Local farms honored at Farm of the Year reception

Wally Czajkawski (left) and his team from Plainville Farm were named the 2016 Farm of the Year.

The Food Bank celebrated local farmers at a special Farm of the Year awards ceremony on Friday, March 10 (made possible by a donation from event sponsors Bob and Barbara Carroll). Farmers throughout Western Massachusetts were honored for their contributions to The Food Bank this year, and to celebrate their commitment to supporting our community.

This harvest season, local farms donated more than 546,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to The Food Bank. This healthy food was distributed to our member agencies as well as directly to people in need through our Brown Bag: Food for Elders program and our Mobile Food Bank. Additionally, The Food Bank purchased 500,000 more pounds from these local farms.

Plainville Farms in Hadley received the Farm of the Year award for their commitment to helping feed Western Massachusetts. Their donation of 161,296 pounds of fresh vegetables in 2016 (most of which was butternut squash) provided more than 483,800 meals to families in our community struggling to make ends meet.

“I see so much waste in the food chain,” explains Wally Czajkawski, of the Plainville Farm. “This country wastes so much food. A lot of it is edible and really good — it’s just not cosmetically perfect. It’s foolish to throw it away.”

Last year’s winner, Atlas Farm in South Deerfield, was this year’s runner up with 110,890 pounds of food donated. Szawlowski Potato Farm in Hatfield was second runner up with 90,000 pounds donated.

The morning’s festivities included a tour of The Food Bank, allowing the farmers to see, first hand, how their nutritious fruits and vegetables move through our warehouse and into the homes of our neighbors in need.

We are proud of our longstanding relationship with area farmers, who partner with The Food Bank so that everyone has access to healthy food, regardless of their circumstances. Together, we can continue to cultivate these partnerships and put more fresh food on the tables across our region.

Top Ten Local Farm Donors in 2016 (by pounds of food donated)
Plainville Farm 161296 lbs
Atlas Farms 110890 lbs
Szawlowski Potato Farms 90000 lbs
Cheney Orchard 29124 lbs
Red Fire Farm 28700 lbs
Next Barn Over Farm 18834 lbs
Maple Row Farm 18650 lbs
Riverland Farm 14061 lbs
Wendolowski Farm 12721 lbs
Kitchen Garden 9175 lbs