Even the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture admits that few residents realize there are 6,200 farms in Massachusetts. This spring, the agency launched a year-long advertising campaign to help spread the word. The planned series of four radio ads – one per season – is aimed at reminding the public about the range of products available at area farms and encouraging them to buy. The spring ad highlighted locally grown plants and shrubs, part of the state’s $147 million greenhouse and nursery industry, which brings in more money than any other agricultural sector. The summer ad features fresh fruits and vegetables, and the fall ad will focus on autumn harvest crops, such as apples, pumpkins, and cranberries. If the agency’s budget permits ($100,000 was available in fiscal year 1999), a fourth ad will be aired during the winter holiday season urging people to get their turkeys and Christmas trees from local farmers.

As another promotional strategy, the agency is selling hats, T-shirts, aprons and tote bags bearing the logo “Massachusetts grown…and fresher!”

Information about Massachusetts farms is available on the Department of Food and Agriculture’s Web site at

Bay State Farm Facts

Total number of farms, 1997: 6,200
Total number of farms, 1964: 8,019
Total number of farms, 1945: 37,900

Massachusetts Agriculture, Cash Receipts, 1997

Meet the Author
Total: $532 million
Greenhouse & nursery: 27.6% ($147 million)
Cranberries: 27.4% ($146 million)
Fruits & vegetables: 18% ($92 million)
Dairy products: 13% ($66 million)
Other crops: 8%
Livestock & poultry: 5%
Eggs: 1.5%

U.S. Cranberry Production, 1997

Wisconsin: 42%
Massachusetts: 38%
New Jersey: 10%
Oregon: 6%
Washington: 3%