For Immediate Release - September 22, 2011

Governor Patrick and Agriculture Officials Celebrate Local Foods, Local Farms at Region’s Largest Agricultural Fair

Region's Largest Agricultural Fair

WEST SPRINGFIELD - September 22, 2011 - The Patrick-Murray Administration today celebrated "Massachusetts Day" at the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E). With the fall harvest underway, Governor Deval Patrick, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. and Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) Commissioner Scott J. Soares joined the festivities to kick off Massachusetts Day at The Big E agricultural fair.

The day's events highlighted an array of the Commonwealth's commerce, tourism and agricultural interests and a number of awards recognizing commitment to a sustainable agricultural future.

Celebrating a theme of "Local Foods, Local Farms, Healthy Choices," Secretary Sullivan and Commissioner Soares joined Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Commissioner John Auerbach and Governor Deval Patrick on the tour and a healthy cooking demonstration using local ingredients hosted by celebrity chef Ann Sortun, owner of Oleana in Cambridge. The demonstration, which featured local ingredients in two dishes that were sampled by tasters, was emceed by DPH's Medical Director Dr. Lauren Smith.

"Today we applaud the year-round efforts of local farmers, shell fishermen and others who work to enhance the Commonwealth's agriculture. Under the leadership of Governor Patrick, we continue to support the work to bring the very best produce, meats and baked goods to our tables," said Secretary Sullivan.

Massachusetts Day events revolve around the Massachusetts Building on the Avenue of States - an attraction that features replicas of the original capital buildings of each New England state. Managed year-round by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR), the Massachusetts Building was the first state replica to be built and was dedicated in 1919 by then Governor Calvin Coolidge and marked the official launching of the Avenue of States. This year many vendors at the Massachusetts Building will donate up to 5 percent of the day's proceeds to the Farm Disaster Relief Fund established in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

The Building recently was involved in an energy audit conducted by the Western Massachusetts Electric Company and MassSave. This year, the main floor lighting has been retrofitted with State of the art T5 lighting LED exterior lights have also been added. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and 'Big Belly' Solar Trash Compactors, six solar powered trash compactors have been dispersed throughout the Massachusetts Building grounds for use by fairgoers during fair.

"The Local Food, Local Farms, and Healthy Choices theme complements the Patrick-Murray Administration's goal to promote greater access to healthy, locally grown food." said DAR Commissioner Scott Soares. "With thousands of visitors a day to the Big E, this is a great opportunity to let folks know that Massachusetts offers a diverse and growing array of fresh, local, and healthy foods across our Commonwealth."

Later in the afternoon, presentations were made to recognize winners of the Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Amateur Contest, student winners of the Massachusetts 'Fuel Up to Play 60' poster contest and the reading of the State Proclamation declaring the Week of September 26th 'Childhood Obesity Awareness Week'.

"We encourage all residents to use fresh and local ingredients to make healthy food that also taste great," said Dr. Smith. "Our Mass in Motion Program is an additional resource for everyone to learn how to eat right and move more."

2012 Calendar Winners

January - Barbara Ronchetti, Vineyard Haven ("Alpacas at Island Alpaca Company Farm, Martha's Vineyard")

February - Monica Elefterion, Dudley ("Canning Jars at the Mind Barn, Dudley")

March - Tom Adams, Williamsburg ("Sugar Shack Gal at Hanging Mountain Farm, Westhampton")

April - Leonora Giguere, Leicester ("Mare & Foal at Green Gate Farm")

May - Dr. Mary Melonis, Montague ("Purple Dahlia")

June - Shelley Baker, Swansea ("Cows in Line at Baker Farm, Swansea")

July - Larry Flaccus, Shelburne ("Picking Blueberries at Kenburn Orchard, Shelburne")

August - Becky Prior, Watertown ("Hot Peppers at the Hutchins Farm booth at the Belmont Farmers' Market")

September - Leonora Giguere, Leicester ("Stephanie Giguere at Blossoming Acres, Southwick")

October - Sasha Purpura, Middleboro ("Evening Set at Soule Fields, Plato's Harvest Organic Farm, Middleboro")

November - Jerry Horbert, Uxbridge ("Cranberries Being Harvested at Cranberry Harvest Festival, A.D. Makepeace, Carver")

December - Susie Mulliken, New Braintree ("Christmas Tree field in Winter at Kip's Christmas Tree Farm, New Braintree")

Honorable Mentions include Sasha Purpura of Middleboro; Richard Antinarelli of Dedham; Gene L'Etoile of Northfield; Tamara Leclerc of Ashby; and Robin Cohen of Arlington.

Calendars can be purchased for $10 each, with proceeds benefiting Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, a nonprofit organization that works with teachers to develop classroom materials. Send check payable to Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom to PO Box 345, Seekonk, MA, 02771.

Fuel Up to 60 Poster Contest Winners

Dairy Poster Contest Winners -

 

First Place: Catherine Healy of Norton

 

Second Place: Adrianna Horton of Worcester

 

Third Place: Rachel Soule of Walpole

Honorary Mentions include Flor Endo of Springfield; Julia Sumner of Norton; Hannah Goldman of Norton; Elizabeth Murphy of Springfield; Kourtney Furtado of Oakham; Ashleigh Spellman of Pembroke; Sara Udell of Longmeadow; Caitlyn Doyle of Braintree; James Daly of Braintree; Joelle Ouimette of Belchertown; Ryland Charron of Belchertown and Wilfredo Robles of Worcester.

Other recognition awards included in the presentation were the Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom "Massachusetts Teacher of the Year". This year's recipient is Teresa Strong of the Harvard-Kent Elementary School of Charlestown. An award was also given out to the 2011 Massachusetts Building Wall of Fame, Annie Diemand of Diemand's Poultry Farm of Wendall.

Special attractions at the Massachusetts Building include a replica of the Mayflower II centered in the main floor of the exhibits. Smith Academy of Hatfield is displaying a mural depicting agricultural scenery. The mural honors Hatfield's agricultural heritage and promotes the availability of local farm products. Students of the Smith Academy designed and painted the 32-foot wide, eight-foot tall mural during the school year. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Safety was on hand on Massachusetts Day to promote fire safety and display a fire truck for children to learn about fire equipment. The Massachusetts Christmas Tree Growers Association celebrated the Holiday Season early with a 9-foot lighted Balsam Fir Christmas Tree along with a small arrangement of fir and spruce trees of various sizes.

Scheduled Events on Massachusetts Day

  • The New England Square Dance Association kick-off the first set (10-11am)
  • Governor Deval Patrick, Commissioner Scott Soares, and Celebrity Chef Ann Sortun lead a healthy cooking demonstration using Massachusetts grown ingredients for onlookers including local farmers, and youth from nearby schools. Dr. Lauren Smith, medical director of the MA Department of Public Health emcee the event. Two prepared dishes to be sampled by a group of "tasters" consisting of Commissioner Auerbach, Secretary Sullivan, two farmers and two local youth. Dr. Smith and Chef Ana lead the conversation about local food, farms and healthy choices. (Noon to 1pm)
  • Fuel Up to Play 60 hosts an education and exercise segment. Brandy Cruthird of Body by Brandy leads an inspiring exercise routine for the crowd with the help of two New England Patriots cheerleaders. Student Ambassador Ben Ryan and youth from a local Springfield School participate. (1:15-2 pm)
  • Secretary Sullivan and Assistant Commissioner Nathan L'Etoile participate in the speaking program, in which Calendar Winners are announced and a Proclamation declaring the week of September 26 th Childhood Obesity Awareness Week. (2:30-3:15)
  • Following the speaking program is a youth performance from GHT Production. (3:30-4:30)

Groups at Mass Day (on Lawn)

Asian Longhorn Beetle Exhibit Big Belly

Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce Tourism Association

Blue Star Equiculture

Body by Brandy

Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project

Commonwealth Quality Seal Program

Crowley Seltzer Water

Department of Public Health Medical Director Dr. Lauren Smith

Fuel Up To Play 60

GHT Productions (kids performing group)

Mass in Motion

Mass Save

Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)

Wachusett Mountain Ski Area

Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom

Massachusetts Association of Campground Owners

Massachusetts Farm to School Program

Miss. Massachusetts, Mrs. Massachusetts

New England Square Dance Foundation

Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA), Massachusetts Chapter

Our Family Farms

Secretary of State's office

Seniors Helping Seniors

The Chocolate Coast

Topsfield Fair

University of Massachusetts Amherst Police

 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 at twitter.com/MDARCommish

 

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