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Farmer in Focus:
This week we had a wonderful visit to Plainville Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts. Wally Czajkowski, 62, has been farming this land for more than 50 years (do the math - he started working very young!). Wally’s grandfather, an immigrant from Poland, began the farm in the early 1900s.
At Russo’s we receive assorted vegetables from Plainville Farm throughout the year. Wally grows a mix of conventional and organic products on 250 acres, including broccoli, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, beans, asparagus and tobacco (we don’t carry tobacco at Russo’s).
One of Wally’s favorite products is asparagus. Historically, Hadley has been known for its incredible asparagus, but several decades ago, a soil-born disease destroyed the asparagus crops. Today, there are many asparagus varieties grown which resist this soil issue and farmers like Wally can grow incredible asparagus in this fertile region.
“Asparagus is the first sign of spring,” he said. “It’s a vegetable full of eternal hope. It comes up, and we cut it off. It comes up, and we cut it off. How’s that for determination? It continues that way for six weeks. And it tastes so good.”
Wally showed us around his farm, pointing out the asparagus which is already planted for next spring. He spoke eloquently about photosynthesis and preparation for the spring harvest (but due to our lack of understanding plant science, we were slightly confused).
In today’s economy, Wally said that it can be challenging for young farmers to purchase enough land to make a living. He said that young farmers could buy less acreage and focus on organic farming, which generally pays more per acre. “That’s the way to go,” he said.
Tony Russo speaks highly of Wally’s excellent products which we enjoy at our store.
At Russo's this week, we have locally grown apples, tomatoes and eggplant. See more of our specials here!
To see more photos and videos of Wally at Plainville Farm, our Russo’s products and “Tony Tips” by Tony Russo, follow us:
Have a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading!