Local Hero Profile: Granny’s Place
Local Hero Profile by Sarah Lucia, CISA TerraCorp Service Member
Published in CISA’s July 2021 enewsletter
If you are passing through Agawam and in need of fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, or plants, Granny’s Place is the place to be. Currently in their 13th year as a farm, Granny’s Place provides fresh produce for Hampden County year-round. The farm is a family affair, operated by the Seldomridge family: Jody, Rick, and their children. The land was passed down from Jody’s grandmother, originally starting with only 18 acres where they would grow lettuce for farm shares. Now, they are farming 300 acres of land, scattered in plots across town. They are truly customer-oriented; their customers are their community.
Upon arriving at the farm stand, their greenhouses are immediately visible, filled to the brim with colorful flowers, hanging baskets, fig trees, and vegetable plants galore. During the winter, the greenhouses can be flipped and used to grow produce like tomatoes, even in the New England cold. Nestled into the suburban/urban atmosphere of Agawam lie multiple fields, spread out around town, where the family is able to grow their summer crops. These fields provide fresh produce in a town where produce can be challenging to find. The vegetables are grown as organically and naturally as possible, though Rick acknowledges that this can be challenging, as they face pests, poor weather, and other setbacks like the drought last year. Locally grown produce is better for the land and better for the community, carrying less traveled miles and less harsh chemicals and allowing the customers to meet the people growing the produce.
The Granny’s Place Farm Stand is two years old and a bustling connecting point for the community. Their stand is a blessing to the farm as it brings in valuable customers and allows them to carry refrigerated and chilled products. Their farm store has a wide variety of products, but some of the stars of the show are their heirloom tomatoes, corn, squash, and local eggs and honey. They carry culturally relevant foods as well, such as yams, plantains, yucca, and other difficult-to-find products for the local community.
Just as the farm gives to the community through good food, the community gives back to the farm and the family behind it. Jody recounted how the community rallied around the farm; their house, located right next to the farm stand, burned down, and the community surrounded them with help, supporting the farm, bringing things as simple as paper towels or anything that might be needed. In return, Jody, Rick, and their children “try to help a lot of people” by making their food accessible and affordable.
They welcome SNAP and HIP customers at their stand. Inside the farm store, signs clearly label products than can be purchased with HIP, allowing customers to make confident choices. HIP, or the Healthy Incentives Program, gives SNAP recipients an extra $40-$80 every month for fresh fruits and vegetables at certain local farmers’ markets and farm stands. Granny’s Place is one of the few HIP locations in this community, allowing SNAP recipients to get fresh produce year-round. During the winter, the farm store can see up to twenty to thirty people at a time using their EBT cards for fresh produce. This is just one way the farm is able to give back to the community. They also sell to local restaurants, and since the Veteran’s Cemetery is located right down the street, they frequently sell flower arrangements to help honor and decorate the graves of the fallen.
To learn more or partake in the abundance of summer produce, visit Granny’s Place at 844 Main Street in Agawam, or check out their website here.