Agritourism ~ Can you get a five-star rating with your business?

cn-mr-agritourism-cs-copyby Elizabeth A. Tomlin

Autumn is the time of year many farms and orchards open their doors for farm tours, pick your own apples and pumpkins, farm days and other events.

A recent webinar provided by the University of California Small Farm Program in partnership with FarmsReach featured speakers Scottie Jones, Director of the U.S. Farm Stay Association, and Meghan Bishop-Sanderson of Bishop’s Pumpkin Farm, advising producers on how to get that coveted five-star rating. [Read more…]

Thomas Farms: More than just rutabagas

cn-go-33-3-thomas-farms-6490-copyby Kristen M. Castrataro

It is often the unexpected, unpredictable things in life that make all the difference. Such was the case for Thomas Farms in Corinth, Maine. In 2000, Frank Thomas found himself in the hospital with a staph infection. It was harvest time, and 300 acres of chip potatoes sat in the field. The family hired a replacement harvester who bruised the produce so badly that the chip company immediately cancelled the Thomas’ contract. [Read more…]

Eating alpaca

cw-mr-3-alpaca-meat-7433by Samantha Graves

Squicky. That’s the word that came to mind when I stared down an alpaca burger served to me by a farmer on a recent trip to Maine. Squicky embodies a feeling of disgust or repulsion, free from judgment over the rightness or wrongness of an act. For some, eating alpaca is like eating your favorite pet or muppet. But for a growing number of farmers in the United States, culling alpacas is not only about making their farm a sustainable enterprise; it’s about improving the quality of the animals raised in the United States. [Read more…]

Alpacas 101

cn-mr-43-4-alpacas-101-820by Laura Rodley

Alpaca lovers and people curious about alpacas had a treat at Moonlight Rose Alpacas Farm the last week of August. They got to see a brown two-day-old female alpaca baby, or cria, named Sweet Caroline and a one-month-old rose gray cria, Fitzgerald, both bred at the farm in time for David Rose’s Alpaca 101, a seminar devoted to all aspects of raising alpacas. Topics included raising alpacas, their lifespan, care, feeding, birthing, breeding, showing and using their fiber for clothing. [Read more…]

Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association holds its annual summer meeting

cn-go-mr-35-2-massachusetts-fruit-growers-6694by Kristen M. Castrataro

The Massachusetts Fruit Growers Association held its annual summer meeting and farm tour at the University of Massachusetts Cold Springs Orchard in Belchertown, MA. Around 80 fruit growers and Extension personnel from Massachusetts and Rhode Island attended to learn about current research in grapes, brambles, stone fruit and pome fruit. [Read more…]