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Carraig Farm, Ashby  Photograph by  Tamara Leclerc

Carraig Farm, Ashby
Photograph by Tamara Leclerc

July’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Tamara Buckley-Leclerc, who photographed pickled green beans or dilly beans at  Carraig Farm in Ashby.

Tamara says that dilly beans, seen in the July photo, are one of her husband’s favorites. She takes advantage of canning and freezing whenever possible. Tamara says, “I can and freeze almost everything I can get my hands on, from dandelion jam to fiddleheads collected in the woods to veggies and chutneys. People often joke that in the case of a natural disaster or a zombie apocalypse, they will be coming here because I have all the food!”

Food preservation is just one task that keeps Tamara busy. She is also looking into sustainably building a year-round farm store. Some possibilities she is researching are recycled lumber, hay bale building and maybe adding parts built by glass bottles. In building and eventually opening a year-round store, she hopes to expand some of her products like goat milk soaps and body products from her bees and others from goat milk, as well as sell more handmade merchandise like bottled and comb honey and perennials, to name a few.

As previously mentioned in our February Photo Contest blog post, Carraig Farm is home to Tamara as well as her husband and three children. Carraig Farm feeds the Leclerc family, heats their home and is sustainably managed. Also a strong advocate for sustainable agriculture, Tamara says, “I believe it is key to the health of the farm.” Carraig Farm’s sustainability practices are countless. A few of Carraig Farm’s practices are using solar heat to cook down their compost and spread the compost as fertilizer. Using vinegar and salt for keeping down the weeds, Carraig Farm never uses pesticides. Vermiculture and companion planting, additionally, are the standard for Tamara and her team.

Interested in getting involved in farming? Tamara reminds us that to be a successful farmer, you must have the passion for it. One way she recommends getting your feet wet is to volunteer. She says, “volunteering is a way to find out, truly first hand, if it is something you will enjoy, and from the farmer’s point of view, we can never have enough help!”

From preserving to tending to animals to harvesting and much more Tamara says, “I think it is so important that my children and others, know where their food comes from whether it be butchering, goat cheese, making butter, planting or harvesting. It truly makes any meal all the more appreciated when they remember picking those beans or collecting eggs.”

Each month, we are posting the 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar’s photo of the month. Featuring photos of Bay State farming, the calendar is available for purchase. All photos were taken by amateur photographers who won the annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest. Proceeds from the $10 calendars benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, a non-profit organization that works with teachers to develop classroom materials. The calendar features a winning photograph each month, as well as interesting facts about local agriculture.

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Spending my summer as an intern in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, I enjoy writing for the Great Outdoors blog as well as tweeting for the office's twitter accounts. While I am not in the office I can be found working out, playing lacrosse and enjoying time with family and friends. During the year, I am a student at Hobart and William Smith Colleges where I play lacrosse and I am hoping to major in Economics and Environmental Studies.

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