Aislinn Mirsch, Scott Burgwin and Ryan O’Connor Wolik at Coast Fork Farm Stand in Cottage Grove are celebrating their 10th anniversary Oct. 10-12. ALIYA HALL/THE CHRONICLE
COTTAGE GROVE – A lot has happened over the past 10 years for Coast Fork Farm Stand.
For four years, owner Scott Burgwin, 67, of Cottage Grove sold fresh produce in tents. It would take up to two hours to shut down the tent locations. He would live week-to-week; whatever revenue he generated in one week would be used to pay for more produce the second week.
”It has its pitfalls,” Burgwin said with a laugh.
It’s been 10 years since the Coast Fork Farm Stand on South 10th Street opened, and it now thrives in the Grove – a reality Burgwin largely credits to community support.
”We had some down points early on for the first five years when we got desperate, and people always rallied,” he said. ”The community has been supportive.” People would also help him with fundraisers when he needed it.
Coast Fork Farm Stand is celebrating its anniversary Oct. 10-12, with discounts for customers and members; customers will receive 10% off and members will receive 15% off. Saturday, Oct. 12 will also have vendors and raffles.
”It’s definitely one of those ‘pinch yourself’ (moments). It’s amazing that it’s been 10 years,” he said.
The Farm Stand works with local farmers through a local, organic wholesaler, as well as through direct sales with three farms in the area. Burgwin added that the inventory has increased and they offer some bulk and box items, along with the produce – which is still the biggest part of what they do.
Burgwin said that farmers or gardeners will come in with their excess fruit and he will buy it if they need it. ”We sell a little bit of a lot of things,” he said, adding that peaches and local corn are the top two items that tend to sell out the quickest.
Burgwin said that the Farm Stand brings a broader connection to local produce and he likes to think he’s bringing a ”good food alternative to people.” Burgwin said he is ”Trying to create access for the public to (produce) that’s grown organically or locally, as well as creating more of a market for people who are growing this stuff to have a place to sell it.”
That community support is also seen on an individual basis. Burgwin said he always gets a lot of appreciation from customers as they’re leaving and that has been the most rewarding aspect.
Samantha Duncan, of Cottage Grove, said she is thankful to have a resource for fresh and local produce, as well as bulk ingredients, in the community.
”I can load up on fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, coffee, milk and just about anything else I want or need for the week without paying much, if any, more than I would anywhere else,” she said. ”The quality is excellent, the staff is friendly and the customer appreciation discount day is a great way to save. I appreciate Scott’s investment into our community and the environment; a big congratulations to the farm stand!”
Burgwin hopes that the farm stand will be successful enough to keep going. ”I’m getting better at it now, but this is my life,” he said. ”If the appreciation wasn’t there, there would be a few times when someone would have come by and said, ‘Oh, guess he decided not to do it anymore.’”