Farmers' Market at Forest Park

A Weekly Newsletter from Belle Rita Novak, Market Manager

Market Newsletter – August 19, 2014

August 19th, 2014 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

The quest for winery vendors is in progress. So far we have 2 wineries who are interested in becoming part of our market–Mt. Warner Winery from Hadley, and Raven Hollow Winery from Westfield.

I was amazed to see how many wineries there are in Central and Western Massachusetts. Most either grow their own fruit, or use locally purchased fruit for their wines. We are only going to have wineries who do that; there is no point in having wine made with fruit from out of state. That wouldn’t benefit our local agricultural industry at all.

Prior to meeting with the park commission, I asked market managers in Massachusetts who have wineries at their market what their experience has been. No market has had any problem at all; it has been overwhelmingly positive. Makes sense as a market isn’t a place where someone will buy a bottle, immediately drink it and get drunk.

We have a new Vietnamese restaurant in the neighborhood. iPho is located at 2 Wilmont St., right at the corner of Dickinson St. Open every day except Monday.

Meet the Vendors–Trinity Farm

Trinity Farm from Enfield, CT has been a vendor at our market for 11 years. They were “discovered” at the Suffield Farmers’ Market by our market manager. Always in pursuit of interesting vendors to increase the products offered at our market, she asked them if they would be interested in being part of our market. It took a little convincing, but they came to us when we were behind Goodwill.
4 generations of the Smyth family have or are working on the farm these days including Dale and Mike’s almost youngest grandchild Beau who is 4. You may have seen him at our market.
They now have 50 cows, and are in the process of having a larger (170’ x 60’) barn built that will eventually hold 70 cows. The current barn will still be used for milking.

They are always looking for new ways to use their milk. They currently offer, skim, 1%, and whole white milk, 1% coffee milk, 1% strawberry milk, whole chocolate milk, plain, vanilla, and fruit yogurts, butter, both salted and unsalted, half and half, heavy cream, and kefir. All of their milk is bottled in glass as it always has been. The fat content of their whole milk is always available; it varies a little every day. If you’re curious, ask.

The milk is hormone and antibiotic free. If a cow becomes ill, her milk is thrown away; it is never used.

The store (4 Oliver Rd.) is open from 6-6 Monday through Friday, and 6-4 on Saturday; closed Sundays. They are at our market each week, and also attend the winter market that begins in November.

Trinity Farms Milk

Trinity Farm Milk

Trinity Farm Yogurt

Bread and Butter Pickle Recipe

from Heinz Successful Pickling Guide

This is really easy. If you don’t want to put these in a hot water bath so they can stay on a shelf for a long time, put them in the refrigerator. You must use very fresh cucumbers so this is the time of year to make them.

3 pounds pickling cucumbers
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup kosher salt
6 cups water
3 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 T. mustard seed
1 tsp. celery seed
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. tumeric
(or if you don’t have the seeds, use pickling spices)

Wash cucumbers and remove a small slice of the blossom end. Cut into 1/4” slices and measure 10 cups. In a large bowl, combine cucumbers, onion, salt and water. Mix well. Cover and let stand for 2 hours. In a 6-8 quart sauce pot combine vinegar and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Drain vegetables and rinse well. Add vegetables to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil. Immediately fill hot sterilized pint jars leaving 1/2 “ headspace. Carefully run a nonmetallic utensil down inside of jars to remove trapped air bubbles. Wipe jar tops and threads clean. Place hot lids on jars and screw bands on firmly. Process in boiling water for 5 minutes. (If you aren’t going to put them in the hot water bath (can them) you don’t have to bother getting the air bubbles out.)

Taste the View
CISA is a terrific organization that strengthens farms and engages the community to build the local food economy.

Taste the View is their major fundraiser for the year. It is a local harvest dinner and auction held each year in September. This year it will be on September 19th at Quonquont Farm in Whately.
Please go to their website for more information. They always sell out, so get your tickets now.

Wooden Tokens

Although we have been selling them since 2008, there are still some customers who don’t know about them. You can use your EBT/debit or credit card at our market table to purchase wooden tokens that you use just like cash at our market. They are only good at our market as all marketsare independent of each other. We make it very easy for you to never run out of money at our market. If you use an EBT card, please understand that we follow USDA rules, so certain items (prepared food, flowers, etc.) can’t be purchased with the wooden tokens.


Peter Lappin is our raffle winner this week. For $1 you can have a chance to win 2 of our red tokens worth $5. This is a small way to earn money for our market. You can always give us a financial contribution; we would be happy to accept anything you’d like to give. It all goes to running this wonderful market.

Candidate’s Night–August 26th

The Forest Park Civic Association invites you to join them on August 26th at 7PM in the Forest Park Middle School auditorium to meet candidates seeking to represent us in the offices of: State Senate, State Representative, Hampden County District Attorney, and Register of Probate.

Please bring a canned good to benefit the Friends of the Homeless.

If you have not yet registered to vote, we have forms at the market table for you to do so. We will send it in for you. Voting is a privilege, don’t throw yours away by not voting.

Red Fire Farm Tomato Fest

August 23rd is the date for this amazing event. It is held at their farm in Granby. Go to for all of the details, or pick up a card here at the market. This is a rain or shine event.

CISA Local Restaurant Days
Today and tomorrow, 54 restaurants in the Pioneer Valley are participating in the Local Hero Restaurant Days. The following restaurants in our area are participating:
A Touch of Garlic and Max’s Tavern in Springfield
Auntie Cathie’s Kitchen, Bottega Cucina, and Lattitude in West Springfield.
Go to for the full listing of participating restaurants.

Stay current with us on Facebook! We would love to see pictures of you at the market, what you make with your purchases. Show off our STUFF!

Market Newsletter-August 12, 2014

August 11th, 2014 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

We have received permission from the Park Commissioners to sell wine at our market. I am working on that now. I have contacted several local (Western Mass) wineries to ask them if they’d like to join our market. In 2010 our Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) ruled that it was okay to sell wine at farmers’ markets. It is an agricultural product after all.

I participate in a list serve for farmers’ markets, and asked anyone in Massachusetts who had wine at their market to send me their experience. No-one has had any problems with having wine sales.

Hopefully we will have a winery here next month.

Last week I received a call from the fraud division of my credit card company asking about some charges. None of them were large, but the activity was different. My daughter uses this card, and it doesn’t have a high limit, but I guess going to 3 gas stations in 2 days was a red flag. (also Chic-fil-A and KFC in the same day.) Fortunately I was able to get her on the phone right away and we determined which were legitimate charges, and which weren’t. If the card had a high limit, they could have done a lot of damage. The bill hadn’t come in yet, so there was no way to know that some charges were not legitimate. Pay attention to your bill when it comes in, and call your company if you have any questions about it.

Bridget’s Breads will return next week; she is on vacation.

Meet the Vendors–Berkshire Grain

Back in 1987, Kevin and Barbara Kirshner left successful corporate careers and NYC behind to take over as innkeepers at The Inn on Lake Waramaug in New Preston CT.

Barbara having been a Test Kitchen Home Economist, was a co-creator of Mars Twix Bars, and Combos Pretzel Nuggets. She was anxious to develop a wonderful low fat granola with a unique taste and light and crisp texture. 25 years ago their first granola was developed. Barbara’s creation was a huge hit and not only was it featured on the Inn’s breakfast menu; people began ordering by phone (no eCommerce at the time.) Cinnamon Toast is still available and one of their most popular varieties.

In 1991 with the inn changing ownership, they headed north and landed in the Berkshires, and started their first full-time food company. Canyon Ranch Health Resort in Lenox became their first commercial customer.

What excites Kevin and Barbara about being a small food company is the magic that food creates. Trying new things, sharing it with others, and learning from their customers.

After being married for 18 yrs and 1 year into their new business Barbara became pregnant, and 2 years later their 2nd child arrived………another joy was having the girls in a pouch on Kevin’s back while he made and packaged granola. He loved the feel of their sweaty head and hands, while fast asleep. As the girls got older many naps were taken on top of the 50 lb. oat sacks they had lying around.

Kevin and Barbara see themselves as innovators. Berkshire Grain was the first company in the US to introduce chia seeds in a breakfast cereal. Kevin was evaluating whether to add hemp to a granola mix and through the magic of the Internet came volumes of streaming information about chia seeds. The decision to use chia was obvious.

Over the years they’ve dabbled in many interesting product ideas–decadent chocolate vegan cupcakes, vegan cookies, chocolate pretzel bark, and most recently wine jellies.

Kevin has been involved in wine tastings and wine education in addition to being a food entrepreneur. With lots of opened bottles of wine around and too much to drink themselves, he started investigating possible uses. His search led him to wine jellies. What is most exciting about the wine jellies is that it allows even people that don’t like the taste of wine to enjoy a whole world of grapes without drinking one glass of wine. The alcohol is mostly cooked out during the process of making jelly.

Kevin and Barbara’s passion for delicious and exciting food, good wine and people, really shines through in many of the wine jelly creations. There’s a Chardonnay with lemon & rosemary, Pinot Grigio infused with sage, Devil’s Fire finishes with a kick from small orange haberneros. Fruit and wine go so well together that there’s always something new happening. Mango Moscato, and Strawberry Summer Blend are lower sugar varieties. These jellies contain extra fruit to make up for the lower sugar.

The jellies are adaptable to a wide range of uses, from baking, flavored drinks iced tea, in sauces, fat-free vinaigrettes, fruit and cheese platters……or why not just a really premium PBJ?There are ten wine jelly varieties.

Berkshire Grain products have been featured in the finest stores, luxury hotels, and universities throughout the US. The last few years Kevin and Barbara have been enjoying reconnecting with their customers at farmers’ markets, fairs, festivals and through the web. It is at these live events meeting and talking with customers and other entrepreneurs that they draw their inspirations.
Both Kevin and Barbara have served in the past on the board for the Massachusetts Specialty Food Association.

Berkshire Grain produces all their own products at the Berkshire Harvest Rental Kitchen in Lee, MA, located directly across from the Lee Outlet Village. There are no regular hours. If you would like to stop by and pick up some jellies, granola, and/or gluten free products call in advance at 413-551-9191.

Berkshire Grain Wine Jelly

Berkshire Grain Wine Jelly

Berkshire Grain Granola

Berkshire Grain Granola


Marie Spedero is our raffle winner this week. For $1 you can have a chance to win 2 of our red tokens worth $5. This is a small way to earn money for our market. You can always give us a financial contribution; we would be happy to accept anything you’d like to give. It all goes to running this wonderful market.

Preservation Trust Fund Raiser

This is a reminder for the fund raiser on August 24th at 28 Ingersoll Grove in the McKnight Historic District. Members are $35 and the general public is $40. Tickets are at, or mail a check before August 18th to SPT, 74 Walnut St, Springfield, 01105. For information go to their website.

This home is magnificent. The funds raised will help with the re-doing of a former girls’ seminary at 77 Maple St.

Candidate’s Night–August 26th

The Forest Park Civic Association invites you to join them on August 26th at 7PM in the Forest Park Middle School auditorium to meet candidates seeking to represent us in the offices of: State Senate, State Representative, Hampden County District Attorney, and Register of Probate.
Please bring a canned good to benefit the Friends of the Homeless.

If you have not yet registered to vote, we have forms at the market table for you to do so. We will send it in for you. Voting is a privilege, don’t throw yours away by not voting.

Red Fire Farm Tomato Fest

August 23rd is the date for this amazing event. It is held at their farm in Granby. Go to for all of the details, or pick up a card here at the market. This is a rain or shine event.

Tomato Fest

Red Fire Farm Tomato Festival


Cherry tomato display

Armory Tours-Free

Every other Sunday at 2PM starting on April 13th through September 28th. Get some history and learn about recent efforts to restore this historic site. Wear comfortable shoes.

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Market Newsletter – August 5, 2014

August 5th, 2014 Posted in Newsletters

Meet the Vendors–Dr. Cookie

  Terry Atkinson started Doctor Cookie with Nancy Cleary about 14 years ago.  They both liked to bake, and chose their favorite recipes and tried many recipes trying to decide what people would like. Terry needed a second income that wouldn’t take her away from being home with Kenny when he was little.  Nancy left the business about 4-5 years ago.  Kenny was 2 years old then and is 16 now!  He has been making granola for Doctor Cookie for about a year and is now working with her as an apprentice baker!  He is a quick study, following in his great-grandfather’s footsteps!  His great-grandfather was a baker who came to this country from Lithuania and had a bakery on the Patch, an ethnic neighborhood in Turners Falls, for many years.
 They originally had the notion to deliver cookies to hungry students at local boarding schools and colleges, which they did for awhile, as well as baking and delivering to two stores, but then decided to try selling at farmers’ markets. Before they started coming to the Springfield market, they baked for markets in Greenfield and Turners Falls.  They heard about the Springfield Market from friend and fellow vendor Rick Wysk of Riverbend Farm. They have been vending at the Springfield Market since it was located behind Goodwill and continue to bake for Greenfield Market Saturdays and Springfield on Tuesdays.
 Today Dr. Cookie offers a variety of cookies  and cakes with many recipes to choose from.  Although the offerings vary somewhat from week to week, she always has breakfast fudge and chocolate chip cookies, in order to keep her customers happy.  She also makes granola, pesto, and occasionally, dessert sauces and chutneys.  At the winter market, Doctor Cookie morphs into  Doctor Soupy but still offers desserts!
  Jane Devlin is our raffle winner this week. We are selling raffle tickets for $1 to earn some money for the market. At the very least, we seem to be breaking even.
Blueberries by Robert Frost
“You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!”
“I don’t know what part of the pasture you mean.”
“You know where they cut off the woods–let me see–
It was two years ago–or no!–can it be
No longer than that?–and the following fall
The fire ran and burned it all up but the wall.”
“Why, there hasn’t been time for the bushes to grow.
That’s always the way with the blueberries, though:
There may not have been the ghost of a sign
Of them anywhere under the shade of the pine,
But get the pine out of the way, you may burn
The pasture all over until not a fern
Or grass-blade is left, not to mention a stick,
And presto, they’re up all around you as thick
And hard to explain as a conjuror’s trick.”
“It must be on charcoal they fatten their fruit.
I taste in them sometimes the flavour of soot.
And after all really they’re ebony skinned:
The blue’s but a mist from the breath of the wind,
A tarnish that goes at a touch of the hand,
And less than the tan with which pickers are tanned.”
“Does Mortenson know what he has, do you think?”
“He may and not care and so leave the chewink
To gather them for him–you know what he is.
He won’t make the fact that they’re rightfully his
An excuse for keeping us other folk out.”
“I wonder you didn’t see Loren about.”
“The best of it was that I did. Do you know,
I was just getting through what the field had to show
And over the wall and into the road,
When who should come by, with a democrat-load
Of all the young chattering Lorens alive,
But Loren, the fatherly, out for a drive.”
“He saw you then? What did he do? Did he frown?”
“He just kept nodding his head up and down You know how politely he always goes by. But he thought a big thought–I could tell by his eye–
Which being expressed, might be this in effect:
I have left those there berries, I shrewdly suspect, To ripen too long I am greatly to blame.”
He’s a thriftier person than some I could name.”
“He seems to be thrifty; and hasn’t he need, with
the mouths of all those young Lorens to feed?
He has brought them up on wild berries they say.
Like birds. They store a great many away. They eat them year-round, and those they don’t eat
They sell in the store and buy shoes for their feet.”
“Who cares what they say It’s a nice way to live,
Just taking what nature is willing to give, not forcing her hand with harrow and plow”
“I wish you had seen his perpetual bow–
And the air of the youngsters! Not one of them turned, and they looked so solemn–absurdly concerned.”
“I wish I knew half what the flock of them know of where all the berries and other things grow, cranberries in bogs and raspberries on top of the
Boulder-strewn mountain, and when they will crop. I met them one day and each had a flower stuck in his berries as fresh as a shower;
Some strange kind–they told me it hadn’t a name.”
“I’ve told you how once not long after we came, I almost provoked poor Loren to mirth
By going to him of all people on earth to ask if he knew any fruit to be had for the picking.
The rascal, he said he’d be glad to tell if he knew. But the year had been bad. There had been some berries–but those were all gone.
He didn’t say where they had been. He went on: “I’m sure, I’m sure’–as polite as could be. He spoke to his wife in the door, ‘Let me see, Mame, we don’t know any good berrying place?’ It was all he could do to keep a straight face. If he thinks all the fruit that grows wild is for him, he’ll find he’s mistaken. See here, for a whim, we’ll pick in the Mortenson’s pasture this year.
We’ll go in the morning, that is, if it’s clear. And the sun shines out warm; the vines must be wet.
It’s so long since I picked I almost forget how we used to pick berries; we took one look ‘round
Then sank out of sight like trolls underground,
And saw nothing more of each other, or heard,
Unless when you said I was keeping a bird
Away from its nest, and I said it was you. “Well, one of us is. ‘For complaining it flew around and around us. And then for  a while we picked
Til I feared you had wandered a mile, and I
Thought I had lost you. I lifted a shout too loud For the distance you were, it turned out, for when you made answer, your voice was as low As talking–you stood up beside me, you know.”
“We sha’n’t have the place to ourselves to enjoy–
Not likely, when all the young Lorens deploy. They’ll be there tomorrow, or even tonight. They won’t be too friendly–they may be polite–
To people they look on as having no right to pick where they’re picking. But we won’t complain.
You ought to have seen how it looked in the rain, the fruit mixed with water in layers of leaves.
Like two kinds of jewels, a vision for thieves.”

Market Newsletter – July 29, 2014

From the Market Manager

Can you believe that with today’s market we are halfway through the season? It’s been a terrific year so far. We have such a nice variety of vendors. Thanks for making this such a great market everyone.

A few weeks ago someone lost a hearing aid at the market. It has been found.It is at the market table.

If you go to the Mass Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) website, you will find all sorts of resources.

According to the most recent USDA census, all of the New England states had increases in the number of farms.

Ron Starcher from Town Farm Gardens will be back at our market next week.

Welcome to Nu3Kidz. You can purchase pancake mix made with healthy ingredients that are also colorful. There are 3 varieties, beet and quinoa, carrots and quinoa, and spinach and quinoa.

Meet the Vendors–Tom Flebotte, Bearded Bee

Tom grew up in Ludlow. They raised sheep and showed them in 4H sheep shows. In 1992 Tom bought the house from his mother and moved back home. They raised goats and poultry of all kinds. He planted about 40 fruit trees a couple of years later. Someone told him that he needed bees so he bought 2 hives.
Don Mayou, who used to come to our market, became Tom’s mentor. The first year he harvested 135 pounds of honey and he was “hooked.” Two hives turned into 6, 6 to 25 to over 100. He has cut back from that, but with his up and coming band of beekeeper grandchildren he is sure to get back to that number and more. His hives are in several different locations.
In addition to being a beekeeper, Tom works for Solutia.

Tom Flebotte ~ The Bearded Bee


Carolyn Fitzgerald is our raffle winner this week. We are selling raffle tickets for $1 to earn some money for the market. At the very least, we seem to be breaking even.

Recipe–Zucchini Basil Muffins

2 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tablespoons finely julienned fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or similar hard grating cheese.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Grease muffin cups or use paper liners
Combine the eggs, milk, and oil in a large bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in another bowl and add to the liquid mixture in batches stirring to blend; don’t over mix.
Add the zucchini and basil and stir to blend.
Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. Bake for about 20-25 minute for regular size muffins, 15-20 for mini muffins until the tops are golden brown and puffy.

Cook/garden Book Exchange

Bring any unwanted cook or gardening books to the market and leave them at the market table. You can take any that are there, or none at all; it’s up to you.

This ‘n’ That

To save zucchini for use in baking shred it, and squeeze some of the moisture out; don’t totally drain it. Put into one cup measures and freeze on a cookie sheet. When frozen put into a freezer bag. Then, when you want to bake zucchini bread or muffins, just take however much you need from the freezer, let it defrost, and start baking.

When you cut corn kernels off the cob, put the cobs in water and boil for about 10 minutes. Use the corn water for vegetable soup, or in corn chowder. You can freeze some for use in the winter.

You don’t have to blanch corn kernels if you are going to freeze them. Put them in a freezer bag or container and use them for soup, or in pancakes or cornbread.

If you have a de-humidifier, use the water for your plants. It has no chemicals in it. Also, if your de-humidifier is near your washer, pour the water into it before you do your wash.

There are now over 250 farmers’ markets in Massachusetts.

Blueberries, cranberries, and Concord grapes are native to Massachusetts.

If you are going camping, do NOT bring any wood with you; purchase it near your campground.

Everything to make gazpacho is now in season, so make some. It is a liquid salad, and it has vinegar in it, so don’t make more than can be consumed in 2 days tops. The flavor will change.
Go to our market website (address at top of newsletter) and you will find archived recipes including gazpacho.

State Fairs

Massachusetts has over 40 state fairs. They are beginning now with the Adams Fair. Go to the MDAR website and you will find all sorts of information about them. The smaller fairs are terrific for little kids.

What is 4H?

Tom Flebotte mentioned that he participated in 4H when he was a youngster. What is it? Many of us who have been around for awhile think that is is just for farm kids, but is is also for urban, suburban, and rural kids.

The 4Hs stand for:
Head–managing, thinking
Heart–relating, caring
Hands–giving, working
Health–being, living

The 4-H pledge; I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.

Corn and Bacon Pancakes

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 T. sugar
2 Teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup fresh corn kernels including the pulp scraped from the cobs (about 2 ears)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus additional, melted for brushing the griddle
5 slices bacon, cooked until crisp
maple syrup

Whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a food processor puree coarsely the corn. In another bowl whisk together the corn puree, the eggs, the milk and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter, add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined.

Heat a griddle over moderate heat until it is hot and brush it lightly with some of the additional melted butter. Working in batches, pour the batter onto the griddle by 1/4 cup measures and cook the pancakes for 1 minute on each side, or until they are golden, transferring them as they are cooked to a heated platter and brushing the griddle with some of the additional melted butter as necessary. Serve with the maple syrup.

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Market Newsletter – July 22, 2014

July 21st, 2014 Posted in Newsletters Tags: , ,

From the Market Manager

If you want to pick blueberries locally, go to Art’s Berry Farm (formerly Val’s) at 81 Parker St. in East Longmeadow. They are open every day from 8-noon and from 3:30-6:30. $2.50 per pound. Art has many varieties, so the season goes well into August.

Meet the Vendors–Red Fire Farm

The seeds of Red Fire Farm started growing way back with a few wagon loads of pumpkins, hand-picked berries and other gatherings of the young Ryan Voiland and his crew of siblings. Since then, Ryan has learned many things and been able to grow acres of produce and his organic farm business to a significant source of local food for our region.

Red Fire Farm currently farms two pieces of farmland, one in Granby, MA and one in Montague, MA. The two properties allow more effective soil building and crop rotation than could be achieved on either piece individually. As of 2010 all Red Fire Farm’s vegetable crops are being grown on the Granby farm and the Montague farm is in soil-building cover crops. Each location has a history and story of its own.


Red Fire Farm began on a 50 acre piece of land located in southern Hampshire County on the corners of Taylor and Carver streets in Granby, MA. The land had been fallow for a few years, with some recent use in pumpkins and a distant history as a dairy and potato farm.
In 2001, Ryan Voiland purchased the property from the Hatch/Lyman family. As part of this sale the Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased the development rights for the farmland, assuring that the property will forever be used as farm land. This also made it affordable for a young and landless farmer to purchase the property and get a start as a full time farmer.

As he started the business, Ryan needed a name. He looked into the history of the place and found that in 1922, a lightning strike fire burned the original barn and farmhouse structures to the ground. Our current barn and farmhouse were rebuilt right after that at the end of the American Chestnut era. The main barn is an impressive structure originally built with dairy cows and hay storage in mind. The beams are made of chestnut and held together with wooden pegs. When naming the farm, Ryan chose “Red Fire Farm” partly to remember that fire event, and also because ‘New Red Fire’ is the name of his favorite red leaf lettuce variety.

Since Ryan purchased the barn in 2001 a slow but steady transformation has occurred. A farm stand area has been added and the cow stanchions replaced with a walk in cooler for storing produce and selling local products like cheese and sauerkraut. Parts of the barn have also been rebuilt into vegetable washing and packing spaces.

The farm also rents several nearby fields for growing vegetables that are within a 1 mile radius of the farm yard. All of the Granby fields are within the Stony Brook watershed with several branches of the Stony Brook running adjacent to the growing fields. Fields of flat vegetable soils and upland pasture make the farm as picturesque as it is productive


Located at 172 Meadow Road in Montague Center this 110 acre farm is in the heart of the rich Montague meadows. The soils in this part of Montague are rich alluvial soils that were deposited by the glacial melt flooding of the nearby Connecticut and Sawmill rivers. The fields are classified primarily as Hadley and Agawam soil series, which are considered to be among the most fertile soils in the world for growing vegetables!

The farm stead dates back to at least the 1800’s. The farm stead consists of a large hay barn with a big vegetable packing wing, two tobacco barns and a classic New England farm house. Until 2009 the farm has been owned by the Tuvek family. The land over the years has been rented out to a variety of farmers including stints growing cucumbers for pickles, tobacco and a multitude of other vegetables. With the sale of the property to Red Fire Farm in 2009, Ryan and Sarah are in the process of transitioning the land to certified organic practices. The farm offers great potential to bring organic farming and local vegetable production to the Montague Center community.


Jan Cartier is our raffle winner this week. We are selling raffle tickets for $1 to earn some money for the market. At the very least, we seem to be breaking even.

Recipe–Goat Burgers

Goat tastes (to me) similar to lamb; it is mild.
1# ground goat meat
1 medium onion
5 or 6 garlic cloves
fresh or dried mint
fresh parsley
garam masala or curry powder
1 egg

Grind onion, garlic, and herbs together if using fresh herbs. Add to ground goat along with other ingredients. This makes 4-5 patties. If you grill these they add another level of flavor.

Springfield Preservation Trust Fundraiser August 24th

The Trust does amazing things to help preserve our city’s history. Help them by attending the fundraiser at the home of Ed Zuckerman on Sunday, August 24th at 1PM. Go to their website for other details closer to the date–
Ed’s house on Ingersoll Grove in the McKnight neighborhood of Springfield was built in 1888 for Dr. Nathan Adams who died before its completion. A subsequent owner was James Gill, president of the Peerless Handcuff Company and police commissioner. The house had become a group home prior to its restoration by Ed and his late partner, Bob Kinder in 1986.

This ‘n’ That

Cook 2 or 3 ears of corn in the microwave with its husk on. Be very careful when you remove it because it has steamed and it’s very hot. If you need to cook more than that, do 2-3 for 3 minutes, remove the husk and then cook it more later in a pot. The silk comes off very easily when you prepare it this way.

The Water and Sewer Department asks that you not put any fat/grease/oil of any kind down the drain. Dispose of it in the trash. Buildups of fat clog sewer pipes which make them less efficient. Get into the habit of throwing fat in the trash.


Corn mazes, visiting a farm, vacationing on a farm–these are all examples of agri-tourism. Many working farms welcome visitors; it is a way for them to increase their income. There are over 400 farm attractions open to the public in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Agricultural Tourism Map will help you and your family plan a trip to a farm destination as well as the opportunity to visit a state park or other state recreational facility.
For a paper version email request to: or go online to the Mass Department of Agricultural Resources to download a pdf version.

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Market Newsletter- July 15, 2014

From the Market Manager

Blueberry season is here! Yay! There are lots of places where you can pick your own. They are easy to freeze. Just lay them on a cookie sheet with sides in one layer, freeze, then place into freezer bags. That’s it.

You know that the tomatoes we have at the market now are greenhouse tomatoes, right? The field tomatoes don’t ripen until later in July at the earliest. While some greenhouse tomatoes don’t have much flavor, Ryan Voiland from Red Fire Farm told me that some of their most flavorful tomatoes are from their greenhouse. That is because they can control the water there. If there is too much water outside, the flavor of the tomatoes can be somewhat diluted. Who knew?

Meet the Vendors–Maple Corner Farm–West Granville Blueberries

Owned by Leon and Joyce Ripley of Maple Corner Farm, West Granville Blueberries is a side business and labor of love in the hills of West Granville. In addition to haying hundreds of acres of fields, which double as pastoral cross country skiing trails during he winter months, the Ripleys tend to a 3 acre berry patch that draws folks from all around the region.

Leon has been involved with the blueberry patch on North Lane since it was first planted. The business was started by Leon’s uncle John Sena. Sena moved to the Granville area in 1959 having decided the dairy business wasn’t for him. Granville was the capital of wild blueberries back in the early 1900s with close to one thousand acres of low bush berries, so John and 9 year old Leon set to work planting between 100-200 plants that first year. More plants followed expanding eventually to 600 bushes. They selected high bush berry varieties for the size, flavor, and ease of picking.

Sena and Leon’s other uncle, Steve Ripley, managed the 3 acres of blueberries for the following 3 decades. In the 90s, Leon, his wife Joyce, and his mother Helen became more involved in the business and they decided to open a pick-your-own operation in the early 2000s. Helen oversaw the marketing and the management of the berry fields, and she staffed the stand from mid-July to early August for nearly 5 years passing out samples of blueberry sauce and recipes for baked blueberry delights. She died in December 2005 at age 92. Joyce Ripley took over her mother-in-law’s post, tending to the picking, marketing and management of the blueberries.

Located in the foothills of the Berkshires, West Granville’s fruits ripen later than their Valley neighbors, but unfortunately, the distance does not protect them from the insect pressures that have spread in the Valley. They have struggled with spotted wing drosophila, an insect that targets soft fruits since it arrived in Massachusetts in 2012 and devastated fruit crops. They lost their whole crop that year.

They are resourceful farmers and now know what they’re up against. This year’s crop is looking very good Leon reports. They should be open for pick-your-own around July 15th.
They will have their annual blueberry tasting the first Saturday in August where you can taste different blueberry varieties, as well as baked goods from Ripley family recipes. Maple Corner Farm also has an extensive maple sugaring operation. You can sample the different grades of maple syrup at their stand here at the market. Leon and Joyce’s son David and wife Jessica are also very involved with the farm. Jess is at our market each Tuesday.



If you take the van to our market, we will give you two market tokens to defray the cost of the trip. You do have to reserve your space several days ahead, so call them early.


Alicia Miles is our raffle winner this week. We are selling raffle tickets for $1 to earn some money for the market. At the very least, we seem to be breaking even. You can also give us a contribution. We’ll even smile when you do so.

Recipe–Curried Cream of Summer Squash Soup

Summer squash (any kind), butter, onions, chicken or vegetable broth, potato if you’d like the soup to be a little thicker, half and half or cream, curry, salt and pepper.
Sauté cut up onion in butter until it is soft. Add cut up squash and potato. Cover with broth and cook until soft. Cool then puree in a blender or use an immersion blender. Add curry powder to taste and half and half. This soup is good warm or cold.

This ‘n’ That

If you have leftover corn on the cob, take the kernels off and sauté them with butter until some of them are brownish (caramelized).
Also, you can use the kernels in pancakes, or add them to a vegetable you might be sautéing. They are also great in vegetable soup. You can also freeze them. After you take the kernels off the cob, put the cobs in some water and boil them for about 10 minutes. Save the water and use it in vegetable soup.
Corn chowder is very easy to make. Just make sure when you are cooking the potatoes and corn that you don’t cover them with too much water otherwise your chowder will be thin. You can always thicken it with some flour and water, but that might make it too thick.

Stanley Park Concert Series

This Sunday at 6PM in the Beveridge Pavilion the Rockin’ Robin Summertime Dance Party will perform a fun, family concert with a variety of enthusiastically sung classic top ten hits from the 50s, 60, and 70s. The concerts are all free. You can bring your supper, or purchase something there.

2012 Census of Agriculture Reveals new Trends in Farming

There are now 3.2 million farmers operating 2.1 million farms on 914.5 million acres of farmland across the U.S., according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture released this past May.
Both sales and production expenses reached record highs in 2012. U.S. producers sold $394.6 billion worth of agricultural products, but it cost them $328.9 billion to produce those products.
3/4ths of all farms had sales of less than $50,000, producing only 3% of the total value of farm products sold while those with sales of more than $1 million–4% of all farms produced 66%.
Much of the increased farm income was concentrated geographically or by farm categories. California led the nation with 9 of the top 10 counties for value of sales. The other 4 top states were Iowa, Texas, Nebraska, and Minnesota.
87% of all U.S. farms are operated by families or individuals.
Principal operators were on average 58.3 years old and were primarily male; second operators were slightly younger and most likely to be female, and third operators were younger still.
Young beginning principal operators who reported their primary occupation as farming increased 11.3% from 36,396 to 40,499 between 2007 & 2012.
All categories of minority-operated farms increased between 2007 & 2012; Hispanic operated farms had a significant 21% increase.
Organic sales were growing, but accounted for just 0.8% of the total value of U.S. agricultural production. Organic farmers reported $3.12 billion in sales.

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Market Newsletter – July 8, 2014

July 7th, 2014 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

As many of you know we sell wooden tokens at the market table if you use a debit, credit, or EBT card. The tokens are different colors because we have to follow USDA rules for SNAP benefits. They can only be used for food, but not for any prepared food. At our market that means that you can’t buy a hot dog or ice cream cone with the green tokens. You can buy plants that grow food like tomatoes or herbs. You also don’t get change when you use these tokens. If you are purchasing produce, that is usually not a problem; get another squash or something else to make up the difference.
At a grocery store where there are odd amounts, the exact amount is deducted from a person’s EBT balance, so there’s no problem. Here where each token is $2.50, it can be.
Please understand that we follow the USDA rules exactly. We do not want to jeopardize our ability to accept SNAP benefits at our market.

The card machine that we use costs our market over $800 a year. That’s why we ask for a $1 contribution if you use your debit or credit card on purchases for $25+. No fee for EBT.

Blueberries should be ready for picking pretty soon. They are great for freezing. Just lay them on a cookie sheet with sides, one layer only, freeze them then put them into freezer bags. I use them all year.

Maple Corner Farm in Granville, has a great blueberry patch. Pick up a flyer from their booth with information including directions. It’s a lovely ride to their farm.

You do not need to return the bottles to Trinity Farm with the caps on; they aren’t re-used. Recycle them.

Thank you United Bank for your $500 contribution to our market. We would have to charge our vendors much more to participate at our market if it weren’t for the generosity of the community.

Meet the Vendors–Riverbend Farm

Riverbend Farm, a vendor at our market for 14 years, consists of Rick and AnnMarie Wysk who are brother and sister, and Betty Kopec, their aunt.
This is Rick’s 30th year of farming on his own. He initially started farming as many kids do by helping family; his grandparents were farmers. Where they farm now in Hadley was his grandparents’ land.
Initially Rick did wholesale farming selling to farm stands. They still sell some of their produce wholesale, but mostly sell at farmers’ markets now.
They started selling at farmers’ markets in 1999, and joined ours in 2000. They were recruited when my mother and yours truly (Belle Rita) were on a ride and stopped at their farm stand. They were husking and putting together Indian corn. The rest is history.
Riverbend grows asparagus, strawberries, summer and winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, carrots, watermelon, onions, garlic, cabbage, rhubarb, cauliflower, broccoli, flowers and a few other things. They also have a flock of chickens, so bring eggs to our market also.

Riverbend Farm

Chrysanthemum Greens

Something you may not recognize at Phuong’s Asian Vegetables is chrysanthemum greens. They do look like the leaf on a mum plant. Chrysanthemum greens taste like a tamer dandelion, with a slight mustardy flavor and crispy texture. It is harvested young as it becomes more pungent and bitter as the plant ages.
It is often thrown into Chinese hot pots or stews or stir fries. Saute with garlic stems or garlic chives. It can also be used raw in salads like kale or dandelions, or slightly wilted with a warm vinaigrette with toasted walnuts on top.
It’s very nutritious also.


If you walk around our market you will find many items that make excellent gifts. They don’t spoil. You can also purchase tokens and give them as a gift. Several people have done so, as they know that the recipient loves the farmers’ market.


If you take the van to our market, we will give you two market tokens to defray the cost of the trip. You do have to reserve your space several days ahead, so call them early.


Rita Frechette is our raffle winner this week. We are selling raffle tickets for $1 to earn some money for the market. At the very least, we seem to be breaking even. You can also give us a contribution. We’ll even smile when you do so.

Recipe–Zucchini Crisps

Zucchini, flour, eggs, panko crumbs, Parmesan or Romano cheese, or a combination, vegetable oil.

Slice zucchini not too thick, not too thin. Dredge in flour, then eggs, then seasoned panko crumbs. Fry in oil until golden. You can always add different seasoning to the bread crumbs. Panko bread crumbs are very available now. They make a very crispy coating.

WIC Coupons

This is the first week that WIC coupons will be used. They can ONLY be used for produce. Elder market coupons are for produce and honey ONLY.

Old Deerfield Memorial Hall Museum
Tuesdays through Sundays, June through October from 11 AM to 4:30 PM. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for youth and students age 6-21. Old Deerfield is beautiful.

Trinity Church July Concerts

Each Thursday in July, Trinity Church (big church next to Forest Park) has a free concert at 6PM. That is held in the sanctuary. At 7PM a supper is offered for a donation of at least $5. In addition the carrillon is played during dinner. Rain or shine.

Faith United Church Lunch

Each month, on the last Saturday, Faith United Church (across from Friendly’s on Sumner Avenue) holds a community lunch. Everyone is welcome. It’s at noon. No reservation is necessary. They are also offering free gently used clothing.

Theatre in Western Mass

The Chester Theatre Company has 3 more plays this summer. Contact them at, or 413-354-7771. It’s about an hour to Chester. New Century Theatre also has 3; they are in the midst of their second play. Contact them at 413-585-3220, or Both theatres are air conditioned.

Western Mass Master Gardeners Association

Although the Master Gardeners aren’t at our market this year, you can call their hotline at 413-533-0414 for answers. Or go to their website–


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Market Newsletter – July 1, 2014

July 1st, 2014 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Strawberry season is just about over, so hurry up and make your jam. It is really easy. Buy one of the pectin products in the grocery store and follow the directions EXACTLY. You can either cook it, or make a freezer recipe which is uncooked. The latter keeps its bright red color and is delicious.

You can freeze all jam. I do that with mine since I have enough freezer space.

If you get some rhubarb, get a lot and freeze it. I just wash it then cut it into 1” pieces, and throw it in a freezer bag, and that’s it.

Blueberries will be here soon. They ripen in July.

Welcome back to Phuong’s Asian Vegetables. This is their second year with us.

Every week there is more produce at the market. This is such a marvelous time of year. If you’ve never made a salad with beets, do so. It’s sweet, and the beets combine well with so many other ingredients.

I saw a recipe the other day for sugar snap peas sauteed with fresh shitake mushrooms. We have both at our market.

Meet the Vendors–The Kitchen Garden

The Kitchen Garden is a 20-acre farm owned and operated by Tim Wilcox and Caroline Pam.

Our Story

They bring a love of good food and passion for growing it! Tim and Caroline spent considerable time in their formative years living in Europe and their culinary experiences in France and Italy inform and inspire their products and philosophy. They met at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City but settled in the Valley because of its great community of young farmers and the local enthusiasm for local food. They started the farm in 2006 on an acre of rented land in Hadley.

Caroline Pam
Caroline grew up in New York and earned a degree in English Literature from the University of Chicago. She worked as a journalist before discovering her passion for food and farming. She studied French cuisine at the French Culinary Institute and has also worked as a market manager at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC, where she shared her enthusiasm for cooking with seasonal ingredients in cooking demonstrations. She spent a summer working on an organic farm in Italy before moving to the Valley to apprentice at Food Bank Farm.

She was the Valley Advocate’s restaurant critic for almost two years and writes for the magazine Edible Pioneer Valley.

Tim Wilcox

Tim is originally from Oneonta, NY and came to the Pioneer Valley in 2001 to attend Hampshire College. He spent time working at the Hampshire Farm and went to Italy to do research with radicchio farmers in Treviso for his thesis project. Tim is passionate self-taught cook; much of the food writing and recipes on their site stem from his 24-7 food obsession.

The Farm

The Kitchen Garden is located on Silver Lane, a quiet side street about a mile from the center of Sunderland and five miles from UMASS Amherst. The land is a long, narrow strip sliced out of a large open meadow, surrounded by pieces of land farmed by other growers. The land has been divided into small, half-acre sections to allow many different types of crops to be planted, in contrast to the vast fields of sweet corn, parsnips, and potatoes that surround them. The field offers many shifting vantage points from which to enjoy the sweeping views of nearby mountains.

Our Growing Practices

Only natural products and sustainable techniques are used to grow their high quality vegetables. They welcome questions from customers about their growing practices. They have recently received organic certification.

The Kitchen Garden


Bill Malloy is our raffle winner this week. For $1 you can purchase a ticket at our market table and if your ticket is chosen, win $5 in tokens. This is a way for us to earn some money for the market. You can also purchase one of our pretty Friends of the Farmers’ Market pins for $5 or more also at the market table.

Recipe-Kohlrabi Salad

Kohlrabi is mild and sort of a cross between the taste of a broccoli stem and a mild turnip. They are either light green or purple, but they taste the same. Don’t get really large ones because they are often woody in the middle. The greens can also be eaten.

Peel the kohlrabi, and shred it. Shred some carrots also. If you like scallions, cut some of those up also. Make a dressing with a mild vinegar like rice or white, and Asian sesame oil. Add some salt, a little garlic, and perhaps some red pepper flakes if you’d like it to be a little spicy. Buy the sesame oil at an Asian market; it’s much less expensive.

East Longmeadow Summer Concert Series

The Rotary Club of East Longmeadow has been sponsoring these free concerts for 29 years. The concerts begin at 7PM and most of them are on Wednesday evenings although this week’s concert is on Thursday. The campus field at the high school is the venue. Bring your own chair.

Jewish Community Center

The JCC has programs from pre-school to senior citizens. They have a large physical fitness department with many classes for children with special needs including in their olympic size swimming pool. They also have a summer camp for children.

Loss of Biodiversity/Wildlife

Pesticides have impacts far beyond their target organisms. Scientists at Cornell University estimate that 67 million birds are killed each year in the U.S. from pesticides. Many individuals of some bird species have died after eating sprayed insects. Pesticides from agriculture (including yards) flow into acquatic systems via runoff of surface water, soil erosion, and drainage into groundwater. Pesticide residues in streams, lakes, bays, and coral reefs kill acquatic plants and zooplankton (microscopic animals) that fish require for food. More directly, very low concentrations of pesticides in water have been shown to increase the mortality of young fish and amphibians.
Certain kinds of pesticides are persistent, that is, they do not break down as they pass through the food chain. They can be taken up by small acquatic organisms and insects and are then passed on to the fish that eat them. Those fish are eaten by larger fish which are eaten by predators like eagles, seals and bears. The toxins become increasingly concentrated in the higher levels in this food chain, so top predators accumlate toxins.

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Newsletter- June 24, 2014

June 24th, 2014 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

I had the most wonderful weekend. My son David who is 51, and a rabbi, married his long-time partner Yuval Sela, age 49. Although they had a civil union in 2003 in Vermont, they didn’t decide to marry until the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned by the Supreme Court last year. Now same-sex couples have the same rights in marriage that opposite-sex couples have.

David and Yuval met in Israel when David was in his first year of studies to become a rabbi. Yuval came to the U.S. with David when that year was over. They lived in L.A. until after David was ordained and he took a position as rabbi of Israel Congregation of Manchester, VT; this is his second career.

A wedding is a joyous event, no matter who is marrying, but this one was especially joyous because David survived brain cancer 4 1/2 years ago.

Yuval’s siblings and mother were all there; they hail from Israel, the Netherlands, and Florida. His mother speaks Arabic and Hebrew “only”, but we could communicate with our hugs, and smiles, and tears. We even have the same Hebrew name.

Other than family, there were many people there who have known David since he was born. Several of my friends who were there have been my friends for over 50 years including a couple since we were teenagers.

Many of David’s congregants came up to me and told me how meaningful he is in their lives. Many others shared how they had met Yuval and David.

I can’t remember the last time that I smiled so much. We were all surrounded by lots of love.

Meet the Vendors–Mycoterra Farm

They are located on a small property in Westhampton MA, the town where the owner, Julia Coffey grew up. She has been in business there since 2011. Julia studied/worked in the field of mycology for almost 15 years.

Her interest in fungi spawned from soil science studies; mushrooms are amazing recyclers!

Their mushrooms are grown on straw and sawdust substrates, so on their farm, the mushrooms are actively recycling byproducts of local farm and forestry industries. A great benefit of this is that the process is not stinky. Anyone who has been in proximity of a commercial Agaricus mushroom (white button, portobella and cremini) farm knows it can be quite odoriferous as those mushrooms are grown on pasteurized manure. The Agaricus mushrooms are secondary decomposers, growing on already composted materials.

All of the mushrooms they produce are primary decomposers, preferring to grow on fresh organic material. Another popular misconception is that all mushrooms are grown in the dark. While the Agaricus species do for part of their lifecycle, the mushrooms they produce require light to develop properly. The light helps the mushrooms orient themselves properly; without it they can mutate, or they will just fail to grow. It is well known that spores are the reproductive propagule of the mushrooms, analogous to seeds. However, Mycoterra does not grow the mushrooms from spores due to great genetic variability that makes such production unreliable. They grow their mushrooms from mycelium. Mycelium is the living, growing vegetative tissue of the fungus. Producing mushrooms by dividing mycelium is faster and more reliable, much like dividing strawberry plants. The process is started in a controlled laboratory environment to give the mycelium a competitive advantage against contaminants which include bacteria, yeast, molds and other fungi. All of their substrate material is sterilized prior to inoculating with the mycelium. Once the mycelium is established on it’s substrate it is moved into a mild, moist, humid environment where they complete the fruiting stage of their lifecycle. The fruiting stage is when the mushrooms are produced, the mushrooms ARE the fruits. For specific information, refer to the mushroom varieties tab on their site. Mycoterra will now be coming to our market every week.

Rachel’s Table

Rachel’s Table impacts tens of thousands of people who struggle to put food on their plates. In addition to more than 200 volunteers picking up and delivering donated food 6 days a week, RT raises money to sustain their programs that help their agencies provide balanced meals to families and individuals.

They have a new partnership with the Holyoke Public Schools Backpack Program that sends weekend food to homeless and hungry children who only have access to food during the week from school lunches.

The Gleaning Project brings youth to local farms to rescue and donate more than 10,000 pounds of fresh produce each year. this program provides many of the nutritious food often lacking in their diet.

The Kalicka Milk Distribution supplies shelf-stable milk to agencies that serve children.

The Protein and Produce Programs distribute much needed and pricey produce and protein items to their agencies to help ensure well-balanced meals for those who struggle financially.

Essen-tials distributes kosher food to those in the Jewish community who observe the dietary laws and find it even more challenging to purchase expensive kosher food. If you’d like to make a contribution to help them continue their good work, you may send it to them at 1160 Dickinson St. in Springfield, 01108.


Peter Lappin is our raffle winner this week. For $1 you can purchase a ticket at our market table and if your ticket is chosen, win $5 in tokens. This is a way for us to earn some money for the market. You can also purchase one of our pretty Friends of the Farmers’ Market pins for $5 or more also at the market table.

Dragon Boat Festival

It’s coming up this Saturday at North Riverfront Park on West Street in Springfield; it starts at 9AM. Bring the whole family and watch many different boats compete.

This ‘n’ That

If you buy a rotisserie chicken, or make a roasted chicken, save the carcass and use it to make chicken broth.

If you need to cut the crusts off of bread save the crusts and make them into fresh bread crumbs. Freeze them otherwise they’ll get moldy.

If you like to make strawberry jam, see if you can get jam berries. They’re not perfect, but they’re perfect for jam. And speaking of berries, I brought a fresh berry cake from Cerratos in West Springfield to my son’s wedding weekend, and it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!!

Strawberries and Cherry Tomatoes

Strawberries and Cherry Tomatoes

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Market Newsletter June -17, 2014

June 16th, 2014 Posted in Newsletters

From the Market Manager

Celebrate World Refugee Day this week.

On Thursday, June 19th at the Holy Name Social Center, 323 Dickinson St. in Springfield from 6-8PM there will be entertainment, ethnic food, and a short documentary featuring local refugee residents with a panel discussion following.

On Friday, the 20th from 5-7PM at St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish, 475 Main St., W. Springfield, there will be a family cultural celebration including educational exhibits, performances, door prizes and games for kids.

On Saturday, June 21st from 10AM-2PM at Commerce High School, 415 State St. in Springfield, the 1st annual World Refugee Day Soccer Tournament featuring area refugee teams will be held.

All events are free and open to the public.


Ellen Rivers is our raffle winner this week. For $1 you can purchase a ticket at our market table and if your ticket is chosen, win $5 in wooden tokens to use at the market.
This is a way for us to earn some money for the market. You can also purchase one of our pretty Friends of the Farmers’ Market pins for $5 or more also at the market table.

Meet the Vendors–House of Hayes Dairy Farm

The House of Hayes dairy farm is located in North Granby, Connecticut, a stone’s throw from the Connecticut-Massachusetts border. The eighth-generation operation is currently owned by Stanley and Dorothy Hayes, and run with the help of their three children; Daniel Hayes; Samantha Hayes; and Ellen Whitlow along with her husband Brian who works off the farm, but helps out when needed.

The Hayes family farming tradition goes back as far as anyone can remember, all the way to the 1820s, when their ancestors had a small herd of milking cows. In the 1920s, Harold Hayes milked around 30 Guernsey cows under the name Brookside Farm. In 1935, Harold’s son Gerald took over, and later started testing with DHIA, eventually becoming a big leader in bringing artificial insemination services into Connecticut. In the 1950s, Gerald and his son Roger bought land adjoining Brookside Farm, and moved to the family’s current location, renaming the operation the House of Hayes Farm. Here they built a six-stall side-opening parlor and milked 50 to 60 Guernsey cows. In 1979 Roger built the current milking parlor and an attached 120 cow freestall barn. In the 1980s, Stanley and his wife Dorothy joined the farm and the herd increased to 150 milking cows. 20 years later, as the next generation began showing interest in joining the business, the family realized they needed to either expand or diversify. In 2005, the family started the Hayes Corn Maze, which they keep open from Labor Day through Halloween. Between 2008 and 2009, the cow herd was decreased to 65 milking cows, and a facility was built to milk Saanens dairy goats and process their own milk products under the name Sweet Pea Cheese.

Over the years, House of Hayes Farm has expanded to produce a number of farm fresh cow’s milk and goat’s milk products. Customers who stop by the farm or local farmers’ markets during the summer, can purchase whole pasteurized milk and chocolate milk, yogurt and Greek-style yogurt, as well as 10 different flavors of chevre and feta.

Farming is a family activity for the Hayes, who divide the chores and split their time selling products at the local markets. On a typical day, Daniel feeds the cows and tends to the crops; Ellen or Samantha feed the calves and clean the barn; Dorothy milks the goats; Stanley works in the processing room and pays bills; Jean – an employee of 15 years – handles most of the morning milkings; and afternoon milkings are done by Stanley, Ellen, or Daniel. Extended family members also pitch in as needed throughout the year with crops, farmers’ markets, and in the processing room. With the addition of the next generation Amelia Louise Whitlow in June, Ellen’s role in the farm has changed as she learns how to be a mother and a farmer at the same time.

House of Hayes Farm has been recognized with the Green Pasture Award in 1999, several silver medals at the Big E Cheese Competition over the past few years, and was named a Harford County 4-H Honor Family in 2007.

As the Hayes business and their family grows, they hope to increase production of their dairy products. Eventually, the family would like to build an aging cave so they can begin making hard cheeses.

“A farm is a great place to raise a family and we want our future generations to have that opportunity” says Ellen. “I love farming because it means I get to work with my family and no matter how hard it may seem there always seems to be some sort of reward like watching a calf you raised grow up to be a cow. The advice I would give someone interested in farming is to go for it. That said, they have to understand farming is not a job, it is a lifestyle, and there will be hard days. But the good ones always seem to outnumber them.”

Sweet Pea cheese

Sweet Pea Cheese varieties

Recipe–Rhubarb Cake

2 T. butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk, or sour milk
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen rhubarb

Streusel topping–
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Vanilla sauce–optional
1/2 cup butter, cubed
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beating just until moistened. Fold in the rhubarb. Pour into a greased 9” baking dish.
Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over batter. Bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
For sauce, melt butter, add sugar and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Serve with cake.

Note–if using frozen rhubarb, measure it while still frozen, then thaw completely. Drain in a colander, but do not press the liquid out.