Frugal Family: Buy It Fresh

Are you still purchasing your produce and dairy products at the supermarket? Maybe it's time for a change.

Although there aren't many places in Woonsocket where you can purchase fresh-off-the-farm dairy and produce, you don't have to go far in order to keep your family healthy. Supermarket food is not only more costly, but far less fresh than the local, farm fresh items grown and cultivated right here in Rhode Island. In addition to our local farmer's markets, within an approximate 20 mile radius you will find local farms which sell everything from milk, eggs, bread, peaches, apples and blueberries to lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, sweet corn and much, much more. These items are cultivated and picked fresh daily, weighed, and portioned to fit your families specific needs.

Although Wrights Dairy Farm (located on Woonsocket Hill Road, North Smithfield) does not sell produce, they do sell all the fresh dairy your family could want, and then some. Wrights is open 7 days a week from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. (4 p.m. on Sundays,) and sells fresh from the cow milk, eggs, bakery items including pastries and breads, chocolates, cakes, party trays and more. Conveniently located and extremely affordable, I can't think of a single reason why I wouldn't go to Wrights - instead of the local market - for the milk, eggs and bread my family needs. 

As for produce, there are more than a few locations which offer farm fresh veggies and fruit. One such place is Steere Orchards, located at 150 Austin Ave. in Smithfield and open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. At Steere's, you can purchase the produce directly from the stand, or take your family for a free hayride through the orchards and have them pick the fruit for themselves. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy time outdoors with your children, while at the same time teaching them how fresh produce is grown.  Steere Orchard, a family owned business, is no more than a fifteen minute drive from Woonsocket.

Jaswell's Farm, located on Swan Road in Smithfield (right off of Rt. 116,) is another great local place for fresh food. Jaswell's farmstand and bakery offer the freshest picked seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as an assortment of fresh baked goods. They also carry a complete line of preserves, jellies, salad dressings, prepackaged baking mixes, Vermont cheeses, RI honey, candy, fudge and more. Jaswell's farmstand and bakery is open daily 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from May to December. September is the month for Apple Picking (begins Saturday, September 10 and extends through most of October,) and pumpkin picking (begins Saturday, September 17 through October 31.)

Yet another option is Captain Elisha Steere Farm, a historic landmark of Smithfield, RI, and one of the oldest continuously operated farms in Smithfield. Captain Elisha is currently owned and operated by Jeff Booker - a member of the 7th generation of Steeres to call the farm home. The farm is ideal for those folks interested in fresh produce without the picking (though there are plenty of apple trees waiting to be pruned!) Captain Elisha offers something the others do not, and that is an affordable membership to CSA - Community Supported Agriculture. This membership runs for 13 weeks (August 11 through November 3) during which members can go directly to the farm every Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. to pick up their allotment of fresh produce. Captain Elisha offers between 8 to 10 different items each week, with plenty of old standbys and some delectable rarities. Produce at the Captian's includes apples, peaches, berries when in season, broccoli, beets, cabbage, summer and winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, green beans, and much more.  To stock up on fresh produce today email Jeff at jeff@steerefarm.com, or simply visit the farm's produce stand located in front of the farm at 30 W.Greenville Road in Smithfield.

We in New England have a rare opportunity to feed our children and those we love fresh foods straight from God's green earth. Why would we choose to purchase our fruits and vegetables, milk and eggs, anywhere else? 

marciabeegle August 31, 2011 at 08:26 AM
I have always used coupons, but if I thought the generic was cheaper I would just buy that instead of the smaller name brand size or even samples from Get Samples 123 can help
lorrie scullin August 31, 2011 at 11:07 AM
Would love to buy from some of these places, but unfortunately, as bad as the economy and looking for the best deals on milk and other necessities, sometimes supermarket chains have it over the locals (it is an unfortunate sign of the times as I enjoy going to Wright's Dairy, but with prices of milk $1.00 over what supermarkets and variety stores charge), I unfortunately will have to forgo...
Jo August 31, 2011 at 12:10 PM
You can now get Wright's milk and fresh fruit and produce at Goodwin's in Norths Smithfield instead of driving to Smithfield, now that's local.
STEPHEN WEBER August 31, 2011 at 01:55 PM
Silly question but , How could anyone consider Wrights Farm to be Frugal??? In my opinion, their prices are absolutely OUTRAGEOUS!!!
Jeff Booker September 01, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Hi there Folks! This is Jeff, the farmer from Steere Farm noted in the article. I was happy when recently approached by the Patch as an increasing number of our customers and CSA members are from Woonsocket and surrounding northern RI communities. Nice to meet you all! Let me share a few thoughts in response to your posts, and while I can only speak for my farm and produce, I know my sentiments ring true with many other area farmers. We've been a family farm since 1810 so we've been doing this a long time. We are RI GAP certified and grow over 30 types of produce on two farms. We are dedicated to providing you with sustainably-grown, quality local produce through our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program, farm stand, direct sale to fine area restaurants, Farm to School programming, local supermarket chains, wholesale distributors, and more. There is a solution to fit every family and budget.
Jeff Booker September 01, 2011 at 04:52 PM
Several of our driving principles can be summed up in one word..."value". What value means to us is providing a superior quality produce to you and your family at comparable prices to what you're already paying at the large grocery chains. For instance, the going rate for their cherry or grape tomatoes is $2.99 per pint and ours is $2.50 or less. I recently ran into one of these stores for some ice cream and was dismayed when the first thing I saw upon entering was a display of "local" farm produce...shriveled eggplant, dehydrated and damaged summer squash all at rates substantially more than ours. I have come to the realization that many folks have never seen what a proper summer squash should look like. I then read the sign and discovered that the “local” farmers are in New York and New Jersey! We appreciate your interest and support of local agriculture, and we hope to see you out on the farms in weeks to come!
Shannon September 01, 2011 at 05:32 PM
You get what you pay for!! If you think the prices maybe a little too much at a local farm, its probably because it is worth it. Think about it, how many times have you bought "fresh" produce from the market and within a day or two it is bad! Talk about a waste of money!! I would rather pay what some may say, "a little more" knowing that it is fresh, minimual number of hands have touched it and its FRESH!!!
Steve September 01, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Quick question, how much of Jaswell's farm's produce is local vs. transported in from the west coast as is evident by the "Foxy" iceberg lettuce in one of the photos? From the writeup below, it sounds the lettuce is grown locally. In addition to our local farmer's markets, within an approximate 20 mile radius you will find local farms which sell everything from milk, eggs, bread, peaches, apples and blueberries to lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, eggplant, sweet corn and much, much more. These items are cultivated and picked fresh daily, weighed, and portioned to fit your families specific needs.
Jason D September 01, 2011 at 06:44 PM
Jeff very true. Paying a little more for a fresher product and product that will hold longer is worth it IMO. Not to mention you are supporting your fellower RI'ers. Sometimes NY and NJ are local compared to imports from another country or FL and CA. NJ blueberries are just the best.
Jason D September 01, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Wright's Dairy milk is worth the little extra. That stuff is sooooo good.
Steve September 01, 2011 at 06:54 PM
As an FYI, I think another place that's very good for produce and is local to Woonsocket is Fernandes Produce on High St. Very reasonable, very fresh and a local Woonsocket business that we can support.
STEPHEN WEBER September 01, 2011 at 08:50 PM
I'll second that I was at Fernandes today ... outstanding quality, Fresh and great prices and they fit my "Frugal " budget .. The others I consider "Frivolous and the Frugal" association to Wrights Dairy farm totally Non sequitur


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