Who have we helped?
The PVGrows Investment Fund is proud to have provided financing to the following farm and food businesses:
Nourish Wellness Cafe I Loan: July 2017 I Purpose: Equipment
Nourish Wellness Cafe, located in Northampton, approached the PVGrows Investment Fund for financing to expand their offerings at the cafe, building on the successful launch of the business. Owners Ashley and Ethan Niles are dedicated to serving “nutrient dense vegetarian food that is organically grown, locally sourced whenever possible, and nourishing for you body and mind.” Their approach supports the local food system and takes advantage of the bounty grown here in the Pioneer Valley by buying from our local farmers and local value-add producers.
Sutter Meats I Loan: May 2017 I Purpose: Equipment
Sutter Meats works directly with family farms to provide locally and sustainably raised meats to the
Pioneer Valley. Susan and Terry Ragasa opened the doors to their old-fashioned butchery located in Northampton in 2014. Sutter Meats is dedicated both to preserving the craft of traditional butchery and to narrowing the gap between the eater and their food source.
Chris’ Farm Stand I Loan: May 2017 I Purpose: Bridge Loan
Chris’ Farm Stand is a family-owned and operated vegetable grower and retailer located in eastern Massachusetts. Chris Stasinos is a third generation farmer. The farm wholesales and retails a large diversified selection of its own vegetables, fruit, honey, poultry, turkey, and eggs. The farm stand plans on restoring its peach and apple orchard as well as barn restoration. This financing was provided through our ongoing partnership with The Carrot Project.
Wellspring Harvest l Loan: April 2017 l Purpose: Building Expansion and Improvements
Wellspring Harvest is creating a 12,600 square foot hydroponic greenhouse in the City of Springfield. The greenhouse will grow greens and herbs for area institutions, colleges and retail outlets.
Wellspring recently purchased the 1.75-acre site in the Indian Orchard neighborhood from the Springfield Redevelopment Authority. Site work has begun and the site has been cleared, with erosion control and stonework now in place to stabilize the ground.
The Wellspring Cooperative Corporation was established to create a network of worker-owned companies in Springfield to provide jobs, on-the-job training and wealth creation opportunities for low-income residents. Wellspring Harvest is their third business to be launched and their first in the farm and food sector.
Heart Beets Farm l Loan: April 2017 l Purpose: Working Capital
Heart Beets Farm is an organic vegetable farm located in the eastern part of Massachusetts in Berkley. This is PVGIF’s first borrower outside of the Pioneer Valley thanks to our newly expanded partnership with The Carrot Project. The farm sells primarily through a 3-season CSA and on-site farm stand. Heart Beets is one of the few organic farms located in their county.
Heart Beets Farm is an early stage farm and was started in 2014 by Stephen and Sarah Murray. The Murray’s farming philosophy focuses on increasing soil fertility to produce healthy, nutrient-dense crops.
Mycoterra Farm l Loan: March 2017 l Purpose: Equipment, Business Expansion
Mycoterra Farm grows gourmet and medicinal specialty mushrooms. Mycoterra began as Julia Coffey’s backyard business at her home in Westhampton and has grown into a diversified mushroom farm enterprise. Recently, Mycoterra has begun converting an old horse stable in South Deerfield into a new and larger facility in order to meet growing market demand.
According to Julia, Mycoterra Farm aims to “grow more than just mushrooms. We strive to leave the planet better than we found it. Using agricultural and forestry byproducts as our primary growing mediums, our natural methods of production accelerate decomposition, building soil and cycling nutrients – critical processes for healthy ecosystems.”
You can find Mycoterra’s mushrooms in many retail locations including River Valley Coop and local farmers markets.
Real Pickles l Loan Date: October 2016 l Purpose: Building Expansion and Improvements
Real Pickles is a small, worker-owned cooperative in Greenfield that produces naturally fermented pickle products. Financing from PVGIF and the Cooperative Fund of New England will allow Real Pickles to increase its fermentation capacity by one-third and install a high-efficiency heating system. Real Pickles began in the Western Mass Food Processing Center. In 2010, they moved across the street to their own building where they have continued to purchase more local vegetables, hire more local workers, and increase sales.
Real Pickles is committed to purchasing vegetables from organic farms in the Northeast. In practice, nearly all of their vegetables come from within the Connecticut River Valley. In 2014, for example, the 285,000 pounds of vegetables they purchased came from an average distance of 17 miles away from their Greenfield facility.
Appalachian Naturals l Loan Date: September 2016 l Purpose: Working Capital
Appalachian Naturals produces dressings and sauces using locally grown ingredients. Appalachian Naturals has been in business since 2005 and distributes throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Since 2006, Appalachian Naturals has purchased annually from 6,000 to 30,000 pounds of tomatoes, over 2,000 pounds of onions and 900 pounds of cilantro from Pioneer Valley farms. They began at the Western Mass Food Processing Center and after several years of growth, they expanded on their property in Goshen. In 2008, they renovated a barn into a storage facility and in 2012, they added a processing facility.
Their motto, “local agriculture is everyone’s business,” is best evidenced by their quality products.
Hillside Organic Pizza Company l Loan Date: June 2016 l Purpose: Working Capital
Hillside Organic Pizza began in 2001 with a commitment to the local community, making pizzas at the Western MA Food Processing Center for sale as fundraisers for schools and community groups. In 2006, they opened a restaurant in South Deerfield, followed by two more locations in Hadley and Bernardston. Hillside was the second business incubated at the Western Mass Food Processing Center. Hillside Pizza strives to operate using sustainable business practices that benefit the local community. They are committed to using organic and local ingredients whenever possible, and provide training and job opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities. Hillside crafts all of their products in small batches and composts and recycles their waste. Hillside believes that thriving communities are, in part, built on access to quality foods and a healthy environment. This loan will allow them to expand and renovate their processing and catering kitchen.
Carsons Cans l Loan Date: January 2016 l Purpose: New Inventory
What do portable sinks and toilets have to do with the local food system? Recently, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts updated the Good Agricultural Practices (MA GAP) requirements for worker hygiene. Carsons Cans, located in Greenfield, has developed a solid reputation for providing well-maintained portable sink and toilet units to area farms in need of compliance. Farms can reap significant savings not having to plumb their barns with toilets. Carsons Cans serviced 24 local farms during the 2015 growing season, with more being added this year. This business is meeting an essential infrastructure need in the local food system.
Artifact Cider Project l Loan Date: January 2015 l Purpose: Delivery Truck, Pump
Artifact Cider Project, located in Springfield, utilizes apples grown throughout the Pioneer Valley to craft their hard ciders. This loan from PVGIF will allow Artifact to purchase a new delivery truck and pump. According to co-founder, Jake Mazar, “For orchards in the Pioneer Valley to be viable and grow, they need strong local markets for their fruit. Artifact plays an important part in supporting these orchards. The freshness, the terroir, and the locality of the apples are what make a great cider. Our success depends on the orchards and increasingly, the reverse is true as well.”
Kosinski Farms l Loan Date: December 2015 l Purpose: Equipment
Kosinski Farms is a third-generation fruit farm in Westfield. In recent decades, the farm has expanded its acreage and added a farm store and bakery. PVGIF is proud to be part of the Kosinski’s next phase of growth, Raven Hollow Winery. This value-added operation utilizes the farm’s fruit seconds by transforming them into juice, wine and cider.
Endeavour Transportation l Loan Date: November 2015 l Purpose: Delivery Truck
Endeavour Transportation is a regional distributor of produce headquartered in South Deerfield. PVGIF financing will help Endeavour Transportation expand its distribution of locally grown produce to regional markets. A new delivery truck will allow the company, which has a long-term relationship with the Pioneer Valley Growers Association, to increase sales by expanding its geographic reach. Local distributors such as Endeavour Transportation are essential to a sustainable regional food system.