The Vine - May 2023
Photo at Golden Hour Tulips in Berkley
Dear Friends,

Hopefully the rainy, soggy week to start the month hasn't put a damper on your spring. Of course, a bit of rain to start the year is quite the welcome sight after last year's intense drought. While we certainly can't try to predict the weather for the rest of the season (as any farmer will tell you), we are always impressed by the way our community adapts to and navigates the inconsistency and changes in climate that seem to define present-day agriculture.

As we flip our calendars to May, we are excited about the season ahead. Farm stands across the region are already opening, offering many of our favorite spring crops and preparing for the peak season that lies ahead. You can find a list of some open stands later in this message, as well as details on our upcoming Local Food Guide, which you'll be able to find at your nearest farm or market soon!

After a successful Farmer Social Series this April, we are thrilled to kick off our Twilight Grower Workshop Series tomorrow! Join us at E.L. Silvia Farms for a hands-on workshop all about apple orchard maintenance! URI Extension staff will join us as well - you won't want to miss this one! More details in the email below, but make sure you register ASAP!

This month's newsletter is full of great information. For our farmers, we've got some more resources and workshops to help you build up your business. We know this is a busy time of year, but hopefully you can find something here to help you do what you do! For local food supporters, we've got opportunities to advocate for the local food system, early spring events and markets to attend and support local farmers at, and more!

As always, if there is anything your farm, farmers' market, business or community needs, please reach out to SEMAP so we can find a way to help!

James Lehner
Communications & Outreach Coordinator
Twilight Workshop Series Kicks Off TOMORROW!
Our Twilight Grower events for 2023 begin TOMORROW evening! Come join SEMAP and your fellow farmers at E.L. Silvia Farms in Dighton (not at the farmstand in Somerset!) for our first skill share, where we'll learn about orchard maintenance! Farmer Ed Silvia and Heather Faubert of URI Cooperative Extension will cover topics from pruning your trees, to pest and disease management, and more!

There will also be time to try your hand at pruning on site, so be ready for a hands-on experience!
Can't make it tomorrow night? Not a problem! Our Twilight Series will continue throughout the summer and fall, as we continue to bring farmers together to learn from one another and connect with each other during the season. Check out these upcoming workshops, which you can register for now!

All SEMAP Twilight events are free to all, but we ask that folks register in advance whenever possible. Use the buttons below to sign up for these workshops, and be on the lookout for the rest of our Twilight Schedule, coming soon!
Tractor Safety CRAFT Visit May 10 at Powisset Farm in Dover
"What does that lever do? Why shouldn’t I touch the PTO while it’s running? Why, exactly, is there a seat belt on a tractor? What can high-pressured hydraulic fluid do to me? If I side start a tractor, will I die?"

If you can’t answer these questions, perhaps come to this Tractor Safety CRAFT! The discussion will be led by Brian Huckins, tractor guru, tinker and smith, and master of what not to do on a tractor. Without demonstrating the bad safety habits, Brian will talk about the best ways to keep you and others safe as you operate a tractor. He’ll cover the layout of a tractor – all the knobs and do-dads, how not to flip over, proper usage, and general good operator practices

Tractor Safety, Powisett Farm, Dover

Date: Wednesday, May 10, 4-6pm,
Address: 39 Powisset St, Dover 02030
Host: Tim Laird, Farm Manager, Powisett Farm
Presenter: Brian Huckins, Huckins Forge, Northborough
CRAFT Liaison: Chris Yoder, Vanguarden CSA, Dover

Find the full schedule of CRAFT visits for 2023 on their website.
Current Food Producer Grant Opportunities
Take a look at a few of the currently open grant, reimbursement, and award programs below, then check out a complete list on our webpage.

  • Urban Agriculture Program: To increase the production, processing, and marketing of produce grown and sold in urban centers across the Commonwealth.
  • Deadline: May 22nd at 4:00pm

  • Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP): To enable agricultural operations to proactively address risks related to climate & natural resources, as well as strengthen their economic and environmental resiliency.
  • Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm

  • Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP): To improve the food safety practices of produce and aquaculture operations, work towards minimizing the risks of microbial contamination and food-borne illnesses, and improve market access.
  • Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm

  • Cranberry Bog Renovation Grant Program: To promote more efficient bogs both in design and production while enhancing the business and environmental sustainability of the cranberry operation.
  • Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm
SEMAP Business Member Updates
The Neighborhood Farm Online Store is Open Now!
The Neighborhood Farm in Westport is excited to share their online farm store for the 2023 season! Featuring over 200 varieties of crops, the store is a great way to shop for exactly what you're looking for, and has more options than any one market day would. CSA shares are also still available as well!

Pickup options for online orders are available at Westport Grange, Tiverton Farmers' Market, Wayland, Needham and Jamaica Plain. Check out the store on their website and get your orders in today!
Edible Southeastern MA Spring Issue Out Now!
The Spring Issue of Edible Southeastern MA is out now! Be sure to get your copy at your local grocer, restaurant, market, brewery, and more. Edible is great source for stories covering all things local food, from backyard gardens, to soil health, local plant sales and so much more!

An excerpt from this issue's Grist from the Mill: "The abundance of Southeastern Massachusetts is at your fingertips, whether it’s on the road, in your garden, or at the kitchen table. Winter is now in the rear-view mirror, and it’s time to harness that pent-up energy and get active. With a spring in your step, explore new places, unique tastes, and sustainable practices, and 'Get Yer Ya-Ya’s out.' ‘Tis the season!"
Two Virtual Workshops with Pasa This Month

Pasa Sustainable Agriculture (Pasa) is hosting two free virtual workshops this month, with distinct but equally important topics being discussed.

On May 11, join them for Farm Bill 101: What is a Marker Bill? to hear from policy experts about how to understand, follow and effectively advocate on Farm Bill issues. Then, on May 12, learn about ways to mitigate and prevent flooding on your farm at Flood Impacts and Solutions.

Both workshops are free, and will be recorded, so even if you can't attend live, register to make sure you can listen back later!
New Entry Resource Fair on May 12, in Beverly

Are you a beginning or small farmer in eastern MA? Do you need help registering your farm with the USDA Farm Service Agency? Do you want to accept Senior Farmers Market Nutrition and WIC Coupons at your local farmers market? What about SNAP and HIP? 

If you answered “yes!” to any of these questions, register and save the date for the New Entry Farmer Resource Fair. This unique event will bring together essential farm service providers so you can get all your questions answered and register for programs right on the spot!
Composting Workshop with Shady Corner Farm, May 15

Join Middlesex Conservation District for Compost: The Rich Blessings of Decay, a workshop all about compost on Monday, May 15. This informative event will be hosted by Grisha Maziya of Shady Corner Farm, who will discuss the basics of composting: from how to, to types of setups, to fun facts and myths.

This free workshop will be an interactive event, so please bring your compost questions. The event is geared towards gardeners, farmers, landscapers, and animal owners.
$600 Farmworker COVID Relief Payments Available

Frontline farm workers and meatpacking workers who incurred expenses preparing for, preventing exposure to, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for a one-time $600 relief payment. Farm work done between January 27, 2020 and May 11, 2023 is eligible for this relief.

Hired workers are defined as anyone, other than an agricultural service worker, who was paid for at least one hour of agricultural work on a farm or ranch, or in a meat processing facility. Worker type is determined by what the employee was primarily hired to do, not necessarily what work was done during the pandemic.
Value-Added Production Webinar with MA Ag Innovation Center, 5/24
Are you a farmer looking to turn your harvest into value-added products, but not sure where to begin? Already making a value-added product, but want to scale up your business?

This info session with MA Ag Innovation Center walks agricultural producers interested in value-added food products through the food business roadmap, outlining things to consider on your journey. These sessions are held monthly on the fourth Wednesday, with the next one coming up on May 24.
Community Development Corporation is a network of business-assistance providers across the Commonwealth helping farms and other value-added producers launch and scale new product ventures. They can provide support with product development, cost analysis, branding and marketing, sales and distribution and more!
Ag Committee Hearings Begin This Month
The newly-formed Joint Committee on Agriculture is holding its first legislative hearings this month, looking at several bills that would greatly impact farmers and farming in Massachusetts.

The next hearing will be held on May 8, and is scheduled to feature discussion on the following bills, plus several more:
  • An Act Promoting Equity in Agriculture
  • An Act Strengthening Local Food Systems
  • An Act Relative to Establishing a Food Justice Frontline
  • An Act Addressing the Impact of Climate Change on Farms and Fisheries

If you wish to provide testimony, you can do so virtually, in-person or in writing. Persons seeking to provide virtual verbal testimony must pre-register via this form by Thursday, May 4 at 5 p.m. Once registered, you will receive an invitation to join the hearing one day prior to the hearing. Please note there is a time limit of 3 minutes per person for verbal testimony. In-person and written testimony can be provided without pre-registration. Written testimony should be submitted to
Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP) with NOFA
NOFA/Mass and NOFA RI are proud to be Core Partners in the Northeast Transition to Organic Partnership Program. This cooperative agreement is sponsored by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service and will continue through October of 2027.  

Both organizations are currently recruiting mentor farmers that have operated certified organic farms for at least three years that are interested in assisting mentee farmers as they transition their farms for certification. If you are operating a farm and would like the assistance of an experienced organic farmer during your transition to organic, you are invited to join their group of mentee farmers.

NOFA/Mass and NOFA RI will be connecting paid mentors to mentees for one year. The mentorship program is expected to commence in the 4th quarter of 2023. NOFA staff will assist with helping mentee farmers to navigate the organic certification process. They also welcome partner non-profit or public organizations to work with them to provide community building opportunities, technical assistance, train-the-mentor support, workshop and field day activities covering topics including organic production practices, certification, conservation planning, business development, regulations, and marketing.

If you are a Massachusetts farm, please indicate your interest in participation on this form. Folks outside of Massachusetts should use this region wide interest form. 
Want even more farmer-facing news? Check out SEMAP's latest Farmer Newsletter.
Subscribe to SEMAP's Farmer Newsletter here.
Buy Local News
Farm Stands Are Opening Across Southeastern MA!
The time has come - all across Southeastern Massachusetts, farmstands are opening their doors, filling their shelves and offering delicious local produce, meat, eggs, dairy and more! Farmers have been hard at work all winter and spring until now to be ready to offer you the best local foods they can, and are now ready to share it all with you!

Here's just a sample of some of the farmstands that have opened over the past few weeks:

Looking for more farms near you? Check out our virtual Local Food Guide on our website, with listings for farms all across our region! Also, keep your eyes out for this year's Local Food Guide, coming to farmstands and markets in Southeastern Massachusetts soon!
Support Damien's Place Capital Campaign
The Family Food Pantry - Damien's Place in Wareham is currently raising funds in to support their move into new building to better support families in need. For 30 years, Damien’s has been an active participant in the fight against hunger and food insecurity for thousands of individuals and families. Due to an increased need in their community, the current facility no longer meets the needs of the organization, and they are looking for your support to build upon their work and provide even more for their neighbors.

A successful Capital Campaign will allow them to provide:
  • A community pantry where everyone is welcomed
  • A dignified space that allows for food choice and better nutritional options
  • Increased freezer and cooler space for frozen proteins, fresh produce, and dairy items
  • Space for health and financial classes as well as community donations that benefit our guests
  • An area for community gardens
  • Increased dry storage space for non-perishables
  • A larger and safer facility for volunteers, staff, and equipment use (fork-lift, pallet jack, carts, etc.)
  • Improved parking area for the safety of guests, volunteers, and staff
  • Ability to act as a pickup location to support smaller pantries in the area

With your support, The Family Pantry-Damien’s Place can grow into the next phase of our history and help change people’s lives, as well as all those in need in our surrounding communities.
3rd Annual Mother's Day Market in at Tiverton FM

Join Tiverton Farmers' Market for their 3rd Annual Mother’s Day Specialty Market. Bring your mommas out for a morning at the market on Sunday, May 14th from 10am - 2pm. You’ll find everything you need to make your Mother’s Day a SPLASH!!! Vendors will be inside and outside. A Sunday Funday with over 50 vendors, from artisan's foods and drinks, prepared grab n’ go meals to great gifts of jewelry, functional pottery, reclaimed garden furniture, flowers, herbs, plants & veggies. All original & live music with Alex Cohen Acoustic 

Located at the Tiverton Middle School Cafeteria at 10 Quintal Drive, Tiverton, RI 02878. Free and open to the public with plentiful parking. Handicap access at door #2.
Bristol Aggie Spring Expo Returns on May 6!
Bristol County Agricultural High School is hosting their 8th Annual Spring Expo on Saturday, May 6! The Expo is back for the first time since 2019, and the day will be full of fun activities! Visit the campus, check out their annual plant and flower sales, enjoy live music from Donnelly and Carmichael, and explore the local vendors market, presented by Southcoast Open Air Market (SOAM).

This year's event runs from 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. The Spring Expo is a great way to support local agricultural education and the next generation of farmers in Southeastern MA. You'll learn about some of the many BA clubs and organizations, PTO, and meet the BA Advisory Board!
Norfolk Aggie Spring Expo, Saturday May 23

The Norfolk Chapter FFA is excited to host this year's Ag Expo at Norfolk County Ag High School! Join them and more local ag students on Saturday, May 23 from 11-3

The Ag Expo is an FFA sponsored, family fun event that exposes the local community to all that the Aggie has to offer. It showcases the great work of the students, animals, plants, equipment, and various vocational skills. Ag Expo also serves as an important fundraiser for the Norfolk Chapter FFA, with funds used to help support all Aggie students going to Big E, National Convention and other FFA events. 
MA Sheep and Woolcraft Fair On Memorial Day Weekend

Come celebrate the 47th Annual Massachusetts Sheep & Woolcraft Fair, this coming Memorial Day Weekend! Enjoy a weekend with fiber and woolcraft vendors, sheep 
shearing demonstrations, sheep dog trials, fiber and woolcraft workshops for adults and children, sheep shows, fleece show and sale, a fleece to shawl competition, and food booths.

This year's event will be held at the Cummington Fair Grounds in Cummington. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday (May 27 and 28). For more information and map, go to
For even more local food and farm happenings, check out our event calendar.
What We're Listening To
This month's recommendation is bringing us back to the world of podcasts. With longer days outside ahead of us, hopefully this gives you something you can take in while you work. Just pop in your headphones and enjoy!

The Leading Voices in Food is a project of the Sanford World Food Policy Center at Duke University, covering issues all across the food system. Topics range from regenerative and sustainable agriculture, food access and SNAP, equity, nutrition, policy, food safety and much, much more. Episodes are posted on a weekly basis.

With over 200 episodes already available, we wanted to offer a few suggestions for shows to start with. Here are some of our top picks:

We are always looking for new suggestions of resources to broaden our understanding and learning about what matters to farmers, and we especially want to hear from you about what you've read, heard or watched recently. If you have any thoughts or recommendations for this section going forward, send an email to
This series came to our attention during the 21 Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge last month, put together by Food Solutions New England. This is a great project, providing the space and opportunity to reflect on the bigger, systemic issues in food and agriculture, and ground ourselves and our work in the acknowledgment of some difficult yet important truths.
What's in Season?
Fresh crops are herein Southeastern Massachusetts! As farmstands and markets begin to open, and CSAs begin to distribute, keep your eyes open for some of our favorite local foods, including:
  • Asparagus
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Lettuce & Greens
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard Greens
  • Potatoes
  • Radish
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Swiss Chard
And don't forget about year-round local products like meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood! We hope this helps you plan recipes and get the most out of local food!
Local Food Jobs
Have you checked out our Local Food Jobs page recently? You'll find local food and farm job listings relevant to Southeastern Massachusetts. Here are a few picks currently on the page. Want to share a listing? Email
Become a SEMAP Member
Renew Your SEMAP Membership or Become a Member Today!
Membership in SEMAP helps us continue to provide promotion and support to farmers and consumers across Southeastern Massachusetts and beyond.

Members receive a host of benefits, including...
  • Premium Space in Vine Newsletter
  • Discounts to events like the Ag & Food Conference
  • Special member listing in our Local Food Guide
  • Dry-erase "Buy Fresh Buy Local" price cards

Membership is available at several levels for businesses and individuals. Come join us!
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