HADLEY, Mass.(WWLP) - It's been called the Breadbasket of Massachusetts; and now, thetown of Hadley is being honored for its farm preservation.
The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources hasrecognized Hadley for protecting more farmland than any otherMassachusetts community.
Under the Agriculture Preservation Restriction, the town hasprotected more than 24-hundred acres to date. The state buysthe development rights to a farm and it becomes preserved farmlandwhere it is dedicated to farm activity only and can never bedeveloped.
People living and doing business in Hadley say the town's linkto agriculture is still going strong.
Stanley Kokoski's family has farmed in Hadley for over 100years.
He says the town's farming reputation has not dimmed despiterecent urban sprawl. "It's greatly associated with farming. Alot of land is dedicated in Hadley to farming after you get offRoute 9 of course," said Kokoski.
Business owner Jason Deni sees people who come to Hadley justfor the produce. He told 22News, "The corn has a solidreputation as being some of the best around. It definitely has somenotoriety to it. We get people stopping all the time from out ofstate."
As part of Hadley's 350th anniversary, the town, the KestrelTrust and farmers have place FOREVER FARMLAND signs on protectedAPR farms so they can be easily identified.
The signs guide viewers to a website, www.foreverfarmland.org, which outlines thebenefits of preserved agricultural land, describes farmlandprotection programs, and provides links to area land trusts, stateagencies and farm support organizations.