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Volante Farms: an Authentic Farm Stand Gone Modern Near Boston, Mass.
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Volante Farms, Needham, Mass.

Article and photos by Eric H.

Volante Farms in Needham, Mass., has turned into a giant pumpkin.

Once a small, unassuming roadside farm stand as recently as 2007, Volante Farms now reigns as one of the larger farmstands open year-round in the Boston area. A modern yet traditional-looking building addition from 2012 houses a wide variety of locally grown produce, cheeses and meats, as well as a full service deli with indoor and outdoor patio seating, a bakery, ice cream stand and farm kitchen. A spectacular 16,000 sq ft. energy efficient greenhouse allows for optimal plant development and an outstanding selection of annuals, perennials, vegetables, and shrubs. The beautiful farm land remains, as does its family-owned and operated business model that dates back to 1917.

If your ancestors that frequented this farmstand were around to see Volante Farms today, they might first wince at the presence of a simple storefront giving way to modern development. That wistful sentiment would probably give way, however, to a greater appreciation of a local family clearly looking to expand upon its innately high quality business. Meaningful progress trumps expansion without a vision, any day of the week!

Produce in main building at Volante Farms, Needham MA

Thirty acres amongst three farm fields yield a tremendous variety of "homegrown" vibrantly coloful fruits and vegetables that quickly make their way to the farm stand. Sure, you'll see the usual garden variety of produce like tomatoes and corn but also hard-to-find items like Kentucky Wonder beans, Red Russian kale, fleshy trout back lettuce, Turkish orange eggplant and several varieties of rare heirloom apples. And speaking of the aforementioned tomatoes, Volante Farms offers 20 heirloom varieties!

Produce availability at the farm stand varies given the time of the season and what has grown to its fullest, freshest potential. The bottom line is, though, given the incredible vofferings of homegrown, Massachusetts and "New England Grown" produce, you're sure to find something at Volante Farms that you won't find anywhere else in the Boston, New England area.

Volante Farms in Needham MA has heirloom apples
The deli does a brisk business serving salads featuring homegrown greens whenever possible and sandwiches using Volante Farms veggies. Next to the deli is the bakery offering Red Barn Coffee Roasters coffee, baked fresh breads, cupcakes, cookies and homemade pies. The real specialty, however, are the apple cider donuts (pictured below). If you have been disappointed by dried-out, weak-flavored apple cider donuts, consider Volante Farms to be the cure with its moist, full-bodied flavor large version.

Apple Cider Donuts, Volante Farms, Needham MA
Still hungry? Volante Farms has an ice cream stand, too, featuring Crescent Ridge ice cream, made in Sharon, Mass. National Geographic once named Crescent Ridge as one of the 10 best ice creams in the world in its article, "The 10 Best of Everything: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers." At the Volante Farms ice cream stand, you can order cones, cups, sundaes, frappes, and floats.

In summary, working farms near Boston have become something of a rarity, so Volante Farms' presence remains vital for those that believe in the "shop local, buy local" business model.

Apparently, the need for a local farm strongly exists given the crowds of working professionals, families and all other walks of life that frequent this farm stand alongside suburban homes and those crazy Boston drivers speeding en route to their self-perceived important destinations that can't wait.

Volante Farms takes one away from the hectic suburban sprawl and into a simpler place and time -- yet with a presentation that goes beyond the traditional farm stand. It's an interesting mix that works quite well for the customer while validating the American Dream for a local family that carries on its early 20 century inception as a special Boston area farmstand.

Volante Farms in located at 292 Forest Street, Needham, MA 02492. Tel. 781-444-2351
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