olante Farms is owned and operated by the fourth generation of the Volante family. Immigrants from Atina, Italy, Peter and Caterina Volante began Volante Farms on land along Dedham Street in Newton in 1917.
It was predominately a truck farm then, delivering every morning to the Boston Produce Market. Peter, “The Celery King”, was famous for his own brand of Pascal Celery, which he marketed throughout the east coast into the early 50s. Shortly after WWII, Peter and Caterina’s daughter Margie opened the first physical farmstand in front of the family’s home. This original retail area was a tent structure which soon evolved into a small aluminum roofed building. By the end of the 1950’s the stand was the primary source of income for the farm.
In 1962, Ferdinand and Anne Volante moved their family from the farm in Newton to Needham and purchased the 14 acre Fletcher Farm at the corner of Central Avenue and Forest Street. Anne, her sister Margie, Ferdinand and his brother Eugenio ran the farm together until 1973 when Al, Ferdinand and Anne’s son, was given the responsibility of everyday operations.
Al and his wife Melodie began modernizing after the farm was incorporated in 1975. The hot beds and cold frames were removed and replaced by several plastic covered hoop framed greenhouses. In 1981, a new farmstand was built on the old site. In 1989, Greenhouse 14 was constructed as an attachment to the farmstand, and the parking lot was expanded.
In addition to the home field, the Volante family currently farms two other parcels of land across Needham. Since 1976 they have raised crops on leased land at the Greenway’s farm on Charles River St, Needham. In 1991, the Standish Road Field was purchased from the estate of George Winslow. This parcel consisted of over 50 acres, of which over 25 acres were donated to the town of Needham as the Anne Volante Conservation Area. The current farmable 15 acres has consistently produced bumper yields of high quality crops for the farmstand.
The fourth generation owners consist of siblings Dave, Teri and Steve. In 2007, they opened a new Dutch style greenhouse. With over 16,000 square feet under glass, it is the ideal environment for plant development. High efficiency boilers produce radiant heat from the floor and the building employs several other natural resource conservation methods, including a 10,000 gallon rainwater capture system, micro drip irrigation, and water-recycling flood benches.
The current farmstand opened on March 31, 2012, after years of planning. The new building has afforded us space to expand our existing products and has allowed for the introduction of many new departments: a seasonal ice cream stand featuring Crescent Ridge ice cream from Sharon, locally sourced groceries, a gourmet deli serving Boar’s Head Meats and daily specials from the farm kitchen, a butcher shop featuring John Dewar’s Meats, homemade pastries and locally roasted coffee in the bakery and so much more. These new departments complement the homegrown produce, quality bedding and nursery plants, and holiday decorations that have made us a family destination for generations. Please come in, and find out why Volante Farms is truly “A Place for All Seasons.”