Commissioner Scott Soares
Commissioner, Department of Agriculture Resources (DAR)
This Memorial Day Weekend, I’m excited to be partaking in one of my favorite New England spring-through-fall pastimes – going to Agricultural State Fairs! I’ll be headed to the Sheep and Woolcraft Fair in Cummington this Saturday (at Fairgrounds Road) for the kick-off of what is gearing up to be a great fairs season.
Did you know it was two Merino sheep that launched our Commonwealth’s rich and diverse history of fairs? In 1807, Massachusetts native Elkanah Watson decided to exhibit his animals at a public square in Pittsfield. A few years later, agricultural societies were established to sponsor and promote the state’s agricultural fairs of which DAR has been a big part.
Today, our agricultural fairs remain a favorite destination point for the more than 3 million residents and visitors each year.
The Commonwealth’s agricultural fairs feature highlights such as exhibits, livestock competitions and showings, farm-fresh food, and local crafts. Some fairs also have fireworks displays, tractor or pony rides, pig racing, and pie eating contests. There are also wine and beer making competitions, wood carving or cooking demonstrations, and concerts.
This year the American Automobile Association (AAA) has kindly partnered with us to also feature hard copies of our 2010 Fairs Brochure at their AAA clubs. Or, you can send an email request to receive a hard copy to Ellen.Hart@state.ma.us.
From fairs to farms to farmers’ markets, our Agri-Google map on our new MassGrown & Fresher website will connect you to all of your favorite agricultural destinations. www.mass.gov/massgrown
Whether you like the big fairs or the small community ones – I hope to see you there!
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April posted on May 14
A lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. Photo by David Cawston April’s contest winner was David Cawston who photographed a spring lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. The Cummings School of …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March posted on Apr 23
Girard’s Sugarhouse in Heath, MA. The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually. Photo by Michael Girard March’s contest winner was Michael Girard who photographed his family’s sugarhouse in Heath. Michael Girard has been a sugarmaker since 1961 when he …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25
February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton. This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February