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Shady Oaks Organics Expands With Help From MassDevelopment / The Carrot Project Small Farm Loan Program

October 3, 2011

Kelsey Abbruzzese, MassDevelopment, 617-330-2086 & 617-448-9077 (cell)
Dorothy Suput, The Carrot Project, 617-674-2371 & 617-910-8499 (cell)
Nathan Seyler, Shady Oaks Organics, 978-821-9383

MassDevelopment and The Carrot Project today announced that Shady Oaks Organics, an organic mushroom farm in Newburyport, received an $11,000 loan under the MassDevelopment/The Carrot Project Small Farm Loan Program. Shady Oaks grows multiple varieties of oyster and shiitake mushrooms from bales of organic wheat straw at its new 3,100-square-foot facility, and is using loan proceeds to build out that space and purchase new equipment. The farm relocated there after cultivating and selling the first crop, grown in a small basement. The new facility helps greatly increase capacity and efficiency.

Shady Oaks Organics supplies its mushrooms to several well-known restaurants on the North Shore and in Boston. The company also participates in farmers' markets in Amesbury, Boston, Cambridge, Gloucester, and Newburyport.

“Shady Oaks Organics has successfully cultivated rare varieties of organic mushrooms not native to Massachusetts, introducing New Englanders to these delicacies through markets and restaurants,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “The Small Farm Loan Program helps farmers who emphasize organic methods, and Shady Oaks has prioritized growing local food sustainably.”

“We are excited to work with Shady Oaks Organics. They’ve done a tremendous job of test-marketing their product, are filling an gap in local markets, and have a business model with high growth potential, all from an urban agricultural space,” said The Carrot Project’s Founder and Executive Director, Dorothy Suput.

“The loan from The Carrot Project helped Shady Oaks Organics finish renovating our new indoor mushroom production facility and paid for our first round of production inputs and supplies. This funding was integral in helping Shady Oaks Organics establish ourselves as a reliable supplier of local markets,” said Shady Oaks Partner Nathan Seyler.

MassDevelopment and The Carrot Project launched the loan program for small farms in February 2010. MassDevelopment and The Carrot Project jointly administer the program and recently raised the maximum loan amount available to eligible Massachusetts farmers – qualifying farmers can now receive amounts ranging from $3,000 to $35,000.

There are three application deadlines per year, with one each in winter, spring, and fall. The next application deadline is November 4, 2011.

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2011, MassDevelopment financed or managed 277 projects generating investment of nearly $3.7 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create 10,291 jobs (2,507 permanent and 7,784 construction) and 1,350 housing units (336 new and 1,014 rehab).

The Carrot Project, www.thecarrotproject.org, is a non-profit organization based in Massachusetts, dedicated to creating financing solutions for small- and mid-sized farms, limited-resource farms, and those using ecologically sound practices. Its program model is designed to incubate and establish alternative financing programs in combination with business technical assistance. The Carrot Project works collaboratively with private investors, lenders, and farm support organizations to help rebuild a farming system that offers stability to local farmers, provides healthful food for citizens, replenishes the environment, and is good for regional and local economies.