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From homesteading to homeschooling: The Davis family of Oak Hollow Livestock all lend a hand
06-17-2024 1:09 PM

By EVELINE MACDOUGALL

Sara and Carl Davis moved in 2019 to their 25-acre farm on Gould Road in Shelburne. They are the parents of five children and the proprietors of Oak Hollow Livestock, which is more than just a business; it’s a thriving homestead where humans live...

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PHOTO: Field crew
06-21-2024 1:25 PM


CISA reaches Growing Resilience campaign goal, awards more no-interest loans to farmers
06-19-2024 11:01 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Fresh off awarding $222,000 in no-interest loans to farmers affected by 2023’s flooding, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) has also reached its $1.8 million goal in its Growing Resilience capacity-building...


CISA’s first Pedal to Pasture event offers ‘a unique way to learn about farms’
05-30-2024 11:45 AM

By SAM FERLAND

HATFIELD — Bicyclists will be able to savor the local scenery while learning about the struggles farmers in the Connecticut River Valley are facing as they pedal a flat 12-mile loop on a guided tour of three different farms.This is the first year that...


Extreme weather forces Pioneer Valley farmers to adapt
05-13-2024 5:08 PM

By TANISHA BHAT

Ben Clark, the owner of Clarkdale Fruit Farms in Deerfield, received $120,000 from the $20 million Natural Disaster Recovery Program created last year after he lost the entirety of his peach crop and 70% of his apples and pears due to sudden cold...


Valley Bounty: Fibers for farmers: Western Massachusetts Fibershed turns local ‘throw away’ wool into fertilizer pellets
05-10-2024 3:11 PM

By JACOB NELSON

Local wool for your wardrobe … and for your garden?That’s the idea behind a new project from Western Massachusetts Fibershed, an organization working to strengthen our local fiber economy, right alongside our local food economy.Peggy Hart is a core...


Regional farming alliance strengthens educational, networking opportunities for apprentices
04-21-2024 10:19 AM

By CHRIS LARABEE

In 1994, a new movement began to grow out of the Pioneer Valley, Berkshires and Hudson Valley, as a group of organic farmers banded together to form a cooperative educational program for farm apprentices. That year marked the birth of the...


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...


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...


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

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