Mello's Farm Stand in Tiverton, RI integrated pest mgmt
Some of what we grow is available year-round.
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81 Stone Church Rd
Tiverton, RI 02878
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Tiverton, RI - Art Mello has been farming all of his life in Rhode Island. He grew up on his family's farm, taking over responsibility until he was 25, when he decided to go out on his own. For the past 21 years, he and his wife Laura have run a farmstand on land in Portsmouth and also sold wholesale to a variety of businesses.
Previously a dairy farm, the 20 acres that they lease are grown with an assortment of fruit trees, produce and a diverse array of herbs. This includes heirloom tomatoes and the Jet Star variety that Art used to grow as a boy. They also sell apples, peaches, nectarines, raspberries, and blueberries and raise a number of bees for aid in the pollination of their fruit trees. They use composted turkey manure and cover crops of vetch and winter rye to rebuild the nutrient levels in their soil each year. As well, they find some humor in the bovine history of their farm, noting that the vegetation grows taller in the areas where cows previously grazed and deposited nutrients for years.
Currently, Mello's Farmstand is in transition to become certified organic under RI Division of Agriculture standards. The main reason? "It's easier to grow organically," says Art. Any type of farming includes endless days of hard work. "The way we've always done it is to hoe, weed, thin, and transplant by hand." Transitioning to organic methods eliminates the spraying of harsh chemicals, and the resulting labor and costs to the farmers and environment. It is very often a “constant struggle to combat the cost of production."
Art believes in the support of agriculture because he says "farmers are passionate about growing and putting out a quality product." When you buy from your local farms and food producers you're not only supporting them and their hard work, you're helping to develop the strength of the local economy.
Local products are also the freshest ones available. When food comes from other parts of the country or the world, it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to know anything about it. This includes the environmental conditions (i.e. pollution, etc.) and who has grown it. "Stuff from abroad- that scares me- we don't know what they're spraying on food from across the world," says Art. Local products ripen completely before they are picked; the vast majority of produce found in commercial markets are picked un-ripened and gassed to ripeness during the time they are shipped to their final destination.
Most of all, local agriculture supports the passion of farmers. For Art, the greatest thing about his work is the beauty of the land on which he lives and works. Gorgeous sunrises, plants sparkling with morning dew, and being able to step outside each morning and see the bountiful products nature has helped him to create as well as the splendor of nature itself makes all the hard work worth it.