Farm offers public a stake in sustainable agriculture
Date: 4/11/2012April 11, 2012
By Lori Szepelaklori@thereminder.com
WESTFIELD Since Connie and John Adams were youngsters, they have always eaten locally grown, chemically free food, and now are offering their bountiful farm produce to area residents through Community Involved in Supporting Agriculture (CSA) shares.
"I am convinced that the robust health both John and I enjoy is due in large part to the fact that we both were lucky enough to eat locally grown, chemically free food as children and through our own choices as adults," Connie Adams, a master gardener, said during an interview with Reminder Publications
Connie noted that she encourages everyone to eat organically whenever possible, and especially for children, who due to their small size can absorb a higher body weight percentage of chemicals.
"Chemicals can accumulate over our lifetime with unknown consequences," she said.
Their hilltop home called the Yellow Stonehouse Farm, is a 55-acre property on Root Road, close to the Southampton line. The Manhan River divides the farm creating a beautiful environment for growing vegetables and flowers, while living harmoniously with the wildlife, according to John Adams.
It is not uncommon for the Adams to see pheasants, bobcats, bears, coyotes, guinea hens and bald eagles while they are tending the fields.
"We proceed slow and steady to do everything right," John said, adding they are restoring the farm to a natural heritage level designation by the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
The farm was founded in the 1840s, when the original farmhouse and large barn were raised. John and Mady Hutkoski purchased the farm in 1941 and ran it as a dairy farm until the 1990s by their sons. Their last son, John Hutkoski, continued with limited livestock grazing and moved more toward corn, hay forage and vegetables. Today, the Adams focus on vegetable and flower production using organic practices.
The Adams will be cultivating five to six acres of vegetables and flowers for CSA shareholders over the entire growing season. The fields will be ripe with arugula, beans, beets, blackberries, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mustard, onions, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, spinach, squash, strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatillos and zucchini. Herbs to be offered include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, parsley and sage, and shareholders will also be able to pick their own cutting flowers.
Connie added her expertise as a master gardener has been invaluable since she understands the use of beneficial insects and companion plantings to help grow healthy plants without the use of pesticides.
"We've also been able to apply good cultural practices that I learned in the program when to water, how much, how best to weed and when, how to dispose of weeds and discarded plants, how to compost and the like," she said.
She noted that she is eager to create a "glorious flower garden of continuous bloom and fragrance" for all to enjoy, as well as to attract and feed butterflies, pollinaters and birds.
"One of the things I most enjoy about farming are the varied and wonderful vegetables we get to eat," she said. "Freshly picked locally grown vegetables taste the best and are so good for us as well. Vegetables start losing their nutritional value from the moment they are picked."
For this couple it is apparent they are passionate about their farm and mission of providing delicious, healthy and sustainably grown food. For more information on the Adams farm, call 562-2164 or visit wwwyellowstonehousefarmcsa.com.
A limited number of shares are available, ranging from a half vegetable share for $325 to a full farm share at $575. Other options include a half of a full farm share at $425 and a full vegetable share for $475. A full farm share provides a weekly pickup of vegetables, pick your own garden access and a full flower share. A half of a farm allows for pickup every other week. Pickup days are Tuesdays and Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m.
The deadline to purchase shares is April 15.
John added that all produce will be cooled, hand washed and clean before it is placed in bins for the farm share members.
For more information on additional farms in Western Massachusetts offering CSA shares, visit www.farmfresh.org.
The Adams note that when shareholders become members of the farm, they reconnect to the land, and help support local farming in the Pioneer Valley.