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BY JASON WENTWORTH
Rich soil and a favorable climate were the main objectives for Bob and Carol Russell. The year was 1982 and the Russells had been growing grapes in Dighton for years. Their goal, however, was to find the right combination of soil quality and climate to begin larger scale growing grapes and producing high quality sparkling wine, so they began to search across the world for the perfect place to begin. They searched in France. They searched in California. Fortunately for all of us in Southeastern Massachusetts, they didn’t have to search for long…or very far.
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I took a bit of an early summer hiatus from Vine Articles as our family celebrated the arrival of our 3rd child, Walter back in early May… and while life hasn’t quite slowed down I wanted to take a moment to share some “in-season” practical advice… if you have a topic which you would like to read about in an upcoming Vine please let me know.
Soil Testing in Late Summer
If you are anything like us, adding another item to the to-do list in August may seem absurd, but that’s what we are doing at Brix Bounty this August. Amidst the hustle of the harvest and the bountiful glory of cherry tomato season, we’ll sneak a moment to pull soil samples and send them off to the lab so that we have current information as we make important fall fertility decisions. For some growers, cash flow may limit fertility improvements beyond cover crop seed for the early fall, however if you are considering fall lime applications or adding other amendments ahead of winter cover, now is a great time to test your fields before spending money on additional inputs. While less common in our region, a number of growers have adopted a fall mineralization program to help restore Read more →
BY JASON WENTWORTH
Farmers are an indispensible part of our civilization. Despite the fact that all too many in this day and age are unaware of how their own food systems work, everyone becomes very aware when the price of things like oranges, tomatoes, eggs and milk go up because of production issues. We become more acutely aware of those things when we are deprived of them. Our farmers and growers make sure we can feed our bodies. The folks at Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton are doing that, and then some. They’re working to provide independence and purpose as well.
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In agriculture, the end of one season signifies the beginning of the new. Life is like that too, and, for me, my new season has come. On July 20, the Massachusetts Board of Food and Agriculture voted unanimously to accept the Commissioner’s recommendation and appoint me Assistant Commissioner for the Department of Agricultural Resources. I’m honored to have been chosen by Commissioner Lebeaux and I look forward to working with the entire MDAR team and supporting the mission of the department. Agriculture in Massachusetts is on the rise, and the department is critical in helping to supporting and sustaining that growth.
It’s been a great pleasure to have served as Executive Director with SEMAP since September, and transitioning to my new role is rather bittersweet. I’ve met so many wonderful people in my tenure (both farmers and supporters of Ag) and I’d like to think we collectively have “moved the ball forward” for agriculture in Southeastern Massachusetts. Of course, there remains a great deal to be done, and I’m happy that Todd Sandstrum will be serving as interim Director to continue that forward progress. In addition to his counsel as a member of the Board, Todd has been like another staff member. He has worked on the ground and in the field with Kendra and me to ensure the success of many of our events and programs. As well as any of our Board members, he knows the daily ins and outs of SEMAP. Under Todd and the guidance of our stellar Board of Directors, SEMAP will undoubtedly continue to make forward progress. Read more →