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.
GRANBY FARM HISTORY:
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
RED FIRE FARM AT THE MONTAGUE MEADOWS:
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.
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
garam masala or curry powder
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.
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–springfieldpreservationtrust.org.
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: Richard.LeBlanc@state.ma.us or go online to the Mass Department of Agricultural Resources to download a pdf version.
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