The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown

Growing Organically Since 1982

Season Extension

High tunnels directly contribute to the local economy and food supply by improving the square foot productivity of agricultural land during the regular growing season, and by extending production into the late fall, winter and spring. Fresh greens, like spinach, mustards, lettuce, kale and chard produced in winter provide a high value complement to storage crops sold through increasingly popular winter farmers’ markets and winter CSA programs. Grafted greenhouse tomatoes can produce exceptionally high yields of blemish free fruit. With proper management, high tunnels increase farm viability by increasing the profitability of farms both in square footage and annual output.

In 2009 the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) launched a program to subsidize the cost of purchasing and constructing high tunnels for farmers, in order to assess their viability. Many Massachusetts farms have received this funding and built high tunnels, or they have purchased them on their own. Many farmers build simple structures with recycled materials and affordable supplies.

Overwintered onions

All too often, I’ll visit a farm in late fall or winter to find their high tunnels without any crops growing. Many growers don’t have the time, energy, or experience to get a crop in after their main summer crop has bit the dust. But high tunnels are simply too valuable to be unproductive for a full season or two. With good crop planning and preparation, you can grow an incredible diversity of vegetables throughout the winter and early spring.

If you want to learn more tips and tricks to enhance your farm’s year-round high tunnel production, join us for an advanced seminar at Stonehill College on February 6 on organic high tunnel production featuring expert farmers Michael Kilpatrick and Andrew Mefferd. Learn more here.

Mulching at Pleasant Valley Farm

Mulching at Pleasant Valley Farm

Paul and Sandy Arnold began farming 20 years ago after purchasing 60 acres of land. The early years were challenging as they balanced outside jobs and got the farm up and going. In their fourth year, they both became full-time farmers and discontinued all off-farm jobs, and started to raise a family. Pleasant Valley Farm has given them their sole source of income for the past [20] years.

Paul and Sandy Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm will be presenting the NOFA/Mass Advanced Growers' Seminar on November 5 on Profitable Year-Round Farming and Marketing.

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