Bug Hill Farm News

As much as we love the summers here, that juicy season of ripening berries and buzzing bees, and the pungent fragrance of black currant leaves hinting at their high medicinal value, it is the winter that truly defines this hilltop farm.


The deep long nights of sparkling skies, the searching winds carving patterns in the drifting snow across the fields, and the utter silence on a still day in the woods. Snow nearly reaches the top of our largest high tunnel greenhouse yet sun warms the inside enough to work in shirtsleeves pruning last year's raspberry canes. In the field, snow insulates all but the tips of berry plants like a great downy blanket and when it finally melts, this "poor man's fertilizer" will provide a gentle slow release nitrogen to awakening plants.




This spring, we start our newly expanded workshop season with Small Fruit Cultivation on April 18. The farm's trails, gardens, and farm store will be open every weekend through the season with pick your own berries as varieties ripen. You are always welcome to bring your own picnic lunch or enjoy one of our special new luncheons.



Please help us spread the word to your friends and families about visiting Bug Hill Farm this season! Feel free to forward our newsletter and like us on Facebook:


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NEW Workshop and Event Series at Bug Hill Farm!!

Spring-Summer-Fall 2015


We are excited to announce that we have been hard at work this winter dreaming up and developing a full-featured series of workshops and events, taught by experts from the local bioregion and beyond! Below you will find descriptions of the workshops and events we already have scheduled for this spring and summer season.

  • Follow us on Facebook and stayed tuned for next month's newsletter for more information about each workshop listed below and several others that are in the works for the 2015 season!
  • Download the workshop registration form 
  • Sign up by March 25th for any workshop and we will send you back confirmation with a $10 gift certificate* for our farm store!


 * Good for whenever you visit our farm store including workshop dates.  

Small Fruit Cultivation: 

Pruning, Propagation & Soil Health 




When: Saturday, April 18th 

Rain date May 2


12:30-1:30PM - Lunch & self guided farm tour



Teachers: UMASS soil and small fruit specialists Sonia Schloemann (UMass Extension) and UMass graduate Plant Biology student Julie Stultz



Workshop Details:


Bug Hill Farm uses marginal land and high tunnels to successfully grow many unusual and native berries. Join us for a small fruit and soil health workshop that will use the farm as a living classroom to explore the role and effect of soil biodiversity and insect and landscape health for fruit cultivation and production.


This workshop is for people who already grow or are interested in learning how to grow uncommon small fruits in cooperation with the local ecosystem while improving their soils for perennial plants. 


Participants will:

  • See soil health demonstrations
  • Learn about the impact of soil disturbance and the role of mycorrhizae in the stability and resiliency of marginal soils. 
  • Engage in hands-on activities including soil tests, plant propagation, and pruning techniques
  • Take home cuttings along with instructions for rooting, and the knowledge you will need to more successfully grow small fruits 

Cost: $45 p.p. includes free cuttings from the farm's berry plants!


Food: $15 for hearty lunch buffet & discussion or feel free to bring your own!

Permaculture Techniques for Small Fruit Growers 


When: Saturday, May 16th 

Rain date May 17th 





Teacher: Jono Neiger


Workshop Details:


Permaculture is a whole systems design approach for farming, homes, and community. In this workshop we will learn the basics of permaculture, ecological agriculture and agroecology, and explore the ways that Bug Hill Farm is growing small fruit such as currants and elderberries. We'll learn about polycultures, plant guilds, and growing supportive combinations of productive plants, and design some mutual support plant guilds to help Bug Hill Farm establish a new fruit production area. There will be time to explore the farm, eat fresh, wholesome food together, and talk more about regenerative agriculture.


This workshop is for people who want to learn about permaculture and mutual support guilds, grow small fruit, or farm with integrated systems. It will be useful for farmers, homeowners, homesteaders, permaculture designers, and educators.


Participants will:
  • Learn about permaculture design
  • Learn about small fruit production, hugulkulture, and growing crops in polycultures
  • Engage in hands-on activities including design of small fruit polycultures
  • Take home handouts with small fruit resources and list of small fruit support plants
Cost:  $45 per person
Food: $15 for hearty lunch buffet & discussion or feel free to bring your own!

Ten Essential Medicinal Herbs for a Healthy Life


When: Saturday May 30 

Rain date May 31



Teacher: Bonnie Bloom, master herbalist, grower & founder of  

Blue Crow Botanicals


Workshop Details:


Using Bug Hill Farm's commercial kitchen & equipment, exploring the farm's  fields, woods and greenhouses as living classrooms, Bonnie will lead us in a hands on experiential workshop making delicious, therapeutic syrup from Bug Hill Farm's organic elderberries, a vitalizing root decoction tea, and a nutritional, soothing infusion, all while learning how to build adrenal and immune health. Participants will take home their own bottled infusions!

Participants will:
  • Learn how to identify, grow, and take cuttings of native and cultivated elderberries
  • Learn how to make elderberry syrup
  • Learn how to use Dandelion, Astragalus, Eleuthero, Elder, Nettle, Hawthorne, Burdock, Turmeric, Ashwaganda, Chamomile, and the medicinal mushrooms
  • Learn how to make vitalizing root decoction teas and soothing infusions from these plants
Cost: $45 p.p. 

Food: $15 for hearty lunch buffet & discussion, or feel free to bring your own!


Plants will be on sale at the farm.


Please join us for a very special opportunity!

Tom Wessels on Upland and Wetland Successional Patterns


When: Saturday, June 6  Rain or Shine!

10AM - 12:30PM 

(12:30-1:30PM Optional Lunch)


Tom Wessels, ecologist and Professor Emeritus at Antioch University New England, is author of several books including Reading the Forested Landscape and The Myth of Progress. Tom has conducted ecological and sustainability workshops throughout the country for over 30 years.


Workshop Details:


With Tom as our guide, we will explore the farm's wildlife enhancement projects, woodland trails, an active beaver pond, and a SARE grant research plot using marginal lands for growing berries and enjoy time and discussion on land use history with Tom during lunch.

 Participants will:


-Be challenged by Tom's unique way of experiential teaching and problem solving!

-Gain a better understanding of cultural and natural disturbances on the land and how that has shaped our use and enjoyment of our woods and fields

-Learn methods and skills to identify and understand these cultural and natural historical events in order to apply this knowledge to your own land or on any walk in the woods.  You will see old landscapes with new eyes!

Cost: $55 p.p.

Food: $15 for optional hearty lunch buffet & discussion or BYO

 Franklin Land Trust Farm & Garden Tour: Bug Hill Farm     

The south lawn at Bug Hill Farm


When: Saturday, June 27

Join us for Franklin Land Trust's Farm & Garden Tour! The farm store will be open and complimentary samplings of the farm's berry products will be available.  10% of the farm store's sales of value added fruit products will go to Franklin Land Trust. There will be plants on sale.


10AM, 12PM, 2PM: Walking Tours

Owner & plantswoman  Kate Kerivan will be doing personal walking tours of approximately one and one half hours each, starting on the hour. We will start each tour at the farm's front porch and visit the farm's native blueberry and wildlife enhancement restoration projects, Elderberry Allee, an active beaver pond, a portion of the woods' trails, high tunnel greenhouses, and fruit and perennial plantings.  Throughout the day, visitors can visit the farm store and have complimentary samples of many of our farm's fruit products such as cordials, syrups, "shrubs" and conserves. 



Third Annual Wild Edibles Luncheon & Plant Walk   


When: Saturday, July 18  

Rain date July 19

10:00AM-11:30 PM: Fields and Woods Plants Workshop/Walk 

12:00PM-1PM: Kitchen Demo, Recipes, Tastings 

1PM: Wild Foods Luncheon 


Teachers: Carly Leusner & Felix Lufkin


Workshop Details:

Join us and the Acorn Kitchen crew for a fun-filled jaunt through the world of wild foods!  Using the farm's fields and woods trails as outdoor classrooms, Felix will lead us on a delightful knowledge packed tour of the historical, medicinal, and just plain tasty uses of our native and non-native plants including cattails and milkweed.  Then join Carly in the farm's commercial kitchen for a cooking demo on using some of these plants in her delicious recipes!   


Participants will:

  • Learn how to identify, harvest and prepare over eight different plant species  
  • Make and then take home recipes from Acorn Kitchens 
  • Enjoy a hardy, vegan, gluten free 3-course luncheon that will be a feast for your eyes as well as your palette! 
Cost: $55 p.p. all inclusive: workshop, luncheon, drinks, desert

(children under 12 free)

Workshop/Walking tour only: $35

Wild Foods Luncheon (without workshop): $25


Tastes of Summer
 Farm to Table Luncheon with 
Guest Chef and Food Writer




When: Saturday, August 1 

Rain Date August 2


A day of cooking demonstrations and a delicious lunch buffet inspired by foods from the region with culinary herb expert and author of Wild FlavorsDidi Emmons and local foods pioneer Odessa Piper.  Odessa has over thirty years of experience as chef of the farm to table restaurant L'Etoile.  Chefs Didi and Odessa will team up for cooking demonstrations using many of the farm's fruit and products. They will then prepare a delicious lunch buffet featuring Bug Hill's fruits and ingredients from local farms. Many of the day's featured herbs and fruits will be incorporated into the lunch.


12:30-1:30PM A Three Course Luncheon including drinks and dessert featuring local ingredients prepared by chefs Didi Emmons and Odessa Piper.   


1:30-2:30PM - WILD FLAVORS: Didi Emmons demonstrates delicious recipes from her cookbook  Wild Flavors, featuring herbs and plants both new and familiar. Copies of Didi's cookbook will be available for purchase.



Adapting some of her favorite restaurant ideas for the home kitchen, chef Odessa Piper surveys creative applications for berries and herbs to bring out the best in meats, cheeses and produce. Featuring anise hyssop, basils, mints and the currants of Bug Hill Farm. Copies of Odessa's booklet The Market Kitchen will be available for purchase.


Cost: Luncheon only $15

Workshops/Demos: $45

Both luncheon and workshops: $55




Alma the farm dog and friends at a summer 2014 workshop and PYO.

Hope to see you at the farm!


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Kathleen Kerivan
Bug Hill Farm LLC