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Barstow's Farm Has An Old New England Feel

By Jake Levin

Since 1806, the Barstow family has been just as lively as the farm it tends to.

Located along rural Route 47 in Hadley, Mass., Barstow's has been looking forward for the past 211 years. The farm encompasses the very best of the world of agriculture both past and present thanks to Denise Barstow, the Marketing and Education Manager. Barstow said it's the collective movement of the farm that makes for such a lively and fun locale in the serene setting of western Massachusetts.

"We strive to be a sustainable business, look out for our planet, and connect with our community," Barstow said of the farm's mission. "We celebrate all that it weird, wonderful and unique about the place that we live and the people who visit us. We hope to connect with our customers, give local artisans and farmers the opportunity to share their story, and teach people how we all can make a difference, build up local agriculture, and be stewards of our land."

In June 2008, Barstow's Dairy Store and Bakery opened for business. Barstow's cousin, Shannon, is the brainchild of the modern utilization of the farm, which creates a blend of delicious pastries and baked goods daily for patrons who may be starting their days before even the farmers.

Bald eagles and red-tailed hawks and countless other birds make their nesting grounds on the wide open land of the farm, where the corn and hay grow peacefully. All the while, customers stop in for their morning cup of coffee or any number of other items from Barstow's vast menu. Local and in-season ingredients are used exclusively, for dishes such as Shannon's famous pies, sandwiches, soups, salads and more.

Any of these items are available via Barstow's drive-thru window, another neat perk of the farm. And it wouldn't be a dairy farm without ice cream, of course, as Barstow's proudly serves Maple Valley Creamery's super premium ice cream.

"When we opened Barstow's Dairy Store and Bakery in 2008, we were excited to 'go retail,' but it also gave us a space where we could hold an ongoing conversation about farming in New England," Barstow said.

Events are held at Barstow's throughout the year, such as the Dairy Month Lecture Series or Burger Fest, as well as its weekly subsidiaries "Burger Nights." The beef is raised naturally at the farm, fed on a diet that includes grass, clover, alfalfa, corn and grain.

"There is free wagon ride farm tour, activities for kids, live music and tons of fun to be had," she said of Burger Fest, which is held once a year. "Because we don't have a liquor license, bringing your own adult beverage is always a-okay with us. Our goal is to make Barstow's a place for everyone. A place where we can all meet to better reconnect with this place we call home and the heritage that runs so deep in Western Massachusetts."

More information about Barstow's is available on its website, www.barstowslongviewfarm.com.

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