Monday, November 30, 2015

Staying Local this winter with MassGrown

One of the best aspects about being on the Exhibits Committee here at the Library is doing research on specific subjects relating to the state that otherwise I may not have known about. Whether it is delving into the Library’s photography collections of historical places and events or discovering the myths and stories that live on in our collective memory, there is always something new to learn.

While working on our exhibit Cultivating the Commonwealth: A History of Agriculture in Massachusetts, I came across the MassGrown section of the Massachusetts Department of
Agricultural Resource (MDAR) page. Massgrown is a wonderful way to keep up with local farms, products and activities such as farmers markets, culinary tourism and special festivals. Massachusetts is lucky to be home to a number of farm stands, aquaculture, green-houses and nurseries that find ways to connect with their community through CSAs, agricultural fairs, and Pick Your Own fruit and vegetable farms. The MassGrown site is a one stop spot for all the information you need regarding these local resources.

Since first finding the MassGrown page in the Spring, I have found myself returning over and over for weekend outing ideas, local dairy or fish options and to help make suggestions to visitors from out of town.  When a tourist visiting the State House in mid-November asked if there were still orchards open in the area (hoping for a true New England, apple-picking experience), I was grateful to see how many local farms would still be open or hosting events well through the winter months ahead.

As the season changes from fall to winter, many people may not be thinking of our local farms and nurseries as places to visit. The ground hardens, blizzards set in and fresh fruit and veggies are far from some people’s thoughts. But, as the MassGrown site shows you, there are still a number of places to visit, workshops to attend and, most importantly, things to eat and drink. The winter is a wonderful time to for Maple Sugar Houses and Christmas Tree Farms. There are over 40 Fall/Winter Farmers Markets still open, not including the new Boston Public Market, a year round, indoor farmer’s market for New England vendors.  A calendar shows there are Holiday Open Houses and Markets well into December as well as breweries, distilleries and wineries ready for tours and tastings.

There is always new information and the MassGrown and Fresher News is a great way to keep updated, also available in our digital repository Dspace. With a few new recipes and food festivals, we all might just make it through another New England winter.

Stephanie Turnbull
Reference Librarian