For Immediate Release - November 08, 2012

MASSACHUSETTS AGRICULTURE OFFICIALS HIGHLIGHT LOCAL FOOD AND FARMING THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

DAR officials ask Massachusetts residents and visitors to celebrate the harvest of the year with a visit to a holiday market or harvest festival.

BOSTON – Thursday, November 08, 2012 – Officials from the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) are encouraging consumers to buy ingredients raised, produced and processed in Massachusetts for their holiday meals.

“Thanksgiving is the perfect time when families can celebrate the bounty of Massachusetts grown and produced products,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “Buying locally all season long promotes Massachusetts businesses and connects families to our state’s wonderfully diverse local food sources.”

DAR’s MassGrown & Fresher award-winning website will help you build your all-local grocery list. Use the site’s Agri-Google map tool to search for all of the trimmings for your holiday table – including farm raised turkeys, sweet oysters, seasonal vegetables still available at farmers’ markets and upcoming holiday markets, farmstead cheese and local wines. Use DAR’s Local Holiday Food Buying Guide  for more local holiday food ideas.

Holiday Markets & Harvest Festivals -- Many communities organize holiday farmers’ markets  and harvest festivals that offer a variety of locally grown, produced and prepared food from farmers and food producers - including produce, wine, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, baked goods and preserves; and handcrafted gift items and holiday decorations made by local artisans.

“We’re thrilled to host our fourth annual farmers’ markets,” said Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. “We’re extending the season for our local farmers, and offering the community an opportunity to support our local farmers and food producers. The success of these markets depends on everyone participating – we count on the community to celebrate our local food and farmers.” 

Upcoming Holiday Markets & Harvest Festivals:

10th Annual Thanksgiving Festival -- Bring Thanksgiving to your home from the North Quabbin Region. November 17 – 18, Red Apple Farm, Phillipston.

Berkshire Grown Holiday Markets -- Visit these holiday markets filled with local food producers and vendors of other agricultural products including locally-grown plants, bee-related products and yarns. December markets will also feature local artisans. November 17 – 18 and December 15 – 16, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Cape Ann Thanksgiving Harvest Market -- You’ll find more than 20 local vendors selling produce, jams, baked goods, meats, cheeses, maple syrup, crafts and more. EBT/SNAP/WIC & Senior FM coupons accepted. November 17, 9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church, 10 Church Street, Gloucester. 

4th Annual Harvest Festival & Market -- As part of Americas Hometown Thanksgiving Festival, Edible South Shore Magazine & Plymouth Farmers' Market bring you this holiday event where you can shop for holiday meals from a selection of locally grown produce and specialty foods, as well as locally made desserts, and buy holiday gifts from local artisans and crafters. November 18, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Water Street, Plymouth.

Lexington Farmers’ Market FESTival -- This community tradition offers locally grown and produced items for your Thanksgiving table from some of your favorite farms and local vendors. November 20, 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. at Seasons Four, 1265 Mass Avenue, Lexington.

Carlisle Winter Faire -- This one day farmers’ market will host local and organic vegetables growers and specialty food producer. You will also find farm fresh eggs, cheese, meat, breads, baked good, fibers and more.  December 15, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 27 School Street, Unitarian Universalist Church, Union Hall, Carlisle.

Farmers’ Markets & Winter Markets -- Don’t worry, the season for Massachusetts grown fruits and vegetables is not over. A number of farmers’ markets will be open through the week of Thanksgiving, and when those markets close, growers across the Commonwealth have organized winter markets offering locally grown, produced and prepared foods all winter long.

DAR’s mission is to ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in Massachusetts. Through its four divisions – Agricultural Conservation & Technical Assistance, Agricultural Markets, Animal Health, and Crop and Pest Services – DAR strives to support, regulate and enhance the rich diversity of the Commonwealth’s agricultural community to promote economically and environmentally sound food safety and animal health measures, and fulfill agriculture’s role in energy conservation and production. For more information, visit DAR’s website at www.mass.gov/agr, and/or follow us at www.twitter.com/MDARCommish and www.twitter.com/MassGrown.

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