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Mellos Farm Stand Enters 29th Year Providing Fresh Produce

The Tiverton family farm, which provides significant donations to the Bristol Good Neighbors Soup Kitchen, is accepting shareholders for their community-support agriculture program.

Looking to increase your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables while supporting local farms and organizations in Bristol? Mello's Farm Stand, based in Tiverton, is now accepting community-supporting agriculture (CSA) shareholders for their 2012 season.

Farmer Laura Mello said it's her families 29th year operating the farmstand, which is located under a tent at 364 Boyds Lane, Portsmouth. It will be their fourth year operating a CSA, which is open from July to October.

"We're a family farm," Mello said in a recent interview, adding that her husband Art started the business. "It's a little stand, but we get really good business there."

Some of the crops they grow include sweet corn, tomatoes, green and yellow squash, leaf lettuce, raspberries and pumpkins, among many others. Although they are not currently certified organic, the Mellos use organic growing methods, and also practice sustainable agriculture, including soil conservation, crop rotation and biodegradable weed control.

Mello said their CSA program is growing slowly, and there's plenty of room for people this year. A single share is $255 and she added they have a few people that buy a full share ($405) each year. Mello said some families split that, and noted the single share comes to out to $17 a week for 15 weeks.

"You’re also supporting local farms and also the local economy," she said. "And you’re eating local. One of things you get as part of this CSA, is I give recipes every week, and it’s based on the types of produce they’re going to get."

Their CSA provides a lot of rebate for start up costs.

"Since we’ve had CSA, that's made it more economically viable for a family, because it’s hard making a living this way when most of your income comes in four to five months out of the year," Mello said.

One of things Mello's Farm Stand does to help community is take donations, through CSA programs and take optional donations for shares, to be donated to a soup kitchen. Mello said this will be their third season of helping out with the in Bristol. They used Mello's produce to cook the meals for the soup kitchen and then when they had leftovers, some of the diners could take it home.

"Last year we donated $386 worth of produce to them," Mello said, adding that it broke down by two shares per week, like what a family would get. "They were really appreciated."

A .pdf of the Mello's 2012 CSA shareholder agreement is attached to this post. For more information, visit their website, call 401-624-6329 or send an email to Arthurmello@cox.net

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