Schartner Farms in Exeter, RI integrated pest mgmt / GAP certified
Some of what we grow is available year-round.
Fax (401) 295-1004
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Founded in 1902, Schartner Farms is a 150 acre farm located in Exeter Rhode Island. Schartner Farms offers a full produce department with fresh and farm grown produce as well as a deli and cheese departments, fresh baked goods,our own line of jams and gourmet items, a gift shop, nursery and greenhouse.
The quality of produce at our Farm Stand is second to none. We feature local in season produce and much of what we offer is grown right here on the farm. Seasonal vegetables, such as asparagus, corn, green beans, squash are piled high for your pleasure and convenience. When in season, you can pick your own strawberries and blueberries - a great way to spend some time with your family.
So, whether you are looking for homemade jam, pumpkin pies, fresh fruits and vegetables or something for your yard and garden, Schartner Farms has something for everyone. Stop by, and see one of Rhode Island's best and savor what's fresh from a field near you!
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Exeter, RI - Schartner Farms seems to be everywhere. At Farm Fresh’s Market Mobile warehouse, there are boxes upon boxes of produce from the farm going to dozens of local restaurants every week. It is also likely that you’ll see them at one of the 13 farmers’ market at which they sell. If you drive up Route 2 in Exeter, the vast farmland will inevitably catch your eye and beckon for you to pull over and shop at the farm stand, which is always overflowing with a colorful bounty of produce, jams, and baked goods.
Schartner Farms started in 1902. The first generation of Schartner’s came to the United States and began growing crops on two separate farms. The second generation moved to the farm’s current location of 150 acres and started a dairy farm. This generation also started an amusement park called “Schartner’s Kiddyland” but, in the long run, it was not as successful as the farm. Schartner Farms then began growing a ton of potatoes, which they sold to Lays® for potato chips. In 1972, Schartner Farms opened a small farm stand on location. Today, if you look closely, you can still see the perimeter of this foundation within their current, larger farm stand.
The farm is now run by third Schartner generation, Rich. He grew up on the farm with his two brothers and four other male cousins. The seven boys worked on the farm, and after college, Rich bought the farm from his father. The farm is busier than ever! There are nine full time employees and up to 100 seasonal employees. The farm has also expanded to include a plant nursery, bakery and gift shop. When I visited, the farm stand was bustling with customers and in back, everyone was working together, laughing and chatting.
You really get the sense that this is a family run farm. In the course of twenty minutes, I was meeting aunts, uncles, grandparents and children. Everyone was helping out and keeping an eye out for each other. It seems that people genuinely enjoy working here and want to be here. Everyone is also very gracious and interested in the work. When someone finished fixing a refrigerator, Rich was so pleased that he immediately put together a veggie box for them. When I asked Rich about any new upcoming projects, he immediately pulled out his cell phone to show me pictures of flourishing crops, new logo ideas, and other enticing photos. As we spoke, tons of food kept being passed around and offered to me. Even though I had just met the Schartner Farms’ crew, I felt completely welcomed by the entire group and they treated me as if I was an old friend passing through.
After learning about their new Belgium endive production, Grandpa’s pickles and Grammy’s jam, Lindsay took me out to see the actual farm. Lindsay is not a Schartner, but she has been watching Rich’s kids for years, works on the farm, and at many markets. It was 103° with a scalding sun and a weak, intermittent breeze to pick vegetables. Lindsay and I walked between the rows of healthy vegetables. We peered under leaves with curiosity and when something could be picked, we took turns cutting the vegetables away from the plant, got back in the truck and continued on down the road surrounded by rows and rows of food. We walked through the rows of various peppers, both spicy and sweet, tomatoes, eggplants, and then found our way to the pond.
The pond is the farms’ reservoir for watering all of the crops. But, it’s more special than that. Lindsay says that they also have big parties out there with a speaker system, strings of lights, and a huge indoor/outdoor kitchen that any cook would have died to cook in.
When we got back near the farm stand, we took a detour into the greenhouse, just about 120°+ in there, and I stood in awe at the rows hanging tomato plants and hundreds of seed trays. In the greenhouse, they grow a lot of seedlings and plants for the nursery.
There is a lot of food on this farm. Rich thinks they sell about 200 bags of carrots at the Hope Street Winter Market per day. They produce 140,000 pounds of potatoes, 16,000 pounds of greenhouse tomatoes, 10 acres of field tomatoes, 60,000 pounds of carrots, and 435,000 pounds of corn annually. Between the farm stand, Market Mobile, and the farmers markets, they certainly have a lot of people to feed. Any extra food goes to food pantries or is processed in preserves or frozen.
A new project they have been working on is growing wheat and rye, a rare crop in these parts. They began growing wheat two years ago. Kenyon’s Grist Mill, down the road, grinds the grains for them, and Seven Stars Bakery bought a year’s worth of rye supply for their famous Rhode Island Rye bread. In 2011, they used their Winter White Wheat to make chocolate chip cookies for the Local Food Fest.
When talking with Rich and Lindsay, both of them seemed so genuinely happy to be working on the farm. Rich’s favorite part is planting seeds between February and April and seeing them turn into plants and start producing food. He loves the idea of growing an everyday necessity out of nothing. Lindsay also loves working on the farm, but her favorite part is working at the markets, building relationships with customers and talking with them about where their food comes from. Now that I’ve told you all about this magical farm, you will start to notice them everywhere: on every menu and at every farmers’ market. Strike up a conversation with Lindsay at the market or take the twenty minute drive down from Providence to the farm stand. A visit to the farmstand is certainly necessary— or how else will you get your hands on Grammy’s Jam, mouth watering homemade pies and yummy cookies?