The Provender Boston team is busy in beautiful New England, kicking off their 7rd week of farm visits. Adam and Jay, our market launch team, have spent their time getting acquainted with the region's producers, production methods and diverse product offerings.
Yesterday, the team traveled to Lunenburg to spend the day with Steve Violette, a second generation owner of a 100+ acre farm, Dick’s Market Garden. The first seeds were sown by his father Richard in 1962, and now Stephen’s wife and two children, Rita and Gareth, are joined by a committed group of smiling staff that make up the Dick's Market Garden Family. Rita and Gareth are both involved on the farm with a keen interest in science and agriculture, and may one day be the third generation leaders of this sprawling campus of cultivation. The Dick's Market Garden family, from the fields to the farm staff, radiate a strong sense of community. The Provender team is excited to be working with Emily, who will be coordinating the foray into working with chefs and restaurants in the Boston area.
Steve practices a balanced approach to production, where his farm is strategically laid out over several beautiful fields. As a responsible land steward with a strong commitment to top product quality, Steve practices annual crop rotation, uses non-GMO seeds and has created a couple natural irrigation ponds to ensure the water purity for his crops. Dick's Market Garden utilizes the IPM system and works with consultants to monitor and spray the bare minimum in order to maintain production standard. In addition, many of Steve’s crops are grown without the use of pesticides to form a nice blend of sustainable and traditional production methods. As Adam and Jay toured the several fields and orchards, they were pleased to discover a producer who has proven with conviction that a large scale operation can be conservative with their use of pesticides while offering dozens of gorgeous products grown with organic practice. The boys made special note of the respect given for natural growth cycles on the farm and the overall health and well-being of the land and family staff.
Steve also keeps bee hives among his orchards and fields, pollinating and producing honey sold at their market and works with a local bee keeper to help keep population levels high. Offering dozens of products throughout the season, Dick's Market Garden has an abundant supply of fruit, produce and herbs, along with some difficult to find varieties of asian and west-indie greens as well as specialty peppers. Products can be ordered up until the end of October and sometimes as late as November. Steve has developed a strong farmers market program that launched in 1982 and now operates 8 weekly markets throughout greater Boston and the surrounding areas.
Towards the end of their journey, Steve pointed out a plot of land they plan to certify organic in the next year. After biting into some unknown asian hot peppers (at their own request!) the guys were able to cool off their mouths with some DELICIOUS white peaches.
The Provender team is delighted to have Steve and his wonderful team join their community. Keep an eye out for our official launch in late August!