Cold Spring Orchard is an education and research facility of UMass Amherst and grows over 100 varieties of apples on 50 acres of land. They offer “pick-your-own” apples and also sell a variety of goods including peaches, honey, apple cider, jams, jellies, grapes, blueberries, pears, squash, and pumpkins. They always have between 15 and 20 different varieties of apples available to choose from. They even offer bags of “seconds” to decrease their waste at a discounted price. Cold Spring Orchard also sells some of the best apple cider around. They decrease the amount apples they throw away by using their imperfect fruit to make their cider. Additionally, it is always made with at least 6 different varieties of apples, giving it a unique, rich flavor. They are located only 14 miles from campus in Belchertown, MA with a beautiful view of the Mt. Holyoke Range.
Many fruit growing operations will spray their entire orchard with pesticides even if only a portion of them are being impacted by pests. Shawn and his workers also take care of about 15 beehives every year. Because pesticides are particularly harmful to bee populations, and the Cold Spring Orchard team closely monitor the health of the bees and are sure to avoid pesticides and practices that will harm their hives.
Shawn is very passionate and takes pride in the work that he does. He shared, “It is really rewarding to grow something and sell it to someone. It feels like I am doing something with my life, like I have a purpose.” It is clear from interacting with Shawn that he cares deeply about the Amherst community, all of his customers and employees, and about the orchard’s impact on the earth. Kristen and Jim are two of the people Shawn works the most closely with. He explained the Cold Spring team are all like a big family. He added that, “I'm just one person and I do a lot, but there are a lot of people behind me that might not get the credit and those people deserve it as much as me.”
Shawn urges everyone who wants to make a difference in their local community to support their local businesses. He explains that, “sometimes things might cost a little more around here, and it's just because there are more challenges to grow those things, but you are getting something a lot fresher, something that is more valuable.” Most fruits and vegetables in the United States travel more miles to reach the grocery store than the average american does in a year. Buying locally not only supports local farmers like Shawn and their sustainable practices, but it also decreases the fossil fuel emissions burned to get them to you.
Cold Spring Orchard apples are served in all four dining commons until at least December each year. To learn more about Cold Spring Orchard and meet Shawn McIntire, come to UMass Dining’s apple week! The event is from 6:00-9:00pm in Hampshire on November 8th and Franklin on November 9th.
Thanks so much, Shawn for working with us, and for your time!
It’s almost that time of year again! For those of you who have not yet begun thinking about Thanksgiving, fear not – UMass Fresh is here to save turkey day! For the second year, UMass Fresh will be selling full holiday meals available for pickup on or before Thanksgiving. Each meal is intended to feed 6-8 people and is filled with a variety of locally-sourced ingredients.
The full menu includes:
• Misty Knoll Vermont Roast Turkey With Old Fashioned Turkey Gravy
• Pioneer Valley Grown Vegetarian Butternut Squash Lasagna With Sage Cream
• Happy Valley Organic Herbed Bread Dressing
• Local Chive Mashed Potatoes
• North Hadley Sugar Shack Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes With Spiced Walnuts
• Joe Czajkowski Shredded Brussel Sprout Tops
• Homemade Cinnamon Orange Cape Cod Cranberry Sauce
• UMass Bakery Local Cranberry Grain Bread
• UMass Bakery Local Apple Pie
Other items, including Cold Spring Orchard apple cider and Mapleline Farm eggnog, will be available for purchase at the pickup location.
Make sure to place your order at http://umassdining.com/thanksgiving by Friday, November 17th at 4:00 PM to take advantage of this opportunity to eat a delicious holiday meal while supporting local farms and businesses.
Orders will be available for pickup at the Campus Center’s Harvest Market on:
• Wednesday, November 22nd from 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM
• Thursday, November 23rd from 8:00 AM until 7:00 PM
This fall, we’re welcoming a new face to the campus center with the opening of a vegetable stand in Harvest Market. The UMass Student Farm is now selling organic, fresh, and ultra-local produce grown less than ten miles from campus. The UMass Student Farming Enterprise (SFE) is a student-run initiative supported by the University in which students gain experience planting, harvesting, cleaning, packaging, and selling food grown on-site, providing them with the knowledge and practice needed to manage a farm.
Stop by Harvest to check out the display of this season’s veggies grown and harvested by fellow UMass students. Buying produce from the Student Farm is a fantastic way to reduce your impact on the environment and eat fresh, local foods while supporting a student-directed initiative that is helping to produce the next generation of forward-thinking farmers.
The UMass Student Farming Enterprise is a student-led initiative that manages 14 acres of land and grows 35 different crops using ecologically sound practices. They supply UMass Dining with over 46 tons of ultra local, fresh, and organic vegetables every year- grown for students, by students. Working with the Student Farm helps UMass Dining meet many sustainability goals, such as decreasing food miles, reducing food waste, and increasing local and sustainable menu items. UMass Dining tries to purchase "imperfect" produce from the Student Farm to prevent their carefully grown veggies from going to waste. Produce from the Student Farm is featured in all four Dining Commons, at the weekly Student Farmers’ Market on Goodell Lawn, and at the new Student Farm Stand in Harvest Market.
The Student Farming Enterprise empowers students to take initiative, develop their leadership skills, work collaboratively to make business decisions, and learn from their mistakes. For Jacqueline Montminy, a Student Farmer and a Junior at UMass, “the best thing about it is that it’s a whole new group of people and even though it has been running for over a decade we start fresh every year. Our decisions are what run the program.” The Student Farmers work hard to make their learning environment collaborative fun and create a close-knit community to support each other.
A huge thanks to all of the Student Farmers for their valuable partnership with UMass Dining and for everything they do to make our campus community a better place!
Interested in becoming a Student Farmer?
The application for the 2018 UMass Student Farm Program is now open until November 1st! To apply, or for more information, click here.
Photo Credits: Keith Toffling.
Entries are submitted by project staff and UMass students.