Topics: Agriculture & Farming

ORLEANS — There were pluses and minuses in the third year of growing at Putnam Farm, Conservation Agent John Jannell told the agricultural advisory committee Jan. 11. “The 2020 season was a good season,” he said of the five plots in the conservation area not far from the district courthouse. “We had five full growers for the first time through the season out there. Everyone was active.” Even so, “I’m not sure I c...

HARWICH — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting record cranberry crops in Massachusetts and across the country. Local growers, however, are being more conservative in their crop estimates based on recent heat and drought conditions, and are wary of larger harvests that drive down prices. “It’s basic supply and demand,” Harwich cranberry farmer Wayne Coulson said. “The greater the supply the more the...

Local Farmers Markets Open With New Protocols

By: Liz Donnan Kintz

For many, the open-air farmers markets of Chatham, Harwich, and Orleans are synonymous with the bounty and vibrancy of summer days. The hum of greetings and conversations floats above crates of fresh eggs, buckets of lavender and garden flowers, and rows of bright carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes.  This summer, local farmers markets look a little different, with spaces reconfigured to align with COVID-19 rules a...

Harwich Kelp Farmer Provides Insight Into New Industry

By: William F. Galvin

WEST HARWICH — Mark Kelleher has been drawn to the waters in and around the Herring River for many years. He's worked in fishing and shellfishing, and now has a new venture, a kelp farm a mile offshore, which is taking advantage of the nutrients flowing from the river into Nantucket Sound. The kelp farm is a first for Harwich. Kelleher admits it is an experiment for him. The part-time teacher, shellfisherman a...

Harvest Time At Cape Cod Lavender Farm

By: Olivia Szymanski

HARWICH – To find a little bit of local magic, look no further than the Cape Cod Lavender Farm. Located off a winding dirt road, the farm is home to a fragrant field of lavender plants, an enchanted fairy garden, and walking trails. Cynthia Sutphin started the farm on her own property 23 years ago, and it has since continued to grow and evolve – the farm now sees between 10,000 and 12,000 visitors each summer....

Farmer Sues Town Over Enforcement Actions

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The owner of Resilient Family Farm, who has been battling with the town for nearly two years over permitting issues, has filed a lengthy lawsuit in Barnstable Superior Court claiming he has been defamed by regulatory boards and department directors and administrators. Barry Dino Viprino has been doing battle with the town over the commercial status of his farm at 35 Chatham Rd. as well as wetland iss...

HARWICH — The waterways committee is supporting a pilot program growing kelp off Herring River this winter, with the understanding that project proponent Mark Kelleher will work with Harbormaster John Rendon to resolve any potential navigation issues. Kelleher will be doing business as Kelpeher Farms and presently is going through the permitting process to locate two kelp arrays outside Herring River. One woul...

Hundreds Turn Out To Meet Their Local Farmers

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The annual Meet Your Local Farmers event held last weekend at the community center was a big success with an estimated 700 people attending. “We were thrilled at the variety of the exhibitors and the excitement they generated,” said Michael Lach, executive director of Harwich Conservation Trust, an event sponsor. “It's a great way to introduce people to the farmers around the Cape.” It is an oppor...

Meet Your Local Farmers Saturday

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — There seems to be a greater interest in knowing where our food comes from and placing locally grown “farm fresh” products on the table. On Saturday, residents have an opportunity to learn more about locally grown products at the ninth annual “Meet Your Local Farmers” at the community center. The event will provide the public with the opportunity to meet and discuss farming techniques and tips with lo...

Health Board Drops Order, Court Appeal, On Viprino Farm

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The board of health voted unanimously this past week to vacate the cease and desist order issued to Resilient Family Farm last April and to drop the court appeal it had filed seeking adherence to suitable manure management practices. The board of health no longer has jurisdiction over the manure management at the farm because there are no longer horses kept there, Health Director Meggan Eldredge told...

You could do a whole December’s worth of shopping with one stop at the Orleans Farmers Market in the cafeteria of Nauset Regional Middle School on a Saturday morning. And everything you’d carry out is locally sourced and perhaps even benefits a charity. If December shopping isn’t for you, this market will continue every Saturday through the end of April. Then it returns to its outdoor venue at Depot Square. ...

Neighbors Not Satisfied With Farm Compliance Efforts

By: Alan Pollock

HARWICH — Resilient Family Farm continues to have two outstanding issues to address after a cease and desist order was issued by the board of health last April. Those issues relate to the operation of an unlicensed piggery and manure management noncompliance. Last week the health board declared commercial piggeries a noisome trade and will licensing them on a site-by-site basis (see story, page 1). The farm ow...

Health Board To Conduct Public Hearing On Piggeries

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — There has been a lot of discussion about farms in residential areas and their impacts on neighborhoods over the past year. The operation of a piggery in such a location now has the board of health weighing if such an facility is a “noisome trade” and whether there should be restrictions or even prohibitions on piggeries in town. The board has scheduled a public hearing Tuesday evening to solicit comm...

Dancing With The Produce At Harwich Farmers' Market

By: William F. Galvin

HARWICH — The Harwich Farmers' Market was in full swing last week, led by the Cape Cod Chamber Ensemble. There will be plenty of other opportunities to dance alongside fresh produce into early October; the market will be open every Thursday. The town's agricultural committee, in cooperation with the Harwich Historical Society, sponsors the Farmers' market on the grounds of Brooks Academy. Local farmers provide...

HARWICH — The battle over Resilient Family Farms and town regulatory control continues as the board of health seeks to address an alleged unlicensed piggery and manure management issues at the Chatham Road farm. Farm owner Barry Viprino was before the board of health a week ago addressing charges in a cease and desist order issued in April relating to the piggery, the absence of a wholesale food license and ma...

At U.N., Tolley Touts Small-scale Fisheries

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — Fisheries activist Brett Tolley of Chatham has told many people about the plight of small-scale fishermen like his father, who left the industry because he couldn't compete with big corporate interests. Last week, he told that story to world leaders in a special forum at the United Nations in New York. A proud member of a fourth-generation fishing family, Tolley works as a community organizer and p...