ACK Smart Contributor
Sustainable Nantucket Farm Stand
Updated: Jun 28, 2022
The ferries are full, the restaurants are serving, and the harbor is empty no longer - folks, we have made it to summer!
From warm days on the beach, to cooler, exciting nights out in town, it’s a return to the normalcy of years past and simple traditions that seem to have no expiration.
It’s true that as you stroll around town, ride your bike along the paths, brave the chilly waters of the Atlantic, it could be 2022 or 1972 for all we know. There’s a timelessness about the simplicity of summer - and Nantucket itself - that can’t be replicated any other time of the year.
One of ACK Smart’s favorite examples of this is the Sustainable Nantucket Farm Stand on Hummock Pond Road. A call-back to afternoons of childhood days, stopping for fresh corn, peaches, and whatever else the farmers brought out that day, it emulates the sweetness that is summer on Nantucket.
ACK Smart has been fortunate to work closely with Sustainable Nantucket and their Managing Director Posie Constable for years via several solar array installations, so when we were approached to put the solar spin on the beloved farm stand, it felt like a great opportunity to honor nostalgic tradition by improving it with modern technology and education.
“When I took the job [in 2020], it was the day the town shutdown,” Constable recalled. “I met the farmers and they had already purchased seed and were doing the planting and they were thinking ‘Where are we going to sell all the food that we’re growing?’”
After one of the farmers gave her the initial idea to sell the produce at a farm stand, Constable petitioned the Land Bank for the opportunity to do just that. After gaining approval, funding for the farm stand itself came from a grant for The Community Preservation Committee, due to its use as an education center. Combined with an additional grant from the Remain Nantucket Fund, the move to install solar became a reality.
“All of it was comprehensive,” Constable said. “We started to think ‘How do we make our farm as energy-efficient as possible?’”
Fast forward two years later and the entirety of the Sustainable Nantucket farm space, including the roadside produce stand, now utilizes solar technology. Now, don’t let our prior nostalgia confuse you, this isn’t your grandparents’ farm stand.
This is a fully refrigerated educational building that enhances the longevity of the products and the profits that the Sustainable Nantucket farmers are able to accrue in turn. The electrical load in total covers pumps for irrigation for the farmers, four cold storage units at the farm, refrigeration within the farm stand itself, fans in the greenhouses, electrical plugs, and lots of other things that help to process and provide storage for the food that’s there.
Although the summer months bring the space out of net-zero, the solar credits accumulated by the arrays in the winter months provide significant help for bills in the busier months.
“The solar [array] is making the cost of producing food lower because the farmers pay the electrical bills, so for them to have the value of the solar is super helpful. It really keeps costs down,” Constable said.
So next time you’re cruising around Cisco, make sure to stop at the Sustainable Nantucket Farm Stand to celebrate local harvest, sustainability, and sweet, sweet summertime.