Starting last year, SCLT staff began nurturing a business relationship with the owners of The Good Earth Organic Farm and Gardening Center, in rural Western Cranston.
John and Joyce Holscher, who retired from raising their own crops this year but will continue to live on the property, welcomed five experienced farmers onto their 9-acres this spring. Now, with the growing season going strong, the partnership is paying off: they and two other network farmers are selling their produce at The Good Earth’s weekly farmstand.
Two of the farmers are new to Cranston, while three of them lease space at Urban Edge Farm, just down Pippin Orchard Road. One made use of one of The Good Earth’s two hoop houses this spring. Next year, farmers will have access to two heated greenhouses on-site.
John and Joyce moved their original organic farm from Hope, RI, to the former Knight Dairy Farm in Cranston in 2001. Since then, their work has been grounded in providing customers and neighbors plant starts and gardening supplies in the spring, and certified organic, fresh produce and locally made specialty foods throughout the growing season.
“We’re very happy to be joining with SCLT,” said Joyce, pointing out the couple’s shared commitment with SCLT to provide healthy, fresh food to Rhode Islanders.
“The farmers growing crops here at The Good Earth are very lovely people.” She added that she and John enjoy seeing the farming traditions and crops the SCLT-supported farmers bring from their native countries. (The Holschers also lease fields to African Alliance farmers.)
The partnership is booming, and the fields at The Good Earth are now chock-full of ripening goodies.
“This portends good things for the future of local agriculture,” says SCLT Director of Farmland Sebastian Interlandi. “SCLT is working with network farmers and value-added producers to develop a cooperatively run retail space for all things locally made, with a special focus on produce (of course!).”
Providence-area farmers and artisans who are interested in getting involved with the partnership, or selling their goods at The Good Earth, are encouraged to contact Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
Meanwhile, the farmstand will be open 10 to 5, from Friday through Sunday through the growing season. In late July, customers will be able to find beets, carrots, pickling and slicing cucumbers, garlic scapes, green beans, kale, lettuce, onions, scallions, sugar snap peas and pea shoots, Swiss chard and zucchini, as well as parsley and cilantro.
The Good Earth farmstand is located at 1800 Scituate Ave. in Cranston. Phone (401) 826-3130.