Sharing memories and food at Alderbrook Farm Stand's closing day
On New Year’s Eve, business at Alderbrook Farm was much busier than usual. Fans and loyal customers of all ages were paying one last visit to the iconic Russells Mills Village farm stand on its final day in operation.
December 31 was the last full day of business for the farm stand, which has been open for 20 years in the heart of the village.
Owners Nancy and Allen Manley had announced in October they intended to close the farm stand by the end of the year, with the December 31 deadline solidified in recent weeks.
In the final hour of operation, Nancy, Sam Manley, and Kevin Vieira greeted visitors, as many stopped by with cards, thank-you’s, and memories of their own.
“It’s been busy, everyone’s been coming in to wish us well,” Nancy said. “It’s been bittersweet. People are happy for us, but sad it’s closing.”
As a final thank-you to loyal customers, the Manelys were handing out small bottles of Alderbrook’s staple honey, emblazoned with a “Thank You” message on the bear-shaped bottle.
“We hope people will take the lessons they learn here,” Sam added, explaining the farm has provided a space for learning for many years.
Mothers would come in and have their kids add up the prices of produce at the honor box counter, and the farm’s always open tours meant people learned to respect animals and learn lessons about agriculture.
Many who stopped by have been coming to the farm for years, like Jessica Cook, who brought her children Delia and Owen with her.
“We had to get our last visit in,” Cook said. “I’ve lived right down the road for 15 years.”
While the farm stand has been shuttered, it won’t remain empty for long. The farm itself will remain with the Manleys and will remain in operation. The Manleys plan to open the farm stand to the public for special events like the Grange Fair and for wreath sales.
Fans of Alderbrook’s honey can still purchase it at the nearby Davoll’s General Store and Gooseberry Natural Foods in Westport.
There is one last celebration planned: A special open house event at the Dartmouth Grange Hall on January 12, 2020 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Fans will be able to write down their memories of the farm, and contribute letters, photos, artwork, and other memorabilia for inclusion in an album. Visit welovealderbrook.com for more information.