In this issue: 

Commissioner's Column - Scott J. Soares
Special Guest Column - Dr. Joe Buttner


BusinessUpcoming EventsNews From Events

In Every Issue

Commissioner's Column

Dear Friends,

We are at the pinnacle of our harvest season and by all reports (and of this writing), crops are faring very well. Certainly I am pleased to report that in general Massachusetts agriculture is enjoying a multitude of exciting developments and high points. Where to begin!?

Two very important and recently achieved milestones for the agricultural community are thanks to Governor Patrick.

Per Chapter 277 of the Acts of 2010 — an “Act Establishing the Massachusetts Food Policy Council” -  the Massachusetts Food Policy Council held its first public meeting on July 27th. The 17-member council laid out the initial groundwork to promote greater production, sales, and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods in a sustainable way.  The law’s passage, thanks in large part to the advocacy the Massachusetts Food Policy Alliance, formally aligned several agencies from the Health and Human Service and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretariats along with public health, farming, food safety and food distribution interests to fulfill the objectives of the legislation. 

Also per executive order, the newly created Public Market Commission convened on August 9th.  We have set an aggressive schedule that seeks to move this Boston project to reality quickly. The market will showcase the region’s finest local produce, dairy, meats, seafood, specialty foods and beverages, flowers. In addition the project is expected to create dozens of construction jobs and up to 200 permanent jobs when the market opens. 

July and August have been bursting with events that highlight the great impact and appeal of Massachusetts agriculture.  July kicked off with locally grown blueberries and farmers’ market season.  Also in July,  as the recently elected President of Food Export North East, I was privileged to attend the summer Fancy Food Show in Washington D.C. where 22 Massachusetts businesses participated in a Massachusetts pavilion to exhibit their local products to 24,000 attendees. Further our first “Green Energy Farms” tour took place with EEA Secretary Sullivan; we released an encouraging report about the growth of the Massachusetts wine industry; and to close out July we had a great event at a Cambridge farmers’ market celebrating grants to 32 markets to benefit shoppers who use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

August has been even busier. On August 10th, I joined Lt. Governor Murray at Green Hill Park to declare August Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) Month.  This invasive pest is a significant threat to our ecosystem and specific to agriculture, a major threat to our maple sugar and nursery industry. Successful containment and eventual eradication of the ALB depends in good measure on awareness by the public how to spot and report ALB. Hats off to MDAR’s ALB outreach team who have been attending events across the state and to date have held more than 200 training events to educate the public. 
Massachusetts agriculture trade associations and commodity groups by now are aware of a new partnership campaign where MDAR is utilizing cutting edge information technology, known as “QR” codes to create greater awareness and, ideally, marketing opportunities for agricultural interests.  See a sneak preview below of our new MBTA outreach campaign that will run August 15th through October 15th to promote the Commonwealth’s local agricultural offerings located at our MassGrown & Fresher  website. Thanks go to newly appointed MassDot Secretary Rich Davey and some of our commodity groups for this opportunity to promote our farms, farmers’ markets, wine and cheese makers, fairs, aquaculture, and more. And thanks go also to MDAR staff who lent their creativity and energy to getting this campaign off the ground.

On August 18th EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan and I will be doing a “Round II” green energy farm tour to showcase the efforts of the local farming community to become more sustainable and environmentally responsible through the implementation of energy efficiency and clean renewable energy projects. Representatives of our partner organizations, such as USDA and MassCEC will join us. Attendees will see methods being used to reduce both the farms operational energy needs and carbon footprint, and how our farming community can integrate green energy technologies into their day-to-day operations. Our tour will take us to Seeds of Solidarity in Orange (they’re completely off the grid!), to Red Apple in Philipston (efficiency lighting and a wind turbine), and finally to the UMass Agronomy Lab in South Deerfield which is doing research on new ways to optimize the placement of Photo Voltaic racks.
August  22nd kicks off Farmers’ Market Week and the ever popular Tomato Festival Contest. Now in its 27th year, the event will be at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market.  Farmers from across the state will compete for top honors in this annual contest celebrating local tomatoes.

And on August 24th we’ll be celebrating our 800th Agriculture Preservation Restriction (APR) Farm at Red Fire Farm in Montague. Since the APR’s enactment in 1979, this signature and first-of-its-kind-in-the-nation program has ensured that over 67,000 acres of our working landscapes will stay just that!  In addition to the obvious value of protected farmland, we’re also happy to be celebrating the continued evolution of the APR program and recognition that promotion of farm businesses that operate on protected farmland is also critical to the permanent protection of those farmland resources.

The rest of the year is shaping up to be equally busy. MDAR has received two federal state market improvement grants:  One will explore ways to effectively move local food products from farms and wholesale markets to inner-city corner stores. The other is a two-year project to increase the use of local ingredients by state craft brewers, a subject that recently and coincidentally came up as a result of a since rescinded ruling of the Alcohol and Beverage Control Commission regarding use of local agricultural products by those licensed as “farmer-brewers”.   

At the peril of making a long Commissioner’s column even longer, I’d be remiss if I didn’t also touch on at least a couple of the challenges that are also impacting the agricultural sector.  The first is related to agricultural labor and the troubles working with the program that several of our fruit vegetable growers have brought to our attention.   These troubles have been associated with the H2A or Temporary Agricultural Worker Program and difficulties that domestic growers who use this program have run into as they have worked to secure seasonal help.  Although we are still working through the complexities of this program and the Commonwealth’s interaction with it, thanks to Massachusetts growers bringing their challenges to our attention, we are now engaged with our Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development and look forward to working with them to find solutions to the labor issue.

In response to a legislative requirement passed with the 2012 Fiscal Year Budget and recent action by the USDA that changed their reporting of dairy cost of production estimates (a critical component of our current calculation of dairy farmer tax credits), as of this writing we have completed an initial draft of modified dairy farmer tax credit regulations (330 CMR 29).  In consideration of our current position of 8 months into the 2011 tax year and frequently articulated concerns from the dairy industry regarding any ability to recalculate the 2010 tax credit or to gain a better understanding of what the 2011 tax year will look like, we understand the urgency regarding these regulations and will continue to work toward swift promulgation of these necessary changes.

To end on an up note:   In addition to the first paragraph’s mention of the harvest season being well underway, the 2011 Fair season has also been a good one!  Although, I’ve been unable to get out to many this season, I understand attendance and interest continue to grow.  Of note, the first $4 million Commonwealth supported phase of the Northampton 3 County Fair that Lt. Governor Murray announced at last year’s edition of the event is nearing completion! And speaking of Fairs, for MDAR, as a result of our management of the Massachusetts State Exposition Building on the grounds of the Big E in West Springfield,   we’re looking forward to Massachusetts Day on September 22nd!  Stay tuned for many exciting events planned for the day! 

 I invite you to read about the many other things going on in our August/September newsletter below. And please feel free to follow me on Twitter for (almost) daily updates:


Scott J. Soares, Commissioner 

[back to table of contents]

Special Guest Column

by Dr. Joe Buttner

Aquaculture: Good for Massachusetts, Good for the Nation (Part I)

In mid April 2011, my good friend and colleague Commissioner Scott Soares invited me to develop a “guest column” on aquaculture for the MDAR Farm & Market Report. Having lived and loved aquaculture for well over 30 years, I eagerly accepted the invitation and opportunity to inform traditional agriculturists about aquaculture and why it has become a necessity. A two-part exploration has been developed. Part I appears in this issue of the Farm & Market Report and focuses on what is aquaculture and how it is practiced. Part II will appear in the next issue and focuses on aquaculture in Massachusetts.

What is Aquaculture?
The word “aquaculture” breaks into two components “aqua” (water) and “culture” (to grow). As such, aquaculture may be defined as the cultivation of aquatic organisms. It is the aquatic equivalent of terrestrial agriculture, and has been pursued by “aquatic farmers” for nearly as long. Images of cultured tilapia are found in Egyptian tombs, oysters were cultured in ancient Rome, and manuals on “how to” culture carp culture in Chinese ponds date from the fifth century BCE. (Bardach et al. 1972). Finfish and shellfish are most commonly grown (Figure 1), but other frequently cultivated organisms include seaweeds, microalgae, frogs, and alligators. Not all aquaculture targets food production; organisms are grown for live-bait, ornamental, research, education, and pharmaceutical markets. Aquaculture also facilitates restoration and enhancement of diminished populations and endangered species.

How is Aquaculture Practiced?
Aquatic organisms may be grown in a variety of systems from minimally managed ponds and tidal flats to intensively managed net pens and recirculating aquaculture systems (RASs) (Figure 2a, b, c). As of 2009, aquaculture is practiced in freshwater (63.9%) and as mariculture in brackish or marine waters (35.4%; FAO, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2010). Sometimes traditional agricultural crops are grown with fish in an aquaponic system where plants utilize and remove wastes excreted by fish (Figure 2c).

Culture of finfish and shellfish in coastal and inland waters can be pursued sustainably with benign impact if sites are carefully located and wisely managed. Finfish culture often utilizes prepared feeds that are formulated to provide all nutritional requirements in an economical pellet. Pellet composition is carefully controlled and as knowledge is gained, feed formulations are improved to maximize fish growth and minimize waste produced. Bivalve mollusks feed on microscopic organisms and organic material suspended in the water; their culture is frequently viewed as a “green” pursuit that can improve water quality.

Why is aquaculture important? 
Since the late 1980s, capture fisheries globally have remained static, yielding approximately 90 million tons annually (FAO, The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2010). According to the United Nations (2009), over 80% of all monitored fisheries are now fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted or recovering. Aquaculture, currently provides over half of the fish products consumed globally by humankind (up from merely 4% in 1970) and demand is growing. Despite an unequalled coastal resource that abuts the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Ocean and Great Lakes supplemented by islands surrounded by a 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (e.g,, Hawaii, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa), the United States currently imports an estimated 84% of the seafood consumed. Half of that seafood is imported by the US is farmed and in 2009 less than 0.1 % was inspected by the U.S. FDA for residues (GAO Report GAO-11-286; 14 April 2011). Researchers funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars develop much of the technology employed to culture fish, shellfish and other aquatic organisms successfully. Once developed, the technology is often exported and implemented elsewhere, transporting potential U.S. jobs offshore, compromising working water fronts and fishing traditions, diminishing family incomes and tax revenues. To ensure our food security, to re-link our increasingly urban populace with their food supply, to perpetuate our working water fronts and fishing tradition, and to produce the animal protein that 6.8 billion people (and growing) require, aquaculture has become a necessity. In the next issue of MDAR Farm & Market Report, Part II of this survey will examine how aquaculture in Massachusetts attempts to retain and maximize opportunities and benefits for our citizens.

Figure 1. Bivalve mollusks such as American oysters (Crassostea virginica), hard clams (Mercenaria mercenaria), softshell clams (Mya arenaria) and, just recently, blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are cultured commercially in Massachusetts.Figure 2. Aquaculture is pursued in open, semi-closed and closed systems as illustrated by clam culture on tidal flats (a), raceway culture of trout (b) and RASs used in classrooms throughout the Commonwealth (c).

Dr. Joe Buttner has been involved in aquatic science for nearly four decades as a faculty, researcher, and extension contact, largely in the arena of sustainable aquaculture. He is a Professor in the Department of Biology and Coordinator of the Cat Cove Marine Laboratory at Salem State University in Salem, MA. Since 1984 he has been an American Fisheries Society, Certified Fisheries Scientist, and is currently a USDA Designated Extension Contact for aquaculture in Massachusetts and Coordinator for the Northeastern Massachusetts Aquaculture Center. 

[back to table of contents]


MDAR at Your Fingertips

At the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, we want to make sure you connect to whom and what you're looking for quickly and efficiently.

We’re working our best to make sure you are able to get your calls and emails fielded as soon as possible during peak and after hours. Here are three tips we hope will be of assistance:

1)    We have a Contact Us tab on our Homepage with directions and a staff directory for your information.

2)    Try our A-Z Index tab also located on our Homepage that lists all of the programs and services we provide.

3)    Based on a recently conducted in-house survey, here is contact information related to the top 10 inquires we get at the reception desk: 

  [back to table of contents]

Energy News

MDAR FY2012 AgEnergy Grant Receives 59 Applications!

MDAR’s FY2012 AgEnergy Grant Program’s June 30th submission deadline resulted in 59 applicants filing 60 project proposals with funding requests of $1.2 million dollars – both new high water marks for the 4 year old program! Projects were almost split between energy efficiency and renewable energy applications. MDAR is now in the process of reviewing all applications with the ultimate goal of finalizing and selecting final awardees by a September timeframe.

MassCEC Announces New Pilot for Commercial Solar Hot Water

Building on the success of the new residential Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program, which has awarded rebates for 110 solar hot water projects at homes across Massachusetts since its opening in February 2011, the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) today unveiled a new rebate program to help building owners finance commercial size solar hot water projects.

The Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Commercial Pilot Program complements the current Commonwealth Solar Hot Water Residential Pilot Program by providing funding to commercial and large multi-family building owners interested in installing solar hot water (SHW) systems. The program will offer $1 million in grants through a non-competitive application process for SHW pre-design studies and construction projects.  

Starting the first week in August, MassCEC will begin accepting applications for pre-design study grants for commercial and large multi-family building owners interested in installing solar hot water. Eligible applicants can receive up to $10,000, with a required a cost-share of 25 percent for non-public commercial entities. No cost share is required for public entities.

In September 2011, MassCEC will begin accepting applications for design and construction grants, which will be structured similar to the residential rebates in which rebates are based on project size and the solar collector’s efficiency rating. 

To qualify, a resident and project site must be an electric customer of NSTAR, National Grid, Unitil, or Western Massachusetts Electric Co., or of a municipal power company that participates in MassCEC's Renewable Energy Trust Fund. These include Ashburnham, Templeton, Holden, Holyoke and Russell. The Commonwealth Solar Hot Water program is funded with $1 million from MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund. 

USDA Rural Development Invites Applications for Value-Added Producer Grants to Assist Farmers

USDA Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan announced on June 30th that applications are being accepted for grants to provide economic assistance to independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives and agricultural producer groups through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program.

“By creating value-added products, farmers and ranchers can expand economic opportunities, create jobs and keep wealth in rural communities,” Merrigan said. “These funding opportunities will promote business expansion and entrepreneurship by helping local businesses get access to capital, technical assistance and new markets for their products and services.”

The application deadline is August 29, 2011.  For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see, or the June 28, 2011, Federal Register. Value-Added Producer Grants may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.

MA Net Metering Reaching Capacity

The latest documents filed recently by the qualifying electric distribution companies at the request of the MA Department of Public Utilities (DPU) show that the 1% non-government project net metering cap will soon be reached, most likely by this fall. This includes NGRID, NSTAR, WMECO and Unitil. Anyone in the agricultural community who favors net metering can contact your local legislators to request this extremely beneficial clean energy incentive be expanded to allow more projects to enjoy the benefits of net metering.

Federal 30% ITC Cash Option Reminder

For those still interested in pursuing the Federal Investment Tax Credit Cash Option for selected renewable energy technologies, the original deadline of December 31, 2010 for “Beginning Construction” for this opportunity was extended until December 31, 2011 by the lame duck session congress at the end of last year. Enacted as part of the 2009 ARRA stimulus package, this option provides non-residential commercial projects the opportunity to receive cash at the completion of the project in lieu of receiving a tax credit. Eligible renewable energy projects must now need to have been completed in calendar years 2009, 2010  or 2011 OR meet the are eligibility provisions for those initiating the project by the end of December 31, 2011, including executing a financial contract, executing an installing contractor contract and demonstrating at least 5% project expenditures by this date. This means if you can at least begin implementing an eligible renewable energy project by the end of this year you could still be eligible for the tax credit cash option. For more details on all eligibility requirements and other information please see:

At the same time, those in our agricultural community who favor such a tax incentive can contact your local U.S. congressional representatives and senators to request this extremely beneficial cash tax equity option be extended beyond this year’s end as part of the new agenda of our new Congress in Washington, D.C.

Featured Ag Energy Project – Maple Run Farm, Leyden, MA

Maple Run Farm, a 36 acre diverse chicken, bee, sheep and equine farming operation in Leyden, MA, recently completed their new roof-mounted 7.14 kW PV project. Owners and farm operators John and Barbara Wallace were thrilled by their new installation, noting the “sustainable generation of clean energy complements the sustainable agricultural goals of Maple Run farm as evidenced by our work with natural wools from our purebred Romney sheep and equestrian instruction events and stabling.”  The project received funding support from the Mass Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and MDAR’s AgEnergy Grant and will also benefit from MA net metering and solar renewable energy credits (SRECs).

The project, designed, engineered and installed by local clean energy PV contractor Berkshire Photovoltaic Services (BPVS) of Adams, MA, utilizes a cutting edge, locally produced alternating current PV module. The module, the Green Ray SunSine, utilizes Sanyo’s 210 watt PV panel as its base and integrates a micro-inverter built into the frame. The module is manufactured by Westford, MA based Green Ray Solar. The module’s micro-inverter converts the direct current (D.C.) of the PV panel’s output into alternating current (A.C.) right at the panel itself. This eliminates the need for a central inverter and allows for improved individual PV module performance when tied together in a string of panels, and provides micro-monitoring of individual panels which John Wallace proudly demonstrated for me.

Micro- inverter Green Ray SunSine A.C. modules on Maple Run’s barn roof.A.C. wiring and inter-connect to local distribution panel with no central inverter.

[back to table of contents]

MassGrown & Fresher - New MBTA Campaign!

Look for MassGrown & Fresher (and scan us) on the MBTA Red and Orange Lines!

Who’s got 1.1 million riders daily? The MBTA!  And who’s got fresh locally grown products for those riders? Our farmers!

From August 15th  through October 15th , MDAR will be promoting farmers’ markets, area farms, farm stands, agricultural fairs, CSA’s, wine makers, dairy, pick-your-own orchards, agri-tourism, garden centers, Buy Locals, culinary destinations, and much more on the MBTA’s Red and Orange Lines. And how are we going to fit all that on one ad you ask? With a QR Code!

For those of you not familiar with what a QR Code is,  it’s a kind of barcode that you can scan with your smart phone to open a web page in your telephone’s browser. People who scan the code will be directed to MassGrown & Fresher a website that features an interactive “Agri-Google” map to easily find agricultural locations across the Commonwealth.  And for T riders without a car? No problem! Around Boston alone there are now over 20 farmers’ markets within easy walking distance of the Red, Orange, Green and Blue Lines.

This great collaborative endeavor has potential to reach 240,000 Red Line and 185,000 Orange Line riders a day!  To thank is newly appointed MassDot Secretary Richard Davey who generously supported this campaign with the opportunity to display 300 car card ads on MBTA’s Red and Orange Lines. Thanks go to Secretary Rick Sullivan whose Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has been promoting the development and use of social network media, mobile aps, QR codes, and other technologies to get the word out to broader audiences and in May of 2011 was part of the National Association of Government Communicators Award of Excellence in the social media category. Thanks go to MDAR staff who jumped quickly on this opportunity – especially to MDAR’s Director of Animal Health, Mike Cahill, who took an idea handed to him scribbled on a piece of paper and applied his great graphic art talents to bring the idea to fruition, and to webmaster Joao Tavares who beautifully ironed out all of the QR Code technology considerations. And of course many thanks go to Keep Local Farms, Mass Farmers Markets, Cape Cod Cranberry Association, Massachusetts Flower Growers’ Association, and the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association who recognized this as a GREAT one-for-all, all-for-one opportunity and pitched in to cover the nominal printing costs for this campaign.

MDAR hopes to launch a second campaign in 2012 through a specialty crop block grant for which it has applied. Commodity groups interested in this exciting campaign should please contact Mary Jordan at 616-626-1750 or

Farmers (retailers and wholesalers): As part of our on-going marketing efforts, we highlight Massachusetts farms and agricultural businesses through various publications, special events, B2B opportunities, and most importantly, on our website, Helping you find profitable markets for your products is an important part of our mission. As a Massachusetts producer, you are entitled to the many different listings on the MassGrown website and brochures. If you would like to be included, or update your information, please complete our Farm Marketing Survey.

[back to table of contents]

Massachusetts Food Policy Council Established

The Massachusetts Food Policy Council, based on M.G.L. c. 20, Section 6C., held its first meeting on July 27, 2011. Commissioner Soares was nominated as an interim chairman. He shared a Power Point presentation about the FPC legislation. In addition, the Harvard School of Public Health shared a presentation about food policy councils across the US, with a recommendation to stay focused based on the objectives of Massachusetts.

State Agency Members include: Secretary Gregory Bialecki, MEOHED; Commissioner John Auerbach, MDPH, Katie Millet, designee Commissioner of Education, MESE; Deputy Commissioner Gary Moran, MDEP; Commissioner Julia Kehoe, MDTA and Commissioner Scott J. Soares, MDAR. The Legislative Members appointed by the Governor include Senator Susan Fargo, Representative Kimberly Ferguson, Senator Michael Knapik and Representative Steve Kulik. Industry Members appointed by the Governor include: Valerie Bassett, MA Public Health Association, Community based nutrition and public health expert; Frank Carlson, Carlson Orchards, Food Processor and Handler; Jeff Cole, Executive Director, Mass Farmers Markets, Direct to Consumer Marketing; Manuel Costa, President, Costa Fruit & Produce, Food Processor and Distributor; Helen Caulton-Harris, Springfield Board of Health, Local Health Department Representation; John Lee, Allandale Farm, Farmer and the position for Food Safety Expert is vacant at this time.

The purpose of the FPC is to (A) increase production, sales and consumption of Massachusetts-grown foods; (B) develop and promote programs that bring healthy Massachusetts-grown foods to Massachusetts residents through various programs such as: (i) targeted state subsidies, (ii) increased state purchasing of local products for school and summer meals and other child and adult care programs, (iii) double coupon initiatives, (iv) direct market subsidies to communities with identified needs, (v) increasing institutional purchases of Massachusetts-grown foods and other programs to make access to healthy Massachusetts products affordable, and (vi) increasing access to healthy Massachusetts-grown foods in communities with disproportionate burdens of obesity and chronic diseases; (C) protect the land and water resources needed for sustained local food production; and (D) train, retain and recruit farmers and to provide for the continued economic viability of local food production, processing and distribution in the commonwealth. The FPC will make annual reports and make recommendations to meet these goals.

To review the minutes from the last meeting including the Harvard School of Public Health Presentation and Power Point overview, go to the Food Policy Council page for details for the next meeting including the date, location and agenda. If you have questions

[back to table of contents]

MDAR Announces Farmers’ Market EBT/SNAP Grants at the Central Square Farmers’ Market in Cambridge

A ceremony was held recently at the Central Square Farmers’ Market in Cambridge where MDAR Commissioner, Scott Soares, was joined by federal, state and local officials to announce grants to 32 farmers’ markets and organizations serving 25 communities across Massachusetts. These grants will benefit shoppers using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly Food Stamps) at farmers markets to purchase healthy, locally grown foods. Funding for the grant program was provided by MDAR, Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.

Jeff Cole, Executive Director of Mass Farmers Markets receives a check for $2,000 to support SNAP outreach efforts at the Central Square, Cambridge, and Davis Square, Somerville Farmers’ Markets.

Pictured left to right: James Arena-DeRosa, USDA Food and Nutrition Service Northeast Regional Administrator, Michael Devlin, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, DTA Commissioner, Julia Kehoe, Jeff Cole, Mass Farmers Markets, MDAR Commissioner, Scott Soares, and Cambridge Mayor David Maher.

Tracie Gillespie from the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program shows Cambridge Mayor, David Maher, DTA Commissioner Julia Kehoe and MDAR Commissioner Scott Soares, how to make Confetti Pasta Salad using some fresh, local vegetables from the farmers’ market.

Photos taken by Amy West, Dept. of Transitional Assistance

[back to table of contents]

School IPM-Plan Compliance Update

It is ‘back to school time’ and once again the Department would like to urge all parents to check on whether their child’s school is in compliance with the Childrens and Families Protection ACT (CPA). One of the main requirements of the CPA is the completion, submission and maintenance of Integrated Pest Management Plans. An IPM-Plan incorporates multiple strategies to control existing and potential indoor & outdoor pests including any pesticides intended for use. IPM-Plans can be created and submitted online through our school IPM-website In addition to the ability to create and submit IPM-Plans, the websites offers additional tools and resources to help parents, school officials, pest control operators and others obtain a better understanding of the all the requirements within the Children’s and Families Protection ACT as well as the principles of IPM.

At this time last year 95% of public and private schools were in compliance with the IPM-Plan requirement. For 2011 compliance has increased to 97%. Our goal is to eventually reach 100% compliance for schools and programs covered by the Children’s and Families Protection ACT. To see if your child’s school is in compliance you can visit the school IPM-website and click the ‘Locate a Plan’ link within the left hand margin. This will take you to the ‘Cities and Towns’ list from which you can select your town and then the appropriate school. For more information contact or 617-626-1775.

[back to table of contents]


After Governor Patrick signed the executive order establishing the Public Market Commission on August 4th, 2011, the group held its first meeting just five days later. In the orientation meeting, the Commission discussed the objectives of the commission and the history of the project. The Commission also scheduled meetings with the membership of the Haymarket Pushcart Association on August 17 at 1:00pm at the State House and meetings with farmers on August 24 (time and place TBD in Central Massachusetts) and August 29 with fishing interests (in Boston at 3:30PM). There will be additional meetings in September. All relevant information is available on the project website at

[back to table of contents]

Salute to New England Specialty Foods, September 30th

Sign up now for A Salute to New England Specialty Foods, at the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) in West Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday, September 30, in the Massachusetts Building. The cost is $100. You can sample and sell product on the front lawn of the Massachusetts Building as part of the ‘Salute to New England Specialty Foods’ special event. This event is a great opportunity to obtain feedback and increase awareness about your product to a large audience from all over New England. You must bring EVERYTHING you need for your exhibit: tables, coolers, tents, etc. There is no electricity provided.

The space provided is 10 feet by 10 feet. The event hours are 9:30 am – 5 pm with the option to stay until the fair closes at 9 pm. Contact Bonita Oehlke,, 617-626-1753 if you have any questions. For more information on the Big E, visit

 [back to table of contents]

Opportunity for Crafters, Artisans and Specialty Food Vendors

The 22nd Annual Harvest Festival on the Sturbridge Town Common is fast approaching, and you are cordially invited to participate and sell your wares throughout this two-day event. This year we will be putting a special emphasis on “local” – featuring local foods, artisans, musicians, chefs and more. Should the weather be favorable, we expect up to 10,000 attendees; and at a minimum we expect 2,500.

The 22nd Annual Harvest Festival will be held on the Sturbridge Town Common on Saturday, October 15 from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday, October 16 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm, RAIN or SHINE! Please complete the enclosed application to be considered for this show. We reserve the right to accept or deny any applications regardless of prior history. All applications must be thoroughly completed as described on the application to be considered. Space is limited, so don’t delay!

[back to table of contents]

MDAR Receives FSMIP Grants

Grant 1) Grain to Glass:
MDAR received a grant in the amount of $11,015 to assess the current volume, value and types of local ingredients used by craft brewers in Massachusetts, and facilitate increased use through a grower/brewer matchmaking educational session and case studies that highlight the barriers and opportunities.

The local movement has been appealing to craft brewers which in turn supports Massachusetts growers,” said Scott Soares, MDAR Commissioner. The explosion of craft breweries in the US and in Massachusetts has laid the foundation for the use of a wide variety of specialty ingredients; many of which can be and are sourced locally including cranberries, oysters, pumpkin, honey, maple syrup, herbs and fruit. Many brewers feature local ingredients in their marketing.

Over the next two years, MDAR will work to increase the use of local ingredients by state craft brewers based on understanding the demand, coordinating matchmaking educational sessions and case studies, and promoting growers and brewers using Massachusetts agricultural inputs. The MA Brewers Guild will be on the Advisory Board. A survey to be conducted and summarized will show the value and amount of ingredients that are being used and that could be used from Massachusetts growers for current and future products. For more information contact

Grant 2) Exploring Farm Marketing Opportuniies Inner-City Corner Stores
As part of the Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), USDA awarded $13,625 to MDAR to explore ways to effectively move local food products from farms and wholesale markets to inner-city corner stores while meeting the preferences and requirements of producers, store owners and target consumers.

Through the study Identifying Farm Barriers to Wholesale Distribution of Fresh Produce to Inner-City Corner Stores MDAR will explore barriers to selling fresh fruits and vegetables at Boston corner stores from the farmer and store owner perspective. The proposed study seeks to develop a deeper understanding of customer interest by identifying the types of fruits and vegetables they are most likely to purchase at corner stores. By properly identifying customer preference, the study aims to provide wholesale produce farms with more complete information to improve their marketability as produce suppliers to Boston neighborhood corner stores.

[back to table of contents]

MA Wine Production Increase

A survey conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) cites, despite the recent challenging economic climate, the Massachusetts wine industry is growing, with increases in both production and sales.

In 2010, Massachusetts wineries hand-crafted and bottled over 134,724 gallons of still, sparkling wine, and hard apple cider – compared to 111,446 gallons in 2007. Based on reports from the Massachusetts Alcohol Beverage Control Commission, this represents an increase of 21 percent.

Recent legislation has allowed licensed wine makers to sell their vintages, directly marketed to consumers at approved farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth. According to officials atMDAR, wine makers have received enthusiastic reviews from their interactions with shoppers, part of the direct-to-consumer movement, as well as a higher profit margin for the winery which contributes towards a more sustainable business.

Of the 40 licensed wineries in Massachusetts, 36 produce and sell products made from viniferous and cold hearty grapes, as well as a variety of fruit including apples, cranberries, peaches and blueberries that are savored by consumers across the state and the country. Four of the wineries were not selling product at the time of the survey.

Last year, there were 36 wineries producing wine and hard cider – seven more than in 2007 – and triple the number in 1994. A recent snapshot of the growth of the Massachusetts wine industry was released in July.

Wine sales totaled $9.3 million in sales in 2010, an increase from $7.8 million in 2007. Hard cider production added over 30,000 gallons since the last survey. Direct sales to consumers represented approximately 66 percent of farm winery sales in Massachusetts. The remaining 34 percent of the sales were wholesale, part of the three-tier system of distribution in Massachusetts. Twenty- six wineries in the state have tasting rooms and are open to visitors.

Over 1,842 acres of open space are currently maintained by farm wineries across the Commonwealth, with 531 acres devoted exclusively to grape or fruit production to make wine. In 1994, wineries held only 600 acres of open space.

The national average per capita consumption of wine is about 2.54 gallons per year. There has been a growth of 4.8 percent per year in per capita consumption across the country. Massachusetts consumers rank 7th in the nation for per capita consumption at 4.9 gallons per year, nearly double the national average.

Click here to find a winery to visit and view the updated Massachusetts wine and cheese trail map at

[back to table of contents]

AARP Foundation Grant Opportunity

AARP Foundation is seeking to fund the development or scaling of innovative, sustainable solutions to hunger that have the potential to make a significant impact on community food security and sustainable food systems for Americans 50 and older.

Through a competitive RFP process, AARP Foundation will award grants to eligible local, state and/or national registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in the United States, in amounts ranging from $50,000 to $300,000.

Grants will be awarded under the AARP Foundation Sustainable Solutions to Hunger Innovation Grants Program. There are two models of grants: Scaling Grants and Innovation Grants.

  • Scaling Grants will fund existing programs that have demonstrated success and require additional funds to bring them to scale.
  • Innovation Grants will be made to fund ideas that have the potential to substantially contribute to greater long-term, sustainable food security for adults 50 and older.
Deadlines : Sustainable Solutions to Hunger Grants Program timeline:
  • Submit Letter of Inquiry by September 15, 2011 11:59PM(EST)
  • Submit Proposals by October 15, 2011 11:59PM(EST)
  • Grant Awards Announced in December 2011

For more information about this funding opportunity, please visit: For information about this and other AARP Foundation grant programs, please visit:

[back to table of contents]

Call for Vendors for New South Shore Celebration

Sustainable South Shore, in partnership with edible South Shore and Go Green Web Directory, is hosting the first annual South Shore Celebration! at the Marshfield Fairgrounds on Oct. 8 to celebrate the fall harvest, local food, and sustainable living. We are seeking the following vendors to help make the Celebration! a success:

Artisans to sample and sell prepared foods made primarily with locally grown, all natural, ingredients.*
Restaurants, Chefs, and Caterers to sample and sell freshly made food with natural healthful ingredients for attendees to enjoy while walking the event or to bring home to enjoy at a later time.*
Farmers to sell locally grown seasonal vegetables and greens at our Farmers’ Market*
*Organic ingredients are always a plus and help set a good example.

Eco Conscious:
Businesses and manufacturers that are involved in producing and promoting products that help our community achieve a more sustainable healthy lifestyle.

Natural Products and Crafts:
Plants, garden tools, woolens, hemp, pottery, dog friendly foods, soap, greeting cards, etc.

We are very excited about this inaugural event and turning it into one of the South Shore’s premier events celebrating the things that make us proud to call the South Shore our home.

Please see our website for more information and to sign up as a vendor, or email Laurie@edibleSouthShore for additional information.

[back to table of contents]

USDA Organic Cost Share Program Applications Due

Applications are due for Organic Cost Share Reimbursement. The Department has been awarded funds from the United States Department of Agriculture through the Organic Certification Cost Share Program to reimburse certified organic farmers (crop and Livestock) and processors up to 75% ($750 dollars maximum) of the total certification cost.

Reimbursement is available to production and processing operations certified and/or receiving continuation of certification during the period of October 1, 2010 through September 30, 2011. In order to receive reimbursement, please submit forms to the Department by no later than October 15, 2011. Click here for reimbursement forms, or contact Ellen Hart, 617-626-1742,

[back to table of contents]

Export Marketing Forum, Boston

September 27-28: Export Marketing Forum, Boston - Your roadmap to export success! Sign up now to meet with In-country Marketing Representatives, buyers, trade experts and join educational sessions for expertise and resources as well as information on ingredient, retail and foodservice opportunities to best market and position products for export success at the annual Food Export Marketing Forum LOCATED IN BOSTON THIS YEAR - convenient for Massachusetts agricultural and food businesses!

The Marketing Forum is the largest and most dynamic opportunity this year to gain in-person, up to date information from industry leaders on how to best market and position your products for export success.

  • The Marketing Forum will help you understand the big picture and the smaller details of exporting, making you more comfortable with the whole process. Bring your questions and get them answered.
  • The Marketing Forum will help educate and empower you to export successfully.
  • Educational sessions are available for companies at any exporting experience level

Click here for more information, or contact

[back to table of contents]


The 27th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest will be held at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market on Monday, August 22nd in conjunction with the City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market and the start of Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week. Tomatoes will be judged by a panel of experts on flavor, firmness/slicing quality, exterior color and shape. Always a lively and fun event, the day is designed to increase awareness of locally grown produce.

Farmers who want to submit entries can bring tomatoes to the City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market between 9:00 am and 10:15 am on August 22nd or drop their entries off with the corresponding registration form to one of several locations around the state on August 20th or 21st. These tomatoes will be brought in to Boston on Monday. For the complete details, including contest criteria and a registration form, click here.

The 27th Annual Tomato Contest is sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association and Mass Farmers Markets.

[back to table of contents]

Governor Patrick Proclaims August 21-27 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week

Calling farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth “essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms,” Governor Deval Patrick has proclaimed August 21-27 Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week.

Farmers’ markets “create a festive open air setting which enhances community spirit and civic pride by offering a natural place for community gathering,” according to Governor Patrick’s proclamation. Farmers’ markets also ‘help heighten public awareness of the agricultural diversity of Massachusetts and the benefits of buying local and preserving open space.”

The week officially kicks off Monday, August 22nd, when the proclamation will be read at the 27th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest at Boston’s City Hall Plaza Farmers’ Market.

Northeast Recycling Council Manure Management & Compost Technique
Free Workshop

The Northeast Recycling Council is holding a free workshop on Manure Management and Compost Technique on Tuesday, August 30, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the New England Small Farm Institute in Belchertown, Massachusetts. Topics to be presented include: Manure management plans, containment & storage, pasture & paddock management, and manure management options – land application & composting. Workshop is free, but registration is required. For more information and to register please contact: Athena at or by phone 802-254-3636.

Solar Thermal Workshop Invitation

Join Community Involved for Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and MA Farm Energy Program for a Summer Workshop! - Solar Thermal – hot water & space heating

Come learn the basics of energy efficient solar hot water systems with the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program/Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D and system installers, including the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, The Solar Store and Coop Power. We will discuss system and equipment options, best management practices for different farm sectors, how to work with an installer, funding opportunities, and take a look at an on-site system. Find out how the MA Farm Energy Program can be a resource for your farm energy project from planning to implementation. Snacks will be served, suggested donation $5.

Monday, August 22nd, 6:00-8:00pm, Crossroads Farm, 1231 West Road, Ashfield

Please RSVP by Friday, August 19th to Devon Whitney-Deal at 413-665-7100 x22 or

The Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP) is a program of Berkshire-Pioneer RC&D, with support from MDAR. This workshop is supported in part by USDA/Risk Management Agency and by individual contributors and Local Hero members.

Schools and Farms Will Celebrate
“Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week 2011”
September 19-23

Get ready for local tomatoes, sweet corn on the cob, fresh crunchy Macintosh apples, and cucumber dill salad! It’s time for the fifth annual Massachusetts Harvest for Students Week, September 19-23, 2011.

Mass. Harvest for Students Week is coordinated by the Massachusetts Farm to School Project in conjunction with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. During Harvest Week, schools and colleges promote our local harvest and serve fresh, nutritious meals prepared with foods produced by Massachusetts farms.

Click here to get fresh ideas on how to celebrate and to order free recipes, posters, stickers and other materials.

Agricultural Business Planning Courses
January-March 2012

MDAR offers three formats serve the broad spectrum of individuals who make up Massachusetts agriculture:

Explorers - For those who are thinking about getting into farming or expanding a hobby to an income-generating scale, “Exploring the Small Farm Dream” delivers experienced Instructor guidance and timely peer group feedback for making informed decisions about whether and how to proceed in farming. Five sessions over 6 weeks on weekday evenings in Amherst and Marlborough. Cost per enterprise - $125.

Planners – For those a step or two beyond Explorer who have access to land and a stronger sense of what they want and are capable of doing, “Planning for Start-up” provides a gut check before making more significant investments of time and money. Requires completion of Explorer, or prior self guided completion of the Explorer workbook. Applicants must have already reached the decision to farm on a revenue generating scale. Six sessions over 8 weeks on Saturday mornings in Amherst and possibly also in Marlborough based on regional demand. Cost per enterprise - $175.

Established Farmers – For those already operating an agricultural enterprise with at least two years of production and sales records, and who need to develop a comprehensive business plan on paper, “Tilling the Soil of Opportunity” offers a chance to assess, regroup, assemble documentation for decision making, consider redirection, plan expansion, or approach ownership transfer. This course draws on extensive peer experience, Instructor knowledge and guest speakers - with the addition of substantial individual technical assistance at course conclusion. 10 sessions over 11 weeks on weekday evenings in Amherst and Marlborough. Cost per enterprise - $225.

Explorer and Tilling the Soil courses are limited to 12 farms/potential agricultural businesses, with an option to bring a key partner at no extra cost. Planner is limited to 10. Full attendance is required to get expected results. Fees are kept low through MDAR support.

Please request additional details and an application for the course that fits you best. Courses fill quickly in the Fall. Email requests to, or visit Agricultural Business Training Program.


New Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) Guide Available from NRCS

Are you considering protecting and enhancing wetlands on your land through the federal Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)? The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has published a new guide to help Massachusetts landowners understand this environmentally beneficial but complex program.

“A Landowner’s Guide to the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)” will help you understand the WRP application process, how applications are ranked and selected for funding, as well as your responsibilities as a WRP participant. Your local NRCS field office can provide you with additional information and application documents, and answer questions.

WRP provides technical and financial assistance to private landowners to protect, restore and enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring eligible land from agriculture. When you apply for WRP, you have three enrollment options: a permanent easement, a 30-year easement or a restoration agreement.

Depending on the type of easement or agreement you enter into with NRCS, compensation may be available for all or part of the cost of conservation practices that will improve wildlife habitat and restore natural ecosystems.

The eight-page guide includes a checklist of required documents, a glossary of common real estate terms you might encounter when applying for WRP, questions and answers and a planning guide to help you determine if your land might be eligible for WRP.

“A Landowner’s Guide to the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)” and general WRP program information are available on-line. Hard copies are available at NRCS field offices, which can be located on-line at or in the phone book under Federal Government, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“If you offer your land for a permanent WRP easement, a real estate transaction is involved. If you opt for a 30 year easement or if you enter into a 10 year restoration agreement, you’re making a long-term commitment,” said Christine Clarke, NRCS Massachusetts State Conservationist. “Either way, it’s a complex process that can take more than a year to complete. WRP is not a buy-out program for farmers who wish to get out of agriculture.”


Classified Ads

  • Seek Consultant: The Boston Collaborative for Food & Fitness (BCFF) seeks a consultant to assist in the overall management and support of farmer markets in Boston. The Market Coordinator is responsible for opportunities supporting all farmers’ markets in Boston. The coordinator will regularly facilitate networking among managers, and between managers and community groups and organizations. The focus of is project is to facilitate access to fresh local produce for all residents of Boston, with particular emphasis on reaching underserved communities. The consultant will work from own location, but will be expected to periodically go to the BCFF office at the Boston Public Health Commission, 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston. For complete details of RFP, contact Karen Spiller,
  • For Lease: 18 acres of pastureland with running stream. Fencing in need of repair. 14 acres of a corn field that has not been used in a few years. In Westfield, MA. Open for negotiation. 413-568-7575,
  • Agricultural excavation – Grading services: We provide earth moving, drainage, land/pasture reclamation, greenhouse preparation, and rock raking services. Includes but not limited to orchards/equine facilities/cranberry bogs/nurseries.Chris Merrill Excavating,, 978-897-9977.
  • For sale: 5hp irrigation pump,john deere brushog, quick connect bucket with crapple for a jd 245 loader.Greenhouses for sale 27 x 100 new englander. Several 17 x 100 including new metal with posts.Call 781-266-8319.
  • Sheep Flock for Sale: 120 commercial and purebred ewes and 4 rams, breeding year round and seasonally; some bred for fall lambing, all to be exposed to rams and bred no later than October, unless sold first, mainly Finn/Dorset/Suffolk and Cotswold. Solid, dependable flock. $200 each with discount for total flock purchase. Call 413-822-9621, Western, MA.

How to Place a Classified Ad

Classified ads are accepted free-of charge on a first-come basis. Be sure to include a phone number. No display ads will be accepted. Only one ad per business/individual per issue, unless space permits. Ads may run in consecutive issues, space permitting. Ads must be of interest to Massachusetts farmers. The Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) reserves the right to refuse any listing it deems inappropriate for publication. E-mail, fax or mail ads to: Farm & Market Report, MDAR, 251 Causeway Street, Suite 500, Boston, MA 02114, fax: 617-626-1850,

[back to contents]



16 & 172011 North American Strawberry Growers Assoc. (NASGA) Summer Tour will be in Massachusetts. Tour includes Marini's Farm, Cider Hill Farm, Parlee Farms, Verrill Farm, Wards Berry Farm, Spring Rain Farm, Four Town Farm, and Foppema's Farm. Each farm has unique features you'll want to explore, plus you'll enjoy the great company and wisdom of strawberry farmers for two full days! See our Summer Tour schedule for information and hotel reservations.
19Organic Lawns & Landscape Refresher Workshop, 9am to 1pm, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Newburyport, with expert Javier Gil. Intensive, practical, problem-solving focus. Soil testing, compost tea and grass types and nutrition will be discussed. Cost: $100 general public; $75 NOFA members and AOLCPs. More info: Kathy Litchfield at (413) 773-3830 or Online registration at

MA Tomato Contest for Commercial Tomato Growers: Please join us for the 27th annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest. This year's tomato contest will be held at the Boston City Hall Plaza Farmers' Market. The event is sponsored by the New England Vegetable and Berry Growers Association in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. This friendly contest is designed to increase consumer awareness of local agriculture. Details here.

25UMass Extension's Grassy Weed Identification Workshop - Grassy Weeds: An In-Depth Look UMass Amherst, Date: 9-3:30 pm. Correct weed identification is an important first step in the development of an effective weed management program. Using a classroom presentation, potted weed herbarium and weed walk, UMass Ext. Specialist Randy Prostak will help participants enhance their weed identification skills. Feel free to bring a weed or two to identify. Credits available, cost $95/person (pre-registration required). For a registration form, go to under UPCOMING.
25MDAR and UVM Hops Field Day, Four Star Farms in Northfield, MA. A new prototype of harvester will be on site for review, as well as a chance to tour the hops yard. Information to follow. Contact information.
27Annual MA Christmas Tree Meeting, Pierce's Tree Farm, Russ, Dan, and Cathy Pierce, 431 Chase Rd., Lunenburg, MA, 978-582-4723,,

For a Complete Ongoing List of Events and Workshops, Click Here.

*** If you have events you would like listed to our Ag industry calendar, or Consumer events, email Rick LeBlanc at

[back to contents]

About the Farm & Market Report

Published bi-monthly by:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Department of Agricultural Resources

Boston Office:
251 Causeway St., Suite 500,
Boston, MA 02114
617-626-1700, Fax: 617-626-1850
Amherst Satellite Office:
101 University Drive, Suite C4
Amherst, MA 01002
413-548-1900, Fax: 413-548-1901
  • Scott J. Soares, Commissioner
  • Nathan L’Etoile, Asst. Commissioner
  • Anna Waclawiczek, Chief of Staff
Division Directors

Next issue to be published for October / November. Please send news, calendar and/or classified information by September 30th to, or fax to 617-626-1850. To unsubscribe or change your address, send an e-mail message to or call 617-626-1759.