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Greenfield Winter Fare 2014

Winter Fare veggies

If I am counting correctly this is the 7th Greenfield Annual Winter Fare which will bring truckloads of fresh local vegetables to Greenfield High School on Saturday, February 1.  Enter from Kent Street off Silver Street. Beyond  vegetables there will be preserved products like pickles and syrup, honey and jams. Frozen meat!  And to keep you shopping from 10 am til 1 pm music will be provided by Last Night’s Fun, and soup provided by The Brass Buckle, Hope and Olive, Wagon Wheel and The Cookie Factory will help you keep up your strength.

At 1 pm there will be a Barter Swap. Anyone with extra home made or home grown food can gather for an informal  trading space where you can make your own swapping deals.

There is more to the Winter Fare than the Farmer’s Market. Open Hearth Cooking Classes on Saturdays, Feb. 1 and 8, 10 am – 2:30 pm at Historic Deerfield.  Contact Claire Carlson  ccarlson@historic-deerfield.org.  $55 per person.

Screening of Food For Change and discussion with film maker, Wednesday, Feb 5, 6:30 pm at the Sunderland Public Library. Call 43-665-2642 for more info.

Annual Franklin County Cabin Fever Seed Swap Sunday Feb. 9, 1-4 pm Upstairs at Green Fields Market, www.facebook.com/greefieldsunflowers for more info.

Seed Starting Workshop Sunday, Feb 9, 1 pm at the Ashfield Congregational Church. Sponsored by Share the Warmth. More info: Holly Westcott  westcottha@verizon.net.

Winter Fare is obvioulsy about more  than Fare, this is a Fair atmosphere that brings a community together.

Winterfare, Winter Farmer’s Markets, Good Food

Veggies from The Kitchen Garden

I just attended my sixth Winterfare ! got to do my small part, giving a talk about the basics of extending the growing season, but mostly I just enjoyed the crowds, visiting with people I haven’t seen in a while and marveling at all the fresh produce that is available in February in Franklin County. Of course I shopped, too. Carrots, onions, salad greens, apples and salad toppers, a flat of arugula that I can snip over the next month to top my salads.

So how did Winterfare start? When I asked Mary McClintock, the Recorder’s food columnist and Winterfare organizer, she said that for her it started in 2001. “ I attended a talk that Kate Stevens and John Hoffman gave about Gary Paul Nabhan’s book Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Food. That book and that talk changed my life. I started noticing where my food came from. “

That discussion changed McClintock’s view of the produce departments in grocery stores. Then when Juanita Nelson suggested to a group of people that it would be nice to have a Harvest Supper at the end of the year McClintock was prepared and eager to join an organizing committee that created the wonderful and celebratory Annual Free Harvest Supper that fills the street in front of Greenfield Town Hall and the Common..

It takes a lot of volunteers to put on that Dinner, organizers and generous farmers, cooks and even musicians. In addition to serving up a magnificent buffet, this event raises money to provide coupons so that clients of the food pantries can also buy fresh produce at the farmer’s market.

After some time of happy harvest suppers Juanita Nelson made another observation and suggestion. The Harvest Dinner educated people about the delicious benefits of local produce, now how could they find a way to make that produce available in February?

McClintock joined Nelson  in March of 2007 to start writing a series of monthly press releases for the Recorder talking about what gardeners could be doing in their garden to prepare for a winter’s worth of fresh vegetables. That was part of the groundwork for the committee that began planning for the first Winterfare in 2008. McClintock’s wonderful Wednesday food column, with recipes as suggested by Recorder Editor Tim Blagg, grew out of those articles.

“The response to that first Winterfare was mind blowing. It was so crowded. Coyote Farm sold out of their greens in half an hour,” McClintock said. .I’d say the rest is history, but most of the history is almost invisible.

If produce is going to be sold at the Winterfare farmers have to grow it. And they have. “That first Winterfare changed local farming,” McClintock said. “Now farmers plant for Winterfare, and for the winter farmer’s markets that have been created because of Winterfare.”

That statement confused me a little. I thought all the farmer’s markets were Winterfares. Not so. McClintock explained that Winterfare is really an add-on to the winter farmer’s markets. Winterfare organizes workshops, the soup café and the barter fair.

From 2010 on CISA (Community Involved is Sustainable Agriculture) inspired by Greenfield’s Winterfare, organized Winterfare events for winter farmers markets in Northampton and Springfield. The Winterfares have given birth to a host of regular winter farmer’s markets in Amherst, Athol, Northampton, and other towns. Their schedules are on the CISA website www.buylocalfood.org  The next Greenfield Winter Farmer’s Market will be at Greenfield High School on Saturday March 16.  This is a change from the usual first Saturday of the month schedule, so mark your calendars.

This year there was a weeklong calendar of Winterfare events from movies, pot lucks and talks, ending with the Annual Cabin Fever Seed Swap on Saturday, February 9 at Green Fields Market from 1-4 pm and the Conway Local Pot Luck on Sunday, February 10 at 5 pm at the Conway Town Hall. Full information is on the CISA website.

My talk with Mary McClintock touched on the different ways that local farming has changed over the past few years. With a year round market for local produce, farmers have been planning and planting for what is practically a non-stop season. The use of hoop houses has helped with that effort

There have also been ongoing discussions and efforts to increase the infrastructure needed for food storage. One addition to the food system infrastructure is the Community Development  Corporation’s Food Processing Center which makes it possible for farmers to freeze their produce and sell it locally. You can look for this at Green Fields Market.

Many people have been involved with Winterfare over the years. The organizing committee is an ad hoc group. They are not affiliated with any organization although members of the committee may also work for CISA or other groups. New volunteers are always needed for the committee or for the day of Winterfare activities. If you are interested in joining these lively and satisfying efforts Mary McClintock would like to hear from you. You can email her at mmcclinto@yahoo.com or telephone at 413-522-5932.

If we cannot work for Winterfare we can support Local Hero Farms and the restaurants that serve local produce. Eating local provides so many benefits, health, protecting the environment by reducing food being trucked across the continent, protecting our beautiful rural landscape and dining on the most delicious fresh food possible.

Between the Rows  February 9, 2013

Winterfare – Always a Delicious Success

Winterfare veggies

Saturday more I went down to Greenfield for Winterfare – always a delcicous success. People in our area are so happy to be able to buy fresh vegetables directly from farmers, even in winter. Of course, this winter farmer’s market isn’t limited to vegetables. Real Pickles had a booth selling – Pickles! Sunrise Farm was selling maple syrup, Apex Orchards was selling apples, Warm Colors Apiary was selling honey and other bee products, Barberic Farm was selling  lamb and lamb fleeces.  El Jardin had their fabulous breads and there were many other great vendors. The soups they served at lunch were delicious.

Salad toppers from LaSalles

Winterfare always schedules a few talks. I gave mine on how to extend the growing season and I mentioned ‘micro-greens’. This was a new concept for some of my auditors, but I could send them to John LaSalle’s booth where he was selling – and I was buying – what he called salad toppers, otherwise known as micro-greens. You wouldn’t get a whole salad for the family out of his flat, but you could snip off a few leaves for a fresh topping.

Freesias from LaSalles

We do not live by bread, or veggie alone. John LaSalle also brought bundles of his famous fragrant freezias. Most of these end up in New York City florist shops. Winterfare shoppers were very happy.

I came home with a bagful of veggies and bread and a flat of  salad toppers. Winterfare is always a delicious success!

We do not live by

Planning a Vegetable Garden to Extend the Season Workshop at Winterfare

Winterfare shoppers February 4, 2012

My Planning a Vegetable Garden to Extend the Season Workshop at Winterfare on  February 2 will give attendees some things to think about when they are planning their vegetables gardens and some  tips. Hope to see you Saturday at 11 am at Greenfield Hight School.

For more Wordlessness this Wednesday click here.

Winter Farmers Market and More – Coming Up

Winter Farmers Market January 7, 2012

The Second Winter Farmers Market will be held on Saturday, February 4 from 10 am – 1 pm at  the Second Congregational Church on Court Square in Greenfield. I attended last month and stocked up on beets, turnips, pears, apples, squash and Real Pickles sauerkraut. It is exciting that so much local food is available to us in midwinter. And even more exciting to know that plans are in place to give us even more local food all year long.

The February Farmers Market is the beginning of Winter Fare Week, a celebration of local food with many events planned. In addition to buying produce on February 4 shoppers will have an opportunity to attend a number of workshops.

Daniel Botkin of Laughing Dog Farm, a ‘seedy madman’ will inspire you as he shows off his favorite “open-pollinated” heirloom tomato (and other!) seeds that have inspired a decade of great gardening at Laughing Dog Farm. Dan will review the significance of “heirloom genetics” as well basic seed botany and seed saving/preserving protocols, including which ones need only to be gathered, cleaned and dried, (the “easy” ones…) and which seeds need more elaborate “isolation” and/or hand-pollination schemes. Seeds for sale and free!

Mark Lattanzi will show you how to can the delicious abundance of the summer and fall garden. Think about putting up your own local food this year.

Rachel Scherer will present Get Sauced. Did you know that condiments like “Sriracha” and “Tabasco” start with lacto-fermented chilis? That lacto-fermented fruit and vegetable chutneys are the culinary origins of ketchup and relish? This workshop will cover the basics of making lacto-fermented condiments at home, and the details of how to go from the general process to a custom recipe.

Annie Sullivan-Chin with Catherine Bryars will talk about the many benefits of composting and how to make it feasible in your home. Conversation topics include soil science fundamentals, how to get/build buckets and bins, troubleshooting a lazy compost pile, and a special show-and-tell about worm composting. Participants are encouraged to bring questions and experiences to share.

In addition to the workshops there will be a Local Food Barter Fair. How does it work? Anyone who has home-made food items items to barter will gather at 12:15 p.m. with their goods and take part in informal trading.  A great chance to meet your home-growing neighbors, practice the art of bartering, and bring home delicious food and goods without exchanging money.  Open to gardeners, gleaners, foragers, canners, dryers… even professional farmers!

I’ll be telling you about more great events coming  up the week of February 5-12.  Friends and Food. What a combo.

Gray Dog's Farm, Huntington

Gray Dog’s Farm is just one of the farms that is participating in the market. Other participants include Clarkdale Fruit Farm, Red Fire Farm that is moving to Montague, and

 

Winterfare in Greenfield

Red Fire Farm greens

It didn’t take long to use up all the wonderful fresh veggies I bought at the Northampton Winterfare, but the Greenfield Winterfare, a winter farmer’s market is coming up on Saturday, February 5  from 10 am – 2 pm at Greenfield High School on Lenox Avenue.

In addition to all delicious food, bread, fruit, veggies, meat, yogurt, jam, pickles, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, there will be a variety of workshops on canning, growing grain, seed saving and more.

There will also be a Barter Fair and soups from area restaurants including Hope & Olive, Barstow’s Longview Farm, Bart’s Cafe,  Green Fields Market and McCusker’s Market and the Wagon Wheel Restaurant. Something delicious for everyone.

Beauty Heart Radish

Renee's Garden Watermelon Radish

One of the New Plants for 2011 profiled in the new issue of The American Gardener published by the American Horticultural Society is a Watermelon Radish from Renee’s Garden.  I am ashamed to say that when I first came across this beautiful vegetable in Beijing I insisted on calling it a turnip. Who ever heard of a radish as big as a baseball?  My Chinese colleagues insisted on calling it a radish, but in spite of the fact that their English was excellent I thought it was some sort of mis-translation.  I have been put straight.

I have bought seeds for this radish before, but not been very successful, probably because I have not kept it properly watered. All radishes need consistent moisture to size up well. Now that I have my Front Garden which is easily watered I plan to try again. It also should be planted in midsummer as it likes the cool weather. A good prospect for succession sowing.

Photographs do not really do this vegetable justice. The pink center is beautiful ringed  with white an almost translucent rim of tender green. In Beijing we often ate this as a fresh pickle and I hope I can recreate that recipe. It is beautiful and delicious.

When I have seen this radish at local farmer’s markets it is usually called Watermelon Radish, but I love the Chinese name Beauty Heart. I was glad that Renee gave both.  I wonder if there will be any for sale at the Winterfare farmer’s market in Northampton tomorrow morning. I’ll be looking.

Winterfares Coming Up

Winterfare Northampton 2010

Have you been longing for fresh greens and the chance to meet the farmers in our area?  Long no more. It is time for Winterfares!  This Saturday the winter farmer’s market will be held at the Smith Vocational School in Northampton on January 15 from 10 am to 2 pm.  Fresh greens, apples, honey, yogurt, root veggies, local grain, bread, the Soup Cafe (bring your own cup) and workshops.  This is a delicious and healthy event – pure delight.  Don’t forget to bring your own shopping bags.

Also, mark your calendars for the 4th Annual Winterfare at Greenfield High School on Saturday, February 5, again from 10 am – 2pm.  More fresh food, more workshops, more fun.

Massachusetts Farmers Market Week

Greenfield Farmers Market

I’m so happy to participate in the Loving Local Farmers Market Blogathon hosted by In Our Grandmother’s Kitchens for several reasons. First, Farmers Markets are beautiful and celebratory places to be. Everywhere are gorgous healthy fruits and vegetables, fragrant herbs and brilliant flowers. Everyone is cheerful when they are surrounded by this beautiful bounty. Who wouldn’t like to spend an hour at the Farmers Market?

Second, is the energy savings of locally grown produce. I know all about the current re-calculating of energy costs of California produce versus more local produce that required heated greenhouses but the farmers I know are using solar greenhouses and limited or no other energy for heating.

Tom Clark of Clarkdale Fruit Farm

Third, is the crisp freshness of the produce. It has been picked  ripe and at its peak. That’s for me! And the nutritional value hasn’t had time to evaporate away.

Fourth, is the variety of veggies, fruits, herbs and unique varieties that promise great flavor and texture. I am a gardener and I grow a lot of my own veggies and herbs, but for a family of two I can’t grow all the variety that I hunger for.

Fifth is my concern for my own food supply. I firmly believe that less centralized, more diversified food sources are safer from violent weather and insect damage or blights and disease. This means the food system for the whole nation is more secure.

Sixth, I think smaller food producers are less likely to spread diseases like salmonella.  It seems that all the  outbreaks of infected foods that have necessitated recalls are from large farms, feedlots and processing plants.

Seventh is my desire to support the farmers who will grow this safe, healthy and delicious food. I love farmers! Some of them are cute and are willing to flirt at the farmers market. I wonder if I can count flirting as another reason for supporting farmers and farmers markets.  What do you think?

Eighth is my concern for the local economy. Buying food, or anything locally, will keep my dollars circulating in my community, so shopping at the farmers market is supporting the whole local economy.

Nine. I can meet various friends and acquaintances at the Farmers Market. I always allow time to stop and gossip.  Here I am blogging and Facebooking, but really, there is  nothing like a face to face confab with people you enjoy, maybe while eating a juicy peach or apple, or a fruit turnover. Have you noticed how many farmers are good cooks?

Ten. Even if you are not a passionate cook farmers markets are a good place to shop because you don’t really need to do anything to make fresh veggies taste wonderful. The flavor is already there. Who needs to do anything fancy to corn on the cob? Or a passel of peas? Or beets?  Steaming, roasting – or just plain raw.

I just came up with a new slogan – Eat Local – Eat Well.   It works for me.

January Winterfare in Northampton

Check out the Mass Farmers Market Association, a non-profit organization and donate to help support farmers markets throughout the Commonwealth.

Phil Korman and CISA

Philip Korman of CISA

CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) is familiar to many of us because of the bright yellow Local Hero signs at farmstands, farmer’s markets,  supermarkets and car bumpers. We have recognized the benefits of buying food from our local farmers: keeping our money in the local economy; preserving local farms that produce the rural atmosphere we all treasure as well as a variety of crops; and cutting down on oil-dependent food transportation.

As consumers we see some of the work done by CISA, but much of its work, and workers, are visible only to the over 200 local farmers who are CISA members.

Philip Korman joined CISA in 2008 as its Executive Director. A graduate of Cornell University he has spent his professional life working for the community and common good through organizations like the National Priorities Project in Northampton and the Franklin County Council of Governments.

Once, as a young man, he spent a couple of summer months on a farm in Norway, just three hours south of the artic circle. “They raised dairy cows, and pigs, but no vegetables. All produce was imported. A lot of rhubarb soup,” Korman said.

Nowadays he contents himself with a home garden and enjoys living in a rural area, where there are lots of vegetables and fruits, and  working for CISA, a community organization that has a wide reach, from farmers to consumers, to other organizations and businesses who have an interest in food. And that is almost all of us, when you think about it.

“We are here to help the bottom line of farmers,” Korman said. They do this through a variety of workshops in business, finance and marketing. “Farmers already know what they are doing in the fields, but we can help them with those other aspects of farming. We also have a new Women in Agriculture initiative, in acknowledgment of the growing number of women who are farming.”

As any person starting a business knows, there is more to success than making a product. For farmers this means they also need an agricultural infrastructure to allow farmers to process their crops, and gain that value for themselves.

There was great controversy recently about a slaughterhouse in the area, and it is clear that such an operation will need to be sited carefully. However, meat farmers would benefit immensely from having a local slaughterhouse, and even those of us who like, or would like to raise backyard chickens, or pigs, would benefit. I believe that a well planned and managed small local slaughterhouse would avoid all the environmental problems that we associate with industrial sized slaughterhouses where there is cruelty and dangerous waste.

Korman said there is interest in building a local dairy processing operations. Gary Schaefer of Bart’s Ice Cream already uses local blueberries and peaches in their ice cream and are interested in using local milk as well.

In addition, CISA is investigating the possibility of establishing a flash freezing operation, that could either be brought to farms, or where farmers could bring their produce for freezing. This would be another was to increase farm income, and add jobs.

Those who attended the Northampton Winterfare farmers market scooped up all the fresh greens that Red Fire Farm had, showing that there is a market for fresh vegetables early and late in the season. Currently there is the possibility of funding to help farmers build hoop houses, to make this market available to more farmers.

During my talk with Korman I realized that how many people and organizations are generating ideas, and then working in concrete ways to make it more and more possible for us all to eat more healthfully and locally, and for more small farms to be more successful. This is a very exciting time for farmers in our area when there is organizational support and resources, as well as the desire from consumers to buy their products.

Since our local farms are small, we don’t realize what an economic impact they have on the area. Yet, local farms had more than $9 million dollars in sales last year; 35 Local Hero restaurants spent more than $1 million on local produce; and schools, and hospitals are buying more local produce. Of all the produce used at  UMass dining halls and cafes, more than 20% now comes  from local farms.

According to the 2008 CISA Annual Report “. . .we want more local foods and agricultural good available, more of the time, to more of the people.” When that report came out, a state funded Senior Farm Share program provided 350 low income seniors with 10-12 weeks of fresh produce from their local CSA.   The state cut half the funding for the current fiscal year, and for the upcoming fiscal year there is no state funding at all.

Because of their commitment to providing healthy fresh food to low income seniors CISA has been fundraising, hoping to raise $25,000 to keep this program alive until the economy and our state recover from this serious downturn. There is still time for people to make a donation to that program. Call Pamela Barnes at (413) 665-7100., or logon to www.buylocalfood.org for full information.

Nowadays you don’t have to be a farmer to be a supportive CISA member. Community memberships are available at a variety of levels. I’ve joined. Will you?

Don’t forget Greenfield’s Winterfare farmers market on Saturday, February 6 from 10 am to 2 pm at Greenfield High School. Beautiful produce, a Barter Fair, and workshops. I’ll be talking about that most local crop, sprouts. For full info logon to www.winterfare.org.  ###

Between the Rows July 31, 2010