Franklin County Fair

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GREENFIELD, MA – There was a great turnout for the Franklin County Fair this year, including people from many different states. With wonderful sights and exhibits, it was a great experience for all ages – especially educationally.

Learning about agriculture comes from organizations like 4-H and many others. There were daily 4-H youth shows, featuring many types of breeds. There were many participants in the sheep show, such as Clare Wasilewski, Nate Wooldridge, Sammi Riopelle, Shannon Steins, Amanda Goodfield and Katie Adams.

(There were no chickens for a poultry show. Because of the risk of avian flu, all the birds usually on display here were working remotely on their farms.)

Also on hand were Warren, Randy and Angie Facey of Bree-Z-Knoll Farm. The family farm has been a cooperative since 1997, but they had been farming for many years before that. The farm got its start in 1968 when the first generation, Warren and Sandie, bought their first two cows for their three children as part of a 4-H project. Randy began taking over farm management responsibilities in 2001, and in 2004 he married Angie, who came aboard with her family’s herd and helped form the second generation, which currently runs the farm. Randy and Angie’s three children, and their cousins, make the third generation who have become involved in 4-H and like to show their heifers at the local fairs.

A girl and her sheep – Clare Wasilewski. Photo by Joseph R. Parzych

Bree-Z-Knoll sits on a beautiful hillside in Leyden, MA, comprising 350 acres, although they farm 650 acres in all. They currently milk 120 cows with Lely robots. They also have 20 dry cows and 100 replacement heifers. They use rotational grazing in spring, summer and autumn and grow all their own feed for winter. As a new addition to their farm, they are going to be starting a bottling plant.

They are part of the Our Family Farms of Massachusetts co-op, along with Gould Maple Farm in Shelburne, MA. For more information on the co-op, check out ourfamilyfarms.com.

There was a great cause for a fundraiser at the fair this year as well. It is in honor of Lesley Gaines Merritt, who passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 29, 2021. Before she moved to Oklahoma in December 2019, Lesley had been very involved in agricultural fairs, especially the Franklin County Fair, and particularly the sheep department. Lesley’s family would like to honor her memory by helping to have the roof of sheep barn at the fairgrounds replaced – a $30,000 undertaking. Send any size donations with checks payable to Friends of Franklin County Fairgrounds, P.O. Box 564, Greenfield, MA 01302.

For additional information on the Franklin County Fair, visit fcas.com.

by Joe R. Parzych

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