Confreda Greenhouses & Farms in Hope, RI integrated pest mgmt / GAP certified
Fax (401) 826-3276
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Finest quality native yellow/zucchini squash, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, wax beans, eggplant and corn. Ask about our B grade program.
Bold foods are in season now according to our Harvest Calendar. Call to find out exact availability. Every farm and every season are unique. Most farms are also residences. Unless Farmstand or Pick Your Own hours are noted, please be respectful and call ahead before going to the farm.
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Hope, RI - There aren't many farms in Rhode Island that have the scale of production as Confreda Greenhouses and Farms. The farm is over 400 acres dispersed on three plots of land, the bulk of which is in Hope. Confreda is large enough to stock a full-time farm store, and sell to distributors, among them Farm Fresh Rhode Island's Market Mobile. Having toured the late fall bounty, I could tell what a bustling scene the spring and summer must have been. A well-worn van was the choice vehicle that Raymond Aubin, the education coordinator and general manager, took me in to drive alongside acres upon acres of raised beds full of peppers, eggplants, kale, squash and the farm's final stalks of corn. The beds, says Ray, are used for a host of reasons, the most important to him being for water conservation. They fertigate (add water and fertilizer) through drip tape. That reduces both the amount of water and fertilizer needed, which they try to keep to a minimum. The beds were covered with hay, which keeps fruit clean, reduces weeds, and makes their harvest easier, says Ray.
Confreda has been working with the USDA on a number of projects that address conservation issues, which they consider to be top priority for their operation. They have two ponds that provide much of the water for their operation, which are refilled by the rain throughout the season. One is at the bottom of the fields, so water can reach it through contours in the land, and the other is on the side of their large field. They have also created a number of swales that now reduce soil erosion to the tune of millions of pounds every year. These practices help both the environment, and their bottom line, a true concern for any business.
Confreda is larger than most farms in the state - they grow a half million pepper plants grown annually! - and they want to continue to grow and support the local food movement, but there are always challenges. Efficiencies matter, and they are work hard to make sure their operations run smoothly under every new endeavor. The farm is run by the same family that established it eighty years ago. Now the family wants to make sure that it provides food and fun for as many people as possible by best maximizing their resources.
In fact, Ray is also the "Agritainment Coordinator." He leads walking tours of the site, and helps set up their annual Scary Farm, which he thinks are just a few of the ways to maximize the amount of contact the farm has with the community. But it's much more than entertainment value that the community gets. As Ray says, time on the farm increases his customers' awareness about all of the food that goes in to their bodies. He believes the growth and continuation of relationships with his neighbors will drive what is grown and eaten in the state.
As participants in the first year of the Market Mobile, and through their conservation practices, Confreda Greenhouses and Farms has taken bold steps towards a healthier Rhode Island and they look to provide even more good food for all.