With the official kill frost now past us, we start to clean up the year and get the fields put to bed for the winter. Root crops are stacked up in the coolers and root cellars for the winter CSA and the few winter markets that will be running in the off season. I find it hard to believe how fast this year has gone past. With a second, dry summer the local farmers found themselves in a learning curve and from what I saw, they have adjusted well. What will next year bring and how do we prepare for it? is the big question.
Over the past year, SEMAP has worked very hard to connect with some amazing people to better the services to our members…People like Chris Rezendes from INEX. Chris and his team are designing technology that will give data right to the farmers about the conditions on their own farm, not a regional average. It will cover things like well monitoring and use Doppler radars the size of a basketball to give data on fields from the other side of town that a farmer may be working. Matthew Tortora, CEO and Founder of Crave Food Services, is another great connection for SEMAP. Matthew has been working on the food service side to get chefs and restaurants to buy local. He is also using technology to make it faster and easier to connect them with farmers. SEMAP is trying to find ways to help its farm members more. Creating network resources offering access to easy, user friendly technology to the farmer members seems like a great start to our goal.
The ‘Farmers Little Red Book’ is also in the works. This pocketsize, resource book will be catered to the SEMAP territory and list resources like farm services, equipment repairs and servicing, marketing support, attorneys, accountants, plus the top seed and soil companies most used in our territories. The purpose of the book is to give our member farmers a fast reference book to keep in the truck or on the tractor. We understand that you could ‘just Google that,’ but then you can find yourself in a sea of websites and end up in upstate New York instead of locally for help. We hope to have this book out for the Spring of 2016 or even available for the Food and Ag Conference.
We are close to hiring our new Executive Director; the last phases of the interview process are in motion. Getting the initial 20 applications down to one has been a very hard task. On December 1, at our Annual Meeting, you will be able to meet the new Executive Director. You will also get to network with many of the other local resources in our region, like the Wineries, the Massachusetts Lobster Association, cranberry growers, brewers, and your fellow farmers of the good soil of New England.
I truly hope to see you all at the Annual Meeting on December 1st at Oakes Ames Hall in Easton. The doors open at 5:00 with a cocktail hour and speakers will start at 6:00.
With dirty hands and a green thumb,
Interim Executive Director