By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Paquette Farm
Address: 71 Grafton St., (Route 140), Shrewsbury
Owners: Ed and Toni Paquette
Contact Information: 1-508-842-5082
How long have you been farming?
“We'se been doing this part-time since 1989, full-time since 1998,” said Ed Paquette.
He and his wife, Toni, grow vegetables on leased land in Shrewsbury, Grafton, and other towns, supplying area supermarkets and the year-round farm stand they operate on Route 140.
On the five acres surrounding the farm stand, the Paquettes grow asparagus and have greenhouses for early- and late-season produce.
“We started out right here with 500 tomato plants and went up to a thousand tomato plants and a little bit of corn. Around 1995, we were up to 10 to 15 acres of corn. In 1998, I left my job as an industrial designer and began farming full time,” Ed said. His father's family farmed in Canada for generations.
How do you see your business?
“We are in the true sense of the word, a farm. We don's have petting zoos and gimmicks. We'se a truck farm. We deliver every day to supermarkets. We'se in business year-round, and we peel and package butternut squash all winter long.
“This is a family business. My wife runs the farm stand with my mother. They'se there seven days a week,” Ed said. His son and daughter also worked in the business as teens and through college, selling corn and tomatoes from a farm cart before the barn-red building was constructed in 2006.
Do you sell more than produce at the farm stand?
“We have a deli with prepared foods, soups and sandwiches,” said Toni. “Fresh bread is delivered from Jessica's Bread, and pie from the Pie Guy in New Hampshire.”
“They started out with us. The Pie Guy still comes down from New Hampshire every day, and we introduced Jessica's Bread to this area,” Ed added.
And you'se adding more prepared foods?
“We have a bakery in the works, and we also plan to have a barbecue fired up the first of the year. We'sl do native vegetables with chicken – butternut squash, native carrots, native potatoes and other winter vegetables as a side to barbecued chicken and turkey,” he said.
Why shop at a farm stand?
“He grows wonderful corn, fabulous tomatoes,” Toni said. “We had a bumper crop of pumpkins this year and we haven's changed out pumpkin price in 10 years. It's still 39 cents a pound. We really do try to keep our prices down. We consider ourselves a neighborhood farm stand.”
“A lot of people are amazed at our prices. We try to be cheaper than the supermarkets,” Ed said. “It's crazy getting a head of lettuce from California and paying the freight. In winter there's an excuse, but in the summertime, we grow it right here and we reflect that in the price. Our lettuce is $1. It's been $1 for I don's know how long.”
The Paquette Farm store is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.