Native Joe’s Farmstand Cutting Ribbon with Goal of Westminster Community Hub
By Amanda Burke
WESTMINSTER -- Weeks after its “soft opening,” the ribbon will be cut Saturday outside Native Joe’s Farmstand.
The farmstand is in a renovated barn built in 1825. It’s the result of a business owner’s effort to recreate the community hub his relatives created in Northampton here in the heart of Westminster.
“We’ve experienced some very good things, the kind of things that I envisioned -- neighbors gathering, having ice cream sitting on the picnic tables and just enjoying each other,” said owner Joe Serio.
Serio owns Westminster Pharmacy, which sits just beside Native Joe’s Farmstand at 134 Main St., where shoppers can order a scoop of Herrell’s Ice Cream and buy fresh produce and craft works inside.
On Thursday, Serio recalled growing up in Northampton, where his father owned a pharmacy right next door to his grandparent’s local food market.
“Because of that, I really developed a love of the mix of the two (businesses) together,” he said.
Serio said his dream to open the farmstand was made possible when the town adopted new zoning in 2015. The new regulations allowed commercial and residential uses to locate on the same property, he said.
The farmstand is attached to a home that houses two apartments that were already being lived in when Serio purchased it, he said.
Mixing residential and commercial uses enhanced the “European flavor” of village center, he said, creating “a more attractive downtown to draw people to the region to our center.”
The town already attracts visitors to Wachusett Mountain and Wachusett Brewing Company and The Old Mill, he said.
Serio said Westminster is “a few businesses away” from becoming an important destination in North Central Massachusetts.
He said he will meet with an engineer next week to discuss the shuttered Old Town Hall, which is just around the corner from the farmstand and the pharmacy.
Serio is advocating the former municipal building that was shuttered in 2007 be converted into a community gathering space.
“In the long run, we’re going to have a much stronger and vital town,” he said.
In the short term, Serio will welcome residents to his farmstand Saturday for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that begins at 1:45 p.m. Items there will be 20 percent off on Saturday.
There will be a wine tasting, and free ears of local corn will be given out. The Wachusett Jazz Quartet plays live from 2 to 4 p.m., said Serio.