NORTHAMPTON — The Hampshire, Franklin & Hampden Agricultural Society, the nonprofit organization that manages Northampton’s Three County Fair and fairgrounds, has elected two new members to its board of directors, Jessica Dizek of Mapleline Farm in Hadley and Thomas Giles, former owner of Hadley Garden Center.
Dizek and Giles join the society’s board, consisting of 21 other members who make up the fair’s agricultural leadership. The society held its first meeting in December 1817 and received its charter from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts two months later in February 1818.
Dizek is the fifth generation on her family’s farm. Mapleline Farm milks about 125 Jerseys and bottles their milk on the farm premises, while running a distribution business, wholesaling fluid milk products to the local area and Boston market.
Prior to her taking over operating the farm full-time in 2018, Dizek held full-time employment off the farm for 20 years, most recently at UMass Amherst. She started at the university working for cooperative extension programs and eventually working in alumni major gifts. During this time, she also earned her MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. She currently serves as treasurer for the New England Jersey Breeders Assoc. and as a director for the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board, and is a member of the Massachusetts Dairy Advisory Board for the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center.
Giles is a graduate of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, having majored in landscape operations, and first worked for the Hadley Garden Center in the spring of 1973. In January 1988, Giles and his wife, Janine, purchased the center and ran it for 33 years until selling it to Gardeners Supply Co. of Vermont in January 2020.
Giles is an active member of the First Congregational Church of Hadley and is on the board of directors for Easthampton Savings Bank and has also served on the horticulture/forestry advisory committee at Smith Vocational High School.