Farmstands Across Massachusetts Offer True Farm to Table Experience

By Christy Bassett, The Organic Food Guide Coordinator

This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2018 July Issue Newsletter


(Photo courtesy Kimberly Mahr – Creative Commons License)

For me, weekdays are filled with necessary tasks where ignoring distraction is crucial to productivity.  A mid-week adventure may be five minutes in my backyard taking a closer look at the green beneath my feet.  Plantain, clover, beetles, brambles and sometimes even a little grass can help open my eyes to a world that does not necessarily need me to thrive.  But weekends… weekends are for exploring.   Our family likes to combine our weekly grocery shopping trip with time spent together visiting land where people are in touch with thriving local ecosystems.  Summer is the perfect time to do that, since many seasonal farm stands open their doors for the beautiful weather.

Farm stands offer the opportunity for consumers to visit the source of their sustenance.  It’s a simple open-ended invitation by the farmer to stop in and see what they’ve been up to without having to set time aside for formal introductions or guided tours.  You can usually learn a lot from a trip out to a farm itself, rather than purchasing the same products from retail stores or even at farmers’ markets.  Take a peak at the gardens, watch the animals in their home environment, observe the pride of the producer in their property.  Things aren’t always perfectly manicured or even peaceful on a working farm, but there is almost always a strong sense of life and bounty that is felt when you are standing on fertile ground.

In New England, we also have the perk of having some of the oldest working farms in the country.  NOFA/Mass member Appleton Farms, established in 1638 and now owned by The Trustees of Reservations, has been maintained by nine generations of the Appleton Family in Ipswich, MA.  You can visit their farm Dairy Store or Visitor Center for the full farm experience.  Hutchins Farm, another long time NOFA/Mass member, has been growing organic fruit and vegetables in Concord, MA since 1973. Their farm stand is open to the public from Tuesday – Sunday: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.  A rich history that flows through family generations can been seen and felt throughout the Commonwealth.

Besides connecting the consumer to the farm itself, visiting a farm stand also benefits the farmer.  Many growers are strapped for time and travel expenses.  By going to the farm, instead of relying on others to bring their products closer to you, you are allowing them to spend their time close to home, tending to the never-ending list of chores or simply enjoying the natural life they’ve built around them.  Less investment of resources by the farmer often allows prices to remain affordable for the consumer and provides the grower with better income.  Keeping farming profitable for those that protect our local agricultural property is a wise investment for all of us.

The Organic Food Guide can help you find farm stands that are open for business near you.  Search by location, product, organic certification and more to pinpoint your next day trip.  Your children will enjoy seeing the animals, running on open land, and picking out fresh healthy food.  You may even start a weekly family tradition, as I did, while exploring the backroads of Massachusetts and supporting local farmers.

Know of an organic or sustainable farm that should be listed in The Organic Food Guide?  Ask them to create a free listing today, courtesy of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Massachusetts Chapter.  And if you appreciate this service, consider becoming a NOFA/Mass member today.

The Organic Food Guide: Connecting Food Lovers and Food Growers

By Christy Bassett, NOFA/Mass Membership & The Organic Food Guide Coordinator

This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2018 June Issue Newsletter

children in field

Maybe you have a thing for Swiss chard, kohlrabi, or arugula.  Perhaps you recently discovered garlic scapes and can’t get the spicy green snap of them out of your mind.  You’re longing for the unique explosion of flavor from a perfectly ripe heirloom tomato.  It’s okay, we are too.  And we’re here to help.

The Organic Food Guide is the solution to your food cravings! is a place where you can find organic and sustainably grown food, services and products close to home.  Search from our database of over 200 Massachusetts farms, restaurants and small businesses that are either certified organic or that have taken our Sustainability Pledge.  Want to try a CSA? No problem – find farms in your area that offer CSA shares.  Prefer to peruse a farm stand straight at the source or visit a farmers’ market for variety?  Select your locale and search for it.  You can even find farms and orchards that offer “pick your own” produce for the full farm experience.

If you are a retailer or own a restaurant, we make it easy for you to find local farms that sell their organic products at wholesale rates.  (And then you can list your business on The Organic Food Guide too!)  You are an intricate and important part of our food system.  Small businesses that round up products from small farmers that don’t have the time or means to sell their products to a more concentrated population provide financial and moral support to our hard-working growers.  More and more people are choosing to buy locally and responsibly grown food.  We can all be a part of this movement.

For all of the reasons that we love buying organic, The Organic Food Guide has something for everyone.  If you would like to list your farm, business or restaurant please go to the website and submit your listing today.  Listing or searching on The Organic Food Guide is free.  NOFA/Mass is proud to offer this resource, funded through the support of members and donors like you.

If you would like assistance setting up or editing your listing on The Organic Food Guide please contact Christy Bassett at [email protected] or 978-575-4084.

Crispy Kale Chips


 By Christy Bassett for the Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass

Eat more kale.  Because that’s the only way you’re going to get through the never-ending supply of these leafy greens that just keep on giving.  The many varieties of kale, as well as it’s cold hardiness and extended productivity, make this a vegetable that is available almost year-round in Massachusetts.  One of my favorite afternoon snacks is kale chips.  They are so versatile that they can be seasoned with just about anything in the spice rack to satisfy the person who likes variety but also likes to use that bottomless refrigerator drawer (or garden bed) of kale.  Experiment with garlic & Parmesan, rosemary & sea salt, or even chili & lime juice as added flavoring.  If you’re making it fresh from scratch at home, there are no worries about artificial additives or preservatives, so the only limit is your taste for adventure.

For the freshest, crispiest kale chips harvest straight from the garden or farm stand

Kale Chips


1 Bunch Organic Kale

1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp Sea Salt

Optional: other seasonings (such as garlic powder, chili powder, dried herbs, parmesan, etc.)

Use as much or as little seasoning as you like


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  • Remove stem from leaves of kale. Rip or cut leaves into bite sized pieces, rinse in a colander, shake dry and place into a large bowl.
  • Toss kale pieces with olive oil and then spread onto baking sheet.
  • Sprinkle salt or desired seasoning on top.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, flip, bake for 5-10 minutes more until crispy but not burnt.
  • Remove from oven and cool on tray. Store in an airtight container for snacking.

Always double check your organic produce for stowaways before cooking