For Immediate Release - September 02, 2010

State Agricultural Officials Launch Website Featuring Statewide Farmers' Market Guide, Interactive Agricultural Tourism Map

MassGrown & Fresher site also includes crop availability chart, culinary events calendar

BOSTON - September 2, 2010 - With the harvest season at its peak, Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott J. Soares today announced the official launch of a new website dedicated to connecting Massachusetts residents and visitors to the Bay State's rich agricultural offerings.

The new MassGrown & Fresher website makes it easy to find farmers' markets, culinary- and agri-tourism destinations, and agricultural fairs. The site includes a guide to agricultural fairs, a crop availability chart, a culinary and farm events calendar and information for how to find and purchase locally grown products. The site, www.mass.gov/massgrown, has been getting over 10,000 visits per month since its beta launch in April.

The site's most popular page is an interactive Google map that allows users search for agricultural destinations within a particular radius at www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown/map.htm.

"I can't think of a better vehicle for showcasing the great diversity of our agricultural community than this website," said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. "It's an invitation to residents and visitors near and far to come experience the best of what Massachusetts has to offer by visiting these farms personally."

"With an abundance of fairs and activities that focus on agriculture in the Commonwealth, there is something for everyone to enjoy," said Betsy Wall, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism.

Developed with input from growers and consumers, the site provides quick information about where to find a Massachusetts-grown apple after a hay ride or where to find the freshest locally grown basil, vine-ripe tomatoes and locally made mozzarella cheese for a summer salad. For culinary tourists, the site also provides information about local tours on wineries and oyster farms and everything in between. Each month in the spotlight section, the site features a person or place making a contribution to Massachusetts's vibrant agricultural future.

With Massachusetts now ranking sixth nationally in the number of farmers' markets, the number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA's) associations soaring, and agri-tourism booming in the Bay State, the MassGrown & Fresher website offers residents and consumers plenty of agricultural destination points.

Visit www.mass.gov/massgrown for more information.