September 1, 2017
Charlton Villager
& Blackstone Valley Tribune

‘Forgotten Farms’ reminds audience of need for agriculture

You’d think the last thing a culture would do is forget where its food comes from. But, to a large extent, we have, with many people going no farther down the production chain than to the plastic-wrapped trays in the supermar- ket.

Although the local food movement is changing that to some degree, it has so far made barely a dent in the overall food market. In it, typically small farms raise “boutique” specialty crops for farmers’ markets and local restaurants and Community-Supported Agriculture programs, but they amount to just 3 percent of New England’s food sup- ply, according to the film “Forgotten Farms.”……

Five Generations of doing it right

SUTTON — Take a walk around Whittier Farm with Sam Whittier, and you can see how passion- atesheisforwhatherfamily’sdoneforfivegener- ations,andfordairyfarmingingeneral.Andthat’s despite originally being somewhat uncertain she’d be doing it.

“I worked for somebody else for nine months [after college] before deciding farming was what I wanted to do,” she said, adding she realized it when, at her job, she kept wondering how things were going with the cows. One evening, she told her dad she’d quit her job, and he asked, “‘What are you going to do now?’ ‘I’m hoping you’ll hire me,’” she recalled responding. “…I think I’m still in the interview process.”…….

August 22, 2017
Telegram & Gazette

Central Mass Farmers Stress Promotion at Farm Tour –

….The gathering was part of U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern’s seventh annual Massachusetts Farm Tour. The two-day event brings the congressman and members of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Massachusetts State Farm Service Agency, the state Department of Agricultural Resources, Central Mass Grown, and other local farm-related organizations to meet with local farmers and learn about their struggles and successes.

The roundtable began with several farmers sharing stories similar to Ms. Paulino’s. One was a first-generation farmer who had started her business on just a few acres. Others could trace their farms back to Colonial times, but had no heirs interested in continuing the business. And throughout there were stories of reinvention, diversification and more.

“You stumble, then you get back up, you stumble again” said Little Bit Farm owner Dianna Provencher, a member of Central Mass Grown, who started her farm on just 7.8 acres in Leicester in the 1980s.


“Collaboration is not a bad thing,” said Clarence R. Snyder, owner of Mary-Go-Round Farm in Brookfield, advocating greater sharing of technological information among farmers.

And the needs have changed: marketing and promotion – particularly online – is increasingly important, while advertising is expensive, farmers said. There are plenty of farmers markets available in big cities and towns, but neighbors often don’t think to visit a local farm for products.

“We sometimes forget what is in our own backyard,” said state Sen. Anne M. Gobi, D-Spencer.

Legislators and government officials pledged to help, working with towns to ensure regulations surrounding farmer’s markets and plumbing are farmer friendly, for instance, or asking network weathermen to once again include information about local harvest activity. Mr. McGovern said that while the tours over the years have shown that federal and state programs are getting to farmers, more needs to be done particularly in promoting local farms.

“I will be honest with you, there are lots of farms in the Greater Worcester area that people in Worcester probably don’t know exist,” said Mr. McGovern. “That’s not a criticism, it’s just simply saying that it shows we have some work to do to better connect the dots for people.”


August 17, 2017
Telegram & Gazette

Forgotten Farms to be Screened at Elm Aug 21

New England has lost over 10,000 dairy farms in the past 50 years and fewer than 2,000 remain. Collectively, however, they tend 1.2 million acres of farmland and produce almost all of the milk consumed in New England. The recent documentary “Forgotten Farms” indicates that we often overlook the farmers at the foundation of the regional agricultural economy as they fight for survival. The film combines a glimpse into the past with a vision for a a future regional food system. Central Mass Grown, Worcester County’s “Buy Local” organization, is hosting the screening to increase awareness of the New England Dairy industry and its importance to the region. Following the screening, a panel discussion will include “Forgotten Farms” producer Sarah Gardner, the film’s director Dave Simonds, U.S. Rep James P. McGovern, D-Worcester and Wayne Whittier, of Whittier Farms in Sutton.

What: “Forgotten Farms”

When: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 21. (Appetizers and draft brew.) Free dairy farm tour of Whittier Farms 3 to 4:30 p.m.

Where: Elm Draught House Cinema, 35 Elm Court, Millbury

July 1, 2017
Telegram & Gazette

Making it in Central Mass: Farm families face challenging markets

Two years ago, the nonprofit Central Mass Grown was launched to help local farms connect with consumers and to provide education to help farmers manage their business.

Executive Director Mackenzie May said, “What might have worked five, 10, 20 years ago won’t work today.”

Besides offering a directory of farm producers, community organizations, distributors, and restaurants and caterers that use locally sourced products, Central Mass Grown “teaches them the hacks” of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or how to manage finances on Quickbooks, according to Ms. May.

“The older generation of farmers are tapping their younger employees” for these tasks, she said. “Or sadly, they’re falling behind.”

Ms. May said she’s been working with the Regional Environmental Council in Worcester and Sterling-based Lettuce Be Local food hubs to expand wholesale distribution of products. Several restaurants and caterers across the county welcome locally sourced items, but getting into large supermarket chains and institutional food systems is still a hurdle.

There are some signs of success, however. The REC will work with Webster schools to offer local food, starting in 2018. And Lettuce Be Local has an agreement with Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg.

Central Mass Grown will host a tour of Whittier Farms and a screening of the documentary “Forgotten Farms” Aug. 21 at the Elm Draught House in Millbury. Information about the event, which is aimed to raise local awareness of farming, is at



January 19, 2017

Table Hoppin’: Local chefs to vie for ‘Best of the Best’

Foodies won’t want to miss this culinary showdown!

“The Best of The Best” 10th celebration will include Iron Chef champions and top finalists from the last nine WBC competitions.

The WBC organizers report they have taken the event in a new, fun-engaging direction, one that introduces unique attributes and experiences to the foodie community and showcases to the more than 1,000 expected guests the “culinary genius” of chefs not just from Worcester but also from Central Massachusetts, Springfield and Connecticut.


WBC will host farmers from Central Mass. Grown Growers will showcase fresh produce, honey, preserves, etc. Some of the participants will provide information about Community Supported Agriculture programs and how consumers can support them.

(…..) Chef competitors: Shane Anderson, executive chef at Eller’s Restaurant in Cherry Valley; Christopher Bairos, former executive chef at Amaia Martini Bar in Hudson; Cristiana Ernst, executive chef/owner of Clintons Bar & Grille in Clinton; Allen Granberg, executive chef/owner of Bella’s Bistro in Putnam, Conn.; Mark Hawley, executive chef of the Worcester Restaurant Group (111 Chophouse, Sole Proprietor, VIA Italian Table); Adam Hicks, executive chef and co-owner of Depot Street Tavern in Milford; Albert Maykel III, executive chef and co-owner of Bottleggers Prohibition Pub in Worcester; William Nemeroff, culinary director at The International and executive chef who recently joined forces with Brian Treitman, executive chef/owner of B.T.’s Smokehouse in Sturbridge; Christopher O’Harra, executive chef at the Flying Rhino Café in Worcester; Neil Rogers, executive chef de cuisine for Niche Hospitality Group in Worcester (nine restaurant locations including Niche’s Test Kitchen in Worcester); Christopher Rovezzi, executive chef/owner of Rovezzi’s Ristorante in Sturbridge; Brian Treitman, executive chef/owner of B.T.’s Smokehouse in Sturbridge; Tim Russo, executive chef of Lock 50 in Worcester; Wilson Wang, executive chef and owner of Baba Sushi in Worcester and Sturbridge and Chuan Shabu in Worcester; Ken Zhang, executive chef and co-owner of Yummy’s Asian Steakhouse in Worcester.



Barbara Houle


December 15, 2016

The Board of Directors of the non-profit organization Central Mass Grown —dedicated to promote the purchase of local agricultural products and to foster the education about its benefits to health, communities and economy, has named Mackenzie May as their new Executive Director. Mackenzie, born and raised in Shrewsbury, studied at the University of New Hampshire and has a career of volunteering with members of her hometown community, as well as her work in regional farms. Her interest in local farming (as she participated in the launching of a local Farmers Market) gained her experience as the chief fundraiser for Worcester County Conservation district.

For more information on this non-profit organization as well as memberships and upcoming events, visit their official site here.

November 22,2016

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $300,000 to Support Agricultural Buy Local Organizations

“For projects that will enhance efforts in western, central, northeastern and southeastern Massachusetts. Regional agricultural Buy Local organizations connect Bay State farmers with their surrounding communities…”