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Drought leads to ‘difficult year’ for Kosinski family

WESTFIELD-“It’s a new world” for Susan Kosinski of Kosinski Farms and Raven Hollow Winery, noting there are changes occurring every day on the farm due to drought conditions, and especially in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s been a difficult year,” said Kosinski. “The drought has impacted the amount of work that it takes to maintain the crops.”

Kosinski credits her husband Gene and his team of employees for the hours they have spent moving irrigation lines into the fields.

“We ran out of water and our ponds ran dry,” said Kosinski, adding despite those curve balls, they are able to fend off Mother Nature’s wrath and harvest their crops.

While the Raven Hollow Winery is shut down for customers who enjoy wine tastings and outside entertainment due to the coronavirus pandemic, the wide variety of hand-crafted fruit wines can be purchased at the farm stand.

While the Raven Hollow Winery’s tasting room is closed until 2021, the wines are available at Kosinski Farms on Russellville Road. (SUSAN KOSINSKI PHOTO)

“We definitely have to thank the customers for coming into the farm stand to purchase the wine,” said Kosinski, noting they were fortunate to have applied for a license to sell their wine at the farm stand which is located at 420 Russellville Road.

A variety of apples are a staple at Kosinski Farms and are used in two of their signature wines, “Apple Wine,” and “Sweet Apple Wine.”

Wine options, available by the bottle or case, also range from Blackberry Wine, Blueberry Explosion, Cherry Wine, and Peach Wine, to Plum Wine, Raspberry Wine, Strawberry Wine, and Strawberry Rhubarb.

While Gene Kosinski and his crew have worked tirelessly to keep bushes and trees in good shape this year, Kosinski notes the farm has sustained some shortfalls.

“Blueberry buds for the following year are formed in the fall and we are taking a hit there,” she said. “While we will have enough apples for the farm stand and for wine production, we won’t have enough for wholesale this year.”

Calling the apple season “short” this year, Kosinski will be opening up the fields for a pick-your-own experience starting Sept. 19.

“As we follow the state guidelines for agriculture, we are limited to 50% capacity on our hay wagons to transport people to the fields,” said Kosinski, noting she has purchased a new wagon for all to enjoy.

“We have planned to offer pick-your-own apples for the next three weekends and hopefully can extend to four to five weekends,” she said, noting the hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Area residents interested in the wagon ride and picking apples must call (413) 572-4344 to make a reservation starting on Thursdays of each week.

Kosinski noted she expects to run the wagon every 30 minutes to accommodate every one interested in the experience.

“We will have a charge for the initial downpayment,” said Kosinski, noting participants will be asked to pay $20 which covers their half of a bushel of apples and one person. There is an additional charge for each person in one’s group.

Kosinski said it is necessary for her to have a reservation system because of state social distancing protocols as well as to monitor the number of people in the field.

Kosinski added she is appreciative of everyone’s cooperation and understanding with all of the  modifications they have made to address COVID-19 concerns.

“We all seem to be adjusting to our face masks and social distancing,” said Kosinski. “There are changes every day here because of the drought and the modifications for COVID and we thank our customers for their support.”

For updates on the extensive farm stand offerings which includes a deli and bakery, visit

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