Hello, Friend of the Franklin County CDC

Spring is in the air (humor me, ok?). With the smell of maple syrup and the sight of daffodils poking through the ground, it's been difficult not to catch that spring fever. At the Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center, we are gearing up for the upcoming harvest season. We are filling our schedule with all kinds of fun things, like frozen strawberries, garlic-scape pestos, bread-and-butter pickles, and a range of salsas for local farms. Each season, we are inspired by the many small farms that are starting, growing, and creating exciting new value-added products for our communities.

This past week, our Western Massachusetts Food Processing Center team kicked off the season with a trip to Wayland, MA, to attend the Local Food Trade Show, hosted annually by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts. This year the show was at Russell's Garden Center and we got to spend our morning meandering around the greenhouses there, which were filled with a wide variety of vendors from across New England. We sampled raw cow's milk cheeses crafted in Hardwick, MA; Mysore Chutney (Chili Garlic Sauce) from Brattleboro, VT; kombuchas that were naturally fermented in Bristol, RI (pictured in the header of this newsletter); and Misala Kichadi carefully blended in Melrose, MA. We scooped up plenty of treats to share with coworkers too...ginger candies from Watertown, coconut caramels from Saugus, wing sauce from Shrewsbury and cashew "cheeze" from Boston. What a day!

And then of course we had to order more treats online to share with foodie friends and curious family members (websites from vendors are listed in an article below). We encourage you to do the same for the local businesses you love–support them with your business, blast them in your social circles, and share their products and services on your social media platforms.

As economic and community development advocates and business advisors, we are forever in awe of the bravery, hard work, and grit it takes to launch and run a business. Food entrepreneurs who run food trucks, restaurants, and consumer packaged goods companies are particularly tenacious people and we are lucky to be along for the ride with so many wonderful businesses owners in our communities. Thanks for letting us come on the journey with you!

Kate Minifie
Food Entrepreneurship Program Manager