The motto for Atkins Farms Country Market is "Where the apple is just the beginning," but Atkins president Pauline Lannon jokes that it could also be, "There's always something happening at Atkins."
Ever since 1887, when George H. Atkins planted a small orchard in South Amherst that included 13 samples of a newfangled variety of apple tree, the "McIntosh," innovation and growth have been central to the farm's mission. By 1948, George and his son William had grown the orchard to include over 2,000 trees, but at that time, their business was exclusively wholesale, selling the apples to Holyoke and New York City. It was Howard, George's grandson, who began selling the apples to local consumers. He also expanded the orchard and began growing more varieties of apples, as well as other kinds of fruit. Now, everything grown on the Atkins orchards is sold in their market—a California redwood-style building where Bay Road and Route 116 meet—and the focus has become selling locally-made products to the community and visitors from abroad.
Now, in addition to the aisles of fresh produce, Atkins has a deli, a meat and seafood section, a cheese display, an olive bar, a sushi bar, and a bakery that, among other treats, offers up its justifiably famous cider donuts. Recently, too, they received their license to sell beer and wine, and they will be adding that department to their offerings, and presumably bottles of wine and beer will be a new option for their Best Of-winning gift baskets.
While selling quality local products is central to what Atkins Farms Country Market does, they also hold seasonal events year round, and recently they've launched a new program, Savory Suppers, to help busy families easily prepare home-cooked meals from the freshest local produce. Prospective diners can schedule a time to assemble a selection of meals at the Atkins kitchens, and using ingredients already prepared and ready to be assembled, they can prepare full meals that can be frozen until it's time to eat. The cost per serving is around three dollars and some change.
Speaking of change, soon construction of a new rotary will begin just outside the market, which will again transform Atkins. As well as hopefully ironing out the traffic congestion, the rotary will alter the footprint the market sits on, and Atkins will be building a new entrance to the store, as well as a new facility where they will sell ice cream and grilled foods.
There's always something happening at Atkins.
Place for gift baskets