GREATER SPRINGFIELD – A broken elbow five years ago thrust Rick Seldomridge of Agawam into a life-changing career and he has never looked back.
“After I broke my elbow I had to bring in income so I started a six-foot patch of tomatoes to sell and that plot grew into Granny’s Place,” he said during a lunchtime interview with Reminder Publications
Across the region, local farmers and growers like Seldomridge take time away from their fields to sell their fresh produce directly to consumers at farmers markets.
Seldomridge and his wife Jody are owners of Granny’s Place at 844 Main St., Agawam, a vegetable farm stand with fresh fruit. The couple sells flowers, farm-fresh fruit and vegetables year ‘round, as well as visits farmers markets including PeoplesBank in Holyoke, and Hampden Bank in Wilbraham.
Kelsey Dematteo, an environmental science major at Framingham State University, is working full-time this summer as market manager to assist the couple.
Their tables at PeoplesBank, 330 Whitney Ave., Holyoke, on June 18 were brimming with fresh-picked strawberries for $6 a quart, beets for $3, spinach for $1.50, and hot house tomatoes for $2 each. Other vegetables being offered included lettuce (romaine, red leaf and green leaf) for $2, and a bunch of radishes for $1.50.
Seldomridge praised his wife’s jellies on sale including jalapeno, for $5 a jar.
“Jody’s specialty jellies include strawberry and peach, and she also makes tasty salsa and zucchini relish,” he said, adding, “they go fast.”
Seldomridge and Dematteo plant, cultivate, and pick everything they grow, then wash the produce before selling at the farm stand or at a farmers market. Strawberries are the exception when washing produce ahead of time, according to Seldomridge.
Seldomridge said he enjoys the interaction with customers so they know where the food is coming from.
“We grow what we sell,” he said. “We want people to know that growers are still around in our area.”
When Seldomridge and Dematteo aren’t selling their wares at farmers markets, they are an integral part of Granny’s Place. Jody Seldomridge serves as stand manager, and between the three, the farm stand is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In addition to seasonal produce, the Seldomridges sell wildflower honey and beeswax from their beehives, and farm fresh eggs thanks to the 150 chickens they manage.
For more information on local food and farms, visit www.buylocalfood.org
Additional farmers markets in Hampden County include:
• Chicopee, off Chicopee Street, under I-391 overpass, Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30p.m., through September 3.
• Hampden, Hampden Nurseries, 16 Somers Road, Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through Oct. 18.
• Holyoke, Veterans Park, Chestnut Street, Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Oct. 30.
• Indian Orchard, Hampden Bank, 187 Main St., Fridays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Oct. 31.
• Longmeadow, Longmeadow Shops, 666 Bliss Road, Thursdays, 2 to 7 p.m., through Oct. 30.
• Monson, First Church parking lot, 5 High St., Thursdays, 3 to 6:30 p.m., through Oct. 9.
• Palmer, The Yellow House, 1479 North Main St., Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., through Oct. 11.
• Springfield, Forest Park Cyr Arena parking lot, Tuesdays, 12:30 to 6 p.m., through Oct. 28.
• Springfield, Baystate Mason Square Neighborhood Health Center, 11 Wilbraham Road, Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through Oct. 25.
• Three Rivers, Hryniewicz Park, Springfield Street, Mondays, 2 to 6 p.m., through Oct. 27.
• West Springfield, Hampden Bank, 220 Westfield St., Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Oct. 28.
• Westfield, Church of the Atonement, 36 Court St., Thursdays, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., through Sept. 25.
• Wilbraham, Hampden Bank, 2005 Boston Road, Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Oct. 29.