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NEPM Asparagus Festival in Hadley honors the ‘spearit’ of local agriculture

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The local family-friendly event on June 4, 2022 features live music, craft beer, and specialty foods.

April 28, 2022, SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Once known as “the asparagus capital of the world,” western Massachusetts is still home to hundreds of working farms and many more locally-owned restaurants and breweries. This June, New England Public Media celebrates the spirit (or, perhaps, “spearit”) of the local movement with the return of the NEPM Asparagus Festival, intended to “celebrate all things local and agricultural.” It will be held Saturday, June 4 on the Hadley Town Common from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The NEPM Asparagus Festival is free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to directly benefit public media throughout western New England. More information is available at nepm.org/asparagus.


VALLEY GRASS & FAMILY FUN from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Many Pioneer Valley natives recall early childhood mornings spent picking stalky, tipped vegetables before school. This was the asparagus harvest, and it plays an integral role in the history of western New England. Children of all ages will reconnect with that history and culture with an assortment of games and activities like Valley Scramble and the Asparagus Valley Pick Game. The Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association's Jurassic Roadshow will teach kids about the geologic history of the region and stagecoach rides to the nearby Hadley Farm Museum will be available.

At noon, award-winning bilingual artist, author, activist, educator, and Amherst College grad MISTER G and the Global Citizen Ensemble with Marcos Carreras, director of music at the Springfield Conservatory of the Arts Magnet School, perform.

And, of course, no public media event would be complete without a visit from PBS Kids characters. This year, Curious George and Nature Cat will be on hand to pose for photos with children. The NEPM education team will have a booth filled with PBS Kids related activities and information.


BEERS AND SPEARS from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The Beers and Spears tent will provide tasting opportunities from White Lion Brewing, Abandoned Building Brewery, New City Brewery, Amherst Brewing, Building 8, and other local breweries and cider makers. Visitors can purchase food and refreshments from Holyoke Hummus Company, Esselon Café, the Baby Berk food truck, Snappy Dog, Vibesman's Jerk Shack, Deans Beans, Crooked Stick Pop, Maple Valley Creamery, Jaju Pierogi, Sun Kim Bop, and Cocina Lupita. In addition, there will be crafts, local food products and agricultural vendors at the Farmers & Makers Market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


CHEFS’ SPEARIT LUNCH at 12:30 p.m.
Enjoy asparagus like you’ve never tasted! The Chefs’ Spearit Lunch is a charming outdoor dining experience with dazzling asparagus-based dishes “spearheaded” by some of the Valley’s most talented and innovative chefs.

It starts with tidbits from the UMass University Club & Restaurant and hand-crafted beer from Building 8. Then, guests will sit down to a succession of courses prepared by local chefs — Andrew Brow from Jackalope in Springfield and Highbrow Woodfired Kitchen in Northampton, Michelangelo Westcott from Wine Witch in Northampton and Gypsy Apple in Shelburne Falls, and UMass Dining Executive Chef Alex Ong. Each course will be paired with wines and libations from Provisions. Tickets are $75 each and may be purchased at nepm.org/asparagus.


TOE-TAPPING MUSIC from 3–7 p.m.
Musicians selected by Northampton-based Signature Sounds — including western Massachusetts native Kimaya Diggs, Montreal-based Mamselle Ruiz, and Boston’s Session Americana — will perform on the Rooted in the Valley stage.

The NEPM Asparagus Festival is sponsored by Greenfield Savings Bank, River Valley Co-Op, and Behavioral Health Network Inc. USA Hauling & Recycling is the sustainability sponsor. AM Lithography is the print sponsor. Yankee Magazine/Weekends with Yankee, The Daily Hampshire Gazette, MassLive/The Republican, El Pueblo and El Sol Latino are media sponsors.

Many thanks for additional sponsorship from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, the Hampshire County Regional Tourism Council, TommyCar Auto Group, Savage Farms CBD, Valley Solar, Paragus IT, and Lowes/Hadley.

A special thank you to the Town of Hadley.

New England Public Media is a community-supported, independent non-profit organization based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Through a deep commitment to independent local journalism, trusted educational content, inspired cultural offerings, and civic engagement, NEPM endeavors to share new voices and inspire new conversations. It provides audiences with a broad array of local and national programs across all media — TV, radio, online, and mobile, including PBS and NPR programs as well as locally produced series, podcasts and specials. Its four digital TV channels, and two radio networks present news, jazz and classical music, documentaries, talk, drama, plus cultural and educational programming.

For more information, visit nepm.org or follow NEPM on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Vanessa Cerillo
Senior Director, Marketing, Communications and Events
New England Public Media