Xiong Farm in Cranston, RI chemical-free
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Cranston, RI - You’ve got to know your customers. Choua of Xiong Farm understands the importance of this business strategy, and his farmstand is constantly full of loyal customers because of it. Choua and Kia are the owners of Xiong Farm, which is located on Southside Community Land Trust’s (SCLT) Urban Edge Farm. They also have a plot of land in their neighborhood on which they grow produce as well.
Choua grew up on a farm in Laos and came to the Rhode Island many years ago following his brother’s arrival in the States. The state had recently given 10 acres of land to the community near Choua’s home in Rhode Island. When SCLT started renting the land that is now Urban Edge Farm in Cranston, an acre was also offered to Choua and his wife Kia, which they excitedly began to use as well. Now Choua and Kia have two acres of land that they grow enough food on to feed about 200 people.
The couple is kept very busy by their two acres. He says they can easily spend 10 hours a day working on the farm. They harvest in the day and pack at night. When asked if they would like to expand in the future, Choua quickly said no because there was already so much to do. His favorite part of farming is seeing everything grow. Every day he and Kia walk around the plots and take in the ever- changing landscape. The couple takes great pleasure in tending to their land and even more pride in the bounty it produces.
Xiong Farm sells at five farmers’ markets. For every market they bring food that caters to the customers at that specific market. At the Armory, Choua brings hundreds of sweet potato greens and sells every last one of them. Zucchini and squash blossoms are his number one seller at Goddard Park. You can see the success of their method by how busy their stand is at markets. When I went to interview Xiong Farm at the Armory Farmers Market, Choua and I were constantly shuffling around to make room for customers. There were so many people that I even asked if I should come back another week for the interview. Choua explained to me that there was no point because every week the markets get busier and busier than the weeks before. It’s true; this market was packed!
Choua and Kia grow everything chemical free. He reasoned, why would you eat something that bugs cannot eat? If the bugs cannot eat something that you spray, chances are you should not be eating it either. If insects find their way to Choua’s and Kia’s crops, they leave enough plants for the bugs to eat so that they do not find their way onto the successful ones. On that note, Choua’s and Kia’s profession is still aimed towards feeding the people! So if you would like to taste some of their bounty, which I highly recommend, keep an eye out for the bustling farmstand at one of the several markets they attend.