Volante Farms is growing…again!
Many of you who only shop with us during the holidays will be shocked when you come down Central Avenue this December. If you haven’t been around in a while you will hardly recognize the place. Our new, soon-to-be-open-year-round, farmstand is looming on the corner lot and rapidly nearing completion.
So, where do we stand on construction now? The post and beam work is nearly complete. The framing of the deli and office area is well under way. One of three cupolas is in place. The roofing crew is expected to arrive soon. Concrete walkways are starting to frame entrances and exits.
Finally, and to great relief, the parking lot has been repaved and relined, this time featuring a new entrance further down Forest Street and many more diagonal parking spaces, making getting into and out of our lot much easier.
Stop in and talk to us about the new building. We are loving having the Christmas display around it and there are plenty of us available to help with trees and to talk to you about our plans. Things are changing every day now and getting us closer to our dream building. Excerpted from blog 11/29/2011.
Update: September 15, 2011
“Farmstand construction is moving right along. The foundation and footings for the main retail area were poured this week, so the initial shape of the final building will soon become apparent. I have fielded many questions about the plans over the last week, so a few of the most common answers would be as follows:
The house on the corner and the adjacent green barn at the entrance will be removed as part of the final plan. By the time we are open for Christmas trees this winter those structures should be gone, but in the meantime we are still using the barn for restrooms and cold storage and the house is providing access to the necessary water and power utilities.
On that note, we will be open for Christmas trees and Poinsettias and other decorations as we have for decades. The setup may shift a bit but will operate out of the Greenhouse as it has the past few years.
The parking lot has been very crowded lately, as we are currently filling it with employee vehicles, construction vehicles and building materials, and also you fabulous customers who are not being pushed away by the apparent chaos. There is usually parking available toward the exit, and of course parking along Forest Street is available and accessible via stairs. As construction continues we will shift the current entrance further along Forest St. to help with that busy intersection, and also add a new entrance directly from Central Avenue.
As always thank you for being patient and also for continuing to show up and shop with us, we are thrilled to see your support and to hear your comments. It helps us to know we are hopefully on the right track with this project that so many of you are continuing to come in so regularly.” update excerpted from blog 9/15/2011
As I am sure some of you have seen in your travels through the farm stand this fall, there are some changes coming to Volante Farms in the near future! For the past two years, actually ever since work was completed on our new greenhouse, we have been planning and designing the second and third phases of our renovation plan for the farm. The second phase involves building two more growing greenhouses to support the sales out of the big glass greenhouse. Work began on this phase this week, so you should be seeing those greenhouses pop up in a month or so! The third piece of the farm puzzle comes in the form of a new farm stand. Here are a couple of renderings that we have posted around the stand this fall:
We will be adding an entrance into the farm off of Central Ave, and moving our Forest St. entrance further away from the intersection to try to avoid the many near accidents we have witnessed over the years with our current parking lot configuration. After parking your car you will enter under the arbor, and have access to either the greenhouse and/or the farm stand. The layout change makes both areas more accessible, and much easier to find what you are looking for.
Obviously, this building is larger than our existing farm stand. How are we going to fill it, you ask? Well, for one we will be able to expand our aisles between product displays to more than our current standard of 2-3 feet, which gets a bit tight at busy times. Second, we will be able to carry more of the local products that are shown and pitched to us every year but we just don’t have the space to display in our current stand. And lastly, we will be able to add in some product lines to make your lives easier and to make Volante Farms more convenient! Currently, we are planning a full bakery, with fresh baked breads and treats every day! Also, we are going to be opening a full service deli with both fresh sliced meats for your fridge at home, and hand made sandwiches to enjoy on the run or in our cafe! Oh yeah, I almost forgot the tastiest addition to our family, ice cream! We have had a blast sampling and trying out as many Massachusetts made ice creams as possible, and we are currently narrowing down our options (read: trying them all again).
As we did with our greenhouse expansion project, we are focused on improving efficiencies here at the farm and this new building presents a great opportunity to upgrade many of our most inefficient systems. In this new facility we will be able to use highly efficient heating and cooling systems, and also upgraded systems for our large amount of walk in refrigeration and freezer space. We are also exploring alternative energies such as wind and solar power to help generate energy for the building. The practices for natural resource conservation worked out so well in the greenhouse (rain water recapture, ebb and flow bench systems) that we are not only expanding them in the greenhouse, but researching how to use comparable practices in the farm stand!
The final objective of the new farm stand is that it will allow us to extend our seasons. We will have a climate controlled environment, so we can provide homegrown produce and plants as we do now, just all year round! We have already begun exploring season extending crops, stuff that we have never grown before because we weren’t open to market them. A great example of this is our baby greens, which will could easily grow year round. Another major step towards expanding our produce growing operation is the addition of 2 and a half acres of Asparagus, which will be planted in April right here in Needham!
We know these are a lot of big changes, and they will no doubt bring new challenges, but nothing will take our focus off of our main goal which remains unchanged from the day Ferdinand and Anne Volante moved Volante Farms from Newton to Needham more than 50 years ago: Provide Needham and the surrounding towns with a vast array of the highest quality, and most importantly, locally grown products through every season.
There are a ton of details and things that I have forgotten to mention, but we at least wanted to share with you our loyal blog followers a little bit of what has been going on behind the scenes here at Volante’s. Feel free to post questions in the comments section, we will do our best to answer them!