Hard work and favorable weather combined to create the first ever farm stand at the Westbay Farm on Monday, July 10, with a wide array of fresh produce available for sale – and at a 30 percent discount to people on food-assistance programs. Proceeds from the stand will go towards operating costs for the farm.
The three-acre farm, located at the former Barton Farm now owned by the city at 1351 Centerville Road, produced about 24,000 pounds of fresh produce last year (its best year) and supplies about 70 percent of the produce made available at the Westbay Marketplace Food Pantry in Buttonwoods, the third-largest food pantry in Rhode Island, as well as elderly housing developments in Rhode Island.
Westbay Farm is funded by Westbay Community Action – a collection of about 40 assistance programs that serve the residents of Kent County – and a community service grant from the city. It is managed by Steve Stycos, a Cranston City councilman and farming enthusiast who took over the farm eight years ago.
The farm stand is a new endeavor started by Stycos and supplemented by work from his team of 10 volunteers, who help plant, feed, harvest, count and transport the thousands of pounds of spinach, lettuce, salad mix, rhubarb, snap peas, blueberries, turnips, beets and kale produced at the farm.
More offerings will become available as the season progresses, and the farm stand will run at least until the end of September, according to Stycos. All produce is organically grown without use of any pesticides.
The stand runs every Monday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. located on the grounds of the farm, and accepts cash and credit cards. Stycos thanked sponsors of Westbay Community Action such as Carmax, the United Way, Fidelity, ADP, women inmates from ACI and various churches for their volunteering and financial assistance.