Shop Local: Casey Farm, RI

Fifteen or more years ago and several cameras ago, I took a panoramic photo of the Casey Farm, in North Kingstown, RI.  I put it over my desk.  Knowing that Linda & I had a “country place”, one of my co-workers asked if that was our farm.  Knowing that she was

gullible, I replied, “Oh, no.  That’s where Linda grew up.”  Now, technically, I could have argued that she lived “near” there, as her mother walks past it daily on her 4 mile trek to the post office.  But, the practical joker in me probably left her with the impression that Linda grew up in an 18th century farmhouse build with fieldstone and wood (and site of the repelling of the British forces during a Revolutionary War battle).   If that former co-worker hunted out the place now, she might believe that Linda’s family farms and runs a farmer’s market.

The Casey Farm rests upon a ridge that makes up the western shore of the Narragansette Bay.  Looking over the stone walls and Route 1A you can see the bay, the Village of Jamestown on Conanicut Island, and the Newport Bridge that takes you to Aquidneck Island where F. Scott Fitsgerald placed many of his “Great Gatsbee” elite.  While the drive of the bridges from Newport to North Kingstown is greatly shorted from one hundred years ago, the cultural differences even today are evident.

When I took that panoramic photo, I believe that the property was maintained as a historic farm, but not open to the public.  Over the years, we have noticed that community gardens began to develop, then educational programs in line with introducing visitors and school groups to Rhode Island’s rural past, and more recently a farmer’s market on Saturday’s.  History and the slow-food and shop-local movements have brought a new history to the stone walls and foundations.  A little late summer rain does not deter the visitor from chatting and filling their canvas shopping bags.

Farmer’s markets are as much about fresh, good quality food as interaction.  Whether the merchant harvested goods from the garden or made those ingredients into cheeses, breads, sausage, or ice cream, knowing that the products changed hands only a couple of times from the ground to you table is satisfying… not to mention the flavor.  Farmer’s markets also provide an outlet for craft-fair items too: home studio made clothing, jewelry, and pottery.  On a drizzly day, locally ground coffee and a pastry are worth taking over to the tent to listen to a pick-up string band.

Farmer’s markets may not be practical if your are budgeting 45 minutes to stock up on provisions, paper goods, and health products each week.  But, maybe if more folks budgeted 45 minutes per week to a farmer’s market, we could re-invigorate a sense of community into our culture.


About hermitsdoor

Up here in the mountains, we have a saying, "You can't get there from here", which really means "We wouldn't go the trouble to do that". Another concept is that "If you don't know, we ain't telling." For the rest, you'll have to read between the lines.
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3 Responses to Shop Local: Casey Farm, RI

  1. Barneysday says:

    Farmers markets are just too difficult to get to now, unless it is a planned trip. But there is a fruit/vegetable stand on the way to the city where the goods previous home was in the ground from the local farms. All organic, all fresh that day, doesn’t get any better than that.

    • hermitsdoor says:

      Farmer’s markets are just an organized way of taking the roadside farm stand (or back of a pick up truck) off the shoulder and into a parking area. When I was young, I though that driving to highway 101 south to Watsonville and Monteray took about 3 days drive because of all the farm stands along the two lane road. When the multi-lane freeway connected the route, all of that was by-pass and those farm stand probably disappeared. Maybe another generation of local farmers from Gilroy are trekking into farmer’s markets in SJ, Campbel, Los Gatos….

      • Barneysday says:

        Yes, some of the cities have the markets. Clovis is big on them, every Friday nite they close off a street for one.

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