Feeding Rhode Island: Production Farms, Stands & Food Banks

Feeding Rhode Island: Production Farms, Stands & Food Banks

feed-rhode-islandStatistics reveal that there are currently over two million farmers in America. There are many different kinds of farms. Unfortunately, in today’s culture, many farms and farmers are being painted as large industrial organizations that do not care about the people. The truth is that there are many family farms across the country that work tirelessly to care for the land with the goal of growing fresh, healthy and nutritious produce to feed their local community and to meet the ever-increasing need for food. In fact, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 95 percent of the farms in America are family owned and operated.

Times Have Changed: Farming Families Haven’t
While the equipment, tools and methods used by many farmers to grow the food that we eat every day have changed somewhat over the years, the families that own and operate these farms and their passion for feeding the people haven’t changed very much, if at all. A family farm in Rhode Island, Young Family Farm, is a wholesale potato farm that also produces a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that they sell at grocery stores throughout New England and at a roadside stand on their Little Compton production farm.

At 180-acres, Young Family Farm is typical in many ways of the family farms across the nation. They grow food for local customers, sell wholesale products throughout the region, cater to tourists and visitors at their roadside stand and support the community through annual donations to the Rhode Island Food Bank. Tyler Young, his wife Karla, and their three daughters all work together to operate the family farm. Farming is a true calling which requires a special kind of person who is dedicated to making it work.

The Roadside Stand
Many people are fed each year by the fruits of the labor from farmers that are sold at the local roadside stand. People come from all over to visit these local farms to get the healthiest fresh fruits and vegetables in Rhode Island from family farm retail stands. In fact, the travel industry has recognized the popularity of visiting rural farms and has now deemed these popular stops as “destination farms.” Each year, hundreds of thousands of people come out from the big cities and go to the farms for this amazing fresh food opportunity.

In addition to selling locally grown produce, these farms are providing visitors with educational, entertainment and experience opportunities that they just can’t get back home. Farm fresh products, such as jams and jellies, fresh flower arrangements, pies and other baked goods, are also popular fare at the Young Family Farm in Rhode Island. Special events, such as an annual Apple Festival and Pick-Your-Own fruit opportunities draw thousands of seasonal visitors each year. While a busy and popular destination for tourists, the roadside stand is just a small part of the big picture at this Little Compton production farm.

The Wholesale Potato Farm
100-acres of the Young Family Farm in Rhode Island is dedicated solely to potatoes. This is the biggest part of the family business, literally the meat (and potatoes) of the farm. As a production farm, they sell tons and tons of potatoes on a wholesale scale to New England grocery stores, restaurants and other local buyers each year. While potatoes are the chief crop, they also have also diversified to grow large crops of squash and turnips, as well as a wide variety of other fresh fruits and vegetables, to sell on the wholesale market.

Many man hours are put into digging, growing, nurturing and harvesting the potatoes for the thriving wholesale business, but for Tyler Young and his family, it is a labor of love. While many people might think only of Idaho for mass potato production in the United States, Rhode Island is often referred to as “Potato Paradise” because of the sheer amount of potatoes that are grown here. In fact, potatoes are Rhode Island’s biggest crop, growing in the rich soil around the southeastern coast of the state. While there are many types of potatoes, new potatoes seem to be a big favorite of locals and tourists alike.

Annual Food Bank Donations
One of the most amazing ways that the local family farm is able to support and feed the community with fresh fruits and vegetables in Rhode Island is through donations to the local food banks and pantries. You might not think that a wholesale potato farm or other type of Little Compton production farm would be in a position to donate a significant amount of food and still stay in business, but the Young Family Farm in Rhode Island literally donates hundreds of thousands of pounds of food each year.

Because feeding the people of Rhode Island is a big part of their drive and passion in running this farm, they feel it is important to support the community in this way. In 2014 they donated over 162,000 pounds of potatoes, turnips and squash, but in 2013 they had an amazing season and were able to donate a whopping 241,000 pounds of produce! Young Family Farm is committed to continuing our efforts to feed people here at home through the Rhode Island Food Bank, our retail stand and to millions more via our wholesale market sales to grocery stores throughout New England.

To learn more about our Little Compton production farm or visit our roadside stand for fresh fruits and vegetables in Rhode Island, give us a call at 401-635-0110 or stop by our retail store on West Main Road between May and November. Our hours and harvest schedule are available on our website, along with a listing of upcoming special events.

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