GRAM'STAND-OUR ROADSIDE FARMSTAND
Gram'Stand closed in October 1989, and relatives of Gram, also known as Bernice Assard, opened the stand this year in her honor. The stand is located at 96 Main St. South in Bethlehem, and is operated by Kenny Assard (back, from left), Renee Masi and Dana Assard, with help from Kenny and Dana's children James (front) and Bobby Assard. (Cura photos)
Gram'Stand Open in Bethlehem:
Honors Bernice Assard
By: Jaimie Cura
BETHLEHEM - After a 20-year hiatus, Gram'Stand has opened again, in honor of its founder, Bernice Assard.
Bernice Assard operated the farm stand with produce from her own garden.
She passed away in November 2008, and her grandson, Kenny Assard, and his wife Dana Assard, opened the stand again in her honor.
The stand is located at 98 Main St. South, across from the Towne Apothecary, and is open from dawn to dusk.
"The local people have all supported it so much, because they all remember Gram," said Mrs. Assard.
Mrs. Assard said she leaves out a logbook that visitors may sign. She said people say how nice it is that the stand reopened.
"She was everybody's Gram," said Mr. Assard. "She taught all the kids to read when we were young. She cooked dinners. She was very involved with the youth in town."
Gram was also part of the Busy Stitchers.
"She taught the whole town, practically, to sew," said Mrs. Assard.
Mrs. Assard said gardening and family were two loves Gram had, working in her garden until the day she went to the hospital.
"Even when my grandmother was sick, we brought tomatoes and pepper seeds and dirt to the hospital," said Mr. Assard. "She planted the seeds with the great-grandchildren."
Mrs. Assard said Gram taught her everything she knows about gardening and canning, a skill that keeps her family eating garden-grown vegetables and fruits all winter long. Mr. Assard said his grandparents were big fans of education.
"She enjoyed passing knowledge onto the new generation," he said.
Produce for sale at Gram'Stand includes eggs for $3 a dozen, garlic at $1 per bulb, turnips for $1 each, butter and sugar corn at $6 a dozen, acorn squash for $2 each and gourds at 75 cents each, or three gourds for $2. The corn comes from Andy Roden, said Mr. Assard.
Gram'Stand also sells zucchini, herbs, cherry tomatoes, hot peppers, yellow squash, cabbage, beets, eggplant, broccoli, bok choy, collard greens, soap, pumpkins and sunflowers.
Fresh chickens can be ordered, and the farm stand received approval from the state to sell grass-fed beef. Future goals for the stand are to offer honey from the farm and canned preserves.
Mr. Assard said his children have grown up loving the garden, just like he did.
"Sometimes they eat things faster than you can pick them," he said. "I just remember, when I was a kid, sitting here and popping beans and cherry tomatoes into my mouth."
Like father, like son - Mr. Assard's son Bobby was nibbling on lettuce leaves and loves raw brussels sprouts.
"We go out to dinner and Bobby orders broccoli rabe," said Mrs. Assard, laughing.
The perks of fresh produce are great, but operating a farm brought about unforeseen complications. Mr. Assard, who describes himself as a project engineer by day and a farmer by night, said he did not realize how much work his grandmother put into the garden.
In June, a hailstorm cleared out all the crops on the farm.
"I had started all my plants from seed," said Mrs. Assard.
Mr. Assard said both sides of the family helped them replant the garden. Gram'Stand was and continues to be a family endeavor.
"If it wasn't for my sister coming over, I wouldn't be able to do it," said Mrs. Assard.
There is only one thing Mrs. Assard wishes for.
"I wish Gram could have seen it reopened," she said.
Those seeking additional information may call 203-266-5785.