A new mobile farm truck, called the Farmington Farm Truck, is bringing fresh, local produce directly to the public.
Jennifer Villa and her business partner Chad Frazier, both Farmington residents, launched the farm truck the first week of July.
"People are so busy and they want fresh local produce, but they don't always have time to stop at the farm," Villa said. "We make it convenient and bring it to them, whether it's at an office building or the event they are at on the weekend or a local spot in town that's convenient."
Villa, who also owns a landscaping company, called Thyme to Plant, and Frazier don't grow much of the produce they sell. Rather, they buy produce from local farms, stock up their renovated and customized 1948 Dodge and 1954 Chevrolet trucks, and travel the Farmington Valley to set up shop at local businesses and events. They want to make supporting local farms as easy as possible.
"We bring the best of local farms together," Villa said. "Each farm gets credited for where the product came from. The idea is to get all these things the great farms grow to more people. It's like an entire farm market, but condensed into a truck. Not one farm can grow everything. We get variety, pulling from many different local farms."
They make routine stops at local office buildings, such as the UConn Health Center and Trumpf, in Farmington, and Ferguson Electricm in Plainville. The idea there, Villa said, is that it eliminates the need to stop at a farmstand after work, making shopping more convenient.
"The companies like it because it's nice for the employees to have a break in their day and buy healthy, fresh produce," Villa said. "It supports local companies. It supports farmers. It's good for everyone."
It was the second day of operation on July 6, when Villa, Frazier, and the farm truck were stationed at the Parsons Hardware parking lot. So far, in that short time, Villa said the public's response has been positive. As she said that, a customer approached her and mentioned how they turned around after driving past it.
"The reaction is a lot of wonderment," Villa said. "It's been a good kind of overwhelming. They want to stop and take it all in because they've never seen anything like it before. At Trumpf, a bunch of their employees came out and they loved it. They're happy to be able to get the variety of local farms."
What the truck carries each day will depend on what the farms are growing. There are eight farms in Farmington alone, Villa said, meaning variety will be a prominent feature of the truck.
"There are a lot of farms happy to get their product out there more and get their name out there," Villa said. "We mix it up every week."
The six months of work, all while maintaining her landscaping company, is worth it now that the truck is up and running, Villa said.
"We had hoped that it would be well-received and people are so happy to see us," Villa said. "It feels good. It's good for everyone. It's good for people to buy healthy produce and its good for the farmers to get their produce to more people. It just feels great to be up and running and have people enjoy it as much as we hoped they would."
Villa said the plans are to operate the truck through the December holiday season before shutting things down until April.