Drought Woes Begone! Show Your Local Farmers Some Love This Fall
This year has left farmers across Massachusetts high and dry. Peaches across the region never got their spring awakening after a late freeze. A dry summer left farmers scrambling to defy the drought conditions that have swallowed the entire state. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to give up your favorite fresh fall treats from local farm stands.
Instead, consider turning your regular grocery shopping trips into some breezy weekend strolls through a local farm stand or public market. (That is, if you’re not visiting the orchard direct. Really, ’tis the season.)
“The best thing customers and people as non-farmers can do is support their local farms,” says Genevieve Stillman, co-owner of Stillman’s Farm in New Braintree. “That means going to the farmers’ markets, buying locally, and keeping your dollars here.”
Andrew Farnitano, spokesperson for the Boston Public Market, says consumers should not be discouraged by the dire reports of how the drought has affected crops, but motivated to support local farmers who have been working through drought conditions.
“They’re working longer hours, spending extra money on new equipment, and hiring extra people to dig trenches or run irrigation,” Farnitano says. “It’s really important consumers know the quality produce is still there and to get out and shop and support their local farmers in this time during the drought.”
Money is the biggest pressure weighing on farmers after this long, dry summer. Earlier this month the Baker-Polito administration announced an emergency fund to provide relief from the drought’s effects to family farms like Stillman’s and other small businesses with up to $1 million in microloans.
When money on farms gets tight, the effects hit closer to home than you might think. Crops from local farms end up in Boston-area kitchens because they are grown, delivered, and sold by local employees and Boston residents, who staff retail spaces like Stillman’s booth at the Boston Public Market. When you spend money on products from local farms you’re not only supporting them, but everyone involved in the process of getting it to you.
So go on, fuel that apple cider doughnut habit. Cheers to a feel-good fall for all.
To shop local produce, check out some of these markets in the area:
Boston Public Market
100 Hanover St., Downtown
Copley Square Farmers Market
139 St. James Ave., Back Bay
Union Square Farmers Market
Union Square Plaza, Somerville
Cambridge/Harvard University Farmers Market
1 Oxford St., Cambridge
Oak Square Farmers Market
640 Washington St., Brighton
Mission Hill Farmers Market: Brigham Circle
Huntington Ave. and Francis St., Mission Hill
Roslindale Village Farmers Market
Adams Park, Washington St., Roslindale
Egleston Farmers Market
31 Germania St., Jamaica Plain
To look up more farmers’ markets and farm stands in Massachusetts, go to massfarmersmarkets.org.