Simple Gifts opens new farm store in N. Amherst

The Daily Hampshire Gazette, July 16, 2017, by Scott Merzbach

AMHERST — An Amherst farmer is giving up his space at the weekly Amherst Farmers Market after 18 years as he anticipates the grand opening of a new farm store in North Amherst on Saturday.

Jeremy Barker-Plotkin of Simple Gifts Farm said the farm store, at 1089 North Pleasant St., which is expected to have a soft opening earlier, replaces the direct sales to the community at the farmers market he has done for 30 weeks a year for almost two decades.

The store will be open seven days a week, and will feature organic produce and other products from local farms, as well as vegetables, eggs and meat that Simple Gifts typically brings to the market.

The 250 members of the farm’s Community-Supported Agriculture program will also be able to pick up their shares seven days a week from the new farmstand.

Because of the tight farmshare market, and people leaving the area during the summer, Simple Gifts has begun offering a 10-pass option and will have additional flexibility options for people who drop in just to buy a tomato or a salad mix.

Timberpoint Building Co. of Williamsburg started building the farm store building in March

Barker-Plotkin said it was a fascinating project to see firsthand, being reminiscent of how his own labor eventually is enjoyed by the public.

The hemlocks and white pines timber was cut from lots in Shelburne Falls that were intentionally pruned in the 1960s to reduce knots. Later, they were milled at a sawmill, also in Williamsburg.

The farmstand is a $187,000 project supported with a loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Simple Gifts is an operation Barker-Plotkin runs with farming partner David Tepfer, with 20 acres in organic vegetable production and 20 acres in pasture for the animals.