Winter Fare: A Week of Winter Farmers’ Markets

CISA’s Week of Winter Fare
January 26 & February 2, 2013

In addition to perusing the array of local foods, shoppers can attend educational workshops scheduled during each market. Workshops range in topic from simple cheese-making and canning to growing grains and herbal medicine. All the workshop leaders are local people who practice these skills at home. The workshops are free and do not require pre-registration. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

It is possible to eat locally year-round and there is a lot of amazing local food to be had even in the depths of winter. On January 26th and February 2nd, CISA will kick off its 20th anniversary year with Winter Fare, a celebration of the winter bounty. In collaboration with regular Winter Farmers’ Markets in Greenfield, Northampton, Amherst, and Springfield, Winter Fare will highlight the array of local food available in the deep of winter with workshops, bartering, music, and more! Bring your shopping bags and stock up on fresh salad greens, root vegetables, local grains and bread, eggs, meat, cheese, maple syrup, honey, jam, pickles, and more, all grown by local farmers.

Amherst, Greenfield, and Northampton will all host Barter Markets, a fun, lively food-swapping event. Bring your own home-preserved foods and trade with your neighbors to diversify your pantry and get to know other people that can, dry, and freeze the local harvest.

This special event is designed to showcase the amazing local food that is available year-round in the Pioneer Valley of Western MA, and to introduce new people to the incredible farmers’ markets that run all winter long. For a complete list of winter farmers’ markets, including regular markets in Athol, Easthampton, and Hampden, visit www.buylocalfood.org.

More details about Winter Fare, including complete lists of workshops, are available at www.buylocalfood.org. Volunteers are still needed to make this event possible! Please contact CISA at 413-665-7100 or volunteer@buylocalfood.org to sign up or for more information.

Winter Fare is sponsored by River Valley Market, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, and Whole Foods Market.  All four markets accept SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), and in honor of Winter Fare, CISA will be matching the first $10 of all SNAP purchases.

– Submitted by Claire Morenon

Families Can Eat Locally Year Round: Northampton Winter Fare

Northampton Winter Fare: Eat Locally Year Round

Bring your own home-preserved foods to trade with neighbors at the Barter Market during the Winter Fare. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

It is possible for families to eat locally year-round, and there is a lot of amazing local food to be had even in the depths of winter. On January 15th, 2011 from 10am-2pm, CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) is bringing Winter Fare, a vibrant, diverse farmers’ market and community event to Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School in Northampton. Bring your shopping bags and stock up on fresh salad greens, root vegetables, local grains and bread, eggs, meat, cheese, maple syrup, honey, jam, pickles, and more, all grown by local farmers.

CISA strongly believes that healthful, local food should be available to everyone in the community, so Northampton Winter Fare will accept SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), and CISA will be matching the first $5 of all SNAP purchases.

In addition to perusing the array of local foods, shoppers can attend one of the several educational workshops scheduled during the market. The workshops include introductions to culinary and medicinal herbs, growing grains and legumes in the home garden, composting, and a short film. All the workshop leaders are local people who practice these skills at home, and the workshops are free and do not require pre-registration.

At 11:30am, the Soup Café will open for business so shoppers can take a break and enjoy a hot cup of soup. Offerings include a butternut soup from Karma, white bean and vegetable soup from Paul and Elizabeth’s Restaurant, curried root vegetable soup from Cup and Top Cafe, and potato leek from Serio’s Market. Bring your own mug to help us reduce waste.

The Barter Market, a fun, lively food-swapping event, begins at 1pm. Bring your own home-preserved foods and trade with your neighbors to diversify your pantry and get to know other people that can, dry, and freeze the local harvest.

More details about Winter Fare, including complete lists of vendors and workshops, are available at www.buylocalfood.org. Volunteers are still needed to make this event possible! Please contact CISA at 413-665-7100 or volunteer@buylocalfood.org to sign up or for more information.

The weekly winter farmers’ markets in Northampton and Amherst will be closed on January 15th. Northampton Winter Fare is sponsored by River Valley Market, UMass Five College Federal Credit Union, Easthampton Savings Bank, and Florence Savings Bank.

Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week

Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week: August 16th – 22nd

Ashfield Farmers Market

Ashfield Farmers' Market: Saturdays from 8:30am-12:30pm. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Farmers’ markets “help heighten public awareness of the agricultural diversity of Massachusetts and the benefits of buying local and preserving open space,” according to Governor Patrick’s proclamation. “Farmers’ markets create a festive open air setting which enhances community spirit and civic pride by offering a natural place for community gathering. It is befitting for the citizens of Massachusetts to recognize the continued contribution of farmers’ markets to local consumers, as well as their positive impact on the economy of the Commonwealth.”

Shelburne Falls' Farmers Market on Fridays

Shelburne Falls Farmers' Market: Fridays from 3-7pm (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

“There are over 30 Farmers’ Markets in western Massachusetts that are providing the freshest produce, meats and specialty farm products”, says Philip Korman, Executive Director of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture). “Almost every day of the week, there is a farmers’ market that enriches our community and provides an opportunity to bring the best to our family table.” Farmers’ markets are a great way to get to know local farmers and ask questions, get fresh produce, mingle with neighbors and enjoy free entertainment. It is fun for all ages!

Greenfield Farmers' Market Sign

Greenfield Farmers' Market: Saturdays from 8am-12:30pm (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

To find a Farmers’ market near you look in CISA’s Locally Grown Farm Products Guide for a listing of markets in the Pioneer Valley, or click HERE to discover on-line. Help support our local farms by shopping at a farmers’ market this week and every week throughout the growing season.

Founded in 1993, CISA is a nationally recognized community organization comprised of farmers, consumers, and professionals working together to sustain agriculture, strengthen the local economy, preserve the unique rural character of our communities, and enhance the well-being of western Massachusetts. Located in South Deerfield, CISA is the creator of numerous innovative programs, including Senior FarmShare, Farm2City, the Pioneer Valley Women in Agriculture Network, and the Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown® public awareness campaign. Learn more about CISA at www.buylocalfood.org or call (413) 665-7100.

Blueberry Bake Off with Local Blueberries

Get the Kids a Cookin’ for the Blueberry Bake Off
Hosted by the CISA and Greenfield Farmers’ Market

Gluten-free Blueberry Cake (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Gluten-free Blueberry Cake (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

On Saturday, August 1, CISA and the Greenfield Farmers’ Market will host a contest featuring desserts made from locally grown blueberries. Participants should drop off their blueberry creations at 9am that day. No need to pre-register. A CISA staff member, a local farmer and other judges will determine the winning recipe. A $50 Greenfield Farmers’ Market gift certificate and a CISA Community Membership valued at $60 will be awarded to the winning entry; a $25 market gift certificate and a CISA tote bag will go to the runner up. Look for entry details soon on the CISA website and at the Greenfield Farmers’ Market.

Grandparents and Other Seniors May Be Cut From Senior FarmShare Program

Philip Korman, CISA Executive Director in South Deerfield, MA writes:

State cutbacks threaten Farm shares that feed low-income seniors

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), through its Senior FarmShare Program, has been offering free shares of the harvest to low-income seniors since 2004. The program is now at risk of being eliminated unless the Massachusetts Senate includes it in their budget.

Every year, over 300 low-income seniors receive fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms during the height of the harvest season. For many of the elders, it is their only source of fresh produce. Since approximately 10% of seniors in the three counties (Franklin, Hampshire and Hamden) live below the poverty line, this program has helped close the gap for a part of the population that is most in need.

During this fiscal year, the state funds provided to CISA were cut from $50,000 to $25,000. As a result, the number of seniors receiving shares declined 10% and the amount of food delivered was cut 25%. For the upcoming fiscal year 2010, the Governor’s Budget did not include funds for the program, but the House restored funding at the $50,000 level. Unfortunately, the initial Senate budget (released Wednesday by the Senate Ways and Means) did not include any funds in its budget.

“This program fulfills a vital need and deepens bonds between our farmers and those most vulnerable in our community”, stated Philip Korman, Executive Director of CISA. He added that, “In the past we have been able to supplement the state funds with generous giving from churches, foundations and businesses such as Xeric Foundation, the Citizens Bank Foundation, Chicopee Savings Bank and Whole Foods. Sadly, we do not see how we can run the program next year without any state support.”

CISA is asking the community to contact their Massachusetts legislators to thank them for their past support and to request their state senators match the House budget and fully fund the program in fiscal year 2010. Contact information for legislators is available at CISA’s website www.buylocalfood.org. CISA also welcomes businesses and the community to make donations.

CISA is a nationally recognized organization comprised of farmers, institutions and residents working together to strengthen local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community.

More information about CISA can be found at www.buylocalfood.org or call 413-665-7100.

Packing Local Lunches 101

Packing Local Lunches 101
By CISA

Packing your child’s lunch every day can be a challenge. Below are some tips for cutting down on costs, time, and energy you put into your child’s brown bagged lunch-and adding some locally grown goods!

  1. Most importantly, keep it simple. Making lunch for your child doesn’t have to be a struggle or a competitive sport. Just be sure you’re including a good variety: a fruit, a vegetable, a protein, and a whole grain.
  2. Cut extra raw vegetables when you are making dinner, and then toss them into small containers for the kid’s lunch. The cut veggies should keep well in the fridge, so cut enough for a few days of snacks. Want to be sure they eat their vegetables? Include a dip, hummus, or goat cheese they enjoy for dipping the veggies in.
  3. Children are almost universally drawn to the sweetness of fresh, local fruits and berries. When fresh fruit is available, pack small containers with ready-to-eat fruits. Consider slicing apples and pears into wedges, as many kids prefer the bite sized pieces. To prevent browning in the lunchbox, add a little lemon juice. When fresh fruits aren’t in season, you can rely on frozen fruits to do the job. An overabundance of fruit in the growing season can easily be transformed into frozen treats for later in the year. Frozen fruit makes a great lunch treat for you or the kids, particularly mixed into yogurt or with long- storing fruits such as apples.
  4. Take your child to the farm. Go to a farmstand or farmers’ market with your children and let them help pick out their fruits and vegetables. Kids that participate in growing, choosing, or cooking the food they’re served are much more likely to eat it. Pick your own fruits are a great way to involve the kids in putting their lunches together. At the farmstand, you can sometimes hand pick the size of apples or peaches – small for kids, and larger for adults.
  5. The more colors the better! Entice your child’s interest in lunch by providing a variety of colors in their meal, thereby magically turning it into “Rainbow Meal!” Likewise, you can highlight a fruit and vegetable of a different color each day of the week so that your child will always be wondering what is special in their lunch for Red Monday, Green Thursday, or Purple Friday. Or, if you’re up for a challenge, try to create a few meals where the majority of the contents are one color- make it Monochrome Mondays with a different color each week!

Not All School Lunches Are Created Equal

What’s For Lunch?
By CISA

As students of all ages go back to school this month, they all have one thing in common-school lunch. Not all school lunches are created equal, and some have come a long way from the days of mystery meat. As Local Hero members, several local schools and colleges are making great efforts to be sure that their students are eating healthier meals made with locally grown produce. UMass Amherst recently won the prestigious Ivy Award for excellence in food service-largely earned from their commitment to integrating fresh, local produce into the menu. Likewise, Northfield Mount Hermon, a private boarding school in Gill, not only makes it a priority to purchase locally-grown produce; they grow a portion of their cafeteria food on their school farm! At Northfield Mount Hermon, knowing where cafeteria food comes from is part of the curriculum, culture, and practice of the institution.

September 22-27th marks the second annual Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week. This week-long event is organized by the Massachusetts Farm to School Project, and is designed to highlight the work that schools all over Massachusetts are doing to serve local food to their students, and to help more schools get started serving local foods. Most schools will participate by serving up local fare and inviting local legislators and farmers to share the meal. Some schools may take field trips to local farms to find out exactly where their lunch comes from. Seeds of Solidarity Education Center, Inc. will celebrate the week by sowing 2,008 seeds in the school gardens they’ve helped to create.  Read the rest of this entry »

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