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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Season's: Who's YOUR farmer?

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

I couldn’t help but grin as I roamed around opening day at the Greenfield Farmers Market last Saturday. I chatted with friends I hadn’t seen for months, met new grandbabies of several friends and saw some of my farmer friends. I knew I’d see Carol Grossman from up the road in Conway and Rich Pascale of Shoestring Farm in Colrain and was glad to visit with them and see the lush plants they had for sale.

I was surprised and delighted to see Sue Atherton of Atherton Farm on Route 112 in Buckland. Sue isn’t a regular vendor at the Greenfield Farmers Market and is only selling there the next few weeks before the Ashfield Farmers Market opens on May 18. I caught up on some of Sue’s farm news, including that she has lots of early vegetables growing in her new greenhouse.

I hope to visit Sue’s farmstand and greenhouses soon. I have a deep fondness for Sue’s greenhouses ever since my “greenhouse therapy” at her farm in the early spring a few years ago. Helping Sue plant TINY seeds in her sunny, warm greenhouse was GREAT after a long winter. I think Sue and other area farmers could charge people like me for the therapeutic pleasure of working in their greenhouses!

Seeing some of “my” farmers at the farmers market made me think of chatting with my friend, Deliah Rosel, about “her” farmers, David Fisher and Anna Maclay, and their staff at Natural Roots Farm in Conway. Deliah loves being a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shareholder at Natural Roots, not only for the great vegetables in her weekly share, but also for getting to know David and Anna, gathering you-pick crops, watching the farmers work the land with their draft horses, and visiting friends she’s met while picking up her share.

Natural Roots still has some CSA shares available for the season that will start in early June. I understand that the Natural Roots farm shop will be open to everyone on Tuesday and Friday afternoons. Along with vegetables, their shop includes locally-produced bread, cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, eggs, beef, pork, honey, maple syrup, fruit, miso, kombucha, dressings, salsa, and cookbooks. Wow!... one-stop local food shopping in a lovely place in Conway! Visit their website at www.naturalroots.com for more information.

What CSAs are in your town or where you work or go to school? Find out about other CSA Farms at CISA’s website: www.buylocalfood.org. Remember, CSAs are farms, CISA is the great non-profit organization that helps us all be part of sustaining local agriculture.

Last week, I sat with CISA Executive Director Phil Korman at the celebration of 150 years of UMass Amherst partnering with Massachusetts agriculture. Sandy Thomas was a key organizer of the celebration which included a groundbreaking ceremony for the new UMass Agricultural Learning Center (http://ag.umass.edu/agricultural-learning-center) and a reception, dinner, and speakers. I chatted with the Clarks from Clarkdale Fruit Farms and enjoyed Emerson, Ben and Lori’s almost 3-month-old son.

Celebrating the history of Massachusetts agriculture, shopping at farmers markets and farmstands, being a CSA shareholder — we can all support OUR farmers. Who’s YOUR farmer?

This Week We’re Eating ...

Spinach Squares

By Cheryl Hochstetler Shirk, Hyattsville, MD (from “Simply in Season” by Mary Beth Lind and Cathleen Hockman-Wert)

3 eggs

1 C milk

½ C whole wheat pastry flour

½ C flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Mix together.

2 to 2½ C cheese, shredded

½ pound fresh spinach or sorrel, chopped

Mix in and press into greased square baking pan. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees until knife comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

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