Ashfield was incorporated in 1765 with four Proprietors serving as Selectmen and is still today a Proprietor Town. By 1840, Ashfield was the leading wool producing town in Franklin County and by 1855 it was the leading producer of butter and had 14 sawmills or woodworking shops.
Ashfield continues to have a strong agricultural industry which is an important part of the local economy. Local farmers produce fiber from sheep and goats, grow fresh vegetables, apples, peaches and blueberries. In addition, the area produces honey, maple syrup, Christmas trees, eggs, meat and dairy products. The Ashfield Farmer's Market is located on the Town Common from May to October.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,800 people, 741 households, and 500 families residing in the town. By population, Ashfield ranked thirteenth of the twenty-six towns in Franklin County, and 296th out of the 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts.
The Town of Ashfield has 2 golf courses, Ashfield Lake, Bear Swamp Reservation, Ashfield Trails, Chapel Falls, and abuts the DAR State Forest. Other activities around Ashfield include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, and hiking.
Ashfield is part of the hill-towns of western Franklin County. It is conveniently located 30 minutes from Northampton and Greenfield and only 15 minutes from Shelburne Falls.