A Message from the Director, August 2020

Continued from The Vine – August 2020

Mid-August is peak season on our farms, with an incredible variety of vegetables coming out of the fields – melons, garlic, potatoes, carrots, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, to name a few.  It’s the pinnacle of a farm crew’s efforts, and everything needs to be done all at once.  Planting, weeding, harvesting, watering, selling – and do it all over again the next day.  The region has had a tiny bit of rain, but not nearly enough, and farmers are hard-pressed managing water for their crops. But there is a special quality to the light, promising the cooler days of fall will soon be here, and the blue jays are sounding their raucous late summer call.  But the season is far from over—fall crops are just around the corner.

Farmers Markets and farm stands have a vast array of options and most of our local markets are open for in-person shopping.  You can find your nearest farmers market on SEMAP’s Farmers Market page and other local resources on our “Buy Local” pages.  Make sure you choose local first for the ripest, most delicious fruits and vegetables.  Our farmers have stepped up to meet the increased demand from the region, and your support has made this an incredibly productive season.

Please wish a warm welcome to Olivia Hart, SEMAP’s new Communications and Outreach Coordinator.  Olivia will be managing our social media and communications, as well as managing our “Welcoming Markets” USDA grant to better connect agencies working with underserved communities to local food incentive programs.  You can learn a bit more about Olivia later in this newsletter.

Some important information should be on farmers’ radars.  If you are farming in Bristol, Norfolk or Plymouth counties and are not receiving our farmer updates, please email me and I will add you to our farmer update list.  Farmers should pay attention to the Food Security Infrastructure Grant released by the Baker-Polito administration.  This program supports infrastructure projects that will increase food security in Massachusetts.  Think refrigeration, delivery trucks, irrigation, maybe even land if you can make the case  for improving food security.  This program does not cover labor costs, but is an opportunity to build lasting infrastructure.

Farmers should also be aware of changes and new adoptions under the Food Safety Modernization Act.  These draft regulations are open for comment until August 21st.  Changes include how exemptions are calculated, farm registration, labeling, compliance and recordkeeping.

We appreciate your support of our farmers and ask you to keep purchasing locally.

Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director

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