Over the years, Centre Street Cafe has established relationships with many local farmers in the area. They've provided us with great produce and a great education about local farming practices, agricultural history, and even the area's micro-climates. (Farmers in the hill towns of western Mass. like to joke that farms in the Boston suburbs are in the banana belt.)
What does this mean for our customers? It means that, during the growing season, you get the freshest, tastiest vegetables possible (usually picked that very morning). It means getting gorgeous, organically grown vegetables from Ray Mong at Applefield Farm in Stow. It means getting all-natural pasture-raised beef from Kim & the Konove family out in Brimfield.
It means getting beautiful fruits and vegetables and exquisite pork that has been humanely raised by the Stillman family out in New Braintree. It means getting the best heirloom apples and peaches. It means that you can find such New England cheeses as Berkshire Blue, Westfield Farm Goat Cheeses, and Neighborly Farms. It means that the cider you get here is local and delicious (mainly from Box Hill Orchards).
We've spent years scouring the New England countryside in our free time, searching out small, local farmers that take pride and care in both what they do and how they do it. We've visited most of the many farms we do business with (we still have to visit some cheese makers), learning about the farmers and their growing practices, making sure that they're ecologically responsible, and in the case of animals, that they're humane.
Why local? It's certainly fresher and tastier, but we also like the idea that it means fewer “truck miles” to bring our food to the restaurant, and hence, less pollution. We're big fans of the fast-disappearing rural environment, and feel strongly that one way to protect that environment is to support our local farmers.
These are the little guys who are too small to cash in on the huge government subsidies that are doled out to giant agribusinesses. These are the guys that get up at 3:30 a.m. every morning, day in and day out, to do the milking. These are the guys that never stop working as long as there is light during the growing season.
We applaud and admire them for all their hard work, and we urge you, too, to search them out and support them as much as possible. Thanks for listening.
-- Felicia Sanchez & the staff, Centre Street Cafe
Here's a partial list of the farmers we do business with. Feel free to visit, and tell them we sent you!
- The Mongs, Applefield Farm, Stow, MA: Organic produce
- The Stillmans, Stillman's Farm, New Braintree, MA (also the J.P. Farmers’ Market behind the Bank of America): Fruit, vegetables, pork
- The Konove family, River Rock Farm, Brimfield, MA: Naturally-raised beef
- City Growers, Boston, MA: Organic produce
- Deb, Westfield Farm, Hubbardston, MA: Goat cheeses
- Neighborly Farms, Randolph Center, VT: Organic cheeses
- Dale & Brian Howard, Braintree, VT: Maple syrup