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Westview Farm in Boxborough, MA. Photo by Liz West.

Westview Farm in Boxborough, MA. Photo by Liz West.

November’s photo contest winner was Liz West, who photographed the farm stand at Westview Farm in Boxborough.

Have you ever been to a roadside farm stand with produce out for sale without someone working the register? Produce was probably priced on the shelves, and an old can, jar or money box was available to collect what was owed – a timeless tradition based on the honor system. Farmers who use this system recognize that their own labor is better used in the fields than manning a farm stand. These unmanned farm stands are an old-fashioned version of the “self-checkout line!”

Here in Massachusetts, some honor system farm stands still operate and remind customers of a simpler time. They pop up on country roads across the Commonwealth, with some even containing refrigerators and freezers that store meat and dairy products. Scales may be left out to weigh produce sold by the pound, especially at honor system pick-your-own farms.

When asking farmers about the challenges of an honor system produce stand, thieves are generally not a major concern. Instead, the biggest challenge is getting people to stop by. Establishing an unmanned farm stand requires public awareness so that people do not think the stand is closed. Location is one of the most important factors for a successful road side farm stand. The general public favors easy access and ease of shopping. Year-round and seasonal farm stands, or more commonly farm stores sell their farm fresh produce along with locally made specialty foods and value added products like honey, maple syrup, jams and baked goods.

Each month, we are posting the 2014 Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar’s photo of the month. The calendar features a winning photo of Bay State farming as well as interesting facts about local agriculture. The 2015 Celebrating the Seasons of Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar is now available for purchase. All photos were taken by amateur photographers who won the annual Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo ContestProceeds from the $10 calendars benefit Massachusetts Agriculture in the Classroom, a small, private non-profit organization that has been working since 1983 to provide agricultural education and training.

Written By:


DAR Agricultural Market’s Intern

Jane is currently a Simmons College dietetic intern that includes a rotation at the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Upon completion of her internship in May 2015, Jane will be eligible to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Originally from the Hudson Valley in New York, Jane has a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Science from Russell Sage College in Troy, NY and will complete her master’s degree in Nutrition Science and Policy from Tufts University this December, 2014.

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