Dedham Square Country Store looks to the future
Written by: Andrea Salisbury of the Dedham Transcript
In a matter of seconds Greg Agnew, Sr. and Greg Agnew, Jr. rattled off the names of “children grown on our food.”
“Where else can you say something like that?” asked Greg Agnew, Jr., of Westwood.
The Dedham Square Country Store is more than a business; it’s a community. In the three years the store has been in Dedham Square, the father and son team estimate 10 to 15 local kids have been nourished on the vegetables purchased through the market.
Open from 10 to 2 p.m. on Sundays and noon to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays, the market offers a variety of fresh produce, teas, bread, milk, eggs, butter, old fashioned doughnuts and for the season, local firewood. The store also offers a CSA, or community supported agriculture program, that offers produce, milk, eggs and bread.
“It is where you can get the one-stop shopping experience,” Dennis Sullivan, 24, of Dedham said on a recent Wednesday afternoon. He’s been working at the market for almost a year.
The move to Wednesday hours was at the request of the patrons.
“The customers teach you what you should and shouldn’t do,” Greg Agnew, Jr. said. “We always run things by them … they make the difference.”
Fresh produce from Greg Agnew Sr.’s LemonThyme Farm lines the left side. On a recent Wednesday, the offerings ranged from green beans, spaghetti squash, beets and carrots.
Greg Agnew, Sr., said many customers comment on the low prices of the vegetables. He explained that the Hanson-based farm has a 12-month growing season.
“We are a standard price,” he said.
On the other side of the room, fresh bread from Clear Flour Bakery in Brookline and Roslindale-based Fornax Bread, are for sale next to old-fashioned doughnuts. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and warm apple cider mixes with the homemade soaps and candles, creating a homey feel inside the market.
The back room has been transformed into a “book nook” and clearinghouse for collectibles.
“On Sundays people buy mostly produce,” Joe Smith, 28, of Rockland, said at the market. “But on Wednesdays people buy produce and antiques.”
From dishes, to knick-knacks to jewelry, customers can bring in items “they think will sell and we’ll sell them,” Greg Agnew, Jr. said of the new venture. Donated items can equal a percentage discount or a trade on other products at the store, he said and explained that it is still in the beginning stage.
The store also offers a community supported agriculture (CSA) program.
“CSA customers know that there is always going to be something different and it is a wide array of fruits and vegetables,” Greg Agnew, Jr. said.
The early spring CSA starts on Sunday, Jan. 14, and runs 10 weeks. For $170 for a half share or $275 for a full share, participants will get an assortment of produce throughout the season.
“A full share is two large reusable bags and a half share is one reusable bag filled to the top,” Greg Agnew, Jr. said.
The CSA focuses on the staples, he said, and it isn’t for everyone.
“It forces you to cook with what you have and it forces you to not waste food,” he said.
To register for the spring CSA stop by the country store during business hours. For questions, email CSA@dedhamsquarecountrystore.com.
Looking ahead, the father and son team want to see the store grow and be open more hours.
“I would like to see it become part of Dedham Square as a destination,” Greg Agnew, Sr. said. “You do that by opening more hours, you do that by making more of the commitment to the community, which we do.”
To jumpstart this mission, Greg Agnew, Jr. plans to launch a fundraising page on kickstarter.com for the country store. He has a goal of raising $15,000 to build the farm, grow the store and support surrounding community.
Greg Agnew, Jr., expects to launch the fundraiser in February.