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The Vine - September 2019
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Taking a close look at MDAR's new farm compost regulations
Sometimes the rules need breaking and other times just tweaking.  Which will it be?  

Right now, Massachusetts farmers have a chance to comment on the new  on-farm composting regulations  proposed by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR).  Earlier this month I attended a listening session on these proposed regulations and wanted to share my concerns and to encourage our local farmers to comment to MDAR on the changes.  The more voices MDAR hears, the more likely we will see favorable changes.  

Continue reading  on the our website to see our full list of recommendations and how to comment on the regulations.

Comments to MDAR are due today, September 3rd!

With thanks,
Karen Schwalbe
Executive Director
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SEMAP Sheep 101 Twilight Workshop at the Soule Homestead, September 29th
Are you fascinated by fiber, a lover of lamb or just thinking about how to mow your grass without power?  Then sheep might be the perfect animal to add to your life. Whether it is just a few that you would like to get for your yard or if you are interested in starting a flock then come and learn the basics with the Soule Homestead Education Center's resident flock of sheep.  We will discuss breeds, fencing, housing, feeding, hoof care, parasites and everyone can try handling them.  We will also touch on breeding and processing for meat.  Wear clothes that can get dirty and closed-toed shoes.

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Results from the 35th Annual Tomato Contest
We've said it before and we'll say it again: Southeastern Massachusetts has the best tomato growers in the state! Congrats to all our region's top finishers at the 35th Annual Massachusetts Tomato Contest!

Top 10 cherry tomatoes included 1st & 3rd place Freedom Food Farm in Raynham, 4th & 7th place  Langwater Farm in Easton , 5th place  Under The Sun Farm in Dighton , 6th place  Bristol Aggie High School in Dighton , and 9th place  Ward's Berry Farm in Sharon .

Top 10 slicing tomatoes included 2nd Place  Ward's Berry Farm, 4th & 5th place  Langwater Farm, 7th place  C&C Reading Farm in West Bridgewater, 9th Place  Freedom Food Farm, and 10th place  Bristol Aggie High School.

Top 10 heirloom tomatoes included 2nd & 3rd place  Ward's Berry Farm, & 10th place  Langwater Farm.

Top 10 heaviest tomatoes included 3rd place  Ward's Berry Farm, 4th place  Langwater Farm, 7th Place  C&C Reading Farm, and 10th place  Freedom Food Farm.

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Upcoming Closing Dates at Local Farmers Markets
The following area Farmers Markets having closing dates approaching. If you've been meaning to go, now is the time!

September 7th - Bass River Farmers Market
September 8th - Brewster Farmers Market
September 10th - Old Rochester Farmers Market
September 14th - Huttleston Marketplace
September 15th -  Acushnet Farmers Market
September 19th - Medway Farmers Market
September 26th - Westport Farmers Market
September 28th - Norfolk Farmers Market
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Bristol Aggie Farm to Table Feast, September 7th
Join the Bristol Aggie Educational Foundation on their picturesque campus and enjoy an incredible dinner created from locally-sourced products featuring delicious recipes from Chef Janice Dey of The Westporter.

For the past two years, the Bristol Aggie Education Foundation hosted the Farm to Table Feast as its premiere fundraising event to support the staff and students of Bristol County Agricultural High School. Last year's event raised over $20,000 which was used to support staff and student initiatives within the school and student driven business ventures. 

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NOFA/Mass Organic Cranberry Production Workshop, September 8th
September 8th | 1:00pm to 4:00pm | Carver, MA

Massachusetts has a rich history of cranberry cultivation and organic cranberries are a niche crop with opportunities for direct sales of both fresh and frozen fruit. Come meet Dom Fernandes, of Fresh Meadows Farm, who has been growing certified organic cranberries for over 10 years. Learn about how they transitioned almost a third of their farm into organic production. Dom will lead a tour of one of Fresh Meadow Farms organic cranberry bogs and discuss the variety of cultivation techniques they use and the specific cultivars they find to work well in organic production. Following the tour, we convene in the sorting facility to learn about handling the crop after harvest. Dom will spend time elaborating and answering questions about his experiences transitioning from conventional to organic production and opportunities in the organic market. Workshop organized by NOFA/Mass.

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Introducing New England Ag Exchange
A tool developed for Rhode Island farms may be useful for your farm too! The New England 
Ag Exchange is an  online forum for connecting about farming, land, posting jobs, getting advice, buy/sell/trade opportunities and more. 

The N.E. Ag Exchange is powered by Farm Fresh Rhode Island, and brought to you in partnership with Young Farmer Network, RI DEM, and RI Farm Bureau.
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Massachusetts Cranberry Bog Renovation Enhancement Grant Program
The Massachusetts Department of Agriculutral Resources has announced a Request for Response (RFR) for the implementation of cranberry bog renovations to create more efficient bogs both in design and more productive berry varieties to enhance business and environmental sustainability through enhanced productivity of cranberry operations.

Read the announcment at the link below. For questions, contact Robert Monahan at (617) 626-1765 or by email at [email protected]

Learn more.
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Soule Homestead Harvest Fair and Joe Davie's Music Festival, September 14th & 15th
September 14-15th | Middleboro, MA

You know that fall is just around the corner when kids head back to school, the leaves start to change and the Soule Homestead holds their Annual Harvest Fair!  Join them for two days of live music at the Joe Davies Music Festival Stage. A tent and chairs are provided for watching music and we have a wide variety of musical acts to enjoy. A complete listing of the weekends musical acts can be found here Admission is $7 per person and children under age 6 are free.  Attendees will also find some delicious locally sourced food, local vendors, and plenty of entertainment for the kids.

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Organic Cost Share Program Deadline October 1st 
The Organic Certification Cost Share Program is now accepting applications. The cost sharing program reimburses certified organic farmers and food processors for up to 75% of the cost of organic certification, up to $750. Applications are due October 1st. If you have any questions, contact Keri Cornman at 617-626-1777 or [email protected]
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Save the Date: Massachusetts Food System Forum 
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Round the Bend Farm Garlic & Arts Festival, September 21st
Join Round the Bend Farm for a special Open Farm day on Saturday September 21, an artistic harvest celebration featuring unique hand-crafted wares by selected local artisans, a curated art show of farm inspired art, and a diverse selection of locally grown garlic. The festival runs from 10am-5pm.

On the menu: grilled 100% grass-fed beef burgers, pasture-raised non-GMO pork sausage sandwiches and homemade vegan black bean burgers all served on homemade buns, with an assortment of garlicky condiments and sides.

Libations: Buzzards Bay Beers, Carolyn's Wines and Nilsa's fresh herbal tea. An Artists Reception will be held immediately after the Festival from 5-7pm. Food and drink will be available all day.

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Ventura Grain Craft & Vendor Fair, September 21st
Ventura Grain is hosting a craft and vendor fair on September 21st from 8AM - 3pm. There will be many craft and local vendors, food truck, live animals, door prizes, raffles, in-store specials, Cat Country 98.1, and more! 

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Osamequin Farm Harvest Party, September 28th
Last year's Osamequin Farm Project Launch Party in September was so much fun, they've decided to make it an annual event. Join them on September 28th, 5-9pm, for a family friendly party to celebrate a great year of farming and community. They'll have food, drinks, live music, and a roaring bonfire. Explore the farm and learn about all they've accomplished this year, plus what they are looking forward to offering in the future.

Donations towards their 501(c)3 nonprofit will be accepted at the entrance.
Check for more info in September on our Facebook, Instagram, and Website Events page.
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Employment Opportunities
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Upcoming Events
9/6 - 9/7 --  Dartmouth Grange Fair , Dartmouth, MA

9/7 -- Bristol Aggie Farm to Table Feast, Dighton, MA

9/7 - 9/8 -- Apple Peach Festival, Acushnet, MA

9/14 -- Massachusetts Town Forest Contest, Sherborn, MA

9/15 -- Boston Local Food Festival, Boston, MA

9/21 -- Ventura Grain Craft & Vendor Fair, Taunton, MA

9/28 -- Osamequin Farm Harvest Party, Seekonk, MA

9/29 -- Norfolk Aggie 5th Annual Ag Expo, Walpole, MA

9/29 --  SEMAP Twilight Workshop: Raising Sheep 101, Middleboro, MA

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Contact Us

Executive Director

Outreach Coordinator

Program Coordinator

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