HOLYOKE – Among the three farms participating in this new year’s first Winter Farmers Market, D&R Farm offers a diverse selection of vegetables, pastries, cookies, honey, meats and eggs raised on their farm located at 146 Thresher Road in Hampden.
Its owners, Diane and Robert Rollins, have been in the business for nine years, but for Robert and Diane, working on the farm has been a family tradition since their childhood. According to Diane Rollins, Robert Rollins had already been raising turkeys since his childhood in the town of East Longmeadow.
Her parents taught her from an early age how to grow vegetables and raise chickens. “My father taught me to adjust the car and my mother to sew, knit and cook. Both taught us to take care of and cultivate the land, ”said Diane Rollins.
The D & R farm is totally family owned. They raise about 300 meat birds a week and about 250 turkeys that by the end of the Thanksgiving season were already exhausted.
Atlas Farm and Red Fire Farm also participated in the event with their organic products.
Richie Allium, director of Atlas Farm, said the farm has 100 acres of space and a greenhouse where they produce green produce such as lettuce and tomatoes.
All farmers accept EBT / SNAP / HIP and WIC programs for the convenience of all participants.
Among the varied selection of produce that can be found at the Holyoke Farmers Market, honey, eggs, jam and original sauces made on the farms with their own tomatoes were available to all visitors.
Although 2020 has been a difficult year for many businesses, Diane Rollins said her farm is fortunate in being able to provide products that are available to the entire community.
“It has been a blessing for us because as a farmer people have been willing to come to us and we have lots of them and God has been very good to us. I grew so many veggies that I even donated this year that I never got to. We donated to the pantry here in Holyoke and Springfield, she said. They also donated 575 pounds of vegetables to two shelters and on several occasions they were able to donate meat as well.
This is Diane Rollins hopes COVID-19 will be completely eradicated this year and she said she also hopes to be able to raise 20,000 birds per year and grow her business to the point of being part of the USDA and thus be able to sell it meats organic throughout the United States.
“Our meat is phenomenal; it’s tasty and juicy. The flavor is intense and you fill up faster because it has no filling or fat. My chickens have juice but no fat. We don’t feed our chickens corn, only good things and bugs as they freely enter and leave their hen house, ”she said.
La Ferme D&R participates in the winter market every other weekend and will be back on Saturday January 16.
The Holyoke Farmers Market was founded in 1979 and the Winter Farmers Market meets on the first and third Saturday of each month from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Memorial War Building located at 310 Appleton Street in Holyoke. They follow social distancing guidelines as well as the number of people inside the building.