WGBH Radio, July 2016

Local Farms Turn Loss Into Gain
By Tina Martin
July 22, 2016
WGBH Radio 

A local Metrowest staple is making the best of a not so good situation.  Volante Farms in Needham had to shut down its popular farm stand because of a construction problem. But they are turning a business loss into a community gain.

“It’s just caution tape to keep people from going into the building while we are airing it out.”

Terri Volante Boardman walked me around the grounds of her family run business—and showed me yellow caution tape where crowds of people eat during the summer. But that’s not happening now; a compound used in a remodeling project sent fumes into the farm stand and café so they had to close the building. Boardman says it’s a sudden halt stop to a normally busy and prosperous season:

“We were assured by everybody– by the Needham health department, by the hygienists– two of who we’ve been working with– and the manufacturer of the chemical that they were non-toxic fumes and it wasn’t a health hazard whatsoever, just incredibly smelly.”

While the smell airs out Volante Farms created a temporary farm stand in green house, but she says, “the crops keep growing in the field. We can’t really slow those down, so we had an abundance of fruits and vegetables that we didn’t have a place for in that interim.”

So pretty much every day, they’ve loaded up hundreds of pounds of corn, peppers, tomatoes and squash for charitable organizations like Lovin’ Spoonfuls. Ashley Stanley, founder of Lovin’ Spoonfuls food rescue, is grateful to take what can be eaten.

“It think its such a great example of when for whatever reason the consumer chain gets interrupted, we see it when a grocery store loses power anything like that,” says Stanley. “If more folks did what Volante Farms is doing and reached out to their community, they reach out to us and say ‘hey, we have this food were unable to sell it through our retail chain right now, how else can we get it to the community?’ That’s where we come in and were able to get it.”

In the past two days Lovin’ Spoonfuls has picked up 700 pounds of food from Volante Farms. They serve 15,000 people a week with food they’ve picked up from companies in and around Greater Boston.

Although it’s a financial hit, Terri Volante Boardman is glad the food is going to good use.

“A lot of it ended up going to local food banks and food pantries and local food rescue programs.”

And that’s better than it going to waste. Volante Farms has a temporary food stand for customers but she hopes to be back to full operation soon.

 

Read the original story here.