click photo to enlarge
Fay and John Omasta offer a pleasantly eclectic mix of products on their Northampton farm near Rte. 66. Hickory Dell is primarily a flower farm, but also has a shop offering some garden supplies, gifts, and plenty of plants. In December you'll find Christmas trees, and year-round, you can spend some quality time with llamas (Fay Omasta points out that llamas are sometimes used for therapeutic purposes, because their pleasantly woolly presence helps lower blood pressure and foster calm.) John Omasta began selling flowers from a wagon on the side of the road, and in 1996 he left his main job at UMass-Amherst to farm full-time with the help of the Massachusetts Agriculture Viability program. Fay Omasta followed suit in 2002, leaving a job at Verizon for farming. Now they specialize not only in flowers, but also in plants you won't necessarily find elsewhere, like unusual perennials, foliage plants and succulents. Flowers from Hickory Dell don't come from wholesalers; they come directly from the fields, delivered within 24 hours of cutting. The Omastas have long been involved with the community and agriculture: John is Hampshire Agriculture Commission chairman and vice president of the Hampshire County Farm Bureau, and Fay is a past chair of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.