Peters’ Farm: more than 100 Years Rich in Fruits and VegetablesAugust 1, 2014
by Mike Vinci
If one were to rise before the sun and travel to 1 Cross Street on any given day, Mike Peters could be found, his day already in full swing. At about 5:30 a.m., Mike begins his work on his family’s farm stand, Peters’ Farm, a locally beloved and famous business in Salem.
After cleaning out the stand, which is tall and red, complete with a rustic gravel parking lot sectioned off by logs, Mike begins loading his white truck with the produce that will be available on the shelves that day. He and his brother, John, drive to all of the family’s plots of farmland, located in Salem, Methuen, Mass., Sandown and Chester, in order to collect the vegetables, fruits and flowers that are sold in the stand. Much of the produce sold each day is picked that morning or during the day.
Peters’ Farm opens at 8 a.m. every day and will stay open until 7 p.m., weather permitting, from June to October. However, the family business itself has been open and operating for over 100 years. Mike and John’s grandparents came to America from Armenia and began working on a farm which had cows, chickens and other products. The family began to grow vegetables in the 1950s and opened a tent to sell their produce in the 1960s. Eventually, they converted the barn that they owned into a stand in which to sell their goods. That was the genesis of the Peters’ Farm that the residents of Salem know today.
Renovations made to the stand in recent years have made the business a modernized version of the traditional store-type that it is. “There aren’t too many places like this left around here,” said Mike Peters, who stopped to speak for some time between runs in the family’s white pickup truck, which can always be seen driving back and forth from plot of land to the store throughout the day. Before departing again to get more veggies, he was kind enough to offer a ride home, an act which one might guess a guy like Mike Peters would offer to anyone.
The store stands near Soule Elementary School, where Mike ran a basketball camp for many years, getting to know many of the kids and parents in the area. The Peters family’s familiarity with many of the shoppers who frequent their farm stand actualizes how deeply ingrained their establishment is into the town of Salem. The century of work that the family has put into their business has made Peters’ farm into a well-known spot for Salem residents. Their history is as rich and plentiful as the fruits and vegetables that they stock on their shelves. This is one of the places in Salem that reminds residents of the history, which built much of what they see each and every day.