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From time to time, I’ve been asked by friends, family members, and others along my travels about how they can best support local agriculture. Naturally, buying local is a big part of that. I’ve said it many times, and it seems that the philosophy is really starting to permeate the lives of everyday folks. We have people who are, for lack of a better word, consumers…but they are thoughtful ones, and they want to make better, healthier choices.
But what does “buying locally” mean? Well, it means different things to different people but, ultimately, it’s about making thoughtful choices. And that leads us to our first way in which we can support agriculture:
1) Ask Questions
It’s easier to source foods at markets, but a bit more challenging when you head out to eat. Try to find out where your favorite restaurants’ food comes from. Of course, we can’t all afford to grow tomatoes indoors, but there are plenty of items available for local restaurants to purchase that are sourced locally, even in the dead of winter. Beef, poultry, pork and dairy come to mind. My favorite restaurants are the ones that tell me from what farm their vegetables, dairy, or meats come. It helps me build a connection with local agriculture, and I’m sure that the restaurant owners have noticed it is good business for them as well. When you see a farm name attached to an ingredient, your meal ceases to be something hastily produced and becomes something familiar and comforting. More and more restaurants are being proactive about waving the “buy local” banner, and I’m sure more will follow. As a customer, a polite inquiry certainly couldn’t hurt. Read more →
BY DEREK CHRISTIANSON
In southern Bristol County we’ve dodged the worst of the snowfall the past few weeks, at least in comparison to the folks north of us. We’ve taken quite a break from fieldwork on the farm and I’ve been appreciating our decision to delay winter CSA distributions originally scheduled for late January/early February. Leaving us plenty of time to catch up on office work (read: tax preparation ) and celebrate the winter season with our young daughters.
We were a bit slower reassembling our fieldhouse on the new farm last fall, so didn’t get the greens seeded down in November/December as planned; instead we’ll look forward to a nice bounty of later winter/early spring greens. Last week we were doing a final round of bed prep and came across more than a few spuds which escaped our harvest efforts last fall; our fieldhouse was sited on land which we planted potatoes in 2014. The potatoes under cover since early December were just breaking their dormancy and beginning to sprout ever so slightly. Although we typically reserve our fieldhouse beds for high value crops, I’ve been interested in trying an early crop of potatoes seeded down in late February… for harvest in early June (a la Eliot Coleman) – while not practical in most seasons, I reckon the late construction of the fieldhouse might give us an opportunity to see how potatoes can fair under cover. These would be “high-value” new potatoes sold by the pint before the summer solstice and likely still not compare to the value of greens. Over the years, we’ve kept detailed records of our planting dates in the fieldhouse and also yields (some years better than others) so that we can make decisions based on real world data Our plans for the tunnel next summer include 2 beds of late transplanted, late-blight resistant tomatoes (set out last week of June for harvest beginning around Labor Day) so the potato experiment should fit into the rotation quite nicely. Read more →
Below is a copy of the regulation that will go into effect on March 1, 2015.
This new regulation, “Big Reg,” encompasses many of the regulations that were the responsibility of the Massachusetts Food Protection Program within the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. At the very end of the new “Big Reg” is a list of all the regulations that will be rescinded and now encompassed within this new regulation.
This new Big Reg requires food manufacturers to have recall policies and emergency plans.
Any questions can be brought to Joan Gancarski, a Food Safety Specialist with the Food Protection Program.
Phone: (617) 983-6764
BY JASON WENTWORTH
As anyone who has been that way would know, a drive through the Russells Mills neighborhood of Dartmouth would not be complete without a stop at Alderbrook Farm. Fresh off another successful Christmas tree season, the year round farm owned by Allen and Nancy Manley still has plenty of their homemade honey, some jams and preserves and fresh, freshly baked breads and pastries, and yummy local dairy products. Other assorted goods, like commemorative Dartmouth ornaments, soaps and books adorn the shelves in the farm store. It’s business as usual but, as is the case for all farmers, preparation is already underway for the upcoming season. Read more →