Those of us within a certain age bracket will remember Green Acres, the TV sitcom wherein Lisa (Eva Gabor), a glamorous Hungarian socialite, unwillingly relocates from the NY society she loves to a run-down old farm in the country. Her husband Oliver (Eddie Albert), a successful lawyer, has idealistic dreams of farm life. Comedy ensues over the attempts of the two to fit into their new surroundings.
I know how Eddie feels. Sometimes I long for the idyll I am certain exists on the farm. When I — a life-long city girl — start dreaming out loud about moving to Maine and raising goats, my husband smirks and hums the lyrics to “Green Acres,” insinuating that I am more Eva than Eddie. “Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue!”
Hmmph. I do go once a week to pick up my CSA (community supported agriculture) and egg shares at Allandale Farm. I wander for a while among the brightly-colored potted flowers and breathe in the dusty, earthy vegetables in the farm stand. I imagine myself pottering about the farm: digging up loamy carrots with their full green heads, arranging orange and red cut zinnias in an old glass spaghetti jar, filling CSA boxes with enticing/alarming (what to do with all that bokchoy!) vegetables. The pond out back gives voice to throaty bullfrogs; giant dragonflies skim and buzz across the surface of the water. It’s usually hot, but I don’t mind the warmth and closeness of the old farm stand. At least for a little while….
Allandale Farm, the last working farm in Boston, consists of 130 acres of land on the border of Boston and Brookline, and is the last working farm in Boston. It has been managed by the Weld family (ancestors of Massachusetts’ former governor, William Weld) for about 200 years. I’m thankful for their careful stewardship of this precious land. Some of the acreage is leased to the Boston Police Department’s K-9 unit, and the rest is managed by Allandale Farm.
- There are two ADA parking spaces and the stand is wheelchair-accessible, although the path into the stand is gravel and stone (and therefore bumpy and potentially muddy). The farm stand itself has a level entrance and wide doors for entrance and egress, but the aisles are too narrow to allow a wheelchair-user to pass someone or even to turn around without knocking something off a shelf.
– The farm uses organic and sustainable farming methods, and the CSA, egg and flower shares can be signed up for on-line (although 2014 CSA shares are now closed). Prices for 20-week shares in 2014 are: full share at $670; half share at $390; egg share at $120 and cut flower share at $110. It’d be hard to get the shares from the garage out back to your ADA-parking space, but I bet they’d make it work if you told them your challenges.
- Allandale’s farmstand sells its own produce as well as other locally-produced goods (Salty Oats cookies; Humble Pie; Clear Flour Bakery breads and fresh Valicenti Organico pasta are some of my favorites). You get a discount on items purchased in the store on the day you go to pick up your CSA shares.
– The stand is open from the end of March through Christmas Eve (think last-minute Christmas tree purchase).
– Weekdays hours are 9am – 6:30pm and weekends, 8am-6pm.
– Allandale Farm runs a fantastic outdoor camp in the summer for kids aged 4-12. Two of my kids were campers there for years. I could never imagine my daughter Marianne navigating the camp with her wheelchair, but I think they’d willing work to make the camp manageable for kids with other developmental disabilities.
It’s easy to romanticize farm life. Allandale Farm makes it easy to support a great community farm…and in the meantime, you get some of that farm fresh air and “land spreadin’ out so far and wide” (Green Acre lyrics) — without leaving your city behind. It’s not often you can have your cake and eat it too.