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Get Growing: Symposiums back to stir gardening anticipation
03-10-2023 9:50 PM

By MICKEY RATHBUN

One of the many casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic was the series of annual spring gardening symposiums hosted by the Western Massachusetts Master Gardeners Association (WMMGA). These popular events helped gardeners of all abilities expand their...


Valley Bounty: Deep-rooted sugaring farm has a few new tricks
03-03-2023 6:24 PM

By JACOB NELSON

‘We call it liquid gold,” Erik Lively says of maple syrup. This is his favorite time of year at Sunrise Farms in the hills of Colrain, when they reap the sweet amber rewards of a year’s hard work.Lively and his brother Jordan, who both work full time...


South Deerfield native Ashley Randle named state agriculture commissioner
02-27-2023 8:21 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

BOSTON — With a background in showing cattle at fairs and working on the family farm in South Deerfield, the state’s new agriculture commissioner has a regional flair to her.South Deerfield native Ashley Randle has been tapped by the Healey-Driscoll...


(Egg)shell shock: Avian flu, gas prices and more contributing to high price of eggs
01-26-2023 7:49 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

The United States is experiencing the deadliest bird flu outbreak in its history, labor costs continue to increase and the national average price of gas hovers around $3.40 per gallon.But what’s that got to do with the price of eggs? It turns out,...


Betting the farm on innovation: Produce farmer adapting to weather swings with groundbreaking low-till approach
10-28-2022 10:33 PM

By JACOB NELSON

WORTHINGTON — “Agriculture is going to have to look different,” says Lincoln Fishman of Sawyer Farm in Worthington, given the climate crisis. “And I’m just not interested in farming the old way.”Well-read and well-spoken, Fishman has a keen ability to...


Pasiecnik sisters come together to keep 5J Creamee and farm stand open in Whately
06-02-2022 12:08 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

WHATELY — After the death of James Pasiecnik in January, his three daughters banded together to ensure the family business, 5J Creamee and Pasiecnik Farmstand, is operating in full force this summer.Justine Pasiecnik, the oldest of the three sisters,...


Cultivating a family and lifetime together: Hatfield greenhouse owners depart life as one
01-16-2022 9:09 PM

By EMILY THURLOW

HATFIELD — By most familial accounts, Frank J. Skawski, Jr. and Linda Skawski were always together. The couple founded and co-ran their Hatfield business, Skawski Farms, that has thrived for more than four decades. Season after season, Linda could be...


New life for old farm: Plainfield couple buys former Thatcher property
10-14-2020 9:23 PM

By MICHAEL CONNORS

PLAINFIELD — A defunct dairy farm owned by the family of the late fire chief Dennis Thatcher is about to get a jolt of new life after a Plainfield couple and business owners bought the well-known property earlier this month.The property’s new owners,...


Barn raising event Saturday will mark the completion of Simple Gifts Farm’s new farmstand
04-14-2017 6:27 PM

By SCOTT MERZBACH

AMHERST — Customers of a community supported agriculture farm share program have enjoyed the fruits of Simple Gifts Farm owner Jeremy Barker-Plotkin’s labor for more than a decade. Soon even more people will have the opportunity.Barker-Plotkin, who...


Editorial: State a leader in farm-to-consumer sales
01-09-2017 8:31 PM

Massachusetts has long been on the cutting edge of enterprises ranging from education and biotech to changes in our health care system. But there’s another home-grown enterprise that the state is cultivating that is more down to earth –...

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