Pippin Orchard in Cranston, RI integrated pest mgmt / GAP certified
Some of what we grow is available year-round.
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Cranston, RI - “The part I like best is showing people where their food comes from,” says Joe Polseno of Pippin Orchard. As the second generation to farm the orchard which his father, Ray, purchased in 1964, Joe grew up understanding the cycles of the seasons. However, he explains, supermarkets that fly in produce from around the world have affected consumers’ understanding of the growing process. “Many kids—adults too—call in April wanting to pick apples,” he says. “When I tell them that we don’t have apples yet, they say, ‘Oh, well, I saw them at the market.’”
Joe’s role on the farm is one of an educator as well as a farmer. Families that visit Pippin Orchard for apple-picking in the fall leave with a better understanding of how their food was grown and produced. Since the Polsenos do not usually sell their fruit at local farmers’ markets, fans of their crisp, delicious apples must travel to the Pippin Orchard’s farm stand to find them. Visitors will leave with a wealth of knowledge after talking with the Polsenos, who are eager to share what they’ve learned after nearly fifty successful years of farming.
Most of Pippin Orchard’s 20 acres are devoted to fruit trees—apples, peaches, pears, plums, and nectarines, all which are sold at the farm stand in season. Their vegetable beds include eggplant, pepper, and tomato plants, which are sold to gardeners and occasionally harvested for local restaurants or the Rhode Island Food Bank. Pippin Orchard also grows a variety of annuals and perennials in their greenhouses, including an amazing assortment of geraniums and petunias. The greenhouses are open throughout the spring—typically April, May and June—and welcome many gardeners during that time.
In July, Pippin Orchard closes for a month to prepare for the upcoming apple season. The Polsenos continue to sell their vegetables on the wholesale market, but the greenhouses take second priority as everyone focuses their energy on their orchard. September is the busiest month at Pippin Orchard, with hundreds of visitors coming by to pick their own apples or stock up on delicious baked goods. In October, pumpkins are ready for picking, painting, and carving. Pippin Orchard continues selling storage apples, apple butter, and local honey and maple syrup through December, then closes for the year. The winter is spent readying the greenhouses for spring.
Due to their respect for the cycles of nature, the Polsenos have chosen to use the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) method at Pippin Orchard, and attempt to use pesticides as sparingly as possible and cause the least possible disruption to the environment. Recently, they upgraded the plastic bags used for picking and shopping at the farm stand to 100% biodegradable bags in order to minimize their impact on the earth. Their respect for the land and the work that goes into maintaining it has led to a commitment to preserve the environment, and educate others to do the same.