Before writing the article I had a great conversation with farm manager Sarah Voiland. Talking with her made me miss living in Western Mass!
(Photo from Red Fire Farm)
When a farm’s top priorities are local food and connecting with communities, you can be confident it’s a good match for the Boston Local Food Festival. Such a good match, in fact, that Red Fire Farm has been a vendor since the event began three years ago.
Red Fire Farm has provided organic food to Massachusetts since 2001, when owner Ryan Voiland bought the farm in Granby. The name was inspired by an event on the property in 1922: lightning struck the barn and farm, destroying both. There is also a delicious variety of lettuce named New Red Fire that grows year-round in Massachusetts. Between the fire and the lettuce, the name Red Fire Farm was born.
With fields in Granby and Montague (the latter added to Red Fire Farm in 2009), “feeding the local community is at the core of what we do”, explains Sarah Voiland, manager of the farm. They strive to provide the widest variety of food possible, year-round, which, Sarah says, is often a great learning experience for people who are new to eating locally. Red Fire Farm connects with local organizations, including Food For Free and Food Not Bombs to donate produce and impact communities in positive ways. Ryan and Sarah believe in the importance of farming for future generations: there is a large educational component to their work and they employ many young people.
Beginning with about 100 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares in 2001, Red Fire Farm now provides 1,500 shares to people from Western Massachusetts to Boston. Their farmstands are open at both Granby and Montague locations from the end of April to the beginning of November. Red Fire Farm also takes part in farmer’s markets throughout the state, including the Boston Public Market on the Rose Kennedy Greenway from May-October and the Cambridge Winter Market at the Cambridge Community Center.
Sarah says that the Boston Local Food Festival “is a treat for us” and that she enjoys “walking through and seeing local places using local ingredients.” Their farmer’s market-style booth at the festival will offer a variety of vegetables, including some late-season tomatoes, along with other items such as flowers. You can see some of what Red Fire Farm grows here, along with an excellent selection of recipes. Be sure to look for Red Fire Farm’s stand at the festival on October 7!
This article was originally published on 9/18/12 in the Boston Local Foods Festival Blog.