In early May we received a visit from Lindsay Sabadosa a progressive Democrat running for Massachusetts State Representative. Not only is Lindsay running for office, she is a hardworking mom and a Western Massachusetts Native.
She toured our farm and wanted to know what was important to me as a farmer and being a young business person in my district. I can talk farming all day and Lindsay was genuinely interested.
She was thrilled about what I was doing right now and my plans for the years to come. She was also excited by the trend of young people getting into agriculture and becoming farmers.
We walked and talked and she took quite a few photos. She and her team posted to Instagram later in the day and it was awesome seeing our humble little farm talked about with such inspiration and hope!
A big thank you to Lindsay and her team for giving me the opportunity to talk about my business and giving me a voice!
You can learn more about Lindsay's campaign at www.lindsaysabadosa.com! #TeamSabadosa #SabadosaMA
Western Massachusetts News Meteorologist Jacob Wycoff's series 10 Towns in 10 Days rolled through Hatfield on April 12th and we were lucky enough to be interviewed!
The 10 Towns in 10 Days series highlights a different town each night, showcasing just some of what the area has to offer. Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting, Black Birch Wines, Good Stock Farm and our farm were mentioned.
Thanks again to Jacob and the crew, you did Hatfield proud!
10 Towns in 10 Days: Hatfield
HATFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM)
May 2, 2018 | Jacob Wycoff, Meteorologist & Erin Fitzsimonds
Take a short spin off of I-91 in Hatfield, and you'll find Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting.
For the last five-and-a-half years, tens of thousands of people have zoomed around the track in their not-so typical go-karts.
"On the inside track, they're capable of 40mph. once we go outside, it'll probably be near 50," said Ryan Bouvier, the Owner of Pioneer Valley Indoor Karting.
If you're looking to slow down a bit, head to Black Birch Vineyards.
Co-Owner Michelle Kersbergen said while they continue to work on their grape harvest, the winery looks local when it comes to finding grapes.
"All the grapes that we've sourced in the past and in the future will be from our own vineyard," said Kersbergen.
You can enjoy some of their collection in their beautiful tasting room, and while the wine list may be growing, Hatfield seems to remain the same.
Some farming roots in Hatfield are deeper than others. Harrison Bardwell of Bardwell Farm said his family has been tending to the land since the 1680's through nine generations.
"Farming can connect you to the Earth and nature. Being able to grow food on the land we have been provided to us is really some meaningful."
Bardwell said the town of Hatfield recognizes his hard work.
"They praise the local vegetables, how good they taste, how nutritious they are. It brings a smile to my face to know that I can support people," Bardwell continued.
His farm also sells and donates some of his crop to places like the Food Bank of western Massachusetts. The food bank serves as the central hub for local food pantries and soup kitchens.
"There are 223,000 people that rely on the food that we distribute from our warehouse," said Chris Wocjick with the Food Bank of western Massachusetts.
Monetary donations are hugely important to the food bank.
"Every dollar that is provided to the food bank, we're able to provide three meals to a neighbor in need," Wocjick added.
For all of the food bank does for people, Western Mass News wanted to help so a $500 check on the behalf of Diamond RV, Big Y and Western Mass News.
Tune in at 12:30 p.m. on Better Western Mass on Thursday to find out what town Jacob is headed to next.
March 30th we received a surprise visit from the WWLP TV22 News Team! Tashanea Whitlow and a camera man took a trip out to the farm to interview me along with several other farms who received the ACRE Grant.
The Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Program is a grant provided by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organization that assists farmers with all sorts of environmental challenges and improvements. They also share their knowledge with farmers to help them implement new practices that impact the environment in a positive way. These resources also include grants such as the ACRE program.
The ACRE grant was presented to farmers through MDAR to help impact the environment in a positive way by reducing greenhouse gasses through fossil fuels, tillage of the soil, and less inputs such as fertilizers, fuel, and pesticides farms rely on in a more conventional setting.
Farmers were eligible to apply for items like no-till equipment, zone tillers, high residue spring cultivators, and spring systems, along with no-till planters and transplanters, which is what I mainly focused my proposal on. Other eligible items were improving irrigation equipment and systems by making them more efficient and environmentally friendly. Also, implementing solar power pumps for irrigation equipment and other farm related aspects.
We decided to explore how we could improve our soils for the longevity of the farm. We looked into no-till equipment. With many hours of research and time, and talking with companies, it was clear a no-till planter perfectly fit our operation. It was compatible with our goals of improving our soil, saving, and reducing fossil fuel use, and reducing our carbon footprint.
Bardwell Farm was awarded $11,900.00 towards a MaterMacc 2 Row Vacuum Precision Planter with no-till options. The planter is perfect for our farm because it is designed to plant and space any sized seed, from as small as a carrot to as large as a pumpkin seed, with only one piece of equipment. This planter also is "vacuum" which means it will plant seeds exactly spaced in rows, in a width row I choose. The best part is that is designed for no-till planting and this is where the grant came into play.
The planter is equipped with heavy duty coulters that cut through biomass on the soil's surface and is able to plant through cover crops without disturbing the soil. We project this will be a five year progression until we are really seeing a substantial difference in soil health, yield, and the health and quality of plants and vegetables produced. As they always say... good things take time!
We are excited to implement this new equipment and feel good knowing we are having a better impact on our environment and producing a higher quality product!
We want to thank WWLP TV22 News and the Daily Hampshire Gazette for taking the time to learn about what farms are doing in the area to help improve our environment and reduce greenhouse gasses. We also want to thank the USDA and MDAR for awarding us this grant and making all of this possible!
Stay tuned as we start to make the switch to a no-till farming season!
We have battled more winter weather since we last left-off, the snow wasn't too bad but the wind sure gave us a beating.
After we put the plastic up on the frame we waited for a warm day to readjust and tighten everything up. Thanks for the help Cam and Spencer!
Next, we installed a blower for the double layer of plastic. The blower adds air between the layers and creates an air pocket to act as a type of insulation. With the inflated layers it retains more heat when the weather is colder.
Now that we had adequate warmth, we switched gears and put some actual farming into play! We started a cover crop! With the help of a few friends we subsoiled the ground intensely to break up the hard pan we created from leveling the land.
We rototilled the soil and seeded "Peas, Oats, and Radish" into the ground along with some fertilizer and lime. Within a few weeks we had germination and it's looking great!
Ok back to the actual high tunnel... we spent a few days working on the roll up sides, installing the eyebolts, and adding rope to keep the sides from moving.
After that was complete, we came back to the end walls. My dad and I attached final trim board and fastened the plastic with wiggle wire for extra protection. A huge thank you to my father (who still thinks we are building a house and everything has to be precise) for giving it the classic farm look in barn red. To say the least it came out better than imagined!
The end wall doors and vents were the project finishing pieces. We fabricated the doors in the shop by cutting, mounting, and fastening polycarbonate sheet to them. We also built the vent windows in the shop as well, painted them up and attached polycarbonate. Everything came out perfect!
Lastly, we mounted the vents and doors to the end walls with the hinges. This took some expertise because of the slight ground movement from the frost over the winter. The structure finally looks complete.
Happy to be moving forward with irrigation, and electrical. Soon we will be planting... we are counting the days and it can't come soon enough!
Stay tuned to Part 3 of the High Tunnel Project. As always thank you for reading and all of your support!
It's been a long active winter, but things are looking up, today is March 20th and the first day of spring! So we may be getting a little snow tomorrow, no big deal right?
Like you, we are so ready for this cool weather to break and the snow to finally stop. We're looking forward to warmer days and finally breaking ground.
Even though it's cold, Bardwell Farm is busy at work and we are counting down the days. We're tuning-up all of our equipment. The high tunnel is almost complete and ready for operation. Seeding of the first crops that you will see on the stand come May all begins soon!
What we will be talking about in the days to come...
Here's to season 2018 and a Happy Spring to all!
Christmas at Bardwell Farm is a time for thanks, family and some much needed relaxation. We look back on the year and the success of the farming season and feel blessed we are together as a family.
We are especially thankful for the family we don’t get to see too often. We laugh, share memories and it’s a special time. As my family grows in age I cherish this most.
I take this time to remember my grandparents who were two very big influences in my life. As we celebrate the holidays in their old home, now our new home, it’s hard not to reflect and be thankful for all the traditions we were brought up with and that homey feeling it brings. I think of them often.
Christmas is also a brief time away from the farm to relax with friends, act like a young adult and have a little bit of fun before the next season comes. Sometimes I need this more than you know.
Thank you to my family, friends and loyal customers who support me and the farm year after year. I feel blessed and thankful. You are all in my thoughts through the holidays.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
This week, U.S. Representative Jim McGovern hosted the 7th Annual Agricultural Tour to meet with farmers, agricultural producers, non-profit farming organizations and community development corporations in Central and Western Massachusetts to highlight the success of our region’s agricultural industry, its role in growing the local economy and addressing issues in farming.
I am so thankful Bardwell Farm was chosen as one of the stops on the tour. It was amazing really, the congressman spoke directly to me, listened to my story and the battles that beginner farmers go through on a daily basis. Even though I was blessed with land and equipment, farmers who are just starting out struggle to purchase and maintain those things. Also, if you take into consideration how young farmers have to somehow break into wholesale and retail markets, it's really-really tough. My hope was to bring some kind of awareness to all of this. We farmers have to stick together, we are a dying breed.
The tour started with a brief introduction and a surprise. What I thought was going to be the congressman and a couple of staff turned into 20, including folks from the USDA, CISA, NRCS, support staff, local businesses and farmers, and several media organizations. I talked about the history of Bardwell Farm, what inspired me to go into farming and why I love it so much.
After we walked one of our fields and I explained why we like to grow smaller settings of a variety of fruits and vegetables instead of just one really large crop. I also talked about the importance of timing settings so our farmstand stays stocked all season with plenty of product.
We moved onto education and farming, collaboration between farmers, farmers helping farmers, and marketing with social media and competing in the digital marketplace.
I expressed the desire to expand my operation and the congressman and his staff brought many ideas to the table including grants to help with solar energy, greenhouses and the possibility of opening a farm store.
The tour ended at the farmstand so we could show our finished product and hard work. We took a group photo and almost everyone purchased something. It was kind of funny, our regular customers were there too and wondered what was going on, it was awesome and I enjoyed every minute of it!
I want to thank U.S. Representative Jim McGovern for including Bardwell Farm in the tour. I also want to thank the congressman, his staff, the agencies and all the other folks who genuinely listened to everything I had to say and providing new ideas that would improve my operation.
All-in-all it was such an amazing experience and I am very thankful and proud.
A heartfelt thank you to my grandfather and mentor Cory Bardwell for teaching me to farm. I wish you were here today to see all of this.
A huge thank you to all the farms who help me everyday, especially you Tony, your guidance and friendship is important to me.
Thanks to Rick at Rocket Strategies for pushing me, creating a solid marketing plan and making me look good on the interwebs everyday... you're crazy.
A special thank you to farmhand Kaitlyn for your friendship, support, hard work and always making everything just so. The stand looked beautiful today (all the while battling a bee sting). Farmers til' the end!
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You know the phrase, "grows like a weed?", enough said.
For the last two weeks Kaitlyn and I have been in the fields weeding. I really don’t stress about it because it takes your mind to another place and it's kind of relaxing…if you can imagine that.
It’s not without its hazards though. You are on your hands and knees, in the baking sun, pulling everything but the very plant your are trying to protect. The rows go on for as far as the eyes can see and six hours goes by in a blink.
You really don’t know land and the soil until you’ve done this simple task. It’s so necessary.
Today we head back out to fight the good fight!
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