Check out our October SEMAP Farm Spotlight!

This month's featured farm is C.N. Smith in East Bridgewater, MA

Kendra Murray
Admin and Outreach Associate
10/11 -10/12, 11th Annual Cranberry Harvest Festival, AD Makepeace
10/23, Bristol County Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, Venus de Milo
10/24 -10/25, Connecting for Change Conference, New Bedford
11/06, SEMAP Annual Meeting, Location TBD

A Message from the Director

The name of the great Greek philosopher who uttered the famous quote escapes me, but his words still ring true after all of these centuries: "you are what you eat." All kidding aside, local agriculture in southeastern Massachusetts is at a crossroad. The state and the region has seen an influx in young farmers, more attention is being paid to agriculture on the local level, and the state government has recognized the flourishing "buy local" movement and begun to support it accordingly. On the other hand, farmers and growers of all stripes are dealing with all of the economic challenges of a small business, but with the added unpredictability that comes hand-in-hand with agriculture and a sometimes foggy state and federal regulatory atmosphere. These are times of great uncertainty, but I feel they are also rich with great opportunity.


You are reading this, either via "The Vine" or on our website, and that signifies that you care. You care about agriculture in Bristol, Plymouth and Norfolk counties. You understand the importance of local agriculture not just to our economy but also to the unique and vibrant cultural heritage we share in Southeastern Massachusetts. You understand that, despite the wealth of agricultural resources around us, there are still too many people disconnected from the food system and from proper food access. You are a farmer or a friend to farmers. You understand, and you care.


Well, I care too, and I hope you join with me in the next natural progression: action. Support local agriculture by visiting farm stands and farm stores. If you are a member farmer, spread the word about SEMAP, our program offerings and the benefits of membership. If you aren't a member, please consider signing up, whether you are a farmer or a friend to local agriculture. Participate in our programming, for what you can learn from us will surely be equal to what we can learn from you.


For my part, I am committed to continuing the important work for which SEMAP has been known. Our popular Twilight series has provided local farmers with valuable educational opportunities, and we will continue to identify areas of interest and topics to assist a wide range of farmers and growers. We are in the process of planning our Annual Ag and Food Conference as well and welcome any ideas, input, and feedback from past events. We will continue to work with our community partners and farmers on issues relating to food access in our region. Other exciting programs are in the formative stages, so make sure you check our website frequently for updates.


While there are certainly significant administrative demands, I haven't forgotten that the measure of our success will be in the fields. In my short time as Executive Director, I've visited over a dozen farms, spoken personally with many farmers and plan to keep close tabs on how our work impacts farmers "where they live". My philosophy of constituent service from my work with State Representative Chris Markey was always "don't make people come to you...YOU go to THEM", and that is precisely the same philosophy I am employing at SEMAP. If you haven't seen me yet, you probably will soon, but feel free to invite me as well. It's a big region, but my car gets good gas mileage.


Additionally, we are looking to further match our fundraising strategies to our programmatic goals in an effort to make sure that we focus on what is truly important to our constituent farmers, and we are working diligently and cooperatively with our valued partners to identify opportunities that dovetail with our organization's mission. SEMAP is fortunate to have active allies and stakeholders who understand, as you do, the importance of what we do. Furthermore, I'm blessed to have a great Board of Directors that has, with decisive action, demonstrated their commitment to the cause.


The future of SEMAP, as with local agriculture, is rich with opportunity. SEMAP is poised to continue its good work by helping to support and sustain our region's agriculture and further grow its relevancy. Again, we know you care and you understand just how important this work is. I hope you join SEMAP in acting on that shared understanding for our benefit and for the benefit of generations to follow. 




The weather is getting cooler....but don't let that prevent you from buying local! There are still quite a few farmers' markets open through October and even November. Apples, pumpkins, kale, and root crops are plentiful in New England during the autumn season.  


There are plenty of fall events coming up soon.The Jack-o-lantern Jamboree on October 22nd will be showcasing some fantastic pumpkin carvings. Pumpkins aren't just for decoration, either...I think that a homemade pumpkin pie  is one of the best things about autumn. Not feeling that ambitious? Freshly baked pies can be found at many local farm stands, like Peters Family Orchard or Keith's Farm, who both also offer pick your own! 


With fall in full swing, there will be many harvest celebrations going on as well. AD Makepeace will be having the Cranberry Harvest Festival on October 11 and 12th. There will also be a celebration at the Westport Town Farm on October 18th and Silverbrook Farm in Acushnet will be celebrating the harvest with different events all month long.  


If you're up for a little bit of traveling, check out the Wellfleet OysterFest. Aquaculture is an often forgotten form of farming. It's a great event celebrating local food with live music, local artisans, and lectures and workshops.  


Who knew farming could be so fun? Find an event near you!  




VeggieFarmingVEGETABLE FARMING by Derek Christianson
Hope everyone is making the very most of this busy time of year, as a friend of mine stated yesterday, "In October the daylight gets much shorter, but the to-do list doesn't."

Over the next month you'll likely hear quite a bit about the recently revised Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The revisions were released in late September and the current comment period will last until about December 12th (75 days after the comment period opened on September 29th).  The current revisions for produce safety are posted on the FDA website.

At this point most of our agricultural organizations are currently reviewing the revisions and preparing information for their members.  Here's the link to the New England Farmers Union FSMA page, which will include sample comments in the near future. Mass Farm Bureau  will likely have updated information posted on their website in the coming weeks as well.  Although many of our small farms will be exempt from enforcement of the current regulations, I think the topic merits attention for anyone who grows crops for human consumption.  Stay tuned...

October is a great time to pull fall soil samples if you haven't already.  The gold standard is testing in late summer ahead of amendment applications before fall cover cropping, in reality I find many growers aren't able to add soil testing to the August to do list.  Now is a good time to pull samples so that you can make fertility decisions (and possible fall application of lime) well ahead of the next growing season. The UMass Soil &Plant Tissue Testing Laboratory has completed their move into a newly renovated lab space.  Their Modified Morgan testing procedure is the most common test used by farmers in Massachusetts.  For growers planting in high tunnels, if your tunnel has been covered for more than a season then their Saturated Media Extract (SME) test would also be worthwhile.  Finally, testing Organic Matter levels is often worth the extra $5 and will help when determining Nitrogen Budgets for the next growing season. I should mention, its important to note, that if you want Organic Recommendations you need to specify this on the UMass submission form.

A few more quick considerations regarding soil tests.  We consider soil testing a tool, a valuable tool to help make informed amendment and fertilizer decisions.  Whether assisting in determining the type of lime you might consider spreading, or the need for potassium in next year's fertility plan a soil test can help you make prudent financial decisions.  For growers considering application of trace minerals or interested in determining their soil reserve of phosphorous, a stronger extraction would provide additional guidance. We've used the Mehlich-3 extraction available from Logan Labs in Ohio or A&L Eastern Labs in Virgina for this purpose.  All of the labs will provide fertilizer recommendations (typically the private labs will charge extra for this service); of course many fertilizer distributors will also offer complimentary testing services to help their clients make smart decisions.

Hope the fall marketing season continues to provide fine weather and strong sales.



October 11th and 12th, 2014, 10:00am-4:00pm, A.D. Makepeace Company, Wareham, MA   

Visitors are treated to demonstrations of the wet cranberry harvest, cooking demonstrations, an enormous tent full of juried crafters, paddleboat rides on scenic Tihonet Pond, food vendors, music, and more. 


Join eOrganic for the first webinar of the fall 2014 season on Using Cover Crop Mixtures to Achieve Multiple Goals on the Farm by a research team at Penn State University. The webinar will take place on Tuesday, October 14 at 2PM Eastern Time. The presentation will last for an hour, and it will be followed by a 30 minute question and answer time. Attendees will be able to type in questions for the speakers. The webinar is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required.

October 14th, 2014, 6:00pm-9:00pm, Wonderland Conference Center, Sharon, MA

Join Norfolk Country Farm Bureau members at their annual meeting as they pass resolutions in advance of the state-wide meeting in December.   


October 23rd, 2014, 6:00pm-9:00pm, Venus de Milo, Swansea, MA   

Join Bristol Country Farm Bureau members at their annual meeting as they pass resolutions in advance of the state-wide meeting in December.  More details here 


October 24th 2014 is Food Day! Food Day is a national day of celebrating local food and motivates consumers and organizations to take part by participating in or hosting an activity focused on education.


October 24th and 25th, 2014, Downtown New Bedford, MA   

Keynote speakers include Joel Salatin & Janisse Ray.  Check out their sliding scale registration fee, making this terrific conference affordable for all!


This conference will feature dozens of leading innovators and countless activities that will cover a range of topics, including food and farming, policy, innovative tech and design, health and healing, green business, indigenous knowledge, environmental and social justice, women and youth empowerment, impact investing, spirituality and sustainability. 



NOFA/Mass-Succeeding with Grass-Fed Beef: Human Health, Carbon Sequestration, and Farm Viability

November 3rd, 2014, 9:00am-5:15pm, Heifer International, Rutland, MA  

Would you like to build the health of your soil, produce great meat, improve your family's health, and combat climate change? You can do all of this-and make a profit-by raising 100% grass-fed beef. Join us for a one-day conference with Ridge Shinn, an expert in grass-fed-and-finished beef production.


November 5th and 6th, 2014, Mass Mutual Center, Springfield, MA  

Join other growers and retailers for the largest nationally recognized floriculture industry show in New England!  More details here.    


Slow Money Boston - Entrepreneur Showcase

November 5th, 2014, Cambridge, MA

We will be bringing together investors, sustainable food entrepreneurs and leaders working together to rebuild our local food system. Learn about investment opportunities and how you can participate in rebuilding local economies based on the principles of soil fertility, sense of place, care of the commons and economic, cultural and biological diversity. 

SEMAP Annual Meeting

November 6th, 2014, Location TBD   

Join SEMAP at our annual meeting as we share news of our accomplishments of the past year; help us to look ahead to envision our next season and the upcoming year.


Soil Health Workshop with Ray Archuleta 

November 6th, 2014 9:00 am, Bristol Agricultural High School

More details to come. Please check our website for updates! 

December 4th, 2014, 9:30am-4:00pm, Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA   

This seminar explains how environmental factors, including exposures to toxins in food and the environment, and the consumption of highly processed, nutrient-poor foods, are contributing to a wide range of chronic and neuro-degenerative illnesses in the population.  More information here.  


December 4th and 5th, 2014, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA   

Annual state-wide farm bureau meeting featuring workshops for farmers.


December 10, 2014, 9:30am-3:45pm, Publick House, Sturbridge, MA
Join the UMass Extenstion Program for a day filled with workshops on growing greenhouse vegetables. 



SEMAP 2015 Winter Networking Meeting 

Monday January 26    

Location & Topic will be announced in the December Vine.   


SEMAP 2015 Ag & Food Conference

Saturday February 28, 2015 


Workshops for farmers, gardeners, and consumers. Featuring a local lunch and Agricultural Service Provider & Business Trade Show.  Registration will open early November.  



The Online Farm Guide  

Farmers: Keep your farmfresh.org listing up-to-date! The online farm guide, farmfresh.org, is a go-to for anyone looking for local foods, beverages and farm fun. Eaters: Visit www.farmfresh.org to find local food near you.   


The Beginning Farmers Network of MA has resources for beginning farmers, including an ever-expanding calendar of events statewide, helpful tips from guest bloggers, a jobs board, and a referral network. Get in touch or check out the BFN/MA site today to find the help you're looking for. See links to Young Farmer Nights (RI & MA super fun farm visits!) and New Entry's brand new publication, An Entrepreneur's Guide to Farming in Massachusetts.    

New edition coming soon!  We have pushed the publication date for this year's Local Food Guide back 'til the early Fall. Thanks for understanding. Members joining SEMAP between now and December 31st will automatically be eligible for listing in our 2015 Local Food Guide (print date:  May 2015) The guide will contain SEMAP member farms and local food businesses, as well as a list of winter farmers markets, farmstands, & CSA's in our region.
Current, up to date listing of markets, including late fall and even winter farmers' markets!
SEMALA (Southeastern Massachusetts Livestock Association) is Seeking a Project Manager for the next stages of their efforts to develop a state of the art meat processing facility in Westport, MA. Full job description.

CISA Is Now Accepting applications for Whole Farm Planning for beginning women farmers. Holistic Management International's program is an opportunity for women who have been farming for under ten years to gain skills and build a network of other women farmers. The course touches on a variety of topics, including business planning basics, marketing, goal-setting and financial planning, time management, reading the landscape, land and infrastructure planning, leadership and communication skills.


Email us your events and share with our 5,000+ readers!  A benefit of SEMAP Membership.