Community leaders hailed the importance of locally grown produce Friday, during the opening of a new building at Bush-n-Vine farm near York.
Farm owner Bob Hall, who has cultivated the farm since 1979 and led its venture into strawberries, said the new produce sales building will be better for the produce and for the people who work and shop there.
“We were throwing out a lot of produce, because it either got too hot or too cold,” Hall said of the old open-air produce stand.
The farm’s new 1,500-square foot climate-controlled retail building will be more comfortable for shoppers and employees, Hall said.
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Dozens of community leaders and others Friday attended an opening ceremony for the building. Agriculture is “one of the pillars of our society, and certainly the backbone of our community,” said Grier Sandifer, president of the Greater York Chamber of Commerce.
The new building sits on a 5,000-square-foot concrete pad, including covered porches that surround the enclosed retail area. It’s designed to look like one of the peach packing sheds that once dotted the region, Hall said.
Hall, who runs the farm with his son, Sam Hall, said the climate-controlled building is important because the farm’s retail sales are almost year round.
Hall said the 200-acre Bush-n-Vine property has been in his family since the early 1900s. A great uncle, John Hall, farmed there, growing mostly peaches, he said.
But Bob Hall began growing strawberries, which have become a signature crop. They are grown outside in fields in the spring and in covered areas for much of the rest of the year.
In recent years, the farm also expanded into the Community Supported Agriculture program, or CSA, in which subscribers pay at the beginning of each growing season for a share of the expected harvest. They receive weekly boxes filled with fruits and vegetables during the season.
Hall’s wife Susan Hall said the farm will continue to use the old open-air building, located next to the new building, to assemble boxes for the CSA program and to pack up fruits and vegetables for its summer produce stands in Rock Hill and Lake Wylie.