First Harvest Farms and Produce to open storefront

Fresh sun-ripened tomatoes, snap peas and crisp lettuce grown locally and sold at a corner store; sounds like a trip back in time or just too good to be true, but it's not. Margaret Danesi and Dominick Froio will begin selling their bounty at a storefront in downtown Canastota.

First Harvest Farms and Produce will open June 12 at 103 N. Peterboro St. between the Red Apple and China Garden and remain open through October, possibly longer.

"I'm excited and scared," Danesi said of the new venture. Danesi said they will be open on Thursdays and Fridays only from 11 a.m. to about 5 or 6 p.m., until they "see how things go."

Spring crops will consist of bagged and head lettuce, spinach, radishes and Swiss chard. Summer fare includes tomatoes, arugalla, egg plant, green peppers, hot peppers and Brussels sprouts.

The fall crop will include potatoes, a second planting of tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage, sweet corn, pumpkins and a variety of squash.

Danesi said they plan to sell dry beans and fresh snap beans and peas, cucumbers, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, beans, cantaloupe and honeydew melon. And for the serious canner, First Harvest Farms will offer cases of tomatoes, egg plant and peppers.

"I'm providing a community service," Danesi said. "I'm offering good food for people to eat well. I think it's important."

Danesi's has grown produce for almost her entire life. She raised her children vegetarian, baked her own bread.

"I grew all of my family's food," she said.

Danesi and Froio began selling their crops about six years ago. Aside from an established clientele, in years past First Harvest Farms sold produce from a small stand in front of Danesi's Chapel Street home. She doesn't plan to open that stand this year and invites the public to the new store on Peterboro Street. She's also participated in the Canastota Farmers' Market in the past and said she will continue to support it.

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