You are invited to help sustain the Ashfield Farmers Market

IMG_2525On behalf of all the Ashfield Farmers Market Vendors, we thank the Town of Ashfield for the use of the Town Common. We also thank St. John’s Episcopal Church for allowing public use of their bathroom! We are also extremely grateful for the generosity of Gloria Picosa and the Ashfield Historical Society for allowing us to store signs and equipment on their properties and to the Ashfield News for providing this free column space! Thank you all so much!

Garlic from Yard Birds Farm of WilliamsburgAs the Market enters its last month of the season, the Steering Committee of the Ashfield Farmers Market Association (AFMA) is reviewing the 2015 season and is planning for an even more successful season in 2016. One of our initiatives for next year is to involve more community members in the planning and development of the market.

AFMA welcomes community members like you to become part of the support system of the Farmers Market in Ashfield. Perhaps you are interested in being a liaison to the Ashfield Agricultural Commission, or to the Ashfield business community, or to one of the Ashfield religious communities, or to a regional group like the Franklin Land Trust or the Trustees of Reservations. Perhaps you would like to be a Volunteer Coordinator, a Tech Coordinator or a Grant Writer for the AFMA. Please bring your perspective, experience, and skills to the development of the Ashfield Farmers Market.

As you consider helping, here is some background information about AFMA for your review:

IMG_2057The Ashfield Farmer’s Market is a public market for the purpose of connecting and mutually benefiting local farmers, communities, and shoppers while promoting and selling products primarily grown and raised by participating farmers.

The AFMA is a democratically organized group of Farmers with revolving Co-Chairpersons who are responsible for managing the Market. AFMA is a member of the Massachusetts Federation of Farmers Markets and buys market liability insurance from the Federation. AFMA has a website www.ashfieldfarmersmarket.com, an email address ashfieldfarmersmarket@gmail.com, and a Facebook page with lots of great photos!

In 2015, Donna Elwell of Spring Water Farm in Ashfield and Sue Atherton of Atherton Farm in Buckland are the Co-Chairpersons. Rick Intres of Bear Meadow Apiary in Ashfield is the Ashfield Farmers Market Association Treasurer. The officers hired Arianna Collins of Offerings for Community Building, to be the Market Administrator, she is responsible for promotion of the Ashfield Farmers Market this year.

The AFMA Farmers – not only grow, harvest, clean, transport and set up their products for sale at the Ashfield Farmers Market- but they also submit an application and pay a fee to participate. These fees vary according to how often the vendor participates and range from $150/season to $25/day for a 10’x10’ tent space. Each vendor also volunteers for one of the following jobs:

Jobs for before the Market starts:

  • Write a AFM message on Community chalkboard @ Post Office
  • Set out AFM sign stored at the Ashfield Historical Society
  • Retrieve market cart, chairs, & cones from Gloria’s barn.
  • Bring market tent over from Ashfield Historical Society side porch and set up for musicians or over picnic table.
  • Prop front door and tidy up Episcopal Church bathroom to be used for the day.
  • Move cones to the opposite side of the street to block off parking after all or most vendors are set up.
  • Move picnic table to the center of the market tents.

Jobs for after the Market ends:

  • Pick up trash and compost at the end of the market and take trash to recycle center.
  • Break down market tent and return to the Historical Society side porch
  • Return AFM sign to Historical Society side porch
  • Collect cones from roadside and put in cart
  • Return market cart with, cones, chairs, and children’s books to Gloria’s barn
  • Tidy up and close up church bathroom and church front door.
  • Move picnic table back to the east edge of the Town Common

Would you be willing to help set up or breakdown the Market? Your assistance would be very much appreciated!

IMG_2064The Ashfield Farmers market has great potential! Please consider becoming involved in sustaining the Ashfield Farmers Market! To join the effort and/or to share your ideas and suggestions, email Sue and Donna at ashfieldfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

 

Reminder: This month, the Ashfield Farmers Market is open Oct 3rd, 17th, and 24th but not during the Ashfield Fall Festival on Oct 10th.

Excitedly,
Donna Elwell and Sue Atherton

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Participate in a Worthwhile Community Activity: Visit the Farmers Market

IMG_2239Do you support local farming? You do if you frequent businesses that purchase ingredients from our local farms. Not sure if the stores or restaurants you gravitate towards use farm-fresh local ingredients? Ask! Request! Why?

Farmer Janet Clark of Steady Lane Farm had this to say in response, “Here is where I am on the topic of local. It is my first choice when I shop, even above “organic” and “climate smart farming.” This is to support farmers in my community, including youth hired for chores. It is to protect our productive landscapes and associated wildlife habitat, to build soil which good farmers do, and to ensure resilience. Here, where I can see it and celebrate it. And here perhaps it is where others can see farming as a viable way to contribute and enjoy this industrious but rewarding life.”

Friends and NeighborsBeyond supporting local farming, what is the value you place on community? How much is it worth to you to come out and be social with your neighbors? Perhaps being neighborly is not an efficient use of your time if you have other errands you need to run, but I dare say it is an effective use of your time. We are not just here every Saturday asking you to support your local farmers, though by default you do that by shopping on the Town Common. The Ashfield Farmers Market is a community building initiative, whereby the very act engages you in town life and draws you in closer.

The Ashfield Farmers Market is a gathering place. It is where friends and neighbors catch up, share a bite to eat while discussing the latest news, and hand out hugs like so many zucchini. You can even meet your client here: grab some coffee, a baked good, or ice cream or cukes or carrots and device your action plan. It’s a place to listen to “front porch” tunes while shopping for all your favorite in-season produce. It is a place to connect, to feel connected.

I will go one step further. The Farmers Market is a “head space” to remind yourself and one another why you choose to live in this town: why you are so willing to volunteer on a committee and be of service to your community; why you feel comfortable asking your neighbor to care for your pets while you are away; why you run out the door when you hear a crash just to see if you can be helpful; why you take in that stray; why you leave your door unlocked in case a friend needs to get in; why you leave fresh baked cookies on the doorstep of someone who has just moved in. Every act you do to be neighborly pulls you in that much closer until you cannot imagine living anywhere else.

Is that what you want? Do you want to feel more connected to the people you live in proximity to? Then gather. Come out and participate. I swear, you won’t be sorry you nurtured these relationships like so many garden flowers. Here, you will thrive!

– Arianna Alexsandra Collins

***

Josh & Kim of Radio Free EarthAre you a musician? Love to sing and/or play an instrument?
The Ashfield Farmers Market is seeking musicians for our Saturday markets on the Town Common from 9:00am – 1:00pm. We will happily compensate you for serenading our customers while allowing you to sell your CDs and promote your music. Compensation is a bag of food and $25. Contact the Market Administrator if you would like to come play: ashfieldfarmersmarket@gmail.com

 


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National Farmers Market Week & Dreaming of Local Food Year Round

Dreaming of Local Food Year Round

I recently read an article whose headline caught my eye –

“Replanting America: 90 Percent of What We Eat Could Come From Local Farms”

Yeah! Wow! Is that even possible? The study was conducted by researchers, J. Elliott Campbell and Andrew Zumkehr, who reviewed every acre of active farmland in the United States, regardless of what it was used for, and extrapolated that instead of growing soybeans or corn for animal feed or corn syrup, it was used to grow vegetables. The article’s author, Dan Nosowitz, in Takepart, stated that only about 2% of American farmland is currently used to grow fruits and vegetables. What? Really? That seems so small. Where are all our veggies coming from? Apparently not locally. Nosowitz went on to report that Campbell and Zumkehr, envisioned that all of America’s farms could be “designed to feed people within 100 miles a balanced diet, supplying enough from each food group.” Well that would be fantastic! It is true? It turns out, that it would be a national average; that not everyone everywhere would have access to being a near-complete locavore. But it does make one dream does it not? What is possible here in IMG_2531Ashfield? How much of our community’s food needs could be met year round? Consider what you purchase at the Farmers Market already. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to continue consuming local food year round? How do you think your diet might change if you ate more locally grown foods? Hmm, yes, that would be a lot of potatoes, carrots, and cabbage in the winter. But then that is what greenhouses, hoop houses and root cellars are for – to extend our growing and storage seasons. Now if we could only grow cacao locally… (Mmmm, chocolate!)

FYI: did you know that there is a National Farmers’ Market Week?
Well there is: AugustIMG_25112nd to 8th. So celebrate Massachusetts Farmers Markets by shopping at one. And it just so happens that Ashfield Farmers Market will be open on Saturday, August 8th on the Town Common, so you can celebrate this national event right here in town with your neighbors. Governor Baker even came out with a proclamation that highlights the importance of Farmers Markets for “creating economic vitality for both Massachusetts farms and communities, as well as their contributions to public health.” So come shop at the Ashfield Farmers Market, cause it’s good for the local economy and good for your health.

The Ashfield Farmers Market is open every Saturday through October 24, rain or shine.

Cheers,
Arianna Alexsandra Collins


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What’s going on at the Farmers Market in July?

Here are some of the highlights from our regular, weekly vendors:

Need to cool down from the summer heat? Grab a maple ice cream cone at the Gray’s Sugarhouse booth. Made fresh with home-made ice cream and sweetened with maple syrup. Comes on a fresh waffle cone.

Heading out to a party and wondering what to bring? How about some hard cider from Bear Meadow Farm.

Need fresh veggies? Stop by the booths of Atherton Farm, Good Bunch Farm, Hart Farm, Spring Water Farm and Vy’s Veggies to view their selections.

Need a quick pick-me-up? Grab a coffee and a freshly baked good at Bread Euphoria.

And what goes good on that delicious bread from Bread Euphoria? How about picking up some homemade fruit jams from Barberic Farm.

And what goes good with that jam from Barberic Farm on those baked goods from Bread Euphoria with eggs from Bear Meadow Farm, Hart Farm or Atherton Farm? How about cooking up some breakfast sausage from Manda Farm. Manda Farm has a yummy selection of pork products from heritage breed pigs, organically fed and free to root. “We have 6 kinds of sausage, chops, roasts, ribs and steaks, smoked bacon and hocks, jowls, rendered lard, and “trotters.”

And lastly, the Turkish Kitchen is aiming to please your palate with a wide array of summer dishes using all organic ingredients. Enjoy Lady Aisha Beans, Cinnamon-Pine Nut-Currant and Herb Rice stuffed Peppers, Artichoke Hearts with Fava Beans, Swiss Chard Salad with Garlic-Herb Yogurt and other summer dishes. The staples — phyllo pastries with savory meat, cheese and veggy fillings, bean salads and sweets will of course be there as well. For a cold drink, try Ipek’s farm-made kefir and rosewater lemonade.

 


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What’s at Farmers Market?

According to the 2015 Farmers Almanac weather forecast, the Northeast will be experiencing a hotter than normal summer, with below-normal rainfall. “The hottest periods will occur in early June, early July, mid- to late July, and early August.” This may stress certain crops. Despite the stress (of the crops and/or farmers), our farmers continue to dedicate their time to bringing in the produce to Market. So come to market – the Ashfield Farmers Market, that is – every Saturday, rain or shine and see what we have in store for you!

Our weekly vendors include: Atherton Farm, Barberic Farm, Bear Meadow Farm, Bread Euphoria, Good Bunch Farm, Gray’s Maple Products, Hart Farm, Manda Farm, Spring Water Farm, Turkish Kitchen, and Vy’s Veggies.

Highlights at the Market include:

  • Barberic Farm had a new crop of strawberries and rhubarb made in to delicious Strawberry Jam and Jelly and Fruit Sweet Strawberry Pear Jam (no sugar added), RhubaRaspberry Jam, and Rhubarb Sauce.  Also, available is Frozen Yogurt in 6 oz cups made from Sidehill Farm’s yogurt and local berries. Throughout the season there is frozen lamb meat, frozen-ready-to-bake pies, pickles, popcorn, hops and beautiful wool products.
  • Manda Farm is selling a complete selection of pork products from heritage breed pigs, organically fed and free to root. “We have 6 kinds of sausage, chops, roasts, ribs and steaks, smoked bacon and hocks, jowls, rendered lard, and “trotters.” We are dedicated to providing an alternative to factory farmed meat, raising our animals in healthy, humane, and natural conditions so people in the Hilltowns can eat meat in good conscience.”
  • The Turkish Kitchen will start offering summer dishes from the classic Turkish cuisine in July. These recipes are many generations-old and use vegetables with a sweet-savory-tangy-herb’y-garlic’y filling, cooked with olive oil, and enjoyed at room temperature. They make fabulous main dishes for the warm summer months without heating you up. All ingredients are organic, and many are from our farmer-vendors. Enjoy Lady Aisha Beans, Cinnamon-Pine Nut-Currant and Herb Rice stuffed Peppers, Artichoke Hearts with Fava Beans, Swiss Chard Salad with Garlic-Herb Yogurt and other summer dishes. The staples — phyllo pastries with savory meat, cheese and veggy fillings, bean salads and sweets will of course be there as well. For a cold drink, try Ipek’s farm-made kefir and rosewater lemonade.

Need to cool down from the summer heat? Grab a maple ice cream cone at the Gray’s Sugarhouse booth. Made fresh with home-made ice cream and sweetened with maple syrup. Comes on a fresh waffle cone. Heading out to a party and wondering what to bring? How about some hard cider from Bear Meadow Farm. Need fresh veggies? Stop by the booths of Atherton Farm, Good Bunch Farm, Hart Farm, Spring Water Farm and Vy’s Veggies to view their selections. Need a quick pick-me-up? Grab a coffee and a freshly baked good at Bread Euphoria.

Enjoying the Market? We hope so! Want to participate in the Market in a deeper way? We are seeking volunteers to help set up from 8:00-9:00am. Contact the Market Administrator for more information and available slots. ashfieldfarmersmarket@gmail.com


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Ashfield Farmers Market Participates in Ashfield 250 Celebration

In concert with Ashfield’s 250th Birthday Party, the Ashfield Farmers Market will be open from 9:00am until 2:00pm on June 20, 2015.

Vendors include: Barberic Farm, Bread Euphoria, Good Bunch Farm, Gray’s Sugarhouse, Hart Farm, Manda Farm, Spring Water Farm, Ashfield 250, John P. Buryiak Licensed Massage Therapist, Friends of Robert Strong Woodward, Solarize Ashfield, Sow’s Ear Spoons, Western MA Master Gardeners


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Is locally grown produce affordable? YES, it is!

I read an interesting article put out by CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) last month – “Is locally grown produce affordable? Year-long study shows average price comparable to supermarkets.” It heartened me to read that, yes, “direct-sale prices are comparable to supermarket prices.”* Shopping at both local co-ops and farmers markets I can attest to this from personal observation. And though it’s rare that you will find me in an actual “supermarket” the study was done as a comparison between farmers markets and supermarkets, not co-ops. Though for you co-op customers out there, be glad to know that your dollars not only support the local economy, you are also paying a comparable price.

So is it in just some of our minds that we think we are paying more at a farmers’ market? Apparently so. “The survey, completed at the end of the last harvest season, included about 1,600 prices.” What tickled me was reading that tomatoes were just a tad cheaper at the farmers market than at the supermarket. Cause I love tomatoes! So it is wonderful to know that even though I will only buy them through my farmer friends, I am getting a good price.

But this begs the question – why would any of us think we are paying more at a local market, getting food fresh from the farmer than in a supermarket that ships in food from all over the globe? Well we aren’t. This misconception can now be dispelled. So with this in mind, support your neighbors, your health, and your wallet by shopping locally at your farmers’ market. Get fresh food straight from the farmers and artisans. And hey it just so happens that here in Ashfield we have our very own farmers market! Almost-one-stop-shopping for all our grocery needs!

The Ashfield Farmers Market is open Saturdays through October 24, 2015 from 9:00am – 1:00pm on the Town Common. Rain or shine.
Fruits, vegetables, dairy products, eggs and meats, potted plants and cut flowers, honey, maple products, baked goods and coffee, local artisans and live music.

Please keep your pooches out of the market area to avoid unpleasantly-scented-accidents. Thank you. See you at the Market!

Arianna Alexsandra Collins
* REFERENCE: Read the article and study at: www.buylocalfood.org/can-you-afford-locally-grown-produce-prices-comparable-to-supermarkets


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The Ashfield Farmers’ Market opens on Saturday, May 23, 2015!

Celebrate Spring and the start of a new Market Season with all of us!

Farmers have been communing with the land, prepping garden beds, and chatting with farm animals. Greenhouses have been spilling over with new growth as seeds have been sown and lovely attended to. Wide brimmed hats have been dusted off and overalls stitched. Fields have been prepared and fences mended. Spring projects have begun and summer ones are already in the works.

In just three short weeks we will be setting up the first Farmer’s Market of the season. The excitement blooms in shades of anticipation for gathering together once again on our inviting Town Common. Vendors will be helping one another put up tents, unpacking wares and preparing to welcome customers with the offerings of Spring.

The Ashfield Farmers’ Market will start Saturday May 23, 2015 and will run from 9:00am to 1:00pm each week, rain or shine. Weekly vendors will supply seasonal fruits and vegetables, plants for the garden, cheese, meats, eggs, honey, hard cider, maple syrup, bread, prepared foods, pastries, coffee, and cut flowers. Seasonal vendors will offer a wide variety of produce and products including strawberries, grapes, apples and mushrooms. We will strive to have live music each Saturday and craftspeople as Artist of the Week, so if you have an interest in being either of these, please contact the Market Administrator, Arianna Collins at ashfieldfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

So come do your weekly almost-one-stop-shopping at the Ashfield Farmers’ Market! Visit with your neighbors. Listen to music. Eat, drink, shop, and be merry!

One last detail – Due to issues with dogs peeing and defecating on or near booths, please keep your dogs out of the Market area. Vendors and shoppers alike thank you for your consideration.


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Fall Harvest at the Market, plus a Solar Cooking Demo

Friends & folks, we have an incredible line up for you tomorrow.  Josh & Kim Wachtel of Radio Free Earth performing from 10-1, David Kulp selling Ashfield grown grapes, and Erik Hoffner is going to give us a live solar cooking demo with farmers market fresh food.  Join us on the green tomorrow market day.

Josh & Kim of Radio Free Earth Onions from Spring Water Farm  Garlic from Yard Birds Farm of Williamsburg Friends and Neighbors


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Tomorrow: Summer Bounty, West County Jazz and hand blown glass

 

There’s a funny thing that happens at the end of August, Summer dances her best dance as Fall slowly sneaks in from stage right. The light shifts subtly, here & there leaves begin to turn, and mornings become noticeably brisk.

Caught up in the succulent fruits & bountiful vegetables of this gorgeous Valley we barely notice, but Fall is upon us. So is a season of great bounty & preservation. Here at the market we are bursting with local flavors. Ipek of Turkish Kitchen is returning to us, Spring Water Farm & Atherton Farm are loaded with local fruits & vegetables galore. Atherton has corn too!  Hart Farm will be there with eggs. Plus our vendors are loaded with great knowledge about food preservation tips, recipes, meal ideas and more.

We’ll enjoy the swinging sounds of West County Jazz & handblown glass from Ed Branson of Ashfield.

Join us, join your neighbors, get a hug, dance a jig and smile all of Saturday morning.


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