Caption: Mural on City Feed and Supply in Jamaica Plain, Boston
The State House got a genuine Taste of Massachusetts this week as farmers from around the Commonwealth came to celebrate Agriculture Day, an annual event that showcases the rich bounty of food and beverage produced in-state, while giving farmers an occasion to educate public officials about issues affecting their industry.
The event was organized by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources, the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation and other organizations.
On hand was an abundance of locally harvested and produced items, ranging from oysters, cranberry juice and apple pies to cheese, honey and milk shakes. And culinary students from the Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School in Marlboro prepared and served a variety of dishes made from Massachusetts products, such as turkey, lamb, root vegetables, honey and local cheeses.
Governor Deval Patrick spoke to the assembly and presented the group with a proclamation declaring March 26, 2014 at Massachusetts Agriculture Day. In turn, the farmers presented the governor with an award in recognition of his support of their issues over the years.
The farming industry in Massachusetts generates nearly $490 million in revenues, maintaining about 520,000 acres of open space. There are about 7,700 farms, employing 12,000 works, according to Richard Sullivan, secretary of Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Greg Watson, Commissioner of Department of Agricultural Resources, said that “The reliance on our agricultural community to meet the increasing demand for local products continues to grow as the Buy Local movement expands.”
Paula L. Murphy, Director of the Massachusetts Export Center, says that the state exported more than $914 million of food and agricultural items in 2013. “Massachusetts is the nation’s number one exporter of scallops and the number three exporter of seafood,” Murphy adds. “And we are the nation’s number one exporter of cranberry juice.”
In fact, culinary tourism is yet another reason to visit the state. The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism has developed a a handy overview of culinary activities for visitors, including a culinary calendar of food festivals and fairs.
For other farm produce information, check out the Massachusetts Association of Roadside Stands , and this Mass Grown Map of farm products, specialty foods and fun agricultural activities throughout the state.