Founded in 2000, Warm Colors Apiary is an 80 acre farm located in South Deerfield, MA, owned and operated by the loving couple Dan and Bonita Conlon. Their farm is just 11 miles from the center of campus.
Using the wealth of the honeybees and non-chemical methods, Warm Colors Apiary produces and sells honey and beeswax candles. They also offer educational programs and beekeeping supplies to encourage the health and regeneration of local bee populations. The educational programs aim to teach the importance of the honeybee to our food supply and the environment while also advancing the skills of apiarists.
Dan was recognized by the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association as the 2005 Beekeeper of the Year for his outstanding dedication and support of Massachusetts beekeeping.
They believe honey is one of the earth’s most perfect foods and have worked hard to share it with their community in a healthy and sustainable manner. Their commitment to the community is clearly shown in their mission statement, "The mission of Warm Colors Apiary is to promote the art of beekeeping, provide our customers with the finest all natural products, and to practice farming methods that protect and sustain the land”.
Visit their website to learn more about Dan and Bonita’s farm, look into taking a tour of their apiary, and find delicious recipes that utilize local honey.
Joseph Czajkowski is UMass Dining's first-ever Farmer of the Week, a series focused in Hampshire Dining Commons to celebrate and appreciate local farmers that provide for UMass Dining.
Who better to start with than Joseph Czajkowski? At his farm in Hadley, Massachusetts, he grows fruits, vegetables, and specialty products for UMass and the Pioneer Valley community. This third generation family farm has been passed down from Joe's grandfather and parents, originally growing tobacco, potatoes and cucumbers. Since 1914, when John Czajkowski (Joe’s grandfather) started the farm, it has expanded to growing squash, cabbage, sweet corn, blueberries, grape tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, carrots, pumpkins, grain and barley.
“We were little kids when my brother and I started helping. We made our first crop of squash when we were 12 years old and we just kept going,” Joe recalls about the beginning of his farming career.
Joe also helps UMass source more produce locally not only by providing food directly from his farm; he also collects produce grown by a variety of farms in the Pioneer Valley, then sells it all collectively to UMass under one contract.
“Working with Joe has allowed us to streamline the process,” according to Ken Toong, executive director of UMass Auxiliary Enterprises, “and the price is very competitive with conventional produce.” As a result of UMass’ partnership with Czajkowski Farm, UMass has dramatically increased procurement of local food to over $1 million.
“I’m out in a field of organic carrots and it’s beautiful,” Joe says. “No matter how many times you see things grow, each time it’s amazing, it’s a miracle.”
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