.

Will Savitri is the founder of Katalyst Kombucha, a fermented tea drink.

Sam Dibble who previously worked at Real Pickles which makes naturally fermented pickles, has worked as the brewer for Katalyst Kombucha for several years as brewer. “I’m Scandinavian, so of course, I know about mead halls. I’m also a beekeeper and I’ve been inspired by Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary.”

When the FCCDC held a big event to show off the First National Bank building several years ago, Garth Shaneyfelt, who had recently moved to Greenfield, met Dibble and Savitri. Their mutual interests in bees, honey, and fermented drinks led them to mead, and the founding of Green River Ambrosia.

Since the equipment for making kombucha could also be used for brewing mead they were in business almost immediately. Getting the necessary state and federal permits and licenses took about six months, and their first 300 gallon batch of mead went on the market in 2008. Most of their honey comes from Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield, although Shaneyfelt said they have some hives of their own, and are now working with other small beekeepers. Over the last couple of years they have joined with Clarkdale Fruit Farm and Pine Hill Farm to make cyzer. Last year their cyzer won a gold medal at the International Mazur Cup competition in Boulder, Colorado.

Shaneyfelt explained “We are bringing a wine making mentality to our brewing, a vintage concept.”

“Every year the honey is different, depending on the weather and how that effects the honeyflow, “ Dibble added.

Traditional mead is made with only honey, water and yeast. It has an alcohol content similar to wine, between 12 and 13 percent.

Dibble said, “Honey adds flavor and complexity to our cyzer. The flavor of the apples is still there. Honey compliments the apples and balances the acidity. A wonderful interplay of flavor.”

Mead and cyzer take between six and nine months to finish the fermenting process and be ready to drink. Their ginger beer, called Ginger Libation and technically a wine since it contains no grain or malt, takes less time to ferment making it a useful quicker turn-around product. Shaneyfelt explained that before prohibition all ginger beer was alcoholic. Prohibition changed all that and now Green River Ambrosia may be the only brewery making alcoholic ginger beer in the U.S.

Shaneyfelt is the CFO which means he keeps the books, but all three make the point that this is a worker-owned company. They all do everything. “Brewer is just a fancy name for bottle washer.” Shaneyfelt said. “Cleanliness is essential when you are working with yeast in order to get the flavors you want.”

The meadery space at Katalyst Kombucha at the CDC was recently renovated. The walls, ceiling and floor are made of food-grade material and all are washable.  The equipment is the even higher dairy-grade stainless steel.

The business is growing steadily, enough so that two more worker-owners have been added to the crew, Brendan Burns who brought the recipe for ginger beer, and Sandy Pearson.

All five are committed to supporting local farms and beekeepers. Their motto is Think Global. Drink Local!

The various brews are available locally at Ryan and Casey and the Shelburne Wine Merchant as well as eateries like Hope and Olive and the People’s Pint.

As a former beekeeper myself, and a champion of bees and all the pollinators that are vital to our food supply, I was fascinated to learn about these new local drinks that are increasing the market our local farmers have access to. I give a cheer for every new agricultural and libation enterprise, don’t you?


Winter Fare events begins on Saturday, February 4 with the Winter Farmers Market at the Second Congregational Church on Court Square. For full information about events logon to The final events on Sunday, February 12 will be the Fifth Annual Cabin Fever Seed Swap at Green Fields Market meeting room from 12:30 – 4:30 pm. Bring seeds if you have them. They can be commercial seeds left over from last year or seeds you saved yourself. If you don’t have seeds, come anyway. There’s lots to learn, and extra seeds to take away.  At 5 pm Conway is having a Local Food Pot Luck Supper at the Conway Town Hall. For more information call Mary McClintock (413) 522-5932.

Between the Rows  January 28, 2012

Local Farm-Hers

L-R Suzette Snow-Cobb, Caroline Pam, Sorrel Hatch, Deb Habib

We live in a fortunate part of the world. Recently my husband and I were counting our local blessings: good neighbors, relatively benign bureaucracies, easy traffic, and beautiful landscapes with hills and streams, woodlands and meadows.

Those landscapes have changed in a major but subtle way over the 30 years since we moved to Heath. The dairy farms that were here in Heath have all disappeared as have many dairy operations in other towns. A few farm stands sold sweet corn in season, but it seemed that agriculture was in decline.

Nowadays I am very aware of a resurgence of local agriculture marked by a proliferation of new small farms with farm stands, the birth of farmers markets in various towns, and programs like Farm to School that are bringing fresh healthy food to more people. At the same time the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement arrived making it easier for farmers because customers share the risks of farming.

Earlier this week I attended a presentation co-sponsored by Greenfield Community College (GCC) and the Conway School of Landscape Design titled Things Are Looking Up Down on the Farm. It was a logical collaboration because GCC is always reacting to community needs for education and training, and the Conway School curriculum looks at land use in its broadest terms which certainly includes the agriculture that keeps us fed.

This particular talk included moderator  Suzette Snow-Cobb of the Franklin County Community Cooperative, and three farm-hers Caroline Pam of The Kitchen Garden in Sunderland, Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity Farm in Orange, and Sorrel Hatch of Upinngil Farm in Gill. Each of those farms is different and each farm-her told her story with  lively passion, enthusiasm, and honest humor about life on the farm.

Caroline Pam is the newest farmer. With her husband, Tim Wilcox, Pam has been farming here in the valley since 2005. They both spent time in Italy and she is a serious cook. The farm reflects their interests in beautiful and interesting vegetables. Their growing has another aspect. They now have a very young daughter and son.

Pam says that it is hard to separate the work they do on the farm and their life. “Farming is more a lifestyle than a job,” she said.  They were always working to maintain a balance that would allow them to make a living without burning out. They have made the decision to stay small. The Kitchen Garden is only 7 acres but they are growing the capabilities of the farm by succession planting and adding greenhouses that will extend their season.

Deb Habib and her husband Ricky Baruc were experienced farmers when they came to Orange in1996. Because they had rough recently timbered land they decided to begin with cardboard and compost. Nowadays they continue to farm with cardboard and compost, often under hoop houses to extend the season, but they also teach their techniques.  They give workshops at Seeds of Solidarity Farm and Habib also teaches at their own Seeds of Leadership (SOL) program for teens. SOL has its own garden that donates food to the low income community.. For Habib and Baruc farming is about helping to make sure everyone has access to healthy food, and building community.  Habib also said, “It is important to make room for celebration.”

Seeds of Solidarity was one of the major organizers of the now famous North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival in October which brings 60 vendors of produce, local handcrafts, and good eats as well as performances on the Solar Powered Stage to Forsters Farm to thousands of people who are ready to learn and celebrate.

Sorrel Hatch is the only one of the farmers who grew up on a farm. Her father, Cliff Hatch, surprised his father and grandfather who were farmers by coming back to farming after a short time away. Hatch studied entomology at Cornell and came back to work side by side with her father and now her brother at the Upinngil Farm where I pick strawberries every year.. They maintain a small dairy herd of Ayrshire cows and sell raw milk at their Farm Store, as well as cheeses, wheat, and goodies from Hatch’s own Little Red Hen Bakery. Hatch said, “We grew the wheat, we ground it and baked it — but I did have a lot of help.”

The Farm Stand is open seasonally and the Farm Store is open every day year round. Not everything at the Store or the Farm Stand is from their farm. “Bring me stuff and I’ll sell it. I can’t grow everything so it is wonderful to have great stuff for customers from other local farms,” Hatch said.

Hatch said their wheat is certified organic, but like Pam and Habib she said the record keeping required makes it almost impossible for a multi-crop farm.  Pam also said that their farm, surrounded by conventional farms is too narrow to provide the required buffers. All agree that their customers know they farm sustainably and trust the safety of their produce.

Although each has unique aspects, these three farms are typical of many of the other small farms in the area in the sense that they not only provide good food, they add jobs, by hiring people on the farm, and by supplying new businesses like Real Pickles with what they need. What they all need is more infrastructure that will help them provide food over a longer season.

Clearly things are looking up for those of us who want to eat good, fresh local food.

Each of the farms has a handsome informative website:; and

The final program of this series Farm Land: Sustaining Farms and Farm Land for the Future with Cris Coffin, New England Director, American Farmland Trust will be held on Thursday, May 19, 6:30-8 pm, Conway School of Landscape Design, 332 South Deerfield Rd, Conway, MA 01341  ###

Growing a Garden City

Growing a Garden City

Sometimes a garden is more than a garden. Sometimes a garden is comfort, safety, job training, real good food for  the hungry and a supportive community.

Growing a Garden City by Jeremy Smith (Skyhorse Publishing $24.95) has an all inclusive subtitle – How Farmers,  First Graders, Counselors, Troubled Teens, Foodies, A Homeless Shelter Chef, Single Mothers and More are Transforming Themselves and their Neighborhoods Through the Intersection of Local Agriculture and Community and How You Can, Too. Whew! I’m out of breath.

This book also made me breathless with its description of a city learning to feed itself while it involved various groups of people in a new community.  Missoula, Montana has a short growing season, 100 frost free days, and the same kinds of needs any city  does, hunger, homelessness, students who don’t know where their food comes from, and troubled students who don’t know where they are  going. The city also has people with vision, energy and perseverance.

Missoula now has seven neighborhood farms and community gardens that give a whole new meaning to the term Community Supported Agriculture. It didn’t happen overnight. The tale of the growth of this program over 15 years is told through the  voices of those who participated from Josh Slotnick, Director of the PEAS (Program in Ecological Agriculture and Society)  Farm, students at the PEAS Farm, to single mother Kim Markuson, Greg Price, chef  at a homeless shelter, and many others.

This is such an inspiring story that shows what a  community with land and energy can build.  We are fortunate in our region to have new young farmers on small farms, part of a national movement, that is giving all of us healthy food – and healthy community.

Winterfare and Ice

4th Annual Greenfield Winterfare

Saturday dawn cold with another storm promised. I dashed right out to the Greenfield Winterfare to stock up, and I wasn’t the only one. Every booth was busy. These young women from Wheatberry Farm and Bakery were selling the wheatberries AND delicious muffins. Ben and Adrie Lester, the founders of Wheatberry are also founders of The Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA.

Simple Gifts Farm

At the Simple Gifts booth I bought lots of roots – and make a shredded vegetable slaw when I got home. Perfect accompaniment to casserole roasted pork. Brooke Werley and Emily Adams say they do everything!  at the farm. They have a brand new tractor at Simple Gifts and they are very excited.

Sunrise Farm

I not only found the Grade A Medium Amber Maple Syrup I had been looking for I found out that the sugar house I pass when I drive from Heath to Colrain is called Sunrise Farm and is operated by a branch of the locally famous Lively family. It is wonderful to have so much Lively-ness in our area. Rocky’s family has been on this farm for over 100 years.

Most of these farms are already signing people up for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares. For a full list of CSA farms visit CISA, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.

One thing I have noticed is that there are more farms selling meat locally. I am buying lamb from a neighbor, and I found out that the new Pen and Plow Farm in Hawley is selling beef – and it doesn’t have to be a whole quarter of an animal.  Hmmmm. Oxtail soup and osso bucco may be in my husband’s future.

I stopped at the library on my way home from Winterfare, but a ‘wintry mix’ was already falling out of the sky.  By suppertime everything was encased in ice. This is the view when we woke on Sunday morning. Beautiful but dangerous.

No lounging in the Cottage Ornee today.

Maybe I’ll be able to finish up my seed orders.

Wonderful Winterfares

Northampton Winterfare

In the February/March issue of Organic Gardening magazine, Gordon Hayward who gardens in Vermont, talks about our ‘food shed.’ I know about watersheds, that protect the quality of our water, and was amused when I heard people talk about their ‘view sheds’ the landscape view they enjoyed from their house, but I had never heard the term ‘food shed.”

However, aware as I am of the 100 mile diet, I should have realized the term put me on familiar ground. Hayward quotes Cornell University’s definition of food shed as “a geographic area that supplies a population with food.”

With all the recent talk about national security, especially airport security, there is not so much talk about ‘food security.’ Fortunately, because of our food shed, we in this region are enjoying substantial food security; we could feed ourselves very well indeed, even if there were some catastrophic event that kept the refrigerator trucks from California making it all the way to western Massachusetts.

This blessing of this security was brought home to me last year when I attended the Second Annual Winterfare  Farmer’s Market at Greenfield High School. It is one thing to have a garden and even know that the farmstands are full of wonderful fresh produce in the summer and fall, but I was amazed at how much fresh produce is available locally during deep mid-winter. Granted, many of the farmers were selling frozen meat, potatoes, squash and all manner or root crops like beets and carrots which can be harvested in fall and stored properly for use during the winter, but some farmers had beautiful lettuces and other greens that are such a luxury during the winter.

I could hardly carry away my share of the bounty which included not only vegetables like tender greens from Red Fire Farm, but Clarkdale apples and cider, Hillman Farm cheese, El Jardin bread,  Warm Colors Apiary raspberry honey, and Real Pickles. Our food shed is varied and delicious.

Seeing so many people giving of their time and energy to put on this terrific event made me determined to do my share this year. Whether you attend the Northampton Winterfare today from 10 AM to 2 PM at Smith Vocational School or the Greenfield Winterfare on Saturday, February 6 at Greenfield High School I will be on hand to demonstrate the growing of sprouts.

Sprouts are the most local of food crops. Mine grow on the counter next to the kitchen sink.  To increase my experience with sprouting  I sprouted wheat for the first time. When I visited Cliff Hatch, and his daughter Sorrel, at Upinngil during the summer I bought a couple of bags of wheat berries. They have been waiting patiently for me to learn to make wheatberry salad, and this workshop prompted me to try sprouting them. I even bought  a hemp and flax Sproutbag at Green Fields Market to expand my horizons further.

The information sheet that came with the Sproutbag said that it was better than a Mason jar for sprouting wheat and other grains as well as beans. And here I thought I was just doing my best for the consumer economy.

I will bring my sprouted wheat bread to Winterfare, along with salad sprouts in Mason jars in two different stages for those who may not be familiar with the process and not realize how easy it is.

The magical thing about sprouts is that in the process of sprouting the nutritional value of the seed shoots up, increasing the amount and number of vitamins A, B complex, C and E. The amount of protein and fiber also increase. What is not mysterious is that none of this nutritional value is lost because it develops on the kitchen counter and is eaten in that same kitchen. There is no nutritional loss as when vegetables are shipped from far away, and of course, no gas or oil are used for transportation.

My presentation is only one of several presentations being offered today. There will be information about canning, how to store root and other crops for winter use, how to make your own nut milk and how to make cheese.

Those who have a surfeit of jam or any kind of good produce can bring them along to the barter session.

CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) is a sponsor of Winterfare. Logon to their website, or  for full details. I hope to see you there – or in Greenfield.


I heard from Daniel Botkin after my article about Laughing Dog Farm last week. I said that his goat bedding and manure could be used fresh on the garden and didn’t need to be composted like my chicken manure. Goat manure is not hot like chicken manure but he wanted to make this clarification:: “The goat manure, although it is more readily usable for organic gardening (because 1.) it is pelletized 2) it is pre-mixed with hay and 3) it breaks down much faster than most, more dense, anaerobic “slop” manures), it is still not safe around ripening food crops and never goes near any edible or soon to be edible plant parts when fresh. I do apply it fresh around trees, shrubs and as sheet mulch on fallow, non-edible landscapes.”

Thank you, Daniel.

Between the Rows   January9, 2009