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Longtime employees buy Kitchen Garden Farm in Sunderland
03-07-2024 10:47 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SUNDERLAND — The change of the seasons, as farmers know, often brings a slew of other changes along with it, and at Kitchen Garden Farm, this spring brings the largest change of all.Soon, the farm will change hands for the first time since its...

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Farming challenges aired at state hearing
03-29-2024 5:18 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Climate change’s impact on farming, as well as emerging areas like urban agriculture, soil health and pollinators, are a focus for the University of Massachusetts Extension Agriculture Program, which continues to help farmers adapt and...


Pioneer Valley farmers spotlight agricultural drainage ditch troubles
03-27-2024 8:38 AM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — During a summer in which area farms dealt with significant rainfall and flooded fields, keeping agricultural drainage ditches cleared became essential to protecting crops by ensuring excess water could be removed.Often, though, farmers found...


Talking up state’s farmland protection program: Farmers on board, but effort faces housing headwinds
03-18-2024 2:49 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

HADLEY — The owners of a Shelburne farm have permanently protected 100 acres through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction program, ensuring that the fertile land won’t be turned into a large, upscale housing estate or put to other uses.“That’s...


Farmers in the spotlight: CISA’s annual ‘Field Notes’ zeroes in on theme of resilience
03-15-2024 3:54 PM

By SAMUEL GELINAS

NORTHAMPTON — From flooding to fires, few people are as resilient as farmers.So it’s only fitting that Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s annual “Field Notes” event earlier this month included a host of local farmers sharing stories of...


As new season approaches, Pioneer Valley farmers plagued by streak of hardships
03-15-2024 3:29 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

Farming is already a tough field to make one’s living. Throw in three consecutive years of extreme weather and personal burnout and you’ve got a recipe for what is shaping up to be another difficult year for local farmers.With the weather whiplash of...


Adding up the losses at Red Fire Farm: $1M in damages includes barn full of supplies and memories
02-21-2024 10:40 AM

By EMILEE KLEIN

GRANBY — Days after a large fire engulfed Red Fire Farm’s barn and farm store on Carver Street in Granby on Saturday afternoon, farm staff slowly recounted the equipment and inventory lost in the fire, as well as the memories attached to them.The fire...


Four-alarm blaze at Red Fire Farm in Granby causes an estimated $1M in damages
02-18-2024 4:51 PM

By AALIANNA MARIETTA

GRANBY — A blaze engulfed Red Fire Farm’s barn and farm store on Carver Street on Saturday afternoon, leaving the west side of the barn “completely obliterated” and causing an estimated $1 million in damages, according to co-owner Ryan...


Pair of projects ‘urgent’ at Just Roots farm
02-02-2024 4:27 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

GREENFIELD — With “urgent” work needed on its historic barn, Just Roots farm invited local, state and federal stakeholders for a visit on Friday morning to take a look at the failing structure and to discuss potential funding streams.The farm has...


PFAS, slew of other agriculture-related bills on the move on Beacon Hill
02-01-2024 3:33 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

NORTHAMPTON — Prohibiting PFAS from consumer products sold in Massachusetts remains an objective for Sen. Jo Comerford, who sees a recently advanced legislative bill to protect soil and farms from such contamination as an important first step to...


Regional agricultural conference set for Saturday in Northampton
02-01-2024 10:59 AM

By EMILEE KLEIN

NORTHAMPTON — The Pioneer Valley Regional Agricultural Conference planned for Saturday will present three guest speakers on low-impact forestry, cheese making and small-scale maple syrup production for agricultural professionals looking to diversify...


‘We’re just going to keep growing’: Peila family opens creamery at Sunrise Valley Farm in Gill
01-21-2024 1:42 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

GILL — From the outside looking in, not much has changed at Sunrise Valley Farm recently. But, for the past month or so, owners Brian and Keri Peila have had one major addition to their to-do list.With help from their three children, the couple has...


Valley Bounty: Farming in a winter wonderland: Lombrico Farm in Whately coaxes fresh produce from soil year-round
01-19-2024 11:38 AM

By JACOB NELSON

‘The best carrots you’ll ever eat are picked in January or February,” says Erik Debbink, owner of Lombrico Farm in Whately. In the dead of winter, their sweetness shines through.Lombrico Farms is one of a growing number of local farms working hard to...


PHOTO: Raising cane
01-09-2024 6:30 PM


Learning from the floods: To prepare for an unpredictable future, Pioneer Valley farmers think big
12-22-2023 11:32 AM

By JACOB NELSON

“So much was just about to bloom,” said Suna Turgay of Flowerwork Farm in Northampton. “And then the flooding came.”Warmer, wetter and less predictable weather are all on the rise in New England as our climate changes. The idea of normal is constantly...


PHOTO: Watchful eyes in Whately
12-17-2023 5:07 PM


$85K grant to boost CISA’s Buy Local initiative
12-17-2023 4:52 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s (CISA) Buy Local campaign will get a boost in the coming months on the heels of a Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) grant.CISA received the $84,737 grant on Nov....


Farm fund disburses second round of $3.3M in grants; state announces another $20M in aid
12-12-2023 6:08 PM

By JAMES PENTLAND

Western and central Massachusetts farmers are receiving a boost from $23.3 million in disaster relief from a philanthropic fund set up in the wake of July’s devastating floods and further state aid announced by the Healey-Driscoll administration.The...


A farming intervention: State plan confronts threat of development, barriers to access, viability in face of climate change
12-11-2023 4:02 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

For farms across western Massachusetts, the effects of climate change were tangible this growing season.At Red Fire Farm with property in Montague and Granby, co-owner Sarah Voiland said that after the May frost event, the farm’s full harvest on...


Resilience and respect: Farmer Appreciation Party salutes extraordinary efforts in trying times
11-30-2023 6:26 PM

By MADDIE FABIAN

NORTHAMPTON — This year was a tough run for Massachusetts farmers, with more than $42 million and 13,000 acres of crop losses reported due to extreme weather during the spring and summer.Despite the Feb. 4 freeze, May 18 frost and July 10 flooding...


When misfortune strikes, local farmers unite 
11-24-2023 5:19 PM

By JACOB NELSON

In many ways, farming is an act of faith. Faith that nature will provide for a harvest, and a farmer’s faith in themselves to figure out whatever challenges arise. Some years bring bumper crops, others disappointment, but with climate change fueling...

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